Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 What was all that about?

I’ve probably forgotten a lot of stuff in this post. I think it’s useful to list what you’ve done to keep you positive. 

2013 was a lot of fun with some heavy moments. 

Musically it was a good year. Recording Fierce And The Dead’s Spook Action was a highlight, playing music with some top friends and I think it’s a really good record. Actually I'm really proud of it. Playing with Andy Tillison at Celebr8 and supporting RM Hubbert (Hubby’s new record is really good) at that sold out gig at the Slaughtered lamb really stands out, but so do London shows with Fierce And The Dead and Malcfest was a lot of fun. Recording Lucid with Stuart Marshall, Emmett Elvin, Pat Mastelotto, Charlie Cawood, Lorenzo Feliciati, Chrissie Caulfield and Jem Godfrey. The very thought that I’d record with the drummer from king Crimson and all these fantastic musicians is just mind blowing. I’m really proud of it and Kev did a cracking job on the production. 

Recording with Cosmograf and Third Room. Playing with Emmett Elvin for a new project, he’s an inspiring musician. Seeing Rush! Inspiring live shows from Trojan Horse and Knifeworld.Iron Maiden doing “Maiden England". Spooky Action appearing in those best of the year lists makes me want to carry on! Danfest! Cambridge Rock Festival….

Jamming with Chris Fry on Mahavishnu songs supporting the mighty Magenta. London Looping Festival! Shineback and hanging out with Simon Godfrey, top geezer. Supporting Mike Kenneally and Godsticks and Mike telling his Zappa stories. Ards guitar festival and flying for the first time with a guitar (slacken the strings!) and meeting Paul. Talking to Dave Gregory about Mahavishnu. Sanguine Hum, Solstice, Godsticks, Tin Spirits, Matt Cohen, Lorenzo Feliciati and Colin Edwin and so many others at gigs. Meeting up with old friends, somehow it’s more special when it happens less frequently. 

Going to the Prog Awards (it was literally like walking into the pages of the magazine), an amazing experience regardless of whether Fierce And The Dead won or not, meeting up with Big Big Train, Oliver Wakeman,Alan Reed, Tim Bowness and so many other friends ! Making the Ark video with Ash. Steve Davis and Kavus Torabi’s radio show. Playing with Alun Vaughan and meeting Paul Dementio! The London Acoustic Guitar show. Acoustic Magazine giving me my own column where I can pretty much do what I want and write about anything from Cardiacs to Charles Ives. Meeting Sid Smith in person! Auden guitars making me an endorsee and letting me play their incredible gutars. Tom Baker back in Doctor Who! 

Signing to and working with the wonderful Esoteric (for solo) and Bad Elephant (for FATD) record labels. That Australian Guitar Magazine cover story and all the positive press, Prog magazine and Rock A Rolla interviews, and that quote from Time Out New York was pretty cool. Hanging out with lovely people at gigs and making new friends. Winning the House Of Progression “Best Musician” award with my friend Andy Tillison. 

I think that I went through a bit of a bad patch at the top of the year and it forced me to get some help and learn about positive thinking and focus. It’s not something I want to dwell on but it happened. I lost my Gran and my friend Keith. Bad start to the year and I still can’t believe they are gone. And I must admit that when the gig I had supporting Allan Holdsworth was cancelled I was a bit down and those prig festivals being cancelled was a bit shit. 

My wonderful little boy made me as happy and proud as a dad could be. I love my wife and my family more than i can say and I have great friends. 

I know I’m lucky..


Brilliant. Lets start this 2014 thing then :)

Friday, 20 December 2013

"band can't be arse to tour intensively"

"band can't be arse to tour intensively" 

Someone said to me the other day. 


If only you knew how expensive it is to do gigs and how "niche bands" who have a few thousand fans can't effectively get to them as they are spread out across the world. I could argue with him, but I won't. We do what we can. Most often even well know musicians have a day job of some kind that they have to give up to do a lengthy tour, so it tends to be a few gigs here a few there, then take into account families and other commitments and it gets a lot harder. When musicians hit their 30's like us there is a lot to sort out to even get to one gig, let alone tour outside the UK. We're very grateful for the support of our audience. 


I'd love to take Fierce And The Dead to do more gigs around the world but it's expensive, that's why the solo shows are good as it's easier for me to travel. It's the whole ""smallmobileintelligent unit" thing Fripp came up with. 


In short yes we'd like to come to your town and play, we love meeting the people who buy our records but we need to be able to do it without losing loads of money :) 


Thanks :) 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

A massive thank you

Hello 

I hope you are well. 

