Thursday, 28 April 2011

Why do you play in odd timings?

I'm not one to dwell on stuff but was pleased Jerry Ewing, editor of the mighty Classic Rock Presents Prog magazine played my song 8.19 on Mick Wall's show last night on Rock Radio, was weird hearing two journalists, whose stuff I have read since I was at school, talking about my music. It made me very happy :) Check out the playlist:



Someone asked me why I play in odd timings?

It's not an interest in “technical” guitar playing.

It's not about being “clever”.

It's about playing music that feels right. Sometimes riffs just come out in unusual timings, thanks to me listening to a lot of:

The Beatles

The Mahavishnu Orchestra

King Crimson

Bill Brufords solo stuff.

Frank Zappa


And later on Radiohead and Battles - who all used odd timings.

When I was a teenager. My guitar teacher Richard Beaumont got me playing in odd timings in the very early stages of my playing. Thankfully I got it in the end, although I found it difficult for many years. Thanks for everything Mr B.

Tomorrow is the gig I'm doing supporting Fish in Rushden, doors open at 7pm (I think) – it's virtually sold out but there may be a few tickets on the door. I'll take some photos and tell you all about it.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Last chance to get.....



Hope you're good?


It's all go here, the gig on Saturday at The Peel was great, lots of fun. We have a new kitten, his name is Alfie - he is a bit of a handful but we're very happy.


If you want the radio sessions I did for the European Perspective radio show/podcast this is the last week to get them, they will be deleted on the 30th April.  You can pay any amount but all contributions are really appreciated - I want to get the new solo album out by September and we are SO close to getting it done. I want to do another day at Livingstone Studios to track some live drums and other overdubs. It is an amazing studio and we get it for a good price! All sorts of bands have recorded there from Bjork to Porcupine Tree. Download the European Perspective sessions here:


Myself and Kevin Feazey have contributed a track for this album - Hope For Japan. It is a 36 track compilation of ambient and post rock tracks and it's a benefit to help the people of Japan, a great cause which you can support by downloading the album here:


And one more release - my "research and development" project Yonks have a new 3 track EP called "Marluk" out - available as a pay what you want download here:


If you can tell your friends on Facebook/Forums and Twitter about these releases I'd hugely appreciate it, thanks for all your support. I was amazed how many people pre-ordered the Fierce And The Dead album last week, incredible. You paying for music allows me to keep creating it. 


A few more tickets have been released for the gig on Friday supporting Fish at the Athletic Club in Rushden - I'm really looking forward to meeting up with everyone who I've spoken to who are coming. Tickets available here at £17.50:


If you're in London on the May 7th I'm doing a special show at The Unicorn in Camden, there is no charge on the door and there are live Psychedelic Projections with Efflux + ANTA. Would be great to see some of you there. Details here:



Thanks loads :)



Matt Stevens

Saturday, 23 April 2011

What is musical success anyway?

What is success anyway? Most of the bands I loved never sold many records or made any money - Voivod, Celtic Frost, Jerry Goodman, Andre LeFosse, Badfinger, Acid Reign etc were/are certainly not rich through music.

So success is really making music you are happy with, its the only way to define success and stay sane.

I think its amazing that my album Ghost connected to an audience of a few thousand people. Its never going to mean anything to the mainstream but to me they are numbers I didn't expect and I've made some good friends along the way.  The support of Echoes Radio, Classic Rock Prog, R2, the dividing line guys, word of mouth from the audience and hundreds of bloggers and podcasters has made a massive difference. I am eternally grateful (and surprised).

So now I have a new album almost done - just overdubs to do really. We'll add bass, drums and violins next (mellotron is already on there). I hope it connects to the audience like Ghost did, I really do but its not written as Ghost 2:The Cash In - its really different, REALLY REALLY different. Electric guitars - more percussion, thrashy bits. All sorts. There are still the melodies and the odd timings but I don't believe the route to success is to repeat the past.

The trick is to do music you honestly love and are excited about and hope others feel the same. Thats all you can do. You can't patronise your audience, you need to take risks  - who cares about safe music (those that do will be off listening to bands remaking Porcupine Tree/Marillion records anyway).

Friday, 22 April 2011

Prog On

My song 8.19 is on the CD with this mag:

215507_198229840216327_157808174258494_484764_5487409_n 205459_203977466292254_100000400070438_600171_3027563_n

And Kev designed me a new album cover:


(Its the future)

Hope to see some of you at the Peel sarf London tomorrow - I'm supporting Credo.....


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

New album nearly done....

I think we are getting there with my new album. To be honest I'm worried about releasing it in the same year as the Fierce And The Dead album. I don't want to push my luck but I'm really keen to play you what I've recorded....

The track listing so far is:

20 GOTO 10
Rushden Fair
Sand (Part 2)
30 END

It may change but so far this feels right. There is still some recording to do but basic tracks are down - its overdubs then mixing then mastering to go.

Lets get the Fierce And The Dead record done first....

Thursday, 7 April 2011

But heres the thing....(no, its not "proper prog")

My music is niche, but, BUT many 1000's of people have downloaded/torrented/shared and paid for my album. Hundreds of thousands of people have heard it on the radio in America and thousands of people have read about it in magazines. Hundreds of bloggers, hundreds of podcasters.

That's weird isn't it?

