Thursday, 27 October 2011

Interview: Mat Gibson

 Signed to Clubhouse Records, singer/song-writer, Mat Gibson, released a mini album entitled 'Forest Fire' (reviewed on NotAnotherRainySunday at the start of the month) in September to critical aclaim. Appearing at the O2 Academy in Oxford, and on the main stage at Truck Festival, it's clearly been a successful year for Gibson, and he's certainly one we should be watching. In this interview for NotAnotherRainySunday he discusses living in Canada, his influences in 'Forest Fire' and being likened to the iconic king of country-rock, Neil Young. 
How would you describe your style of music ?
I suppose it fits loosely into a few genres, Americana, indie, folk etc... 

Growing up, who were your musical influences? What was the first record you bought ?
Well my parents used to listen to early Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Free and the Beatles but it wasn't until I think I heard Nirvana's Nevermind at the age of 11/12 that I started to form musical tastes of my own...

Your music seems to fit very well with the Americana genre. Is that a fair description ? What was your first introduction to Americana music ? 
Absolutely, Americana encompasses such a wide range of artistic direction these days but its roots lie in a country and folk tradition and the lyrics in those early songs really struck a chord with me at a time in my life when I was looking for answers in music. It also coincided conveniently with the rise of bands like Wilco and Ryan Adams who I revered as a budding musician back at the turn of the millennium.

There seem to be Canadian influences in ‘Forest Fire’ – how have your experiences living in Canada come across in your work ?
Well I think the natural world has had the biggest influence on 'Forest Fire'. When I moved to Canada I fell in love with the natural beauty there and spent a lot of my free time camping, hiking and taking pictures of nature and wildlife. So it was very odd timing that the day I had to leave Canada there was a massive forest fire in the area north of Quebec City where I lived and the smoke had spread to Montreal and Boston, through Vermont and Maine... the areas which I'd come to love so much at that time, like a home from home. It was like turning the page on a chapter of my life. 

Is the songwriting process a long one, or is it something that comes naturally to you ?
I go through bursts of creativity where everything comes very naturally and fast, but there are long, long droughts where I don't write anything for months and months. I usually use that time recording, gigging etc

Last week you played at the iconic Half Moon in Putney –do you enjoy the intimacy that the Half Moon offers or do you prefer a larger stage ?
The Half Moon is one of the better venues I've played for its intimacy and its a great room, with a great sound. I think for the kind of music we're playing at this stage, venues like the Half Moon are perfect but we have plans to expand our sound and hopefully bigger venues will come hand in hand.

When are you most at one with your music ? - when it’s just you and a guitar, or when you’re interacting with a band ?
I love the songwriting process, when I'm on my own. But I also love the creative process involved in production, expanding on an initial idea and making things happen. I've only recently begun to appreciate the experience of playing live, and the immediacy of it all. I always used to dread getting up on stage but now I really enjoy it and can relax and focus on the intensity of the show.

How do you feel about being likened to the great Neil Young ?
If I had to choose only one album to take with me somewhere without other music it would probably be a Neil Young album... I mean the man is a living legend. But to be compared to him, I take that with a pinch of salt, as great as it sounds. Stylistically, I don't think I'm that much like him to be honest but I admire him more than any other musician for the range and depth of his music, and the quality!

What do you listen to when….
 - you’ve had a bad day ?
Something which takes me on a journey, that takes me away from it all. I don't know, all good music can do that can't it?
-  life’s rosy ?
I like listening to stuff I used to listen to as a teenager, like the Lemonheads, Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr etc
- you’re stuck in traffic ?
Whatever I've got on my iPod, today I listened to 'Mix Tape' by the Felice Brothers

And Finally, vinyl, CD or MP3 ? 
Obviously, nothing can match the convenience and immediacy of an mp3 but people have lost touch with the experience of listening to an album on vinyl or even CD for that matter. It used to be an event for a lot of people, and for some it still is, thankfully. Personally, I don't buy vinyl as I can't afford it but I'd like to think that one day I could.

'Forest Fire' is out now on Clubhouse Records. For more information visit:

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Musical Roots: Scandinavia

Lykke Li
Swedish singer, Lykke Li broke onto the music scene in 2007 with her debut EP Little Bit, and was an instant success with her slightly unconventional, breathy voice, and minimalistic style. Her use of synthesisers and strings amongst other instruments gives her songs an ethereal quality, and the lyrics relate a deep anguish. The Nordic siren's melancholic nature comes across in her songs with a tenderness and vulnerability, and makes for beautiful listening.

