You’ll have just read our review of MattO’s latest single, ‘The Angels Went Back To Heaven‘. Now we have taken the chance to speak to MattO and asked his thoughts about the song, his inspirations, and what comes next for him.
Thank you for speaking to us today. We’re really enjoying your new song, ‘The Angels Went Back To Heaven’!
Music has played a big part in your life right from your childhood. Do you feel a love of music is something that is innate, or can it be learned?
I think the love for music is innate, but some people only discover it later in their lives. When that happens, to others it may look like they were not born with it, but I believe the seed is there from the beginning.
The first records you bought were ‘Lola’ by The Kinks, and ‘Ob-la-di Ob-la-da’ by The Beatles. Do they still influence your sound? Who else do you take inspiration from?
The Kinks have never had an influence on my music, as far as I am aware of. I just liked their music a lot and still listen to it. The Beatles are different, they were so big and versatile in terms of sound that I guess most of my generation was influenced by them in one way or another. I especially like their work between 1967 and 1970. Songs like “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Oh Darling” impacted me. I have this knack for slow songs and I guess that’s why I take inspiration from Pink Floyd and Neil Young, artists that have perfected the art of creating “slow motion” songs, such as “Cortez The Killer” or “Time”. I am inspired by Bruce Springsteen and his way of storytelling, and by the Eagles with their cross-over between folk and rock music. Pete Droge is also someone who influenced my sound as did R.E.M. CCR is another band that I still listen to regularly.
You’re a bit of a Renaissance Man, spreading yourself between singing, songwriting, and working as a lawyer. If you could do only one for the rest of your life (if you could support yourself financially by doing it) what would you choose and why?
I would definitely choose songwriting/singing. To be a lawyer is challenging and varied, but it is mainly intellectual work. Songwriting and singing involves all senses and is enormously creative. It provides emotions that are much stronger than any that legal work can ever offer. And writing songs is, of course, about reflecting on life and digesting your own experiences, which helps you find your place in the world and grow as a human.
Your song deals with the fact that we still have worries and fears, despite our first world insistence that there’s a rational reason for everything. Do you believe in angels? Is there a higher power monitoring our lives and providing guidance?
The starting point of the song is my observation that modern, enlightened people don’t seem to be happier than their “uneducated, superstitious” ancestors. As a matter of fact, in the face of misery and suffering, those who have a strong belief in angels and in a higher power appear to come out of it better than those without such beliefs. Men, is my conclusion, therefore need some higher power to believe in as there will never be a rational explanation that will provide comfort to man’s precarious conditions. Hope is a key driver in our lives and more often than not it is entirely irrational. In that sense, the answer to your question is yes, I believe in hope and in angels.
Do you have human “guardian angels” that guide you in your life, and who are there to give you advice when you need it?
Yes, of course, like everybody else I turn to my wife or friends when I face a difficult situation for the first time. They may not have the answer, but by exchanging views on how to solve a problem you learn about it and grow more confident that you come up with the right solution. It’s important to share your problems with the people that are close to you.
What lays ahead for you this year, and what can fans and listeners expect from your music?
I have 30 songs ready for release – the result of three years of songwriting. Expect more songs to come your way: I plan to publish two albums over the next 18 months. In addition, I have scheduled some live gigs and hope to also perform in the US later this year or early next year, most likely between Boston and Philadelphia.
Finally, what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does? And what is the answer to that question?
Question: You are not a young artist and you are not famous. What makes you think people will want to listen to your music?
Answer: Good question. I am an aficionado, a music junkie. My songs are reflections on life and the world made by a man, who has been around. The topics are universal and I believe they strike a cord in most people, irrespective of age and culture. The sound is accessible, classic if you will. The key is to get the music out there for people to listen to it! Once that’s done, the jury is out…