Thank you so much to everyone who has purchased the new Fierce And The Dead record Spooky Action, our biggest first week ever. If you want a copy these people can sort out you a CD in the UK:

https://www.burningshed.com/store/altrock/product/128/5156/

or (with a lovely Fierce And The Dead t-shirt):

http://themerchdesk.com/shop/index.php?route=product/category&path=136_163

And in the US:

https://www.lasercd.com/search_results?f[0]=cp_artist1:6105

And the digital version is here:

http://music.badelephant.co.uk/album/spooky-action

or at iTunes or Amazon etc. 

The Fierce And The Dead are doing 2 more gigs this year at:

Nov 21st London The Good Ship, Kilburn NWFA night
Nov 22nd Leicester The Musician, Leicester Danfest

See you there! 

Full details @:

http://www.fierceandthedead.com/Shows.html

About the record:

"Prog rock that doesn't forget to ROCK, performed by four musicians who clearly enjoy playing their instruments, and also clearly know something about life south of the brain box.” Steve Smith,  Time Out New York

Recording of solo record number 4 is nearly done and the “guest list” so far is:

Stuart Marshall/ Pat Mastelotto - Drums
Lorenzo Feliciati/Charlie Cawood/Kev Feazey Bass
Keyboards - Jem Godfrey
Chrissie Caulfield - Violin
Jon Hart - Vibraphone (with special thanks to Pete Chilvers)

Production/Programming - Kevin Feazey 

It’s nearly done! More info soon….

Thanks for all your support. 

Best 


Matt

A friend of mine once shared this with me

• Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
• When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
• Follow the three R’s: 
-  Respect for self, 
-  Respect for others and 
-  Responsibility for all your actions.
• Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
• Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
• Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
• When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
• Spend some time alone every day.
• Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
• Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
• Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and 
think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
• A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
• In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
• Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
• Be gentle with the earth.
• Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
• Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
• Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
• If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
• If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The additional musicians are......

So the full "cast" of additional musicians on the new solo album LUCID so far is:

Stuart Marshall/ Pat Mastelotto - Drums
Lorenzo Feliciati/Charlie Cawood/Kev Feazey Bass
Keyboards - Jem Godfrey
Chrissie Caulfield - Violin
Jon Hart - Vibraphone (with special thanks to Pete Chilvers)

Production/Programming - Kevin Feazey 

We'll have a listen after the weekend and see if we need anymore stuff, SO many amazing musicians I'd love to have on the record if i can think of anything appropriate for them to do! So pleased to have these fine players on the record. Feeling very lucky.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Hear the new Fierce And The Dead album for 48 hours only :)

Finally it's time to play you the new The Fierce & The Dead album. #spookyaction streaming for 48 hours only on Total Guitar's website. Please hit share and tell your friends, it makes a massive difference. And let us know what you think! (this is the band I play guitar in!) http://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/exclusive-album-stream-the-fierce-the-dead-spooky-action-587116

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Review from Rock A Rolla

Monday, 21 October 2013

New Single Out Today/Supporting Solstice

Hello

OK this is quite a big day for us. The band i play guitar in The Fierce & The Dead have a new single out today with the bonus of extra tracks featuring the work of the amazing Emmett Elvin (of Chrome Hoof andKnifeworld) and James from SILVERY. Yours for a £1. 


Please post it on forums/share if on facebook or Twitter. Tell one person, it makes a big difference.

Don't forget my final solo gig of the year opening for the mighty Solstice on the 29th October in London:


Thanks for all your support!



Matt Stevens

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

It's not Prog?

It's not Prog?

I must admit I really enjoyed the is it prog or isn't prog debate about Ark which is the first track be streamed off the new Fierce And The Dead record. It's in 5/8 with unusual chords and is completely instrumental, yet some people had the "it's not prog" thing. I don't honestly know. Or care much. My main interest is making interesting records and playing them live. You just don't think of stuff like that when you are making the album.  I love Sonic Youth as much as King Crimson. 

I'm sitting here listening to the half completed tracks for my solo record, need to get it ready to send to the guest musicians on it next. I can't wait to play you it. It's like Jesu/Crimson/Mahazvishnu stuff then some electronic stuff then some soundtracky stuff. I'm really pleased with it, so far. 


Rehearsal for Ards Guitar Festival this morning, recording Lucid this afternoon then a meeting with BEM tonight. Busy busy :) 


Pre Order The New Fierce And The Dead Album Now

Here we go, this is the big event of 2013 for me. The new album by the band i play guitar in, The Fierce & The Dead is available to pre-order now via our label Bad Elephant and you can hear the first track off it. I honestly think it's the best thing I've played on.

