Matthew’s album ‘Other Rivers’ was released earlier on in the year, since the release Matthew has been playing around the UK. His most recent stop was Bushmills Live in Northern Ireland.
Music News caught up with him for a little chat over some whiskey…How do you find performing in venues like this?
It’s really cool, definitely a different experience. This is the first time we’ve done this festival; it’s run really well. Chilled, nice vibes. Free whiskey! We stayed here last night, had a really nice time.Who would you say that influences you?,/b>
Lots of things really, it’s hard to specify. There’s artists that I definitely go back to a lot, there’s a guy called Damien Jurado who I really like. I read books, Hermann Hesse and then there’s a science writer called Carl Sagan. It’s hard to say what influences me most, all that stuff kind of goes in and then comes out again, but Damien Jurado is somebody that I go back to a lot.
Have you many festivals lined up for the summer?
We’re doing some nice small ones and we’re doing our first headline festival in North Wales. It’s called Ymuno Festival, which is a little boutique one, which will be really cool.
,b>Are you nervous?
Yeah a little bit, we’re just starting to talk about doing a festival headline set and how to put on more of a show. Rather than just playing songs. There’s that which is exciting, then some smaller ones such as Barn on the Farm and one in Norway around August time. So lots of little bits and bobs!Is that where you find that you’re most comfortable, at the little boutique festivals?
I think at festivals it’s always different. With Barn in the Farm, you’re in a little cow shed which is great and the sound is quite contained and then if you play on bigger stages you worry sound is getting lost in the open air. Each one is a slightly different kind of thing but they’re all fun and enjoyable to play.So the name Matthew and the Atlas, is unusual. Who is the atlas?
I am the atlas. It came up when I was trying to think of the name, as I didn’t fancy going under my own name. It was the first one I came up with, then I tried loads of others and went back to this one. The thought process was, I used to backpack and travel a lot. I spent sometime in Morocco near the Atlas Mountains, so that word atlas has a sense of travelling and journey. Just the thought of Matthew and the Atlas sounded kind of nice, so stuck with it. Even when I was playing on my own, I still went by that name.
English folk act MATTHEW AND THE ATLAS entertains fans at Bushmills Live 2014, the festival of handcrafted whiskey and music that took place on Thursday 12th June at the Old Bushmills Distillery on Ireland’s north coast. Your album ‘Other Rivers’ is out now. Do you think it’s had a positive reception?
Yeah I’m really happy with how it’s gone down. There’s always going to be a slight worry because the sound is different from the first two EPs that I did, and I think I’ve always had that slight concern that it may alienate some older fans. I do think that’s happened to a small degree, from the people who liked that very folk sound and didn’t quite take to the new synth and electric guitars. But on the whole, it feels like it’s been very well received. How did you feel about it being released?
There was mixed emotions, it’s taken so long for me to do an album. In terms of song writing, the first song I’d written was 6 years earlier which was called ‘Counting Paths’ which is on record. Then there’s a song called ‘Everything That Dies’ which I wrote when I was recording the album. When I look at it, all the other songs were done in between them. Matthew and the Atlas’ album is out now. For more live show dates. www.matthewandtheatlas.comFacebook.com/MatthewAndTheAtlasMatthew_Atlas
Busmills Live is an intimate festival attended by 700 music and whiskey fans from around the globe and was headlined by breakthrough British band THE 1975 with artists including Gary Lightbody and Peter Buck’s supergroup TIRED PONY also on the bill. Bands more used to playing to crowds of thousands performed a series of small gigs in centuries-old buildings at the Old Bushmills Distillery where the art of whiskey-making, perfected over generations, is practised every day. Share Bushmills responsibly. www.drinkiq.com