I first met Matt
whilst having a beer with Becky Tate and Trevor Steger
(BabaJack) in a Malvern pub some years ago. Since then I've
seen Matt perform many times at various festivals across the
country and it was at the Linton Festival that we finally
got round the table for an interview ....
Where are you from and what are your first musical
Matt: I was
born in Cornwall, have lived in many different parts of the
UK and Germany, but call Malvern my Home town as I have
lived here on and off for 13 years or so. My first real
musical memories are watching my Mum do the hovering to
Simply Red and listening to Chris Rea whilst in the car with
Did you come from a musical family - is there a long musical
heritage, or if not, where did your inspiration to make
music a way-of-life come from?
there are no musicians in the family. When I started to
become serious about music as a career, I suddenly realised
that I was rubbish at everything else anyway, which made the
decision very easy. It just took a hold on my life after
joining my first proper band call Taxi and after that, I
never looked back.
Did you always want to become a musician?
Matt: No, I
toyed with the idea of going in to the military for a while,
but after a couple of visits, realised that it really was
the opposite of what I wanted to do with my life. I also did
a lot of pub work and ran a cafť in Bristol for 18 months
which I thought about making into a career but I soon got
frustrated with it.
How did you get started in music?
the age of 15 I got the part as a drummer in a Thin Lizzy
musical whilst I was at boarding school. At first the school
were reluctant to let me get involved with the band because
of the gigging and the time away at weekends but we came to
an arrangement. The band stayed together for a while after
the musical ran its 2 weeks and I learned a lot from playing
Alice Cooper and Whitesnake covers etc. Not so much
musically (as I wasnít really very good at the drums) but
more about being part of a band and the performance side of
What kind of material were you playing in the early days and
who were your heroes?
leaving school, I joined Taxi which was an originals band
playing pop rock and a few covers, this time as lead
guitarist. This is when I first started proper touring and
getting used to the ups and downs of the life of a musician.
I was also writing my own stuff which was blues influenced
singer-songwriter stuff. I was really inspired by Led
Zeppelin for my formative years and I probably wouldnít be a
musician if it werenít for them as they took over my life
for a while!
I also listened
to CCR, Cream, Free and so on. After a while I went back to
find out who had influenced these kinds of bands and thatís
when I discovered that it all came from early blues. Eurika!!
Who has influenced you the most in your music writing and
top three influences are Led Zeppelin, Rory Gallagher and
You've toured throughout Europe, Australia, South Africa and
Scandinavia, do audiences and venues differ between
they do, but they also vary within those places too,
probably more so in the UK than anywhere else, but mainly
because there is just so much more going on here. Iíve had
amazing gigs and terrible gigs all over the world. I do, as
a general rule, enjoy Holland and Germany the best outside
of the UK.
Your music is not limited to any particular genre but where
does your musical heart lie?
make me say it!! Iím trying to move away from being labelled
as a blues artistÖoh, go on then, itís the blues, always has
been prominent. Itís got an answer for every mood, as a
listener and also as a performer.
Are there any particular songs that you play that have
special meaning to you?
my songs, mean a lot to me. Some because they tell my story,
others because they are fun, others because they have been
in my life for so long that their meaning has changed to me
and applies in an equal amount to my life right now. I terms
of the covers I play, of which I only do a few, Out On The
Western Plain means a lot as itís an old Leadbelly song
which was adapted by Rory Gallagher, combining a wonderful
mix of folk and blues, the epitome of that combination, for
Tell me about the making of your latest studio album
'Wildest Dreams': are they all originals or some covers;
where was it made; who produced it; any guest appearances?
theyíre all originals and it was recorded at Monnow Valley
Studio which is situated just outside of Monmouth, near
Rockfield. The band for this album consisted of Dave Small
and myself, plus Rob Newall and Paul Quinn who had played
just a couple of gigs with us prior to the recording. Itís a
real testament to the guys and the working relationships we
developed extremely quickly that the album has such a live
and flowing vibe to it.
A great deal of
this is down to the way in which Tony Hobden, my producer,
worked with us and produced the album pre, during and post
recording. As a songwriter you need somebody who you trust
musically and respect in such a way as to be able to put
your confidence in them when it comes to making decisions on
just about anything to do with the recording. From
microphone placements to choice of pre-amps. From
arrangement suggestions to ego soothing. From extracting the
smallest nuance of sound to the creation of walls of energy
which will hopefully knock out the listener. Itís about
capturing moments and moving people.
When you get a
team of people right, it is such a rewarding experience and
the recording of this album, for me, was nothing but a joy
to be part of. I would like to sincerely thank Tony for his
boundless energy and enthusiasm. As I said we didnít have a
great deal of time to learn, record and mix the album so
working with talented professionals made the process all the
more enjoyable for myself.
The album is
dedicated to my wife, Lisa, who has been an inspiration to
me from the moment we met.
Since 'Wildest Dreams' your record company RoBar released
your first live album 'While The Cat's Away'. Where was this
recorded and did you have fun making a live album?
actually had rather too much fun making it! It was all
recorded on one night in Bristol during our weekly residency
at The Gallimaufry. There was, being Bristol, cider involved
and quite a noisy audience but we battled through the set
and Dave and I are pleased with the result. We did the gig
as a duo that night.
You've won a string of awards, does any one have special
Matt: No, I
donít really think they have much significance really. Donít
get me wrong Iím delighted to be thought of but the whole
awarding music thing is a strange thing for me. There is no
right or wrong answer in music and it kind of defies the
point of an artistic statement if you start saying that one
album of artist is better than another. If lots of people
vote for their favourite artist then that is slightly
different but normally these things are shallow,
social-media-driven popularity contests. They, on the other
hand, have been useful to me in getting gigs and a bit of
promotion which is great and will hopefully open me up to
new audiences. Iím sorry if that sounds like Iím being
funny, itís just that at the end of the day itís all about
the music, not the hype. We can leave that to the TV shows.
What's in the pipeline in terms of gigs / tours / albums?
moving to Germany to spend a year touring there which I
canít wait to do. My wife is German and weíre looking
forward to spending some time around her family and for me,
capitalising on the gigs Iíve already done there and also
branching out into some less blues specific circles too. A
combination of blues gigs and other gigs is what makes me
the happiest. Iím working on a new album as we speak, which
will feature a string section and the musical director from
the Royal Shakespeare Company which will obviously talk me
to a new place musically. Iíve written all the new material
with that in mind so itís an exciting time for me. I also
have some amazing session players for the drums and bass,
people who are extremely famous in the music world but Iím
not allowed to say yet for contractual reasons. Buy me a few
beers and I might let it slip ;)
Alan: Thank you