This is such a big project for the band and if you like it please tell your friends. This means so much to us....


If you pre-order you get a bonus track.

I hope to see some of you on Friday at my first gig in Northern Ireland:


All the best and thanks so much for your continued support. I feel so lucky to have this audience.

Thanks loads


Matt Stevens
http://www.fierceandthedead.com

http://www.mattstevensguitar.com

Monday, 16 September 2013

Last week to get something free :)

This is the last week to get all of the albums by the band I play guitar in The Fierce & The Dead for FREE or pay what you want. Actually paying really makes a big difference in keeping us on the road :) Please tell your friends, post on a forum or share on Facebook or Twitter. It makes a Massive difference. 


Just 4 more solo gigs left this year unless anything dramatic happens. Ards guitar festival in Northern Ireland looks really exciting and I can't wait to support RM Hubbert, Thoman Leeb and Solstice. Full details of those gigs here"



And....  The new solo record Lucid is NEARLY done, I'm very pleased to say my friend Jem Godfrey of Frost* has played an incredible keyboard solo on one of the tracks. Esoteric will release it early in 2014. Very excited about this.... 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Northampton Clown


The Fierce and The Dead deny any connection.



Full story at 

http://www.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/News/Northampton-News/Spooky-clown-mystery-grips-Northampton-14092013.htm









Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The Prog Awards

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees at the Classic Rock Presents Prog Awards. Was a great night :)

Very cool ceremony top work Jerry and the prog mag team. I was with my friend Twang the legendary prog promoter and he said "F****** that's Bill Oddie" :) Mad night.

Great to see the Big Big Train Guys, Andy Tillison, Sid Smith, Tim Bowness and Pete from Burning Shed, the Amplifier guys, John Mitchell, Kim from Touchstone and the wonderful Cherry Red/Esoteric team with Oliver Wakeman, Frostie, the mighty Sanguine Hum and Mark and Vicky amongst others.

Everyone I spoke to was really nice. Thats prog for you.

Awesome :)

Good fun all round :)

Sunday, 25 August 2013

A Night At The Peel

I had a night at The Peel, with a lovely supportive crowd. As a last minute stand in for my friend Simon Godfrey who couldn't play. Simon is a lovely bloke.

Some people really don't like what I do:

Doug Anderson "What a great evening it was. Three cracking acts and a last minute replacement that provided a nice gap to go for food. Having just the tree acts would have given Mr So&So a full set which would have been splendid.
My wallet is lighter but my CC collection is 7 larger."

I shortened my set to get the night back on track, I had no control of the running order, I didn't know I was playing until the day before. I thought I was helping out a friend not ruining Mr Anderson's evening. I hope he enjoys his CCs. 

I think my solo set was going somewhere but I'm not sure where, more improvisation, more weird noises. Is that appropriate to these gigs? I don't know? I know I'm going to take a break from UK solo gigs until the new solo album is out in 2014 after this run of shows. 

I love the audience at The Peel and I'm forever grateful for their support. They really listen and are a lovely bunch of people. 

I really enjoyed what I saw of the other bands sets. Talented people all, and everyone was lovely. Real sense of community. I know most people wanted to see Simon. So did I! Twang is still the best promoter out there, what a decent bloke.  

All my studio albums are available for a quid each for the next day at my bandcamp.

Speak soon, dear friends.


Friday, 23 August 2013

Allan Holdsworth UK/Europe Tour Cancelled

I must admit I'm gutted about this. Was SO looking forward to supporting Allan.



"Allan Holdsworth - European Tour November 2014 Update (from Leonardo Pavkovic, MoonJune Records & Management, Allan Holdsworth booking manager). - Dear friends and fans of Allan in the UK, Holland, Germany, Belgium and France. We regret to say that we have to cancel the upcoming European tour in November and to postpone our European plans for May 2014. We apologize to all fans for the inconvenience. Allan will take a well deserved break and focus strictly on his personal matters. MoonJune Records & Management will issue another statement about upcoming plans related to Allan's career later this Fall. Allan sends his best regards to all fans and friends worldwide. He will be back.... Thanks. Leonardo Pavkovic."

Sunday, 21 July 2013

21st Century Schizoid Man




I often talk about why i do looping because i haven't got another 16 guitarists to play the other parts. Well these guys do.....

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Matt Stevens Live At The London Looping Festival




Full gig! :)

CARCASS - SURGICAL STEEL (OFFICIAL TEASER)



One of my favourite bands. This sounds amazing.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Vote for The Fierce And The Dead!




