Wednesday, 30 November 2011

I'm A Dad/Goals for 2012

I'm a Dad - my son was born last week - mother and child doing well :)

Goals for 2012:

Be a good Dad and husband

To help more musicians find their audience via social media training.

Get more music licensed

To create more social media content for Youtube and make more videos.

Lose weight/get fit

Do a final acoustic tour - lots and lots of gigs.

To do a solo live multi camera DVD/Live album via Pledge music.

To raise more money for the MS Society.

To expand the audience for the music without artistic compromise.

Support the family financially.

A new Fierce & The Dead EP and Album - lots of Fierce And The Dead gigs.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Review of Relic in Classic Rock Prog

relic review Dom by mattstevensguitar
relic review Dom, a photo by mattstevensguitar on Flickr.

Thanks Dom Lawson.

Really means a lot when people get what you're doing :)

Thats cheered me up :)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Bob Mould & Dave Grohl - Hüsker Dü (3 Songs) (Disney Hall, Los Angeles C...

Stunning. Bob Mould influenced me more than anyone.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Live video from Roastfest and Recent Gigs

So the live shows for 2011 have come to an end. The last few have all been pretty good.

Panic Room at Bury was fun and I got offered a radio session for Radio Cambridge, which is nice. Bury St Edmunds is a lovely place, and the Apex is a stunning venue with a great crew.

Panic Room are a pleasure to play with, lovely people.

The Fierce And The Dead gigs have been interesting. The first one was odd, felt weird being in a band again after 5 years of solo gigs and I wasn't sure I liked it. But once I got into the swing of things it was OK and by the second and third gig in Crouch End in an Ice Cream parlour I was really enjoying it.

The other people in the band are great players and I think people are blown away with Stu's drumming, I'm used to it so I don't really notice to be honest but he is fucking amazing. I really want to focus of making that band a going concern next year.

I can't see myself doing another solo album next year. I want to do loads of solo gigs for Relic and a DVD/CD of the live show. We've already recorded a new Fierce And The Dead EP and we'll also do an album.

The final couple of solo gigs of the year were really special. Roastfest was great. A gathering of interesting bands and people, I really loved playing - I really hope Roastfest 2 happens (and really go and check out all the other incredible bands on the bill).

Supporting The Reasoning was a lot of fun, once again great people to play with. A pleasure.

I don't think I've played any horrible gigs in the last year, a few weird ones but no nasty ones.

Onward!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Matt Stevens - Up (Relic track by track part 6)

Up Another pop song. There is a single repeated B note through the majority of the song, the Buzzcocks used to do this. The melody is Ebow on acoustic guitar - Kev playing hand claps. He did a lot on the percussion part of this one. The backing vocals are him as well. The Chorus is in 13/8 to stop people getting bored. And the middle is inspired Carcass - Pedigree Butchery :)
Originally it had more layers at the end but we decided to leave them off as it went a bit too far. The end is a bit Yonks!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

MUPPET SHOW - STAR WARS EPISODE - 1980

Still makes me happy :)

Friday, 11 November 2011

Judgement and prejudice in music (is prog still a dirty word?)

IMG_0840 by mattstevensguitar
IMG_0840, a photo by mattstevensguitar on Flickr.
Prog used to be a dirty word, people used to use the phrase "It was OK then it want a bit proggy" as a term of insult. I think this is less the case now, but it still happens. I don't really class what I do as prog because it upsets fans who say it's not "proper prog". Fine, I'm OK with that, I'm trying to do something progressive, not "prog". But we all sometimes approach music with stereotypes about what it might sound like on the basis of its context, what bands they support and the scene they are part of. Someone wrote this about my album Relic the other day:


"Being a slightly judgemental music listener (I try not to be, but I know I am) I may not have given it a try had I known about his support gigs with Barclay James Harvest and Fish prior to listening to the album. However, I listened to the album with an open mind and I’m glad that I did as it is a bit of a gem, and a genuinely different musical experience."


I'm not having a go at Neon Filler, they gave Relic a great review and it is very much appreciated by it has made me think about the context I present the music I create in.

Should I choose my support slots more carefully? I dunno, I think I've been very lucky to play with the bands I have. I know Fierce And The Dead has a slightly different (more "post rock") audience to my solo stuff but whether this is to do with context/name/presentation or the music itself is hard to say.


But it has made me think about some of the judgements I've made about the music of others, it's easy to be judgemental.......

