Ivor Novello award winning singer/songwriter Scott Matthews starts 2014 with a new album and intimate tour, appearing at St Paul’s Art Centre, Worthing on Saturday, 22nd March. He will be ably supported by indie stalwarts Chris Helme (the Seahorses) and Pete Fij & Terry Bickers (Adorable & House of Love).
Scott’s debut album, Passing Stranger, contained an eclectic mix of styles and it wasn’t long before Scott was getting national airplay on BBC Radio 2. The track ‘Elusive’ was judged to be the best song of 2006 by The British Academy of Composers & Songwriters, beating stiff competition from Arctic Monkeys’ ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ and Nerina Pallot’s ‘Sophia’.
Scott has not only embarked on a number of sell-out headline tours, but has also been fortunate enough to tour with some of the world’s most respected artists, including: Foo Fighters, Snow Patrol, Rufus Wainwright, Tori Amos and Robert Plant. The show will feature songs from Scott’s three previous albums, along with tracks from his forthcoming studio album Home Part 1 due for release early 2014.
ingénu/e caught up with Scott recently and interviewed him about his career, musical influences and his song writing. Here is the uncut interview.
Ingénu/e: You have been compared favourably with Nick Drake and Tim Buckley; were you a fan of their music in your early days and who else would you credit as influencing your song writing?
Scott: I’m a big fan of that particular era – from the mid ‘60s to the early ‘70s. A lot of the folk artists were really pushing the boundaries around that time and I think it’s one of the main reasons why the likes of Nick Drake and Tim Buckley still sound so fresh today. I’d include a whole host of other artists, too – from Van Morrison, John Martyn and Paul Simon to The Kinks, Bowie and The Idle Race etc. I think it was listening to John Martyn for the first time that actually got me into songwriting. I then tracked back and starting discovering those artists’ influences – people like Bert Jansch, Davy Graham and the big one, Robert Johnson.
Ingénu/e: You are now with a smaller label. After the heights of winning the Ivor Novello Award, how does life compare now?
Scott: From day one I’ve always been with a smaller label, so nothing has changed in that respect. Winning an Ivor Novello award for me though is a serious achievement and I make sure I take a glance at it every day just to remind myself that I’m doing something worthwhile in this world. It’s a real confidence boost too and I’m very honoured that someone decided that a song I’d written is worthy of such a prestigious award.
Ingénu/e: Sometimes artists feel freer in such a situation. Is it helping your writing?
Scott: I feel I’ve always taken the path I believe is right at that moment in time. It may not always have been the right one, but sometimes it’s a risk you have to take. My songwriting has developed a lot since Passing Stranger and I’d like to think I’m gaining more confidence with storytelling. I’m very much a people watcher. I often find an idea for a song by simply looking behind the eyes of the person in front of me. What you don’t see is often the most revealing. Having an award for songwriting tells me I can do it even when I have a massive doubt about the whole process at times.
Ingénu/e: Who are the most choice musicians that you have worked with?
Scott: I’ve been extremely fortunate to play alongside some fine musicians over the years, but for me it has to be Danny Thompson. He’s a lovely bloke, a real genuine human being with a character that rubs off on you in such an inspiring way. He lives and breathes his music and he shows no sign of taking his foot off the gas even though he’s approaching 75! I still have to pinch myself when I think that he’s played on one of my albums.
Ingénu/e: Tell me your thoughts about your solo tour in February and March.
Scott: I’ll be promoting my fourth studio album ‘Home part 1’. It’s an album that’s been brewing for a while now and I’m ready to pour out my latest set of songs for the people. I’m thoroughly looking forward to packing up the songs and taking to the road with them as that’s when I feel the journeys begin and hopefully they grow into something much more than just a song.
Ingénu/e: I love the idea of the book accompanying the album What the Night Delivers. I think this is a great idea as a CD or download can be somewhat ‘impersonal’. It seems a relatively unusual idea. How did it come about?
Scott: Mainly for the very reasons you’ve just mentioned. I too feel that I want to give fans more of an insight into the world I’ve created musically. I think it’s nice for people to get to know who’s behind the music. My band are real characters and great people to be around so I think it’s nice to show that side, too – plus you can’t really put too much into the CD packaging and at times it’s difficult to read lyrics, so I wanted a more vivid, tangible companion to the CD release. Bring back vinyl!!!
Ingénu/e: Any message for fans who will be attending the solo tour?
Scott. I’ve met some wonderful people on the road so I’ll be praying they come along to, hopefully, embrace the new songs. It’s been a long old road to get to this point again so it would be great to see some familiar faces and to meet some new ones to make it all worthwhile.
St Paul’s Art Centre, 55 Chapel Rd, Worthing, West Sussex BN11 1EE