20 seconds of Fierce And The Dead - Album 2 :)

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Prog Magazine Awards Nomination

Bit of a surprise!! Very pleased! 

The band I play in The Fierce & The Dead have been nominated in the prog mag awards :) YAY :) Here is the info:

"The Fierce And The Dead are very pleased to announce we have been nominated for an award in the Progressive Music Awards - thanks Classic Rock Presents Prog magazine and all those who have supported us. 

We're in amongst some very humbling company on the list! Go and have a look over here, the voting is open now. You can vote at:


Your support would make a MASSIVE difference. 


Visualisation And David Bowie

In the recent excellent BBC David Bowie documentary one of the talking heads made a good point that "Bowie managed to visualise his success before it happened and not many people could do that".

Bowie, through his own belief and that of his wife and management was mentally already the rock star he was to become a few years later. Famously when Bowie first went to America his management acted like he was already a big star, spending money and riding around in limos. Bowie ended up massively in debt but this belief did pay off when the anticipated success did arrive.



When you read about successful musicians (and people in general) a couple of things always seem to be consistent - a specific vision for their success and a belief in what they are doing. Whether it's Miles Davis changing jazz or Steve Harris from Iron Maiden's desire to be the biggest metal band in the world, vision does set people apart.

When I was  on a bus a while back i got talking to a man who got on next to me, and he was talking about "you reap what you sow". I think this is very useful advice. 

Setting specific goals and having the belief in them does seem to very useful. However it's sometimes hard to get that belief.There is a lot of truth in that you can't be shown the way, you find it for yourself. 

To truly have that sense of confidence and vision you need you have to feel you are already there, to trick your mind into it. Not easy, but faith once found will lead the way. The hard bit is convincing yourself.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Mahavishnu For All!

When I supported Sanguine Hum and Tin Spirits (both great bands BTW) recently at the Borderline in London I was in the dressing room playing the chords to Hope by the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Its just one of those things i always play when i pick up a guitar, not really thinking about it, a wonderful ascending chord sequence I've been playing since I was a kid. This got me talking to Dave Gregory from Tin Spirits who was also backstage about the Mahavishnu, about those chords. Dave is a really interesting fella and a great guitar player, he's also played with Big Big Train, XTC and loads more. You really must see Tin Spirits live.

We both agreed that with the Mahavishnu Orchestra the most important thing wasn't the amazing playing but the compositions. When people say a band sounds like the Mahavishnu they always have the fast modal noodles but rarely the stunning heartbreaking chord sequences. No one has really carried on that tradition. 

Writing music as beautiful as Hope is really hard, whereas fast playing can be learned, like a good typist. 


If you've not listened to Hope its here, let me know what you think.



Friday, 5 July 2013

Katie Hopkins - It's just marketing.....

So this has gone viral then. Very Daily Mail. 

What a genius troll we're all giving air time to. One of the best marketers i've seen. 
(horrible stuff to say, but it's "remarkable" content).

It's the old "say something nasty and we'll all take notice trick". Katie Hopkins is now a pantomime villain and everyone knows who she is, this has created a valuable personal brand that she can monetize through speaking gigs, guest columns, tv and books.

Calculated to offend and go viral....

Clever move, no it's not very nice but probably best not to keep sharing and encouraging it. Video below, but i dare say you have seen it. 


Monday, 1 July 2013

Cathedral - Ride




I love this. I've seen Cathedral a few times, great live band. Lee Dorian is such a great singer.

When I think "big metal riff" this is the song I'm thinking of and it has a great feel to it.

Feel the groove.

I'll take this over the new Sabbath any day :)

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Glastonbury - Why All The Hate?

Reading Twitter last night there were a lot people getting irate about bands they hated or loved who were playing at Glastonbury. Especially the Rolling Stones. 

The Stones aren't my sort of thing, but if it makes people happy good on 'em. One guy got quite upset when i said it wasn't my sort of thing, it's not aimed at me. It's not that I hate it, as Morrissey said "It says nothing to me about my life". It's not for me, i like Sympathy For The Devil and they're magnificent characters but I don't really get it. It's not like The Left Banke, Guapo or Bobby Conn are gonna be up there, I have wilfully obscure tastes and if you want to accuse me of cultural snobbery you're probably right. 

I want Mahavishnu chords with Jellyfish singing, played with the energy of the Dead Kennedys. I would imagine a band like that would have quite a small audience. Just me and a few of my friends.