Signed to 4AD, Danish indie-rock group, Efterklang's rich variety of instruments provides an energetic backdrop to lead singer Casper Clausen's gentle voice and thought-provoking lyrics. Each song is produced with such carefulness and precision, and on listening, the atmospheric sound plants images in your mind of the snow tipped pines and wide open spaces of Denmark. 'Modern Drift' has a cold, icy feel to it, and when the music swells in the chorus, the violins, drums and piano knit together to create a harmonious intertwining of contrasting themes.

Jens Lekman
Swedish-born Lekman's simplistic lyrics and uncomplicated style of music is crisp and fresh. Often compared with Belle & Sebastian and The Magnetic Fields, his most recent single An Argument With Myself  stays just on the right side of Euro-pop - catchy hooks without veering towards Eurovision. Foregoing the usual strings section, Lekman's first EP since the release of his second album Night Falls Over Kortedala 4 years ago, contrasts with the rest of his discography, however it is a pleasant change, and shows Lekman's versatility in producing music with a twist.

Kings of Convenience
Norwegian indie folk-pop duo, Kings of Convenience, who describe themselves as 'music your parents would like too', combine catchy songs with the beautifully melodic harmonies of Eirik Bøe and Erlend Øye. What they sometimes lack lyrically, they make up for in their pure voices and gentle guitar strumming, and their laid-back, almost jazzy style of music is soothing and mellow - the perfect soundtrack to a lazy afternoon.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

4AD Sessions

4AD Sessions which started back in 2008 features the creme de la creme of the bands on their roster, and now you can even buy the LP of a select few of the songs or download the MP3 version for free. Featuring a variety of bands from Twin Shadow to Iron and Wine to Gang Gang Dance, the 10 track compilation album is available to download here. For more information visit:

 4AD Sessions 2008-2011
A1. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti ‘Menopause Man’
A2. Blonde Redhead ‘Here Sometimes’
A3. Twin Shadow ‘Forget’
A4. Gang Gang Dance ‘Chinese High’
A5. Deerhunter ‘Never Stops’

B1. tUnE-yArDs ‘Powa’
B2. Efterklang ‘I Was Playing Drums’
B3. Broken Records ‘Home’
B4. Stornoway ‘Here Comes The Blackout’
B5. Iron & Wine ‘Big Burned Hand’

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Saturday, 8 October 2011

I've Been Listening To...

Paradise - Coldplay

Every Teardrop is a Waterfall, the first single from Coldplay's upcoming studio album, Mylo Xyloto, seemed less that inspired, and didn't instill much excitement in me, however with the release of their second single, Paradise, I suddenly can't wait for the release of their fifth album on 24 October. Paradise is distant from some of Coldplay's older material (in particular Clocks and Politik), being a lot more electronic, but this is a good step forward for the band, and shows their versatility that each of their albums has such a distinct sound from the others.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

In Memory of Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, sadly passed away yesterday after years of battling with pancreatic cancer. Jobs arguably single-handedly revolutionised the way we listen to music in the digital age, and leaves a great legacy behind him.

You can send messages of condolence to:

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Focus On: Mat Gibson

 Album: Forest Fire
Record label: Clubhouse Records
Genre: Americana
For fans of: Bruce Springsteen 
Best song: Lord Only Knows
Rating: 7/10

 Forest Fire opens with the haunting Lord Only Knows, and in the first few bars it's almost reminiscent of Fleet Foxes - a paired down opening with no added frills or extraneous baggage. With many country/folk songs it seems that they trot along at the same pace, never really going anywhere; however the slide guitar echoing in the background of Lord Only Knows introduces a bridge in the journey, and ensures that it actually reaches somewhere.

     Having lived in Quebec for a couple of years, it's clear where Mat Gibson's influences come from. The songs on Forest Fire are crisp and fresh and the harmonica solos conjure up images of the soaring mountains and cooling lakes of the open Canadian landscape. Recorded with producer, Rowland Prytherch (Danny & The Champions of the World, The Epstein) Forest Fire is simple and minimalistic, and the lack of a percussion section means that little detracts from the power of Gibson's voice.

     Musically, at times the songs are a tad repetitive if one were to listen to the album in full, however in short busts Forest Fire has thought-provoking elements and a simplicity that is refreshing.
      For those around in London tomorrow evening (October 3rd), Mat Gibson will be playing at The Windmill in Brixton so be sure to check him out!

Forest Fire is out now. Visit for more information.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...