We sat down with Matt Leuw, creator of one man band Mild Horses, to chat to him about his new album ‘Ignorance to Enlightenment and Back Again’.
Hey Mild Horses! Thanks for talking to me today.
I guess a good place to start would be the origin of your name… does it mean anything in particular?
Not in particular, no. I thought of the name about 15 years ago, I have, to my detriment, always been a fan of a pun.
This is your first release with this new project… What made you want to make a solo record?
I had put an EP out (but only on Bandcamp) in 2012, which was more soundtrack-y, drifty ambient pieces, and then hadn’t really done anything for quite some time. Then last year, after recovering from Co-vid, I started getting a lot of ideas for songs and starting to work on these which then started coalescing into an album.
I’d previously released several records with other acts (and one previous solo record under a different pseudonym) and felt that I still had some unfinished business musically and after a brush with Co-vid I was itching to get going again!
The album has a pretty varied sound, what were some of the influences at play?
There are some influences which have always been there in everything I’ve done, I’m a big fan of early 90s indie-rock (I guess the stuff you are listening to when you first start getting really into music leaves a lifelong impression) such as My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr, Slowdive, Sonic Youth but my ear has always been open to other sounds and I think a lot of stuff just seeps in through osmosis.
The main thing I wanted to achieve sonically through this record was to take all the various different projects I’d worked on previously and grab a little bit of the best bits of all of them to make it a sort of “greatest hits”. Not that I’ve actually had any hits!
Can you talk to me a little about your creative process? How do these songs take shape?
A lot of these songs came from ideas I might have whilst half asleep on public transport going to and from work. There’s something great about just letting your mind drift, not looking at your phone or a book and not listening to music sometimes to get into that sweet spot where things start to happen creatively. It’s tricky to do that when there are so many distractions though.
I’ll note things down and sometimes surreptitiously hum into my phone to get some record of a melody I’ve just thought of and then when I get time at home I’ll start working them into songs.
The single is ‘Falling Upwards’, can you talk to me about that track in particular? What is it about?
This song was one of the first I wrote when I started the album at around the time the pandemic first hit and it’s about somebody in charge trying to manage a response to the chaos around them when the only thing they’re capable of is hubris and bluster.
It’s quite obviously about Boris Johnson. I kind of imagined him delivering it as a keynote speech at the Conservative Party conference whilst, one by one, every single person in attendance starts coughing and spluttering their final breaths.
What is your favourite track from the album, if you have one? Why?
That’s tricky as I like them all in different ways and my favourite tends to change on a day to day basis. Today it’s ‘Gotta Light?’, which I think I’m enjoying most as it’s maybe more how I imagine the next record sounding in terms of justify.
I’ve gotta ask about the name of the opening track. Why ‘Hotmail Viagra’?
It’s from junk emails that I would get that would come with that title which I just found incredibly funny, and I just used that as a starting post for what is essentially just a load of smutty puns.
I find spam emails fascinating and often wonder about the story behind them.
Did you work with anyone on this record or was it all done by you? Where did you record?
It’s very nearly all me except for some backing vocals and a few ambient recordings I’d taken out and about.
Also the bit of spoken word at the start of the song ‘Mild Horses’ is my daughter talking to some geese.
Any plans to bring this LP out on the road? Or what about any music videos planned?
I don’t have any plans to play any shows at the moment, but that might change in the future if some amazing offers came in! There was a Mild Horses live band that played a few gigs in 2012 but that sort of fizzled out.
I’m planning another single from the album in early 2022 and I’m planning to make a video for that one, so keep your eyes peeled!
Where is the best place to keep up to date with all things Mild Horses?
www.mildhorses.co.uk for the music.
https://twitter.com/Mild_Horses for the news.