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MassMatiks Interview August 2016

Carrie Humphries


South London four-piece MassMatiks are having the time of their lives. Proudly flashing their legs, which have been freshly inked with the band’s logo, it is clear that they wanted a permanent reminder of their current tour. “We’ve all got one! The photographer and tech guy have got one too. We wanted to remember the tour as it’s our first big one, so a few days ago we just decided it would be a good idea.”

They were recently chosen as the sole support act on Don Broco’s epic twenty date tour and as I catch up with them in Birmingham, they are on night eight and have already picked up lots of new fans along the way; not bad at all for a young unsigned act. Front man George is already thrilled by the response; “For a band like them to take us on and let us perform at sold out shows all around the country, it’s amazing. It’s been great learning how it all works by seeing it right in front of our eyes. We’ve been following Don Broco ever since we started and when we were at college we travelled across the country to see then play; so to be here now supporting them, it’s pretty special.”

It may only be late afternoon when I meet the band, but they are already hyped up for their performance on the evening, which is the second of two dates in Birmingham on this tour. After watching their show on the previous night, I think it is fairly safe to say that MassMatiks are a ridiculously energetic group of men. Their drummer, Josh reveals that I am in for even more fun with their show tonight; “Second night tends to be a lot more exciting, because on the first night we walk out and no-one really knows who we are; then on the second night we usually get at least an extra 30% from the audience, so that’s pretty cool. Hopefully tonight we will have won them over. To be fair though, Birmingham last night was probably the best first gig out of any of them; the crowd were great.” George adds “We’ve got the same attitude as last night, just to go out there and go crazy. Backstage, we’ll be jumping around like it’s one big party then go and get everyone hyped up.”

Earlier this year, the band released their first two singles; Gunning For You and 4AM; both of which have already made quite an impression in both the media and the public eye. George is particularly chuffed by the radio play that that the band have gained already, but at the end of the day, he believes that what really matters is that they write songs that they personally enjoy; “It all means a lot to us, however they go down; good or bad. In a way, the reception means so much, but in a way, it doesn’t. We write songs that we love and that’s what we focus on and believe that people need to hear.”

Guitarist Joe thinks that one of the great things about their band’s music is the raw honesty and dryness of the songwriting; “George has got a very good way of putting it down on paper. When he comes in with lyrics we don’t have to ask him what it’s about. It’s so perfectly honest and open that you just know what it’s about.” Honesty is perhaps something that has been lost in a lot of modern song writing, but it is clearly something that George holds particularly dear to his heart as he tells me “Writing about something that is very real and honest is probably the most key thing to us when it comes to songwriting. Every time I sing a song, it just takes me back there; it’s not always a good situation, like the breakup in 4AM; but being able to share it with people is nice. I think a lot of bands struggle with that. There’s still bands out there doing it, but it’s much harder to find the bands that are. Some people think I’m being aggressive because it’s blunt and in their face, but I’m just telling it like it is.”

It is rather difficult to explain the band’s distinctive sound as they draw upon so many different influences, but so far, George best describes it as “Kind of like Rage Against The Machine and Limp Bizkit meets The Streets”. He also mentions that they were once described as “Being a bit like Audioslave if they were British and lairy”; however, really MassMatiks are just doing their own thing. Josh adds “I think that really we’re learning that we’ve just got our own sound. It’s weird because we’re here and we’re supporting this top band, but I have no idea of our own abilities and what we really sound like. My friends will play our stuff back to me and I really don’t know what to make of it. It’s a bit like judging your own cooking or artwork; you just never really know.”

While we’re on the subject of influences, I ask them if there’s any particular artists that they’d like to work with in the future. One of Josh’s main influences is The Police; “I’m particularly influenced by their style of music. If you watch it, you will see it; in particular with the drumming. I like their rawness.” George’s personal choice is Mike Skinner from The Streets or Chase & Status and Joe would like to work with Deftones or Bring Me The Horizon “because of the power that they bring”. However, bassist Martin cites an influence much closer to home; “I would be happy working with Don Broco! They’re nice lads. Last night we were in here getting ourselves psyched up to go on stage and we were banging the wall repeatedly, then suddenly their technician came round and politely asked us to keep the noise down because he said that they were doing an interview next door. We felt really awkward, then all of a sudden they just burst through the door like Whaaaaayyyyy!! and just started this rugby scrum. It all adds to the positive energy; we’re like one big team.”

On MassMatiks’ previous tours, the band have seen some odd things to say the least while being on the road; in particular during a date in Watford on their last tour. Joe recalls “We played there and during the very last song, George went to jump, landed and dislocated his ankle. However, he then rolled it back into place. He was in a lot of pain. Also, at the same gig the band that played after us blew up the amp and all these parents started arguing. It was like an episode of EastEnders!”

Watford may well have been a disaster gig, but the band are more hopeful for their future aspects; Joe would like to play at Red Rocks in America, Martin would like to headline Glastonbury and Josh would love to play at Wembley; “It’s got to be Wembley for me; that’s the dream. It’s got the British history, like Queen played there. So many big British rock bands have played there, so I’d die happy.” George is personally just happy at the idea of touring; “Las Vegas would be nice, but I just want to go places as opposed to play places. As long as it’s absolutely rammed and people are going crazy, then I’m happy.”

For the rest of this year the band have plenty in the pipeline for fans; but just don’t expect an EP or album as of yet. Although George seems a little averse to the idea of releasing an EP, the band would definitely like to release an album, but unfortunately this may come about later rather than sooner; “It costs a lot of money to do an album, which isn’t the greatest when you’re an unsigned band. However, we will see how we do off the back of this tour. It could come about sooner.” Luckily, there are still plenty of singles to come from the guys over the next year and George tells me that they will even do another tour before the year’s out; “We’ve got a tour in October. We’re going to be playing London, Birmingham and Huddersfield and we’ve also got some more dates to book up so it will be interesting to see where we end up.”