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Early Blues Interview
Matt Woosey

© Copyright 2015 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
Matt at Linton Festival 2015
 

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 ....

Alan:   Where are you from and what are your first musical memories? 

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 my Dad. 

Alan:   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? 

Matt:  No, 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. 

Alan:   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. 

© Copyright 2015 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:   How did you get started in music? 

Matt:  At 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 things. 

Alan:   What kind of material were you playing in the early days and who were your heroes? 

Matt:  After 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!! 

Alan:   Who has influenced you the most in your music writing and playing? 

Matt:  My top three influences are Led Zeppelin, Rory Gallagher and John Martyn. 

Alan:   You've toured throughout Europe, Australia, South Africa and Scandinavia, do audiences and venues differ between continents? 

Matt:  Yes 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. 

Alan:   Your music is not limited to any particular genre but where does your musical heart lie? 

Matt:  Donít 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. 

© Copyright 2015 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:   Are there any particular songs that you play that have special meaning to you? 

Matt:  All 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 me, perhaps.  

Alan:   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? 

Matt:  Yes, 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. 

Alan:   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? 

Matt:  We 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. 

© Copyright 2015 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:   You've won a string of awards, does any one have special meaning? 

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. 

Alan:   What's in the pipeline in terms of gigs / tours / albums? 

Matt:  Iím 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 Matt.

 

© Copyright 2015 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
Matt at Scarborough Blues Festival 2015

 

 

ďHis guitar-work throughout is exemplary with riffs that could easily grace any Pink Floyd or Fleetwood Mac album!Ē
 
-  Amplified Magazine
 

 


www.mattwoosey.co.uk

 

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