I'd rather talk about the music i do like than pissing about moaning about the stuff I don't get. I don't feel qualified to talk about a lot of this stuff, I haven't really listed to much popular music since i left HMV three years ago, except to say I think a lot of it seems a bit safe and the mastering makes a lot of it very flat. I have about as much interest in these bands as i have in toasters, ice skating or Scandinavian furniture. As you get older you learn to focus on the positive. 



I can talk about lots of new stuff I love Trojan Horse, Knifeworld, RM Hubert, Dementio 13, Wilco, Marnie Stern, St Vincent and loads more. No one is forcing me to listen to Beady Eye or The Vaccines anymore so I don't get annoyed about it. 

I'd still love to play at Glastonbury. I remember that all the brilliant wonderful stuff about the festival was NEVER on the TV (apart from the odd moment like Radiohead or Bowie). The interesting stuff takes part in the fringe weird areas with hippies off their heads at 4 in the morning in Tee Pees, where Ozric Tentacles could play at any moment. 


One odd thing, my generation seemed to listen to more extreme music than the current one, that doesn't seem right to me. Where are the new Carcass or Napalm Death? 

Shineback: Rise Up Forgotten, Return Destroyed

\

I played on my friend Simon Godfrey's new album Shineback - Rise Up Forgotten, Return Destroyed. Simon is best known as frontman of Tinyfish. It's released tomorrow. 

I'm on the songs Bedlam Days, Here Come The Envoys and Rise Up. We did it in one session, great fun. One of those make a funny noise here sessions, perfect for me. I really respect Simon and his attitude to making music, he's got a brilliant sense of the ridiculousness of it all. It's a great record and really brave. Talented sod, as is lyricist Rob and the other musicians involved. 

It's released on BEM who are also putting out Fierce And The Dead 2. But more of that later. 

If you need more convincing David from BEW wrote this, well worth a read.

Here is some actual stuff about it:

Titled Rise Up Forgotten, Return Destroyed, this is the brainchild of Tinyfish’s Simon Godfrey, who tells us of the new band’s musical approach.

“For reasons I’ve never understood, electronica seems to be shunned by a lot of prog bands. They’ll play seven-string guitars and think they’re right on the cutting edge of music, which is nonsense. I decided to put away my guitar and not use it at all on the Shineback album. Instead, I play keyboards, computers and some synth. There are moments of guitar work, but not from me. I thought I’d get in people who could really play.”

Simon is joined by guitarists Matt Stevens (The Fierce And The Dead), Dec Burke (Frost*, Brave New Sky, Dec Burke Band), Hywel Bennett (Dec Burke Band) and Andy Ditchfield (DeeExpus). There are also contributions from drummer Henry Rogers (Touchstone, DeeExpus), bassist Paul Worwood(Tinyfish) and vocalist Danny Claire (Ion Blue, Michael Angelo).


Rise Up Forgotten, Return Destroyed has a concept running through every track, with lyrics written byRobert Ramsay of Tinyfish. “It’s about a woman who takes a video camera inside her dreams, and films what she sees for a blog. Except that things go badly wrong for her,” explains Godfrey.


I like this photo.



Saturday, 29 June 2013

RM Hubbert wins Scottish Album Of The Year



So pleased my friend RM Hubert won the Scottish Album Of The Year award. Hubby is a lovely fella and an amazing musician. His album was my record of the year :) This song is heartbreaking and wonderful and his live show is really moving. The guy is such a great guitar player. 

Brilliant. 

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Todd Rundgren talks to Mark Powell of Esoteric Antenna about his latest ...



Really interesting to see Mark from Esoteric interview TR, if you'd told me when i used to listen to his stuff when i lived in Rushden 20 years ago I'd be signed to the same label as him one day I wouldn't have believed it. It's  an odd world sometimes.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Information Overload A blog post about time management.

One of my main week points is time management.

I'm at a point in my life where I have a fantastic opportunity to make the music i want to make, to collaborate with some amazing musicians and people to actually hear it.

I also have a wonderful wife and son. And friends and other stuff happening and a job where i get to be a musician working with people with Autism.

I'm bloody lucky (and this time last year I was in a pretty dark place so I will never forget that).

But i still piss away the time I have on Facebook, Twitter and other stuff on the interweb.



Not that talking to people online is a waste of time, it isn't and the relationship's I've built online via these sites have given me friendships and opportunities I truly value (you know who you are).

No what I'm talking about is:

Checking emails more than twice a day
Reading blogs i have no real need to read
Youtube videos
1000's of distractions
ETC ETC

(you know what i mean I'm sure it happens to every bugger).

Stuff that sucks the time away. And if you research it they are deliberately designed to suck your time away.

So I'm trying to stop that and spend my time on the things I really want to do ie be with my family, make records, spend time with friends offline and online and create other useful stuff.

Have you got any good time management tips?

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Manchester Gig Cancelled/Last Day

Hi Blog Readers

Hope you're OK. 

The gig in Manchester has been cancelled due to reasons beyond our control, really sad news as i love playing in Manchester. Refunds available from the venue...

Today is the last day to get my album RELIC for a £1. Get it at:


The critics said:

"a work of beauty and genius, which is why I'd strongly encourage you to listen to the whole bloody thing." Beardrock.com


"His music is increasingly hard to ignore: A singular voice speaking a new language and getting the message across with skill and fierce intelligence...frequently takes the breath away" Classic Rock Presents Prog 



Has the iPod changed our relationship with music? - Bill Drummond



Massive inspiration

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Positive Mental Attitude


To be in anyway successful as a musician you need to be somewhat deluded to be brave enough to get up there are do it. You need to believe in what you're doing and that's really hard. You need a Positive Mental Attitude.


What I do is write a big list and work through it. It's not easy and some days my belief goes. But you need to believe. 

Anyway Bad Brains say it better than me....

Sunday, 26 May 2013

I Have Signed To Esoteric Records

I'm very pleased to say I've signed to Esoteric Recordings and I'll be releasing a new solo album called Lucid early in 2014. Thanks for all the kind words about the announcement, I really appreciate it. 



I really like the people who run the label and they are working with some great artists including Todd Rundgren, Jack Bruce, Van Der Graaf Generator, Sanguine Hum, Steve Hackett and many more.

I've thought long and hard about this and I think it's a logical move, I can't keep up with doing everything on my own anymore with the amount of workload involved with all my other commitments. The guys at Esoteric have also helped me to get some really good gigs. 

Esoteric are an imprint of Cherry Red Records who have put out loads of stunning records over the years, including the classic Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables by The Dead Kennedys one of my favorite albums.

Thanks for all your support so far, I really appreciate it :) 

http://www.progrockmag.com/news/matt-stevens-signs-deal-with-esoteric/

A unique window of opportunity, that's what the last few years have been, blogs, podcasts, word of mouth, Celebr8,"northern prog" prog magazine,the peel, support slots, twitter,facebook, forums,CRS, Youtube, Acoustic Magazine, international stuff, UStream and much more. 

Most importantly an enthusiastic audience! 

Not sure that way of working would work again. 

Flook! Happy!

I'm going to focus on getting this recorded while Kev mixes the Fierce And The Dead record. And some interesting collaborations! 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Trojan Horse And Thumpermonkey

Off to see our friends Trojan Horse and Thumpermonkey. Both brilliant bands and lovely people. Enthusiastic audience crowd and £1.50 a can.

RESULT :)

Both brands were brilliant and we met up with lots of familiar faces and our Prog Radio friend Steve.


The Horse and the Cue.


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Goodbye Fierce And The Dead

Final Fierce And The Dead gig before we take the summer off to do other stuff (I'm making a solo album, Kev and his wife Abbi are having a baby and Stu and Steve are going feral). We played at Westminster College. A proper college gig!

Kev even lectured the students before hand.

The gig went really well and the audience seemed to enjoy all 5 new songs we played. We recorded it so hopefully it'll come out at some point (at least the best played bits). Really pleased with the turn out considering it was a Tuesday and an early show (headliners finished before 9!).

Decent size crowd:



I enjoyed the support band First:


And they had a very nice Mustang 1964!!


Our first gig with the projections Kev did:


All in all it felt like one of the best we've done, we loved playing. Roll on September for more stuff :) 












Monday, 13 May 2013

Final day in the studio.

We got it done. Mostly.

We're doing one more day of overdubs but all the guitars got tracked, we went literally to the last minute.

Kev did a magnificent job of producing and engineering, so pleased with the tracks.

We used a Mesa Boogie head and the old Park 4x12 speaker and a Blackstar amp. The range of sounds was crazy.

The Mesa had 4 channels!! So much range, although I'll never be able to afford the 3 grand they cost. I am available for endorsements :) I'm not a fan of that straight Mesa rock sound but this head was so
versatile.

Steve's Pedal board:

Big Face:
Mesa head:
It had almost as many knobs round the back. (Yes, I know I've seen a lot of Carry On films too)

DL4 playing:


video

BEM label boss James came to see us. Top fella. We mostly ate pot noodles :) Read about James's visit here:

http://jamesablog.starjump.org/?p=2451

Then at 9pm it was all done, time to load up the van and head back to London.

