MDIA alumnus Matt Vinson on how OHIO led him to success

Caamp performs at Strouds Run in Athens for the 2020 Virtual Nelsonville Music Festival. Matt Vinson is on the right.
Josh Nihiser
March 10, 2021

Personal relationships with faculty, topnotch facilities, and a strong local music scene: these are some reasons Matt Vinson loves Ohio University’s School of Media Arts & Studies. In this interview, the Caamp bassist talks about why he recommends OHIO to prospective students and the art that he and his band create.

Caamp is a folk trio formed here in Ohio with Athens roots. Its three members include Taylor Meier (lead vocalist, acoustic/electric guitarist, drummer), Evan Westfall (harmony vocalist, banjoist, electric guitarist, drummer, percussionist) and Matt Vinson (harmony vocalist, bassist, acoustic guitarist). 

“We were all just huge fans of one another, and Athens was a big facilitator of that,” Vinson said. 

What was it about Athens that influenced Caamp? Vinson credits the community’s tight-knit nature.

“Athens’ walkable nature is a very inspiring place because you don’t have to be connected to a vehicle or traffic.” He also credits the local music scene as a uniter. 

If you look Caamp up, you’ll find that it has more than 2.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify and its most streamed song, “Vagabond,” was sitting at an impressive 57.4 million streams on March 8. 

The band members come back to Athens often. Vinson misses Jazz Night at Tony’s, Stroud’s Run and the intentional walk to classes or uptown. He said that through the music production education he received in MDIA, he landed an internship at a studio called Colorado Sound in Denver. 

“I had really close relationships with Josh Antonuccio, Jeff Redefer, Eddie Ashworth,” Vinson said. “It was easy to dive in and get as much as I could out of the school because I respected the professors to a certain level that it wasn’t really school. I was kind of just obsessed with it.”  

To all the students at OHIO now, Vinson’s advice is to stay focused and keep pushing. “Focus on the individual craft that you’re working on, be really obsessed with it and do not let doing something else be an option.” 

While it can be hard after college, he credits “pushing through adversity” when the door opened for him to record and eventually join Caamp. The first album he joined the band on was titled “By and By,” which has more than 90 million streams among all the songs.

To anyone who is considering OHIO, Matt recommends MDIA for its personal, intimate and hands-on approach to media education. “This intimacy and a very local-driven community, along with the fact that all studios and facilities are really up-to-date and topnotch, are main reasons why I would recommend someone to go to Ohio University”, Matt concludes.

Watch Josh Nihiser's full interview with Matt Vinson below: