Hiya folks, thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
Matt: Thanks, it’s great to be here! I particularly like the virtual jukebox I just imagined in the corner, full of nothing but The Last Clouds tracks, good choice guys!
What made you decide to start a band?
Matt: I have always written music, since I was 15 I have always been working on a song. Me and Al have history together so when Al got back in touch 4 years ago and we started sharing musical ideas, it all just fell into place … I text him more than my partner now so he probably regrets making contact!
Introduce us all to the members?
Matt: There is me and Al, I sing and Al programs the music, plays synth makes it all sounds posh. Al you probably have a better explanation?
Al: I program the music, play synth and roll it all in glitter and samples.
What have you been doing during lockdown?
Matt: ha, it’s been a mad few months, we released our Fragile EP at the start of lockdown after playing our first headline show, but then the world went crazy, to summarise… I got made redundant from my day job, found a new job, caught Covid there, felt like crap for weeks .. worked on our debut album, which we’re hoping to release next year and released a Christmas song .. busy year!!
Al: I got sent home from work by the government. I spent 4 months going slightly very mad with two young children to manage, cajole and ultimately hide from. No time for much more.
How has it affected your mental health?
Matt: I’m very lucky that I have a strong support structure around me with my family and partner, we all have each other’s backs and keep an eye on each other, but I have spoken to so many people recently who are really struggling, and because of lockdown these messages appear through Facebook, text etc which makes it really hard to reach out to people and connect in the way I would like. I don’t think we’re going to able to count the real cost of Covid for a number of years yet.
Al: See above
So tell me a little bit about you and what you like doing for fun?
Matt: I have recently taken up photography during lockdown. I am in the love with the idea of capturing moments in bottles – I always like to think that through music we are capturing an atmosphere or moment and replaying it, so I am trying to do the same thing with photography although admittedly I still have a lot to learn. Outside that I love to read, I have taken to reading children’s books recently as the world is more than real enough at the moment.
Al: I read, write, play virtual Atari and wander about in nature when possible.
How do you think the government has looked after the night time economy / live gig circuit?
Matt: There’s an amazing quote from Alice Cooper warning about taking political advice from rock stars. I can’t remember the quote entirely but It makes the point that rock stars rarely read The Washington Journal and are mostly inclined to listen to records all night and drink whisky, so you’d have to be a moron to pay attention! Now I am far from a rock star but I kind of echo that sentiment … People have eyes, and anyone can see that it’s not been great; am I best placed to make a call on what the government should have prioritised? Hell no.
Al: Difficult one. Probably not enough but what can you do? I’m just looking forward to getting it all out of the way. In the meantime why not plug in and listen to us instead!!
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
Matt: What made you decide to start a band … hahaha sorry!! But it’s always the first question! And my default answer is always ‘because my soul demands it’ although I always seem to opt for a more convoluted answer.
Which one is the biggest pain in the arse? (Lateness, forgets stuff etc.)
Matt: I’m clearly going to say Al, sometimes I feel like his PA … he literally forgets we have gigs and I need to remind him the week before! Still I wouldn’t have him any other way (ish)…
Al: Yeah, Matt’s right…which of course I never let him know to his face.
What is the unsigned scene in Manchester like at the minute?
Matt: Before Lockdown it was amazing, Manchester people love new music like nowhere else on the planet so I am sure it will bounce back with a vengeance! We’re both from the Chester area but mostly consider ourselves a Manchester band just because of how welcoming the Manchester music scene has been to us, and how the majority of our fanbase is Manchester based, I grew up going to gigs all over Manchester, so it’s always felt like home to me.
What good bands are coming out of Manchester at the minute?
Matt: I am loving the new single from Ventrelles at the moment ,‘County Lines’. I also love Ist Ist, Slow Readers Club etc.. I have always been a massive music fan first and foremost.
Al: Even though she’s not from Manchester she’s on the Manchester based Gondwana label; Hania Rani. Beautiful piano stuff and you should definitely watch the amazing video for her track ‘F Major’.
Who is inspiring you at the minute and why?
Matt: Nick Cave is just hitting it out the park at the moment. His last 3 albums culminating with Ghosteen, are all just stunning. I have never heard sadness mixed with hope in such a manner before, it’s literally breathtaking… Also the relationship he has forged with his fans through his Red-Hand website is really inspiring.
Al: Alex Banks, Cosmo Sheldrake, Hurts latest album, Lorn, Plastic Mermaids, various techno and the soundtracks to Hereditary and Midsommar.
What useless talent do you have/ party trick?
Matt: I have an amazing party trick where I hide in the kitchen, drink all the whisky and debate with strangers if God is nature, sentient, or a construct to keep the rich rich. How about you Al?
Al: I can make a sound like a gun being fired in a canyon in the wild west. Here listen…………….good eh?
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
Matt: We played the Fab Café In Manchester with a sound engineer who didn’t really understand the sound system, as such I knew the gig was going to be a disaster sound wise, so I decided to start drinking lots and just enjoy prancing around, which was great fun… liberating.
Al: Think it was that gig at Retro when it was us and a load of metal bands. Such a good bunch of people, well into their music and genuinely friendly. After the first song one chap shouted “Holy Fuck!” – we mean to use that as a review on our promotional literature at some point.
What was the worst experience on stage?
Matt: I have a habit of losing my mic lead from my mic, so I would say every time that happens I die a little. I am instantly transformed from Synth Rock Star Overlord to what I imagine seems like someone’s Dad on stage bumbling around with leads wishing they had their glasses on.
Al: Not really had one but would just love to hear the monitors properly one day; my own fault for not asking to raise them a bit. Next time.
Tell us a funny story from backstage?
Matt: 3 hours before our first ever gig Al’s keyboard broke, and all his drum sounds were replaced in the session files as clicks, not particularly funny at the time, but funny looking back now…. We always seem to experience some kind of technical failure before a gig.
Al: There was this one time when I pretended that all my drum samples had been replaced by clicks.
What advice would you give someone going into the music industry?
Matt: A good song wins out, doesn’t matter if the recording isn’t 100% or you have produced it yourself, a good song always shines through.
Al: I always remember something Led Zeppelin said: We write songs we love, if other people like them too then that’s a bonus…or something like that. Just write the songs and perform them somewhere; ENJOY IT!!
What advice would you give your younger self?
Matt: Be bolder, nobody is going to hear all your music if you don’t share it. Also, don’t care about not seeming cool. Nobody is, everyone is just trying to find their place… oh, and have a better skin care routine.
Al: Find your purpose and do it…
What makes you stand out as a band?
Matt: We’re old and grumpy and use Synths instead of guitars. Not a pair of skinny jeans in sight. We’re not doing this to be cool or sell T-shirts, we’re doing this because we think we can make music that can make you feel something, hopefully.
Al: Paul Husband’s photography.
Tell us about a time when you had a proper reyt laugh while you were both together?
Matt: Trying to film a video for our new single ‘The Last of the Light’ we decided to try some outside footage in Frodsham, which quickly descended into my me falling down a hill trying desperately to grab trees on the way down. Entirely ridiculous.
Al: That, yes but also there was this one time when I pretended that all my drum samples had been replaced by clicks.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
Matt: We have only played it once due to lockdown, but “Ghostlands’ is my new favourite to play live. It’s a fearful song about when you start to spot something horrific on the horizon making its way towards you, it felt other worldly when we played it live, and frankly a little terrifying.
Al: I love playing one of our older ones, All You Fated (on Spotify, Apple, etc). It has a cool funky rock sort of a bassline I like to play.
I hear you have a new single brewing, what can you tell us about it?
Yes, we have a new Christmas single just released called ‘The Last of the Light’, it’s unusual for us in so much that there is no dark edge to it. It’s a song about all those amazing moments you share with those you love which makes all the rest of crap in life bearable. We wanted to end 2020 undefeated sending something beautiful out into the universe, and I hope we have done that.. Please go listen to it immediately.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Matt: Yes, next year we’re releasing our debut album “English Melancholy’ so please ensure you follow us on all the socials for more details.
Al: If it snows this winter then you must rush out for a walk whilst listening to ‘The Last of the Light’ and then tell us what it feels like.
Thanks for doing us today folks, all the best and keep in touch.