Interview by Graham Finney
Scott Matthews very kindly gave us his time to do a 10 questions with..
Looking back, how would you sum up 2017 for you? Highlights, low points?
2017 proved to be another steep learning curve both musically and in life. My last album Home Part 2 was in full swing in terms of all the promoting shenanigans and it felt good for her to flee the nest into the wide open world. On the whole, it was a fruitful year culminating in the completion of my sixth studio album and the wonders of impending fatherhood. The main highlight was presenting the blue plaque on Nick Drake’s house. That was very special and I feel highly honoured. He continues to be a beacon of light and someone I can relate to in this all too fleeting world. Other highlights were my UK tour with Madeleine Peyroux, and my own show at The Leaf Cafe in Liverpool was quite wonderful. There was some kind of magic in the air that night. Pretty memorable that one…
2018 starts with your sixth studio album The Great Untold. What can you tell us about it?
My new album has been in the making since early 2017 but the actual recording of it didn’t commence until late November. Once again, it’s a set of songs that I hope have a relatable quality to the listener. I like to balance my records with a broad spectrum of emotions and make sure the heavier moments are offset with a much lighter shade. Naturally, my starting points are from a personal perspective but most times I have to broaden the idea so it’s not so insular as a piece of music. It can be a challenge but I’m very proud of where I’ve ventured to and there’s been a lot of soul searching woven into these songs that I hope people will appreciate.
Most acts these days don’t last a couple of albums. Did you ever see yourself being in the studio recording your sixth album?
I guess I’ve never thought about the long-term prospects of making records. It’s only now that I can look back on 12 years of barely surviving as a full time musician / songwriter and shake my head in complete dismay at the time that’s elapsed but also reflect in a moment that has been truly encapsulating and wholesome as an experience in life. I probably wouldn’t change many things that have happened to me. I’ve been extremely fortunate in many respects so to be sitting here talking about album six fills me with a great sense of purpose.
Following the album release, you’re heading out on tour. What’s life like on tour with Scott Matthews?
My touring life can be a little boring, in truth! These days I tend to operate on the sensible side as I need to look after myself from show to show. Gone are the days of shutting my finger in the door of my car on tour with Robert Plant / Alison Krauss and running the risk of having to cancel a run of European shows! There’s always fun to be had but it’s in way smaller doses! I think being the opening act for Rufus Wainwright back in 2007 gave me a sense of professionalism early on in my career that probably stood me in good stead and showed me how I need to maintain a level of consistency in my performance for each show.
You must have some interesting stories with five albums worth of touring under your belt?
I’ve been blessed to tour with some great bands / artists. It’s safe to say I’ve got some treasured memories to tell my little boy one day. Nothing rock ’n’ roll as such but really vivid moments that will take some dislodging from the old memory bank! Playing the Sydney Opera House singing Nick Drake’s songs was pretty amazing, teamed with witnessing Danny Thompson having a major meltdown with an iPad backstage! Also, playing to 10,000 people at Wembley Arena supporting Robert Plant and Alison Krauss was as surreal as it gets. Getting two standing ovations during my show at Birmingham Town Hall was a sight to behold. There are so many markers, big and small, that are firmly ingrained in this journey I’ve travelled so far.
You’re coming to Liverpool and Manchester as part of this tour, any interesting tour stories from gigs in either of those cities?
Our tour manager hit a snack bar with the van once we got to Manchester once (opening for Rufus)! That was a precarious situation! My last Liverpool show at The Leaf Cafe was a belter though and I felt the bond was as strong as it has ever been. I can’t wait to go back to both cities – they’re always highlights on the tour run.
After the tour what are your plans for the remainder of 2018, and what are your goals for the future?
2018 is all about learning how to be a father to my little boy. That’s a whole new world I can’t wait to explore. Releasing a new record and touring it are moments to savour, so I’ll be doing all I can to preserve the good times. The goal is simply to keep going. I’ll put fuel in the tank and see how far the muse takes me. The fans that come along have some truly mind-blowing stories of how my music has healed them in some way. That in itself is reason enough to pursue the future with open arms whilst feeding the little un of course…
You’ve worked with a list of artists throughout your career, if there was one album you could have played on what would it be and why?
I’d loved to have been in the studio when Nick Drake was recording Pink Moon, simply to get a sense of his presence and how the music poured out of him. I wouldn’t want to play on the album as such, but more a case of soaking up the spirit in that little Sound Techniques studio in Chelsea where so much great music bounced off the walls.
Random question now…What would your pet say about you, if we asked it for a reference?
We have a little ginger cat called Pixie. I think she’d probably say her old man was OK. Feeds me on time, let’s me out when I need to, he doesn’t shout, he’s pretty chilled, however I’d like it if he didn’t spend all of his time in the Shedio making music. Don’t forget to live your life an’ all that…
Scotts new album ‘The Great Untold’ is out in April followed by a headline tour, dates can be found here