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Relic Track By Track part 5 - Rushden Fair

Rushden Fair

I'm from a place called Rushden, in Northamptonshire. I have many happy memories of the place and some less so. Rushden fair still comes to town every year, always a bit grim with a threat of violence from a visit from "the Wellingborough lot". Its a bit depressing but I've had some fun times there, its held in Spencer Park which is a song on my first record Echo.

This is a really empty arrangement, until the middle. The added chord bit is a bit Pixies but its in straight 3/4. The part after the middle bit reminds me of Zoe Keating who's music i really enjoy. Shes an amazing looping cellist.

Steve Grant recorded a great piano version of it and you can listen to that here:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8855283/Music/Rushden%20fair%20prototype.mp3

I think I prefer this version :)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Relic Track By Track part 4 - 20 GOTO 10

20 GOTO 10

Old computer games.

The 80s.

The title is a reference to the old BASIC programming language. the program might be something along the lines of:

10 PRINT "Matt is skill"

20 GOTO 10

Then the screen would fill up with:

Matt is skill

Matt is skill

Matt is skill

Matt is skill

Matt is skill

Matt is skill

etc

The trick was to get into Dixons, type it in then leaving it running. Often the kids would type something less polite.

This one is rather 80's Crimson with a pop Bob Mould/Johnny Marr type chorus and some lovely drum/percussion programming from Kev. The effect on the start and end is a bit crusher. When we sent the CDs for duplication they phoned me up to say there was a problem and that they were all distorting, in the end we found out that this track was responsible. I had to explain it was a deliberate effect.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Whats it really like backstage at gigs?

When I was a lad I always wondered what happens backstage at gigs.

I always imagined it being cool and interesting with wild rock n roll parties. What its like really is the servent's quarters, at the level I gig at its often the toilets/dressing rooms :)

The back area of the Islington Academy closely resembles the back area of a shopping centre.

Normally if you are supporting a well known band they say "there are only 3 dressing rooms so not one for the support". The more famous the band you are supporting the more stressed the tour manager looks, desperately hunting for the correct size towels.

Last weekend I supported Panic Room at an amazing new venue called the Apex in Bury St Edmunds. Panic Room are lovely people and treated me really well and i even got my own dressing room. The venue was huge, the dressing room was a good minute walk from the stage. This is that walk.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Matt Stevens - Rusty - Relic Track By Track 3

Track 3.

Its named after a very good mate of mine and we used to call him Rusty many years ago.

This song is quite influenced by a band called Draw. Amazing band from Northamptonshire, quite psychedelic stuff. Massive influence on me and my music and that of my friends. There was a song on my last album Ghost named after them. You can hear them at:

http://soundcloud.com/draw-band/tracks

The drums are by Stuart Marshall from Fierce And The Dead. I love the way his parts build over the song, Kev who produced the album really worked on the build here. The drums were recorded at Livingston.

The violin is my friend Chrissie Caulfield, amazing musician who plays in a few bands and projects. Her band Catscans are great, we're hoping to play some gigs with them next year. She has toured with Crippled Black Phoenix and I saw her do a stunning gig with them earlier in the year at the Lexington in London. I think her contribution to the album really made a massive difference and I'm so pleased she was involved.

I really like this song and i normally open my live set with it. Live i tend to add more layers and I play the violin part on a Whammy Pedal.

You can get Relic from:

www.mattstevensguitar.com

Cheers

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Some Good News: Alfie Comes Home & Big Band

Alfie by mattstevensguitar
Alfie, a photo by mattstevensguitar on Flickr.
The last few days have been crazy stressful, our cat Alfie got lost. We are really attached to him.


We gave out flyers and put up posters and we walked around the local area for hours looking in people's gardens (god knows what people must have thought of me). There were fireworks going off so we were worried that Alf was getting frightened. We posted on Twitter as well and everyone was really kind and supportive (mostly apart from one twat)), and RT'd a photo of him.


By yesterday morning we began to accept he probably wasn't coming back, we started to grieve.....


Then my wife was in the garden and he wandered in.


We couldn't believe it. He was purring away and seemed really pleased to see us. It was amazing. It was raining but he was dry so there is a good chance that he was locked in somewhere. Maybe someone saw a tweet or a leaflet and checked their shed? I posted the photo on Twitter and Facebook and we got so many amazing messages from people saying they were pleased.


It makes you realise how special and supportive the online community is :) One person said it was like a "made for Twitter movie".


We still can't believe he is home.


My friend @stonewing , Matt Erion sent me this lovely Big Band version of my song big sky recorded live in Chicago:



Big Sky Premiere by Stonewing

Thanks so much mate.

These last few years have been so surprising and exciting :)

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