London-based, Glasgow-born, guitarist Matt Pearce is an original member of the successful UK hard rock outfit Voodoo Six. Last year Matt formed Matt Pearce & The Mutiny, and released acclaimed debut album ‘Gotta Get Home’, an album that draws from the full range of Matt’s influences and passions: rock, blues, funk and soul. Matt was kind enough to take a break from his Couch to 5K challenge, and answer some questions fired at him about The Mutiny and Voodoo Six, as well as his own musical memories.
What are the origins of The Mutiny, how long have you been playing together?
MP: Well, The Mutiny is more of a collective than an actual permanent band line-up, I’m lucky enough to know a great bunch of musicians who’ve been happy to come and play some music with me. So the ones on the album sometimes differ from who’s in it live, but they’re all amazing and help me sound not too shabby, hopefully!
In what ways does Matt Pearce & The Mutiny differ from your other band; Voodoo Six?
MP: When I did HRH CROWS last year with V6 and then the next day with the Mutiny, it was a really cool contrast for me. V6 has a very specific and direct energy, it’s not a band that jams, it’s a band that delivers the music super tight, no frills. And I love that energy. The 5 of us together are like 5 fingers making up a fist or something.
The Mutiny is a little bit looser, it’s got more room for people to explore and improvise and take the songs somewhere else if they want to go there. And me as a front man is probably a little bit more random..! Sometimes I have no idea what I’m talking about up there…
And we can chuck in covers and do what occurs to some degree, which can be a lot of fun. Also one guitar and keyboards is such a different dynamic to play in than 2 guitars, where everything has to be locked in tight or it sounds messy. We can be messy, in a good way! A fine mess…
Was it nerve-wracking taking centre stage as a vocalist/guitarist rather than purely being a guitarist?
MP: Well… I’d done it quite a bit over the years in other situations, like playing covers etc, so it kept kinda occurring to me while watching other bluesy artists, hey, I could do that? But… yep the first gig or two moving all me pedals into centre stage was a bit weird! And I have to be in front of the drums now..? Ahahaha now I can see what other singers complain about…
What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?
MP: I’ve literally just released an EP of 5 songs that I was selling purely at live shows, I thought as there’s no live shows for the foreseeable and people kept asking me about this EP, I’d put it out there. So there’s 2 new songs in rough mix/demo form, which will be on the new album, an acoustic Some People as I love how that one sounds acoustic, and the couple of covers we end the live shows with. That’s now on the website or Amazon as a CD, and also on Spotify but minus the two originals as I want to save them for the album. And also give people some incentive to get the CD!
What band out there at the minute do you feel that you would be best suited to open for?
Hmmmm, I’d go for Tedeschi Trucks, or Rival Sons, or the Black Crowes, or the Stones, any of them I’d be willing to consider..!
Good choices! What Voodoo Six memory do you cherish the most?
MP: It would be an Iron Maiden one I think, either when we supported them at the Hammersmith Apollo and it was like my third gig with the band or something, or that whole European tour we did with them, those are such magical memories. Seeing a stadium crowd singing your song back at you takes some beating!
Nothing much can top that for sure. On the subject of Voodoo Six, it must be frustrating that you spent so much time and effort on the forthcoming album ‘Simulation Game’, only to be forced to delay the release of the album?
MP: Everything right now is a massive frustration… It just felt like an inevitability that we’d have to wait, and in the past we’ve had releases that weren’t done properly or promoted properly, so we’d all much rather wait and get it done well.
Who do you feel is the next band or artist to break out?
MP: Marcus King or Lukas Nelson. Both are just incredible live, make great records and write great songs, I saw Marcus at the 100 Club and then a couple of years later he was selling out the Electric Ballroom so he is on the way up and deservedly so.
Marcus King is incredible, such an amazing talent. What are your first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?
Top Of The Pops and then the Old Grey Whistle Test were the ways we’d see music as kids and I have many memories of seeing some great artists on there. I also remember hearing certain music for the first time Smoke On The Water, Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath, oof that was scary for a young kid..! I think seeing AC/DC live on the TV was that lightbulb moment, it was like wow this music is so much fun! Fun in a way that say Rush or Sabbath weren’t.
Who would you consider to be an underrated guitarist?
MP: Lindsey Buckingham. I’ve played a lot of his songs in my life and his technique is just unique and totally stunning. I’m always amazed that he’s not more acknowledged as a guitar genius.
In your opinion, what makes a song memorable?
MP: Hooks! It’s all about hooks for me, Every great rock song is a great pop song, Brown Sugar, Enter Sandman, Smoke On The Water, so many hooks in all of them. And the arrangement should be hooky too, the drum fills, the bass line, everything should be ear-worming it’s way in there…
Given that all music is subjective to individual taste, is there such a thing as a guilty pleasure?
I really don’t think so, I’ve never really had that attitude that you get a lot in rock and metal that that’s the only ‘proper’ kind of music. Again, possibly cos it’s about the song for me so much, so if you like it then it’s good. Even something that I just don’t connect with, if it’s bringing joy to someone then why would we knock that? The more joy the better right now!
Exactly! How did you feel performing your first gig and how was it?
MP: It was two songs at a talent show in my home town of Milngavie outside Glasgow and I was 14 I think, and I can still remember that feeling of being behind the curtain and it opening to the hushed crowd before we kicked into the first song. It really felt like I’d found the holy grail…
What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?
It was Tedeschi Trucks Band and Blackberry Smoke, in February, what an amazing night. And as usual Derek made me want to either give up or do some serious practice…
What current issue are you particularly passionate about?
MP: Right now, the fact that music, venues, the arts, theatre etc are getting zero government support in these terrible times, and if they don’t change this very soon then we will have not much of a grassroots music scene to return to…it’s a scandal.
It is a major concern, and one that doesn’t seem to be getting resolved, check out Music Venue Trust and their #saveourvenues campaign here. Back to yourself, what’s the album that you have in your album collection/spotify playlist that would surprise people?
MP: I have every Norah Jones album! But I make no secret of my deep love for Ms Jones…
Well she is good enough for Ted after all! What are your plans for the remainder of 2020?
MP: Keeping my fingers and everything crossed that we will get some gig action before the year is out, and hoping to at least get into the studio and do some work on album #2, and hopefully get a big release for the V6 album everywhere too. And finish my Couch to 5k…
Good luck with that! How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?
MP: I’m on all the usual stuff, FB I do quite a lot, Insta I should do more, Twitter I really should do more…but they can find me on any of those things. Say hi!
Interview – Dave
Black and White photo credit: Adam Kennedy
Colour – Tina K Photography