I really really enjoyed it, made me realise how good the musicians in the band were to be honest. A few more overdubs but we're mostly there. 





Sunday, 12 May 2013

Celebr8/Day 3

Day 3

Kev and Stu recording more rhythm tracks:


Me and Steve went off to Celebr8

We were only going to be there for a few hours between recording, sadly i missed loads of good stuff including Knifeworld acoustic etc

Great....

Steve driving. 

We were doing well until we decided to get a cup of tea and hit traffic coming to the venue. Then we couldn't find the venue. We reached the venue with minutes to spare. Scary.

Set up and did the set and it went down well apart from when my pickup bust. But my friend Andy Tillison played some piano in the break, top fella (his solo set was also storming):



Off I went:






I went for a walk in the audience:


I must admit i love it when people clap along :) 

Photos by my mate Mike Evans:


Then I had a wonder round meeting lots of lovely "prog friends". 

Later me and Andy Tillison did a set of improvised music. I loved it, Andy is a very talented man, lovely fella. The set seemed to go down very well, spacey stuff to jazzy rock n roll :) 

Hope to work with Andy again soon. Awesome.


Then driving back to the studio to finish the album. 

Busy Busy. 

Thanks so much Steve for driving, what a lovely audience and top stuff all round. Twang and Geoff are the best. Saw some bits of the other acts, top stuff. Please have a look at buying a program, it keeps the festival going:

A unique 2CD Programme featuring rare, live or unreleased tracks from the artistes appearing at Celebr8.2 2013.
Disc One -
1) IO Earth – Kindred Spirits – Previously unreleased
2) Mark Spencer – Kings and Queens – Taken from the Twelfth Night DVD
3) District 97 – Back In NYC – Taken from the album ‘Live At CalProg’
4) Galahad – Beyond The Barbed Wire – Taken from the album ‘Battle Scars’
5) Frost* - Raining In My Heart – Previously unreleased
6) Knifeworld - In A Foreign Way – Taken from the Clairvoyant Fortnight EP
7) Threshold – Ashes – Taken from the album ‘March of Progress’
Disc Two -
1) Matt Stevens – 8.19 (Transcend Mix) – Previously unreleased
2) Alan Reed – Kingdom of The Blind – Taken from the album First In A Field Of One
3) Andy Tillison/The Tangent – Lost In Ledston – Previously Unreleased
4) Harvest – In Debris (featuring Steve Rothery) – Taken from the album ‘Chasing Time’
5) Haken - Celestial Elixir (Live) – Previously unreleased
6) Simon Godfrey/Shineback – Fears Aren’t Toys – Taken From the album ‘Rise Up Forgotten, Return Destroyed
7) Mystery – Pride – Taken from the album- The World Is A Game
8) Arena – Ascension – Previously unreleased
Get it here:




Saturday, 11 May 2013

Studio Diary Day 2

More drums going down. It was at this point I realised:

A - As a band we were pretty well rehearsed
B - Stuart is a great drummer


No it's not our Gold record (it belongs to the Fall)

Steve's pedal board


Early night, cause the next day it was Celebr8.....


Studio Diary Day 1


We're getting there. Recording the second Fierce And The Dead album at a top secret location in the country. Actually it's Farheath Studios in Northants. 

We're set up. First couple of tracks down. It's lovely here. And it sounds amazing, we all feel really positive. 

There are donkeys


Lovely desk


Doing Drums


Actually these photos could all be captioned "Photos of Kev working"
He's doing a great job, he's very much the captain of the ship for these sessions. 

Lovely views



Natural light makes a massive difference in the studio. And a pond. 

Can't wait to try this amp later....


And today's Pedal board is....
My pedal board


Right, back to it....

We have a lucky winner









Friday, 3 May 2013

RIP Jeff Hanneman

I know exactly where I was on the 8th November, 1991. Watching Slayer at the Birmingham NEC. It was amazing. They had the Hell Awaits intro tape and they just walked forward, went into a song and started headbanging then walked back again at the end of the song. There wasn't much of a stage show. But it was incredible, the sheer power of those four men on stage. At the time a lot of metal was about props, blow up dolls, make up and fireworks. Not Slayer, this was for real.

Sheer power and precision and the best thrash metal riffs ever. War Ensemble, The Anitichrist, Raining Blood, South Of Heaven, Dead Skin Mask, Seasons In The Abyss, Chemical Warfare, Mandatory Suicide, Angel Of Death. Lead breaks edging on the avant garde, no sub Diamond Head rehashes here this was closer to Ornette Coleman with a whammy bar. No one came close for straight metal. 