One of those "proper prog" types said the other day that he couldn't see a market for my music. This is wrong, I make a living from this music. People do buy my records and tell their friends about it (and I'm very grateful they do).

My audience tends to be a mixture of Post Rock/Prog/Acoustic Musicians/Guitarists/Social Media people who have followed my story and people who are just interested in new music. A lovely cross section of people.

I know its not proper prog, I've no interest in doing that - I do have a healthy respect for that scene and I love a lot of the classic records (massive King Crimson/Floyd fan). The "proper prog" guys are the same people who would have complained that King Crimson Red wasn't "proper Crimson" because it didn't sound like the first album, they don't like change and fear it. Sure prog is still short for progressive?

Most prog fans are open minded and it's largely a bloody lovely community, my stuff crosses over between Post Rock and Prog (apparently) so its not clear always who the audience are but I'm really pleased about how my music has been accepted. I don't think of it as any genre but I think it reflects my influences - Radiohead, King Crimson, The Smiths, Husker Du, Carcass, Mahavishnu Orchestra etc. As played on a acoustic guitar without vocals but with a sampler.


His point was Ghost was too polite, but it isn't - I don't think - it's not a safe record, it's not a rewrite of Porcupine Tree/Genesis like the bands those guys like. Surely it's better to try and do something new? And if it doesn't "rock" like a "proper" band surely that's interesting?

I want to make edgy records, just not in an obvious way. I want people to discover the layers in the music, make records with depth. I know a lot of people don't like my stuff but there is most certainly an audience for it, it's just a case of working out how big that audience is, it's already bigger than I thought it was.   When you make records in your kitchen you don't expect hundreds of thousands of people to hear it!

I'm really proud of Ghost, I'm making another record at the moment which some people will love and some will hate (and this seems to polarise as you become better known).

I couldn't make this record without the support of my listeners. I'm really passionate about this music, it's very, very important to me.

And if you fancy downloading my album and helping me to make another album it would be hugely appreciated.....

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The Future (and goodbye Ghost)

Today I sent off the last few promotional Ghost CDs and I believe I've done everything I could do to promote it. It sold far more than I could ever have imagined and I feel I've connected to a small and loyal audience, which I am incredibly pleased about. Its been played on the radio all over the world and the press/blogger/podcast community have been amazing. Thanks so much for all your support, I think we proved a point there.

I've achieved what I set out to do and become a professional musician in the process. This time last year my back injury was so bad that I thought I'd never play again! I never wanted to be on TV or a "Rock Star" it always looked like a path to very difficult social situations. I'm quite a shy person really. I've hit the level of obscurity I always dreamed of (Rushden people aren't known for our ambition)  :)

So where do I go now?

I've achieved what I wanted to achieve, so what goals should be next? The Fierce And The Dead album is out next month and that signs off another project. Hopefully we'll get to play the songs live and do some more recording. It all depends how the album does, although the reaction to the single has been incredible. We're single of the week on Alarm Press.

My next album is nearly done, me and Kev Feazey will finish that soon, hopefully. That concludes the "guitar trilogy". Thats me done.

Yonks stuff is backed up ready for release, but that's more a "research and development" project at the moment. We'll see what happens there....

Where next?

First lots of acoustic gigs for the next year or so, then I think it may be time to stop playing these songs and do something else (I really want to establish a live reputation first though).

So what next?

Hopefully working on more social media projects, I love helping musicians connect to an audience. The social media stuff I've done in the last year has been great and I'm very proud to have been part of those projects.

Some time out from music for a bit possibly? A job that is exciting that doesn't involve music?

An electric solo album with a band? An Ableton Live electronic type album, with no guitars? A new band, with vocals? One off collaborations? An ambient project?

None of the above?

I don't know but one thing I have learned is that I am not keen on a lot of the social climbing required within the music industry and whilst I'm happy in the musical niche I'm in I'm not sure I can see myself expanding beyond that (unless some sort of soundtrack thing happens). I'd rather watch an old Doctor Who episode with my wife than go and hang around backstage at a gig or music industry event, most of those people don't interest me. I like spending time with my audience though, they are lovely.

There are only ever going to be a certain number of people who like what I do, its finite.  I'm lucky that the people who do like what I do are a) lovely people and b) very supportive. But its never going to be mainstream music, most people aren't interested. Its a niche within a niche within a niche. I feel very lucky to have the audience I have but I'm not sure its possible to expand it that much. I don't know to be honest and if you want to tell your friends about my music that would be AWESOME :)

What will happen in the next few years I don't know, the industry is moving so fast and I think what will happen there will be lots more artists with small loyal fan bases using the methods I've been messing around with in the last few years.

Lets see what happens, one thing I've learned is that you never know whats round the corner......

What would you replace the rather dreary God save the Queen with as the national anthem?

King Crimson - Red

Ask me anything

Monday, 4 April 2011

New Fierce And The Dead single

Finally the new Fierce And The Dead  single is out and its pay what you want from:

The Fierce And The Dead are the band I play guitar in. Please tell your friends, word of mouth is so important for us.

It only took us a year to get this far.....

Our album is out in May. Thanks loads to everyone who has downloaded and paid for my solo stuff in the last few weeks and watched the online streaming gigs, its unexpected and hugely appreciated. The online gigs are are archived here and you can buy CDs from here.

Thanks loads

Matt Stevens


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