Matt Walters is a talented Australian musician who has a sound you will fall in love with. His album Farewell Youth is out now, and we borrowed Matt recently for this interview:
Tell us about your album “Farewell Youth”…
Farewell Youth is a collection of songs that I wrote between the ages of 19-24. I’m only 25 now – a lot of people hear the title and think that I’m much older than I am for choosing a title like that but I think it’s a good fit for these songs.
They’re heady years for me. I fell in and out of love, I dropped out of University; I started working full time and realised who I really wanted to be.
For me, the album captures me becoming the person I am today – and I’m really glad I have such a personal record of that.
Where did the idea for the cover image come from?
We went back and forth with cover ideas and settled on this one at the last minute. The artwork is centered around childhood and growth – it’s based on those butterfly paintings we all did at kindergarten.
My little brother, who is 10 now, is the other face in the painting. We look very similar. I’m really proud of the artwork.
How would you describe your music style?
Folk / Honest pop.
How did you get discovered?
When I was 21 I hired a studio to record a few songs I had kicking around. The owner of the studio liked what he heard and invited Peter Karpin from Mercury Records / Universal Music to come down after dinner one night.
He liked it too. I sung for him, and the next day I had a record deal.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I’m not a very good disciplined songwriter. It’s very spontaneous for me. The nature of songwriting is totally mysterious – and I spend a lot of time unravelling the ideas that come to me. All I know is that I know when a song or good idea is coming. You feel it.
It’s good to have something to record your ideas at all times as you never know when inspiration may strike. I’ve gone 3 months without writing anything – that can be frustrating – but usually I have 3 or 4 good ideas that I’m developing up at any given time.
You have to have faith that the songs will keep coming. My iPhone is overloaded with song ideas that come to me at random times.
Who are your favourite artists right now?
I’m really into a Scottish band from the 80’s called The Blue Nile. They made beautiful records. I’m finally getting into Miles Davis – I just bought Kind Of Blue and it’s on constantly at my house.
Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks is always coming on – I think that’s the best album ever.
What was it like recording your album?
Just incredible. Everything fell into place beautifully. We recorded it very quickly last year in Sydney over one week. I’d always dreamt of going into a studio and just bashing it out in one inspiring session. For a while I couldn’t find the right producer who was willing to work at that pace.
I also wanted to record it live to tape. These days, with Pro-Tools set-ups I guess a lot of people are afraid of a good take. But I was very lucky to be working with an amazing session band and to have Paul Mckercher, who has worked with some of my favourite artists, producing the album. We just had fun.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Making Farewell Youth, exactly how I envisaged. It’s sounds funny – but getting exactly what you want out of a creative process is the hardest thing.
Especially when there are lots of other people involved in the process. You have to be very strong, and remember that it’s yours. I’m really proud of the fact that this album sounds like me.
How did it feel performing in New York at the 2010 CMJ Music Festival?
Amazing. I was pretty scared. I was playing in the East Village at a tiny venue where some of my heroes have performed – it’s just a really cool city. I can’t wait to get back there.
What’s one funny thing we wouldn’t know about you?
All my socks have holes in them.
What’s next for Matt Walters?
The album comes out on May 6th. Then we have a few launch gigs in Melbourne and Sydney. Then I plan to get out there and promote the record as much as possible by touring the country many times over.
Matt Walters is also featured on the compilation CD “When I First Met Your Ma”. We have 5 copies to give away this month, for your chance to win: ENTER HERE