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Matt Woosey Interview

Cafe Rene, 29/07/12

Fast, powerful, and full of rich blues-y narratives, Matt Woosey’s songs have been entertaining the Midlands for years. His high-spirited sound has also captivated on European tours and London venues. The blues king talks about gigging five or six times a week, a hair-cut and a van impounding.

Ketchup or mayonnaise?

Both, mixed.

If you were on Mastermind, what would your specialist subject be? (Can’t be music.)

Agatha Christie’s Poirot.

I was listening to a Bristol Radio interview you gave in 2011 where you said you were really pleased you could survive just on your music alone. Are you still surviving now?

Yeah still getting from place to place and doing five or six gigs a week, so yeah. 

So has performing full time always been your aim then?

It has since I started doing music, yeah. I’ve been doing it full time for about two years, and before that it was pretty much full time, the only difference was that I had a job as well.

You seem to spend a lot of time traveling around gigging and your style can be really intense. Do you ever find you get to the end of the week and you just can’t keep it up?

Well, I get up late, so that helps. I don’t think people realize just how physically demanding it is to do a two hour show. I mean my stuff is full of energy. I do do gigs when I’m not feeling on form, I’m not as energetic as the rest of them, but mainly it’s…it’s just have a couple of beers and it’s fine.

Is there anything or anybody you think about when performing, or are you just totally lost in the sound?

If I’ve written a song about something or someone then sometimes I try and think about why I wrote it and the circumstances surrounding the time in which i wrote it. But I do it so much now that it’s kind of like changing gear in a car. You don’t really think about it, you just do it.

There’s a comment on one of your YouTube videos [busker–Playdar] that says ‘I love you Matt, have my babies’.


Are propositions like that quite common for you?

Only from my friends. Umm, no. Whoever wrote that, you do not want my babies. It’s not going to be good. 

I was watching some other YouTube videos from 2007, what brought on the dramatic haircut?

I was doing a tour of a hundred gigs in a hundred days and it was an extremely difficult tour for lots and lots of reasons. My van got impounded and that was the last straw really. I had to pay to get it back and I ran out of money, so I couldn’t finish the last eleven gigs of the last eleven days. So I moved back with my parents, but before I did that I thought ‘right, well I need to start all over again. And that involved a haircut.

It was a good look. Any plans for music videos?

I’ve just done two official videos in Weston Super Mare College, high definition ones, which are really nice. I’m recording with the band in August and we’re gonna make some videos of the recording. So it’ll be live stuff.

You went to Uni, did you find you were constantly putting down the books and picking up the guitar?

Yeah, it was a massive waste of time really, except for the friends I met and the good times I had, it wasn’t for me. But I’m not sure I’d change it if I could go back in time. I was out three or four nights a week, gigging or doing open-mics or traveling with the band, so my work definitely suffered. 

How does your present band’s style differ to the first few band you were in?

Well the first couple of bands were kinda pop-rock, and I just played some nice twinkly guitar over the top, occasionally some backing vocals and occasionally a song that I’d written would be in the set. Then I moved on to doing solo stuff, and then I got my own band together. So I started writing all my songs and it became an acoustic thing as opposed to an electric thing, like it was with the other band. They’ve changed and grown as my material has changed and grown.

It must feel great to now have the Matt Woosey Band.

Yeah it’s nice. It doesn’t have a set personnel at the moment, but I’m hoping to be in a position where I can offer a band constant employment over the next couple of years.

How did you get involved with Songs From the Shed?

I’ve got a friend who books me a few gigs here and there and helps me get interviews, and he was touring an American band called ‘The Watertower Bucket Boys’ from Oregon. They got a show on it, and I was supporting them at a gig in the evening. Al said ‘you might as well have Matt come and do one of your sessions as well’, so that’s how I got a session too.

If I gave you 14 million pounds what would be the first thing you’d do?

I’d probably give away thirteen million of it and buy myself a nice van.

Good answer, thanks Matt.

Check out his site:


Album Review: Purity Ring’s Shrines.

Smothering, intelligent, and strikingly real, Shrines is like reading someone’s diary. There are moments of synth infused elation and fearless honesty, lyrics of neurotic poetry, and the same sense of surreal despair that you’ll find in a Bosch painting.

With tracks that blend so well together, it’s tempting to take Shrines in one giant mesmerizing hit. The sound glides through the forty minutes with a few rhythm variations and heavier synth sessions. The same ghostly vocals and cascading hooks. But why change something that works so well?

What makes the album so intoxicating is how perfectly co-ordinated the Purity Ring duo are. Corin’s unsettling beats on ‘Cartographist‘ pours in Megan’s lyrics of ‘color your cartography and your dreams of me/Maps will not lie, will not lie, will not lie in me’. The ethereal vocals are as strong a rhythm maker as the synths that lap underneath.

Despite this being a debut album, Shrines is assuredly precise and well established. For those who came across Lofticries on YouTube, this album builds on that same structure and tone. Expect as equally charming song titles, Belispeak or Obedear, for example. They make more sense when sung.

The lyrics are one of the most talked about highlights of this album. At times it’s anguished and freaky, but running on an upbeat hook, like Shuck’s ‘I’ll take up your guts/To the little shed outside. Or quiveringly sexual– Crawlersout’s ‘Grandma I’ve been unruly/In my dreams’. Like the beats, they’re surreal but convincing.

This is music to be savored in the dark, or to write senseless letters to your ex by its candlelight, or to contemplate brooding modern art with. But it’ll also blast out of your car pretty well too.

Purity Ring are Megan James and Corin Roddick

Album Review: Futureheads’ a capella Rant

The Futureheads aren’t afraid of touching covers (think Hounds Of Love), and from untraceable bards to Black Eyed Peas’ Meet me Halfway, Rant is full of them. Add that to the fact that the album is also entirely a capella, and it has less of a shiny new feel than This is not the World and The Chaos. This album seems like more of a side-project than a distinctive jump forward. But what a fantastic project it is– the same smooth surround-able hooks, just without the instruments.

So, the rhythms, the beats, the track speeds are entirely vocal powered (OK, a slight drum beat and some finger clicks on Beeswing). The roles of the guitar, bass and drums are successfully filled by the Heads’ four voices. In the a capella Robot, two sets of vocals lay down a base– one fast constant beat and another providing a rhythmic bellow every few seconds– with robot being sung at intervals and the lyrics laid on top. Mix in some lively vocal rises and the hooks created somewhere in there. The song even ends in the same manic stunted climax. Like many of the tracks, the varied vocals gives this version layers that wrap around you: there’s no need for instruments.

Previous Futureheads’ fans will be wondering about the band’s covers of their own songs: Meantime, Robot, Man Ray and Heartbeat Song, while covers of Richard Thompson’s 1994 hit, Beeswing, and Sparks’ The No.1 Song in Heaven, ensures a variety of curious newcomers.

There’s still a lot of Futureheads’ charm here and they’ve really let loose with Rant, but it’s unlikely to be on your running playlist, or live in your car’s C.D player. The lyrics are too precise and the rhythms too intricate to compete with the gym or motorway. The album needs a bit of time and devotion to really get it. But give a cappella a chance and you’ll be surprised and what it can achieve. It’s not a stark, outdated, and limited sound, but rich and varied, a sound that simply draws you in.

Check out: Meet Me Halfway and The Old Dun Cow

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