It was a life changing moment for this 16 year old boy in the audience. Slayer, one of the best bands ever. 

Thank you Jeff Hanneman, a wonderful musician. RIP. 

My friend Dom Lawson wrote this excellent obituary in the Guardian today. Read it here:



Monday, 29 April 2013

Goodbye Future Steely Dan


I think the future for bands is lots of musicians with small online fan bases, a few hundred or thousand. But small audiences do leave bands without the funding to tour or make posh sounding records. Which means no more weeks of recording in quality studios with expert technicians. Who's going to pay for it?  How would a band like Steely Dan who spent months in the studio survive now? 



My friend Sid Smith made a good point in his blog about musicians from the late part of the 20th Century on his excellent blog - they worked:

"Twelve hours a day. Seven days a week. 

And when they weren’t they working full-time in their communal houses, studios or Schloss, they were out touring. 

I interview and talk to lots of modern-day players. Almost none of them work full time as musicians any more. There just aren’t the sales or the corporate support which the likes of Hillage, Baumann or Schmidt enjoyed that enabled them to give up their day jobs. 

This is not to imply that there’s anything deficient or unworthy about the musicians of today. Far from it. 

But as the hip commentators and freeium-toting futurologists cheer on the death of the recording industry, I can’t help but think something has been lost."

I think we are losing something. 

Paul Simon making albums over a long period. Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush. Will we see people making albums like that again, to that quality. Who will pay the collaborators? I know technology has advanced so that one person can make a record but do they have all the skills required to make a GREAT RECORD? 

So much of what I've done is based on good will, helpful mates and very kind contributions from talented friends I've met online. But how far can this go? 

Weird times.  

Sunday, 28 April 2013

"It's going round and round, it's a fake, I'm not stupid"


"It's going round and round, it's a fake, I'm not stupid" Mr Very Loud Heckler, Front Of Stage, learning about looping. 

And so I played a gig in Brighton and much noise and heckling occurred. Lesson learned. I followed a dubstep DJ and it was a support slot. I just laughed and shook the bloke's hand. This was followed by "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrggghhhh" over and over again throughout my set. Pretty shite and I felt bad for anyone actually trying to listen (not that many of them cared) but I just got on with it. It wasn't an environment with any chance of actually winning people over, a very noisy pub full of really really pissed people and an underpowered PA. 

In some situations you can't win, although a noisy rock band would have been very useful. From now on no more doing gigs cause i just fancy it, proper shows with proper promoters and a curated line up. Lesson learned! Anyway it was a good warm up for Celebr8. In a funny sort of way I quite enjoyed it and the guys in the other bands were lovely people. I was very glad to get home after that one.

Brighton is a very odd place. 

Earlier in the week Yonks played one song at the Bull & Gate closing down shows as part of my friend Lextrical's set. That was fun and very noisy. 


Photo by our friend Amy. 


Fierce And The Dead practice went well, 7 new songs ready to record. I like it, I'm into it. 

And we saw the very wonderful Guapo and Stars In Battledress. Stunning bands. 

Busy Busy. 

Monday, 22 April 2013

How To Profit From A Ridiculous Argument


    • Background Noise http://www.torrentroom.com/torrent/2737363-Matt-Stevens-Ghost-2010.html oooooooooooor people could get it for free
      www.torrentroom.com
      download Matt.Stevens.Ghost.2010torrent for free, Matt.Stevens.Ghost.2010 torrent download, download Matt.Stevens.Ghost.2010
      • Matt Stevens I believe you can no longer justify torrenting when you can listen legally for free. Makes very little sense.
      • Background Noise the lines between legalities are very blurry my friend. besides, i myself believe the ownership of music to be moot. take poetry for example; the way the words make us feel is the soul purpose of the art. therefore it is the emotion i am paying or working for. an emotion is either a chemical reaction in my own brain, or a religious or spiritual enlightenment of my soul. ergo how can an experience i (or if you must "fate) create, be subject to the ownership of a simple cog in a grandfather clock of variables? if you must spin the argument of source-fulness, your art wouldn't be wanted unless someone felt the need to accompany their emotion. so, you as the artist are subjugate to the whims of the commission. and this commissioner can get it for free. merchandise my friend. thats the way. keep up the good work
      • Matt Stevens PS Just turned this into a PDF and I'm selling it on my website - totally agree words belong to no one. BTW that's £6 please.

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