Matthew and Lucy come from Devon, that beautiful slice of the United Kingdom that encompasses sandy beaches, fossil cliffs, medieval towns, and moorland national parks. It’s also the land that gave birth to well-known fine musicians: Chris Martin, Ben Howard, not to mention one of my favourite bands of the past year or so, Black Foxxes. Then, there’s Matthew And Me, comprised of Matthew and Lucy, mentioned above. They are part of the roster of Beatnik Creative and they have just released their new single, ‘Every Day’. I had the chance to chat with them a couple of days ago and, needless to say, we are honoured, here at Indie + Tonic, to have them as guests.
So, guys, what is Matthew And Me? Would you like to present yourself as a band? I’m also keen to know a bit more of what’s behind the choice of your name, which is open to different interpretations.
(Lucy answers) “Matthew And Me is a project that evolved from years of music making with different musicians, different band names and lots of learning. We finally feel like we have started to really find our way, and this is part of a process that went on over the past couple of years. Our sound is now original to us, some sort of dream-pop, alternative, indie rock. I wouldn’t read into our name too much, to be honest. We decided on it quite a few years ago when the line-up of the band was different. It was something we all settled on, after going round the houses. Ironically, now that we are a duo, the name kind of makes more sense. It’s literally Matthew and Me (Lucy) but in all honesty, we’re not majorly into the name really”.
2016 was a great year for you: you signed to Beatnik and released your first EP, ‘Startpoint’, which was well received. What does it mean to be part of the roster of an ambitious label? And how will this help you improve as artists?
“Thanks, our 2016 has been an important year for our lives as musicians. And yeah, it is just great being signed to Beatnik Creative. They have been very supportive and helped our music to reach new people”.
‘Startpoint’ was your first milestone. With your brand new single, ‘Every Day’, you seem to have slightly changed your angle, creating a more synth-driven atmosphere. Are you going more in this direction, forging a different sound, from now?
“It’s a good point. Luckily, we are free to explore and develop in different directions, we haven’t actually got all that much music out there as yet, so we suppose at this stage no one has really pigeonholed what we’re doing!”
You said about the track that it’s mainly about “not forgetting to love and appreciate the simple things in life that people tend to take for granted. It reflects how important it is to be happy in your day to day life.” This is, in my opinion, a crucial point nowadays, in times when people struggle to find happiness in the simple things. Where do you personally find your happiness in your day to day life?
(Lucy answers) “We try to fill as much of our time with music/music-making as possible. Matt works at Drift Record Shop in Totnes, we both help to organise Sea Change Festival (www.seachangefestival.co.uk), which is a town festival curated by the Drift Record Shop itself. We spend lots of hours in our studio space, either working on Matthew And Me stuff, or recording and producing other bands/projects. We have other part time jobs as well so that we can pay our rent but we basically prioritise music making over money making at the moment! That’s what makes us happy”.
How does it work in the studio, between the two of you? Who normally starts the process of writing new music? Is there any specific pattern you follow or do ideas flow quite naturally?
(Lucy answers) “It usually starts with a vocal melody and guitar chords that Matt will write, then I start adding drum kit, synths, melody lines. It really depends, though, because with ‘Every Day’ Matt was actually playing the drums and I was playing MS2000 when we came up with that idea. Sometimes we just hit record and play for hours, then sift through what we’ve done to see if there’s anything that we particularly like. I think we’ve realised that in order to get anywhere with our process we have to be immersed in it as much as we can be and that heightens our chances of stumbling across something, a synth sound or certain guitar tone or whatever. You also need to know when it’s time to give yourself a head-break from trying otherwise it can become a bit weird and forced”.
Sigur Ros and Mogwai have often been picked among your main influences. Do you agree with that or is there more? Which other artists have you been listening to lately?
“Yes, they are definitely bands that have influenced us loads over the years, both musically, and with their approach to the music industry generally. Matt has had a long-standing obsession with Sigur Ros and owns pretty much all of their music on record. We both listen to so much music it’s hard to whittle it down! Radiohead and Arcade Fire were bands we both had a mutual love for when we first started making music together. Some recent favourites are Lowly, Happyness, Cigarettes After Sex, Broadcast, Yo La Tengo (Summer Sun), Gwenno, Stealing Sheep, Little Dragon…”
What’s next for Matthew and Me? Are you working on new material at the moment? Maybe with a new EP (or an LP) on the horizon?
“We have lots of demos done of songs we want to record but it’s just a case of getting some more time booked in with Chris, our producer, then we hope to produce a larger body of work. It takes quite a while between finishing the recording and the actual release of the work, so it may take longer than expected, but we are working on it!”
I am keen to see you live on stage, guys. You had an intense summer last year, also playing the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury. What’s on the plate for the next months in terms of live appearances?
“We have a couple of gigs planned for June. We will be in London on the 12th, at Servant Jazz Quarter. Plus, we have just added a date at the Exeter Phoenix on the 16th. Do come along!”
Thank you guys, am quite sure I will. I added Matthew And Me to my list of the ones to watch in 2017 a little while ago. I am confident we all will hear their names out there any time soon.