RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW STOCKPORTS MATT JACQUES
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide to become a musician?
I think I’ve always wanted to be a musician. Spent a lot of time as a kid rummaging through my Mum’s cassettes, looking at the album covers, obsessing over the songs and the people singing them and imaging what it would be like to actually be one of those people. These characters were like superheroes to me. You know, there was like Batman, Superman, Prince, Freddie Mercury, Sting, Thom Yorke and so on. . .and learning to play guitar and write some tunes is a lot more attainable than, say learning to fly, or shoot spiderwebs out of your hands.
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
For a long time, I’ve that bloke who “used to be in a band”, took a temporary job between gigs while we looked for a drummer. . . and then opened my eyes more than 10 years later to find I was still there and I’d forgotten who I was. At some point recently, I gave myself the 8 Mile pep talk in the mirror and my forthcoming EP, “Pretty Apparitions”, is a result of that. The material coming out now is a kind of rebirth. In my previous band, we played the usual Manchester pilgrimage, places like Night and Day, Dry Bar (RIP), Academy, Moho and all that. We didn’t really see the value in social media then, or even having our pictures taken and things like that. A lot has changed since then. The whole way people consume their music. I still need someone to tell me what a Tik Tok is.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Tupac and John Lennon live in a house-share in Levenshulme. All the props used to film the “moon landing” are in their garage. . . Apart from that, no, absolutely not.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
A Mandolin. Which I have no idea how to play. I’m good at pretending though, when nobody’s looking.
What useless party trick do you have?
I can juggle.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
I think just any time people are singing the lyrics to a song. That gets me so deep in the feels.
What was the worst experience on stage?
We supported an old TV Comedian, who I won’t name, in a club with my old band. None of us had heard of him but all of our grandparents had. I just remember the crowd staring blankly at us for the whole thing and they held a raffle half way through the our set. We knew, before we even turned up, we were going to be completely out of context there but we were all really fond of the guy who got us the gig, so we just went along with it, drank a lot of free beer, and prayed that the ground would swallow us up. Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about? I had an obsession with Elvis as a kid. I used to tell people I was his reincarnation, before I really knew what that meant.
If you had to describe your music to an alien how would you describe it? It’s like a tongue-in-cheek, sing-along narrative about all the emotions humans feel and the weird ways we sometimes behave. You’ll probably remember a chorus or two as well, whether you want to or not.
What makes you stand out as an artist? Standing out is hard these days. There is a whole ocean full of white men with acoustic guitars, wearing sunglasses inside. I’d like to think my authenticity makes me stand out. It’s taken me a while to get to this point but I sing like me and I play like me, which people will either like or not like. I’m not just churning out generic anthems about nothing.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most? I can’t get away from that George Ezra tune at the minute. That “Green green grass” one. It’s everywhere. It’s starting to feel like I’m living in a Black Mirror episode.
You’re releasing your debut single, Bandit Town. What can you tell us about it? I’m fascinated with how certain places become so romanticised they gain an almost mythical reputation. My mate, Wheeler, dropped me off one day at the place I was living with my girlfriend and said “They used to call it Bandit Town round here”. That kind of stuck in the back of my mind, I started to hear that name more and more in passing and then, during a period when it seemed like there was always something going on, break-ins, shops getting help up, cars getting smashed up or set on fire at night and whatnot, the song pretty much wrote itself. I just held on to the pen. What was the recording process like? This track, along with the rest of the forthcoming EP, was produced by Jim Earl Grey, one of my oldest and dearest mates. He’s really shaped the sound of the EP and he’s the whole reason it ever got off the ground in the first place to be honest. I played Jim a handful of songs, while we were camping in France and the rest is history. Knowing each other so well had a massive impact on the recording process, not being worried about offending each other or getting too precious about things. It was really nice. Just trial and error and, in-between Jim holding his head in his hands, we had a good laugh. We were graced by Henry Broadhead on this track too. Once he’d got the drums down, he had to rush off to work as the engineer on Billy Ocean’s latest album. . . Which I will tell people forever. But when I tell people it’ll be more like “Me and Billy Ocean share musicians, it’s a real inconvenience”.
Would you change anything now its finished? I’m notoriously self-critical so, if I was to think about changing things now it’s finished, I would probably end up changing it all. I feel like releasing it now, warts and all, is a liberating change. The song exists in it’s own right now, so who am I to change it?
What are your plans for the year ahead? The plan is to keep the ball rolling and spreading the word really. There’ll be at least one more single off the EP, released after this one, in October. The EP will follow shortly after, in it’s entirety. There’ll be a bunch of live showcases as well but I don’t know what that’s going to look like yet.