Interview: Eighties Matchbox
You’ve got a history of major and indie label releases, was it hard to do it yourself with ‘Blood & Fire’?
Guy McKnight: We formed 12 years ago but didn’t play any gigs for six months, we just had a party and became a local laughing stock so we thought we’d better write some songs and show people we mean business. We put a single out on Radiate then Universal picked us up. Chris Goss had produced the second album; he was flavour of the month at the time after QOTSA. No, we didn’t feel constricted by what he put in at the time, we learnt a lot from him, not just about music. He’s an exceptional man. But after that, yes, it was a big change to make “Blood & Fire’ ourselves.
Where did you record it?
Guy: We did it at Tristan (McLenahan – guitar)’s dad’s studio in France. He’s not loaded or anything, he’s just a musician who’s collected pieces of equipment over the years, he’s just got a real passion for music, We saved up a load of our fees from gigs, paid our way over there, we made the album and Tristan’s brother engineered it.
There was a six-year gap between the last two albums, are you back into the cycle of album/tour/promo now?
Guy: We’ve got a deal now and the label are happy for us to release music any which way we want, downloads, EP, album or whatever.
Dominic Knight: We’ve been constantly writing since we got back from the last tour in June. There’s tracks out there and we may be doing something soon, see how it goes really. There’s no definite schedule, it gives us freedom to do it how we want, it just depends what we’re going to do with it really.
The current single ‘So Long Goodnight’ sounds very commercial…
Guy: Tom (Diamantopoulo – drums) wrote that and he has a natural ability to write pop songs, maybe wouldn’t appreciate me saying that – it’s meant as a compliment. I mean, I don’t think I can do that. But our favourite bands when we started were The Doors, Pixies, Stooges, 13th Floor Elevators, Love, The Clash – The Doors had their 11-minute songs but they do have pop songs. I love the band Love – they’re sinister and psychedelic it’s still pop. I think it follows the rudiments of popular music in that it has verses and choruses, hooks, but crafted to be palatable.
Dominic: It’s on the borderlines of acceptable.
You’ve never really been part of a scene?
Dominic: The band’s always been on the outskirts of any scenes. Matchbox has never really considered what the genre is; whenever people ask I never know what to say, we all have such different influences. People say gothabilly but that doesn’t really fit, it’s so far away from that.
Guy: It was an accident, I thought everyone would think we were a Doors/Pixies/Stooges rip-off band but no one ever said that. I had dreams of playing much slower creeping music to croon to but we had too much energy and we were on the wrong drugs when we started. The more gigs we played the faster we got. All of a sudden we were this fucking weird punk band…
What can we expect from the show?
Guy: We’re planning on playing the ‘Horse Of The Dog’ album.
Dominic: It might not be the full album but it’s just for Brighton, maybe London as well, but we’re ending the tour here and we thought it would be nice to do a bit of an extra set after the usual set. The last gig for The Great Escape at Hector’s House was amazing, there were a few hundred people queuing round the block who couldn’t get in, so we want to do something nice for them.
ALBUM: ‘Blood & Fire’ out now