In einer sternenklaren Nacht sitzen wir mit Freunden um ein Lagerfeuer, Sternschnuppen rasen über den tiefschwarzen Himmel und spiegeln sich auf der Oberfläche des Sees, an dessen Ufer wir uns niedergelassen haben. Der Soundtrack des Abends: “Temple” das zweite Album der Folk-Band “Matthew and the Atlas“. Sänger Matthew Hegartys unverwechselbare Stimme voller Melancholie und bittersüßem Schwermut. Schwermut ist auch das Stichwort, als wir am nächsten Tag im Stau stecken bleiben und unser Interview verpassen. Gott sei Dank hat Matthew sich die Zeit genommen, ein paar unsere Fragen am Telefon zu beantworten.

Hey Matthew, sorry I missed our interview yesterday, I was stuck in a traffic jam.
No problem! I am traveling in a van so the sound might be a little muffled. But I have full signal now so I hope you can hear me fine.web_Temple_Album_1500px

First, congratulations on the Album! “Elijah” made me cry so much! But in a good way!
Thank you very much!

When I first heard “Elijah” I was wondering if it is about a real person or even the Prophet Elijah.
It is not religious but about someone I know. It’s more about telling a story but it is based on someone I know who had a bit of a though time. And calling it Elijah, I had the verse for a long time but no chorus and we came out to Nashville again. I just saw that name and that chorus came out. I didn’t want to be to obvious about who I was singing about. Maybe that song has something religious but not in that way.

Imagining I knew nothing about you, I would think you had suffered a big loss, went into the wilderness and wrote all the songs by yourself, sitting by the sea with your guitar. That was probably not the case. Tell me a little about the making of the album.
All the topics have to do with an experience that happened to me and the aftermath stayed with me for a long time.
On the first record It was a seven year period to get together an album and after I had finished that, I had a clean slate to do the next record. That was the first time I was able to do that and I wrote the songs for Temple in three months writing one song a week. It was a really condensed time period. When I started writing the album I didn’t have a certain idea what it was gonna be or where it was gonna go. And that is often the case when I write, so I just stop doing it and till something starts to appear and emerge. So I started writing more and more about this dark figure and being a new dad and all the stuff that comes with that. So of course these things started recurring lyrically. So yeah I was working at home with my guitar, did some production stuff on my computer and then we headed to Nashville to record the album.

I read that this dark figure is some sort of constant inspiration for you, can you explain that a little more?
That was the aftermath of me having a traumatic experience when I was younger. I was stabbed with a knife and had a though time with it after. I was in the hospital for a little while and the stress of it manifested itself in this dark figure. I would wake up from a bad dream and see it over my bed. I kept seeing it over the years and it is not something I believe in in any way. I started thinking about it as a person or a character in my life. I like how I was able to use it as a tool to talk about that experience and on this album it has evolved into something more.

Tell me about the beautiful different artwork like the cover, the beautiful teasers and the video for the album.
The cover of the album is a painting of an old abandoned red hunting lodge by an artist called Ben Risk and we all loved his work. At that time I bought a book about abandoned places and I thought it would be great to go on a little photo adventure with my friend Dave and take pictures of me walking through this secluded places as a small figure, each place representing one song of the album. We went on a trip for three days to Devon and Cornwall and the South-East of England. Later I sent some of the pictures to a friend of mine who is a director and we also shot the video for “Temple“ at some of those locations.

The modern world that we live seems to be such a big topic on this album. Is it a criticism or your way to make peace with it?
I guess it’s both. I am interested in climate change and it is something that I worry about. I have a three year old daughter who was already born when I wrote the album. Thinking about that stuff and the world that she would grow up with. I guess that are natural worries when you’re a new dad. I am not anti technology, the song Modern World is more about that I am not very good with social media and feeling like you’re constantly connected via the internet. But I didn’t want to preach about something I sort of know about but I am not technically educated about, so I wanted to tell it on a more emotional level.

Though people always say that your voice sounds so old and wise. What do you think about that?
I like that! That’s nice. My voice changed over the years. When I first started singing I was singing more in a way of the people that I liked. But as I got older, I started singing more naturally. Wise- yeah I don’t mind that at all!


Foto-und Videographin, Fotoredakteurin und Bedroomdisco-Lover

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