PHOTO CREDIT: Aubrey Simpson
Matthew and Me
AWAY from the hurly-burly of the city-rush push…
there are artists that are making wonderful music free from the stress and bustle. Matthew and Me are based in South Devon and premiered their single, Every Day, earlier this week. I ask Lucy and Matt about the song’s beginnings and how the duo got together – in a professional sense (as they are keen to distinguish). The guys explain what the scene is like in Devon and how love from some prominent D.J.s – including Lauren Laverne and Shaun Keaveny of BBC Radio 6 Music – feels. They look ahead to tour dates and gigs and provide an insight into the Matthew and Me songwriting process. Lucy and Matt tell me about their musical upbringing and how influential their childhood tastes are to their current output.
Hi, guys, how are you? How have your weeks been?
Yeah, good thanks – a fairly standard week in the life of Lucy and Matt. Our new single premiered at the start of the week so we’ve really enjoyed getting that out there.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
We aim for our music to be some kind of escapism: a break from reality/mundanity and a little musical journey. Hopefully, that’s what we achieve with our tracks. We like the description ‘Dream-Pop’ – rich layers of sound, nice warm synths; lots of reverb and delay (and good feels).
Can you tell me how you both got together, please?
Romantically or the band? Jokes.
Well, we met at Darlington College and Matt formed a band at the end of his MA course. The line-up and band names changed a few times over the years but we’ve been a two-piece in this set-up for a year or so now. When we play live there’s four of us.
Every Day is your new single. What is the song about and how quickly did it come together?
It’s about appreciating people you love while they’re in your life and not taking people/situations/relationships for granted.
Enjoying your day-to-day and celebrating life, it’s a reflection of how fragile life actually is – and how you may as well try and love every minute you get.
It was recorded in our studio over a few evening sessions with Chris and Bear Bond in February and happened very organically.
The song follows from your Startpoint E.P. (released last year). How, if at all, has your sound/music altered since then? Are you taking in new inspiration in terms of sounds and themes?
Startpoint was quite a cathartic piece of work for us: a bit of a new beginning and a chance to try new things with Chris.
Since this record, we have really focused our time and energy on pinpointing the elements of music that we love; hours were spent honing the synth. sounds used in Every Day and we’re definitely interested in further experimenting with a more Electronica-influenced feel. Matt is now being naturally drawn to a lower vocal range which has been interesting to experiment with.
Matthew and Me hail from South Devon. What is the music scene like down there? Is there quite an active and varied scene?
Honestly, it’s not amazing. Devon is a beautiful and inspiring base for us but there isn’t much of a scene for our style of music down here – or certainly not one we feel we can fit into. However, there are a lot of artists and creative people based here so we’re lucky to have inspiring and alternative mates who are also engaged with the wider music and art scenes. it’s a beautiful place to work from and the ethos of the creative community as a whole is inspiring.
We’ve tried to inject some life into Totnes by working at local venues and promoting nights – but touring bands don’t often make it as far as Devon!
However, we also help to run Sea Change Festival which, in year one was incredible – and we have an equally exciting programme planned for year two. This, we hope, can grow bigger year-by-year and then encourage acts to travel to us. We also aim to curate a year-round programme under the ‘Sea Change‘ umbrella.
A range of D.J.s and stations have promoted your music – no less some of BBC Radio 6 Music’s biggest names. How does that feel and does it give you the confidence to keep pushing?
Yep, that’s exactly it – it does encourage us not to give up and to keep chipping away it’s an increasingly tricky thing to sustain; a full-band set-up in an industry which is seemingly very stretched at the level we’re operating at. But, we’re stubborn and it’s what we want to do.
We’re so grateful to people like Shaun Keaveny, Lauren Laverne and Huw Stephens for the support!
Can we expect an E.P. later in the year perhaps?
We have the songs ready that we want to record but it’s just getting everything to align so that we can record them with Chris. But the general plan is to record more as soon as we can. So ideally…Yes!
How do songs come together for you? Will one of you write the lyrics and work on the music or is it more joined-up?
It’s a funny process: the songs seem to come when you’re not expecting it. We sometimes do three or four different demos of a track and, by the time we get to the end of the process, we’ve decided we hate the song! Funnily enough, Every Day came about from Matt playing the drums and shouting a melody idea into an overhead mic and me playing an arpeggiated synth idea – none of which appears in the final version of the track but we went on a little journey to get to the finished thing.
Mainly, it’s just a case of putting the hours in. Matt does a lot of the initial lyric and melody ideas and I do a lot of the arrangement/drums/keys etc.; then we bring the tracks to Chris and he usually does something mind-bending that we couldn’t have even imagined.
Aside from a gig at Servant Jazz Quarters on 12th June; are there any more dates in the diary?
I think we have something pencilled for the Exeter Phoenix the same week as London. But, otherwise, we’re really hoping to start playing more shows this year!
You have played Glastonbury and Field Day already. What have been the fondest memories for you both so far?
Playing the BBC Introducing Stage at Glastonbury was definitely a highlight.
We played at Sea Change Festival in Totnes last year which was particularly special playing to a packed out home crowd just before British Sea Power headlined.
Who are the artists you both grew up listening to and how influential are your childhood sounds when it comes to your own music?
Matt: I grew up listening to a pretty wide variety of stuff. Dad used to like This Mortal Coil/Cocteau Twins and other Shoegaze and atmospheric stuff. His musical taste was pretty influential. He was also into a lot of contemporary Classical and minimalist composers – which had an effect for sure.
Lucy: I generally had terrible taste in music: Aqua, Spice Girls… but then got heavily into Jazz in my teens and learnt a lot through studying that. Then, I started playing in Sheffield bands so was influenced by the Electro-Pop and Punk-y-Indie things that were going on at the time there.
If you each had to select the one album that has meant most to you which would they be and why?
Lucy: I think Bloc Party – Silent Alarm or Doves – Lost Souls were crucial musical moments in my life. But, it’s hard to whittle it down to just one record.
Matt: So hard to pick one record! Arcade Fire – Funeral reminds me of some pretty fun times at the end of uni. They played the whole record one Sunday afternoon at a Flea Market in Maeurpark, Berlin.
I remember sitting drinking beers and listening to the whole thing. When it came out it was powerful, energetic and original-sounding to me.
Are there any new/upcoming artists you advise we keep an eye out for this year at all?
Lowly. We’ve been listening to those guys for a little while and they’re playing at Sea Change this year. We can’t wait! They have an incredible, unique sound.
What advice would you give to any new artists coming through right now?
Tricky one. Just keep at it: you have to make mistakes to learn. We feel like we’re on a massive learning curve the whole time. Believe in what you’re making 100%; otherwise, no one else will. Definitely only do it because you love it.
Finally, and for being good sports, you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that)
Lucy: There’s a live version of Autobahn by Kraftwerk that is absolutely brilliant (from Minimum– Maximum). That’s my fave this week.
Matt: Lorde – Tennis Court (Flume remix)
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PHOTO CREDIT: Aubrey Simpson