This week’s featured artist is another one from Manchester, a city that seems to producing some wonderful acts at the moment. Meet Matt Fryers, an acoustic singer/songwriter creating some of the best acoustic tracks I have heard in a long time.
Two of those tracks have just been released as part of Manchester record label Scruff of the Neck’s new mixtape ‘mixtape vol. 1 album’. It’s a mixtape that features some of the best new and unsigned artists in Manchester and the surrounding area and it’s chock full of good stuff.
‘Out In The Cold’ is a gentle acoustic track with soft guitar melodies weaved between the great vocals that are made up of equal parts harmony and a gritty rock tone. When mixed together it creates something which is truly stunning to listen to, this is also the case with ‘Rabbit Hole’. Again, there is a soft guitar chords and strong vocals but this one also has beautifully tinkling piano that not only starts this track off but runs throughout adding an edge of beautiful sounds to this track. The tracks may not be littered with instruments but the sparseness of sound and ability to get the best out of his voice and guitar proves that you don’t need to throw everything at a track to make it good.
Having started out playing music at age 10, Matt has got plenty of experience under his belt in the music world. In 2003, he was in the band Hardy as lead singer before they split in 2005, he then joined Casual Riot in 2007, again as lead singer, before they split in 2010. Since then Matt has been doing his own thing, crafting his own music and playing shows as a solo artist that have seen him gain a lot of interest and fans to his acoustic sound.
Being featured on the mixtape has really opened doors for Matt with his tracks gaining plenty of downloads and some really great reviews. One such good review comes from Mancunian Ways who has this to say about Matt and his music; “Matt is a born songwriter, he has a story to tell, with a mesmerising soulful voice. It’s unfortunate that acoustic acts are sent to the front and open shows, as Matt could easily head on his own.”
The songs released so far are already a brilliant showcase of Matt’s talents and if he continues in this vein, along with playing plenty of shows, it shouldn’t be long before more people have heard of Matt and his wonderful acoustic tracks.
To find out a bit more about Matt and his music I caught up with him to talk influences and the plans for the rest of 2014:
1) You’ve played in other bands before, what made you decide to go it alone?
To be honest, it was something that happened almost by accident. After my last band broke up, the lead guitarist (Trev Curley from The High Nines) and I started doing a few acoustic gigs. It was a lot of fun and allowed us to continue with music without having to put together a full band again. Trev was always destined to be a lead guitarist, so when he joined his band the natural progression for me was to go it alone. I’ve also found that working solo allows for a lot more freedom in terms of writing and the performances themselves.
2) Who are you main influences?
I’ve listened to so many artists from different genres over the years that it’s difficult to pick the ones who I think have influenced my music the most. If I had to pick three I’d probably go with Maynard James Keenan, Noel Gallagher and James Hetfield.
3) How would you describe your sound to people who may not have heard of you and your music before?
I’m labelled as acoustic indie/rock but that doesn’t really explain my sound and variety very well. It’s basically acoustic music with big ass vocals! I’ve found people draw their own conclusions when they hear a track or see me live, I’ve been compared to so many people it’s difficult to accurately describe what I do.
4) How has the reaction been to your tracks that are featured on Scruff of the Neck’s mixtape?
It’s been amazing. Being on an album with 4 full bands was an exciting project to be involved with and the feedback following the release has been overwhelming. It was difficult to choose which tracks to release but with the reviews and gig bookings I’ve had since I’m more than pleased with my decision to release ‘Out in the Cold’ and ‘Rabbit Hole’. The two tracks have proved popular with fans as I found out when I had the crowd at the launch singing the words back to me.
5) Which song that you have written are you most proud of and why?
It would have to be ‘Rabbit Hole’. When the track was being recorded I had no idea how big it was going to sound once finished. The lyrics mean a lot to me personally and I’m proud to have it as one of my recent releases.
6) What are you plans for 2014?
Things have gone pretty mad since the launch. I’m booked onto some shows in the next couple of months around the Manchester area leading up to a gig supporting Berlin Berlin at Academy 3 in April. That should be huge!
There’s new dates being added all the time and I’m also working on writing new material with a view to an EP launch later in the year. My Twitter and Facebook pages are updated regularly with all new and up to date info so keep your eyes peeled 🙂