interview Music

Matt Maltese | Interview

Matt Maltese is back. This time empowered with another 10 track record, and it’s not one to miss. Riding off the success from ‘Bad Contestant’ released last year, Matt Maltese’s pithy one liners and self deprecative style is definitely one to watch. Ahead of his show at Clwb ifor Bach this weekend, we caught up with the 22 year old songwriter to chat about his new album Krystal.

So Matt, how do you feel now the album’s finally out?

It’s a mixture of emotions really. Because you spend so much time focussed on it being made, and once it’s finally out you feel like you’ve lost something, but also being able to relieve yourself of it being a burden. Almost like letting your kid off to school or something. And there’s only so much you can do now that it’s out, and there’s a relief that I think, you can do all the things in your control to make it when you can make it, and then once its out, it’s just not really up to you anymore.

When did you start working on new record?

There wasn’t a break between this album and the last. The day we released the last record I was thinking about the next one. I went off for a doomed writing trip to Poland on my own to try and write some new songs. I went to Krakow because I didn’t have a place in London and I thought it’s somewhere warm, cheap and somewhere I could set up a studio in. I found a cheap Airbnb, a fifth of the price of London. But it was incredibly lonely because I don’t speak any Polish, and I had this sort of English arrogance that people might speak some words of English but not many did. And yeah, like going on a tour to Auschwitz by myself and just thinking – why am I doing this to myself? But I did start things off and was able to come back, embracing London as my home rather than lamenting the whole time thinking it’s a crap experience.

I’m always keen to never sit on a record. I’ve had friends that’ve had to do that. The sitting around bit is kind of the worst period ever. For me I just feel stuck in it. Like I can’t move on as a person until I say bye to the thing. You can’t have two kids at the same time. I really wanted to go into my bedroom and make an album myself rather than being in a studio.

Do you see much of a progression of yourself between the two albums?

I think the key difference is probably more of an acceptance of what I am in Krystal. I think Bad Contestant was a lot of how to identify myself and figuring out what I want to say and how to say it. So being okay with the fact that I’m a heart on my sleeve person rather than needing to laugh at yourself. I didn’t want to do that anymore with this record. I wanted to actually be alright with being soppy.

I think I just got so influenced by cynicism and satire as a means of processing things. That I just ended up being quite unhappy because that’s how I processed things. So with Krystal I didn’t have time to make a joke out of things and try make comfort from that. For Bad Contestant I used comedy as a means of processing shitty things. In hindsight I could’ve done stuff differently but it’s all a process isn’t it. Some people probably thought that I’d stay in the super satire sort of world, and it’s not like I’ve had enough with being cynical, but I didn’t have anything to say in vein this time. I wanted to be really honest.

How have you found the response?

It’s been really nice. This time around I feel more at peace with what I am. Half of you really takes things to heart, and half doesn’t care anymore. Even if I got criticised, I don’t have anyone to blame but myself, I couldn’t have done it any different. I think in the last album I was obsessed with integrity, but maybe I think a little less about that. I don’t pin critical success as the main thing that would make me happy, not making a record for respectable voices, but equally it would be nice to read The Guardian say a nice thing.

Can you talk through what it was like recording the brilliant music video for Rom-Com Gone Wrong?

It was a lot of fun to be honest. But was one of the longest days of my life. The leg scene was one of the most horrible coldest experiences I’ve ever had. The lake was a bit weedy and had eels in it. My toes went blue and I’ve never been so cold in my life, but I’m really happy with how it come out – worthwhile.

Are you looking forward to your upcoming Cardiff show?

I’ve played Clwb before for Swn fest and i’m really excited to come back! We’ll be playing most of the record, and it’s also a great day of other bands. I’m a big fan of Drug Store Romeo and Talk Show.

If you want to check out Matt Maltese this weekend – get your tickets here.

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