We were in Exeter on November 28th to see Matthew and Me alongside Land of the Giants and Coco and the Butterfields, we had tried on several occasions to sit Matthew down to take part in our award winning, life changing website feature and finally, it looked like it was going to happen. After their set, I cornered Matthew and Andy backstage and ushered them into the green room where we sat down and chatted about homemade gin, Slade and NOT playing cover versions, here's how it went....
Matthew & Me, please introduce yourselves and the band.
Totnes/Dartington, we met at college and have taken on various different forms throughout the years, we started again as Matthew and Me a couple of years ago and here we are today!
Give us three words that best describe you as a band?
Unpredictable, exciting and adventurous
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released?
OK Computer, maybe a Pink Floyd album, it’s an impossible question to answer, depends on what mood you’re in, Bon Iver’s ‘For Emma’, Coldplay’s Parachutes, shall I go on?
You state that your music is influenced by many things including bad decisions made, good times had & gin, please expand on these….
We’re quite close as a band and tend to hang out a lot together, we have a lot of ‘lived’ experiences, we do a lot together and this drives our music.
I know all about the gin as I was at the South Devon Arts Centre when you drank the bar dry of gin!
We’ve had to stop all that nowadays, we did recently have a ‘gin’ party, we made some and it was amazing, it was normal gin! we are a collective of people who love hanging out and it’s our own fault if it goes wrong. We take risks and that collectively makes you stronger, if we make the wrong decisions, we can look back and decide better the next time. I don’t think there’s a band out there that hasn’t made a hundred different mistakes and they will continue to do so. We love to experiment and you can’t do that if you’re not able to take yourself out of your comfort zone every now and then to seek new ideas.
If you had a chance to put together your own ‘super group’, who would be in it? (only living members please)
All of Radiohead! Most of Massive Attack, John Lennon, we could make our own Sgt Peppers album, Bon Iver, Justin Vernon….
Isn’t Justin Vernon ‘Bon Iver’?
Oh yeah, so he is! Definitely NOT Bono, he’s not allowed anywhere near us! Dave Grohl maybe? He’s recently become a bit of a ‘fixture’ don’t you think? Ian Dury maybe? David Bowie…..that’s our super group!
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
The song that’s at the end of Oceans 11 or 12, I think it’s called ‘Clair de Lune’….
Not Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas’ then?
No, maybe a Sigur Ros number? There’s so many, for me (Andy), I’d be over the moon if we’d written a song like a Beatles song, they speak to everybody in the world and everyone understands what they’re all about, we can’t do that as The Beatles have already written them all!
First gig you ever went to? (honest answers please)
(Matt) I went to a gig with my mum and dad, it was a covers band of The Specials and The Cocteau Twins with my dad shortly after, those are the two I remember the most. (Andy) – Level 42 in the Mick Jagger Centre in Dartford, Mark King with his slap bass, amazing!
What chemical/alcohol mixture does your bass player Sammy require to become 'DJ Papa Goldlove’ (does it involve a telephone box?)
It IS a cocktail, lots of whisky and brandy and he’ll cover himself in gold dust. It’s all natural, it’s his alter ego.
You played the Port Eliot festival on July 24th, was this the first time you have played it and if so, how did it come about?
We played it a couple of years ago and was asked back by a guy called Jeff, it’s an amazing festival, one thing I remember is seeing Jimmy Goodwin sat on a hay bale just before he was about to play and nearly losing my mind, he came up to us and said how great it was that we’re such a close family, he said that he used to have that when he was in Doves, totally shell shocked, a real claim to fame. Our set went down really well and so did Jimmy’s, the festival is a real gem of the Southwest, we’re so lucky to have it.
Are you playing it in 2015?
We can’t disclose that information right now, we’d love to. It’s such a cool festival, you’ve got to remember that it is a ‘Literacy’ festival so there’s so much more than just music going on, you’ll have to wait and see who’s on the line up for ’15!
Give us your 3 top tips for surviving at a music festival….
Alcohol, back stage passes and backstage camping…..if you’re not lucky enough to know someone who can sort out the 2nd and 3rd item, there is no advice, just go for it and lose your mind and see what happens!
First guitar riff you heard that sent chills down your spine?
Andy - ‘Spies’ from Coldplay’s Parachutes, Matt – if I’m going to be honest I would have to say something from Muse’s debut album ‘Showbiz’, I would normally say a nice cliché album like Dark Side of the Moon but no, it’s gonna be a track from Muse’s first album. It was like finding a band, especially locally to get into was really tough and that just spoke to me so much. They were so good despite being so young, they really found their sound from an early stage of their careers. Origins of Symmetry was an epic album that used keys so more than their previous album it was so cool.
You released your latest EP ‘Golden Charms’ on June 16th, you worked with esteemed producer Bruno Ellingham, how did this come about?
Through a friend of ours called Tommy who worked with him on a REEF record. It was nice to work with someone who actually understood how we wanted to work and could use their experience to drive the sound in the right direction. We have never worked with anyone before who was so driven. Our new single ‘Patterns’ which was self produced and we drew on so much knowledge that Bruno had embedded in us, we had a much clearer idea before we started the process.
What was the first song you learned and you learned as a band?
Matt - Just one of our own songs, we never played any covers. We were asked to do a wedding and I nearly had a breakdown, I was very nearly ejected from the band and I didn’t handle it too well, I don’t play cover versions at all, it’s not me… Andy - I think it’s almost a rite of passage to play covers when you’re in a band and then progress to your own material, it’s a sure fire way of getting people to come and listen to you, play them something they know and can relate to and you have their attention!
Land of the Giants had just finished their set so we were gonna have to vacate the green room pretty promptly, we decided to cut to the quickfire questions.....
Coffee or Tea?
Coke or Pepsi?
Drum machine or the real deal?
Mac or PC?
Kebab or Burger?
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)?
CD or Vinyl?
The Rolling Stones or The Beatles?
Camping or ‘Glamping’?
Fender or Gibson?
De Niro or Pacino?
God or Google?
We'd like to thank Matthew and Andy for sparing their time to sit and answer our questions, not that they had any choice in the matter as I had a gun to their heads during the whole process! We wish them every success in the future and look forward to receiving our backstage passes along with backstage camping privileges!
Interview by Steve Muscutt