Image credit: Matthew Frighton
Matthew Frederick is not your regular folk loving artist. You could say that his sound can be compared to the imaginary lovechild of Bob Dylan and Passenger. He is a unique occurrence in this saturated sound of generic lyrics you hear time and time again. Known for writing heartfelt lyrics that make one’s heart skip a beat, Frederick gives his fans something to sink their teeth into with his debut studio album Fragments via Staylittle Music.
We chatted with Frederick about his new projects in this exclusive interview with him below.
What are four words you would use to describe your music?
Miserably uplifting indie-folk.
How does a song come together for you? What is the songwriting process?
I’ll almost always start with the music ahead of the lyrics. This could be a few chords or a melodic hook, but I’ll often have a fully structured, instrumental piece of music (in my head, at least) before beginning to pen the lyrics. For that reason, I’ve got a pretty impressive archive of half-finished songs, and it’ll sometimes be a good few years from the initial idea to the finished recording. Occasionally one will pop out almost fully-formed, though, and will take no more than ten or fifteen minutes. Annoyingly, they’re usually the ones that prove more successful…
What was the first album/CD you ever bought?
Ideally, I’d be able to list something cool here, but I shan’t tamper with history, so the actual answer is Now That’s What I Call Music 39. It was a double tape compilation, which I bought from Woolworths in Tenby, and I played it to death on my Sony Walkman. I could recite the tracklisting for years afterwards (and could probably give it a good go now, actually, if push came to shove), and although I probably bought twenty or thirty of the Now compilations in total, my heart always lay with number 39.
What album do you know every word to?
Probably only my own, really (and even that’s touch and go sometimes). I’ve always been more in tune with music than lyrics, which accounts for the occasionally-elongated songwriting process that I’ve already mentioned. And if you were to show me a song I’d not already come across, I’d usually be able to play it back to you on the piano straight away. It would probably take dozens of listens in order for me to be able to recite the lyrics confidently, unless it was a dance track with just a couple of hooks, for example. In which case I should be able to do it within ten listens…
Share some advice for other bands/artists creating original music?
My advice would be to take all advice with a pinch of salt, particularly within the music industry! What I have learned (and this goes for life in general) is that the percentage of people who actually know what they’re doing is fairly small, and the vast majority of people are pretty much blagging it as they go along… What works for one artist may not work for the next, so while it’s important to listen to people with a certain amount of experience within their field, it’s also crucial that you make your own decisions based on what’s best for you and your music. Remember, you’re the artist, so you call the shots! Although if you’re just starting out and multitasking isn’t a particular strength, then be sure to surround yourself with good people that you trust, and that possess the skills needed to help you be a success in the long run.
What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?
I’ve had a few tears at gigs, both solo and with my band, Climbing Trees. It always takes you slightly aback when people have such an emotional response to something you’ve written. And as much as I don’t necessarily set out to make people cry (in anything I do), it’s touching to know that people feel such a deep connection with your music. Either that or they’re crying because it’s awful. Remind me to double-check from now on.
If you could create your own radio show, what kind of music would you feature and why?
Well, as fate would have it, I somehow found myself presenting and co-producing a show called ‘Staylittle Sessions’ for MADE TV a few years back, where we showcased local independent artists here in South Wales, including Jodie Marie, Dan Bettridge, MADI, Aled Rheon, Beth Goudie and Martin Carr of The Boo Radleys. Each half-hour episode was devoted to one of the above, with a few live acoustic tracks interspersed with a bit of a chinwag about their respective careers up until that point. It was great fun to film, and something of a learning curve both for myself and everyone involved. I’ve considered reviving it for a second series at some point, or perhaps a radio show/podcast, but it’s currently on the To-Do list alongside dozens of other ‘when-I-get-round-to-its’.
Tell us about your upcoming releases?
I’ve just put out ‘Leave The Light On’, the fifth and final single from my debut solo studio album Fragments, which came out earlier this year via Staylittle Music. It’s been a bit of a strange one, really – I was building up to the album launch show for a few months (which was set to be the first time my new backing band, The Hindsights, would be joining me on stage), and then had to postpone it a couple of weeks before, along with a bunch of other gigs and festival dates. I’ve put out three singles and an album this year altogether, but it does feel a little like I’m in no man’s land, as I’m already starting to write and demo the next album without really having had the chance to showcase this one as intended.
The album launch show, which will now be more of a celebration of the album rather than a launch, will hopefully take place in the Spring (if I don’t have to reschedule it for the fourth time, that is), but aside from that, I should hopefully be heading back into the studio in 2021, with releases planned both on the solo front and with my new duo, Hazel & Grey. There’ll also be some more from Climbing Trees a little further down the line as well, so there’s plenty to keep me occupied for now, and plenty more to look forward to once things start to settle down a little.
One last nugget of info you can’t wait to share with your fans?
I should probably tell you where to find the album… The best place is my Bandcamp , which is home to my CDs, tapes, and some other bits and bobs, plus handwritten lyrics and personal videos. Aside from that, you’ll find me in all of the usual places online, but my website is the hub that’ll take you where you want to go. See you there, hopefully!
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