Matty James – Featured Artist April 2016
Matty James releases his second studio album ‘The Road To No Town’ on 29th April 2016. This follows EP Uncertain Times released in February 2013, debut album Last One To Die in June 2014 and Cut To The Bone, in October 2015 (a limited edition full length album only available at live shows). Four releases in just over three years is good going for any artist but not only does Matty James have his own material, he also plays drums in Cadaver Club and bass guitar in The Tyla J Pallas Band.
Read a more detailed biography on his website here. Born in Co. Fermanagh, N. Ireland and now living in England, with Matty James’ album launch shows coming up and some The Tyla J Pallas Band gigs lined up, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of Matty James in the not too distant future!
PlanetMosh asked Matty a few questions after reviewing his forthcoming album here.
You release your third full length album ‘The Road to No Town’ later this month with two full length albums and an EP released every year since 2013. How do you think you’ve evolved over the past few years?
I would like to think I’ve become a better songwriter and performer and have a much clearer direction with my music. I jumped in head first into being a solo artist after always playing in bands. I am still finding my feet to be honest.
The first video from ‘The Road to No Town’ was released 4th April and is the title track of the forthcoming album. Can you tell us a bit more about the video, the concept, where it was filmed etc?
It’s actually the second. The first video, ‘Sticks & Stones‘, was released last year in conjunction with the PledgeMusic campaign I did to make the album. The whole record has a bit of a journey theme and the videos project the story. It’s very much about finding your way in life and realising it’s all about the journey rather than the destination. The videos were shot where I grew up in Co. Fermanagh by my friend Ronan McGrade. The bar-room featured in the new one is in Enniskillen and called Charlie’s. It’s our favourite local and the best pint of Guinness in town. They hold gigs there too and are always very supportive of local music. I urge anyone who’s ever in the area to pop in for a tipple!
Is making a video hard work?
I’m really lucky to have some very talented friends back home who get involved in these projects which makes it easy. We plan it all out, get everyone together first thing of a morning, have a cup of tea and set off for wherever we are filming. We all work so well together it’s usually filmed in a matter of hours and then Ronan takes it away and works his magic. I really enjoy doing them and we always have a lot of fun.
Which is your favourite track on the album?
That’s a tough one to call. I’m very proud of all the songs. It may be the album’s closer ‘Cut With Dust‘. I found it quite moving to listen to when it was finished.
The first I heard of Matty James was when I heard Up In Smoke and watched the video. I actually thought you were a bit older than you are, as you reminded me of Tyla J Pallas, from Dogs D’Amour. Would that be a fair comparison – the style – not the age?!
Haha, yes I am old before my time they say. I always looked backwards when getting into music and most of my influences are of a different generation. I am a big fan of Tyla’s solo work and The Dogs D’Amour and he has definitely influenced me as a songwriter. I first met him when I was 17 and he came to play an acoustic gig in Belfast. Then when I moved to England I started opening for him. My first ever solo show was with him actually. He has always been very supportive.
Were any buildings burned down or animals harmed in the making of that video?
No nothing like that. It’s quite funny, l happened to be speaking to my mother about coming home to make that video. I mentioned that the song was called ‘Up In Smoke‘ and it would be good to have a smoke effect. I asked her if she knew anyone who may have a smoke machine in the area and after making some enquires she called me back to say that she couldn’t find a smoke machine but she could get some liquid nitrogen instead! So that’s what I’m dancing around in in the video. As you can see, safety goggles were worn at all times… Mothers eh?
Since that video you’re now playing bass in the Tyla J Pallas band. How did that come about?
When I started opening for him he was doing a lot of acoustic shows but then some electric stuff came about. I was opening for him anyway and I guess it just made sense. I get on really well with all the guys in the band and it’s a real honour to play with them.
What do you learn from playing with an experienced artist like Tyla?
Tyla is a true artist and consistently inspiring to be around. He also does things completely on his own terms which is great to see in this day and age.
In the Tyla J Pallas band you play bass, I’ve also seen you playing guitar, drums and mouth organ. How many instruments do you play?
I can get by on a few. It’s all because I wanted to be able to write songs and make records on my own so I just picked things up as I went along really.
Which is your favourite?
Playing guitar is a necessity for me to write songs which is what I love to do, but my first love and what I enjoy playing most is drums. It’s where I’m most comfortable as I have been playing properly since I was about 10 and banging on things since even before then.
You also write your own the lyrics/music? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Lyrically, interesting characters and the trials and tribulations of everyday life I suppose. Musically, it’s everything from rock, country, old blues, punk and then trying to put my own spin on it.
Is there any difference between the Matty James music and Matty James and the Irregulars?
No they are all just my songs. I do my albums with a full band sound, so we got together to perform them that way live. I enjoy playing solo acoustic gigs but it’s been a lot of fun and a nice change to do some band stuff.
Your brother Phil is in Matty James and the Irregulars. Any sibling rivalry?
No we get on very well. We only ever argue about who’s round it is. We have been playing music together since we were toddlers and got a Mickey Mouse drum kit and a Fisher Price guitar one Christmas, so it’s easy to work together. He also does his own solo stuff.
Any more musicians in the family?
Not that I’m aware of really but our parents love music so it’s always been around us.
You have a record label Pirate Heart Records. Is that just for Matty James or will you be featuring some other artists?
At the moment it’s just me and stuff I’m involved in like Cadaver Club, but I would definitely consider branching out in future when I could really give my time to it.
If you were a real life Pirate what would your pirate name be and why?
Following tradition I suppose I would have to be something like ‘No Beard’ or ‘Black Burns’.
How easy is it to juggle all your commitments?
It can be tricky at times, but luckily I enjoy being busy.
What have you and all your various ventures got planned in the near future in terms of gigs/festivals/new material?
Doing some album launch gigs at the end of the month in the UK and then I’ll hit the road in Europe. Also appearing at Camden Rocks and Rebellion Festivals. Have some gigs coming up with The TJP Band too… It’s all go!
Any final message?
Buy my new record… It’s great!
Matty James & The Irregulars
Matty James – Vocals/ Acoustic Guitar/ Harmonica/ Stomp Box
Philthy – Guitar/ Mandolin/ Backing Vocals
Johnny Danger – Guitar/ Backing Vocals
Francis McNally – Bass
Eden Ralph – Drums
PlanetMosh Live Review here
Mr. Crowe – Vocals
Dirge – Guitars
Draggle – Drums
Boom Chic Chic – Bass
The Tyla J Pallas Band
Tyla J Pallas – Vocals/Guitar
Gary Pennick – Guitar
Matty James – Bass Guitar
Simon Hanson – Drums
Pirate Heart Records