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Matthew and the Atlas Interview

Nichola Eastwood


More Than The Music were fortunate enough to catch up with Matthew and the Atlas to see how they were feeling ahead of the release of their new EP.

MTTM: Your latest EP, Kingdom Of Your Own, is released on 1st November.  It’s already received rave reviews.  How are you feeling about its release and the reaction so far?

Matthew and the Atlas: It’s exciting to see it released and getting a positive reaction. It was a kind of experiment to try writing with the band in mind and then developing the songs with them during rehearsals. We had a tight deadline to work too as we wanted to release something before we went on tour in October, so the whole process of writing to getting into the studio sort of flew by. It’s helped me work out what I want to write in the future, so that’s really good.

MTTM: What can fans expect from the new release?

Matthew and the Atlas: Hopefully it’s a fuller and more focused EP, everyone in the band is singing this time round, so more harmonies but with the same sentiments as To The North

MTTM: How are you feeling about the upcoming shows promoting the new EP?

Matthew and the Atlas: The EP is being launched at the Borderline, we’ve never played there before, and so we are looking forward to it. After that we are supporting Bellowhead at the Shepherds Bush Empire, then a headline show at the Luminaire in December. Playing the new songs live is always exciting, and getting to play them at these venues is great!

MTTM: Were you prepared for how well the Scavengers and To The North EPs were received?  Do you feel a pressure to live up to the expectations following these previous releases?

Matthew and the Atlas: When we recorded to To The North it was the first time I’d been in a studio environment with a producer, by the end of it I was so close to the songs I had no idea if it was any good. So too get such a nice reaction was great and a relief. Scavengers was written and recorded on my twelve track at home before I had a band or any kind of deal, so I just used to sell it at shows. So it never really got reviewed, but I got really nice messages from people who had bought it at shows. Now people who have bought To The North are trying to find Scavengers online, so it’s kind of had this new lease of life, which is really cool. I don’t feel too much pressure to live up to expectations; I really enjoy the writing process so to put out new material is something I look forward too.

MTTM: Has the following and popularity you’ve gained in a short space of time come as a shock?

Matthew and the Atlas: It does feel like we’ve been doing this for a long time, as we’ve done a lot over the last few months, but when I look back our first show was only in March so it does feel a bit surreal. We had a show at The Dome in Brighton and there was a queue of people waiting to get the EP and have it signed, which was a very weird experience, you feel like you have to act like it is normal when that’s never really happened to you before. I have been writing and performing on my own for a few years now, before the band got together, so it sometimes feel like it’s been a longer road than the actual popularity we’ve gained over the past few months.

MTTM: You’ve toured with and supported acts such as Mumford and Sons.  How was it touring with them?  And was it a daunting experience having to open for another act?

Matthew and the Atlas: They’re a lovely bunch of lads, so it was great fun touring with them. They also have an amazing crew around them, who made us feel very welcome, it was an experience we haven’t taken for granted. The first few shows we played were pretty daunting, we hadn’t played venues that size before, so it took some getting used to. We haven’t toured much either, so getting to play a string of dates together really helped our stage presence, so by the last two or three shows, we stopped feeling like a bunch of rabbits in the headlights and started to perform more and really enjoy ourselves.

MTTM: You have a long list of influences, do they play a big part in your music or are you more determined to create your own independent sound?

Matthew and the Atlas: I listen to a lot of music, and I think even if you don’t want it too, the artist you like influence the way you write music to some point and you have to acknowledge that. Those influences can often lead you in the right direction as you discover more things about yourself musically and who you are as a writer and what you want to write. There are also a lot of other experiences that influence music as well which are specific to you as a person which can define you more. To create something that is distinctively yours is something I think most songwriters strive for. I don’t know if I’m achieving that or not, but I’ll keep trying too.

Finally, what does your music mean to you personally?  And what do you hope fans will get from your sound?

Matthew and the Atlas:
It’s an everyday process for me, so it’s very important. Hopefully people will like it and enjoy it.

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