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Matt Saxton-It’s Only Now That I Know | As the diary bleeds

If you’re old enough, you’ll know of a time when there used to be the best of the best tracks playing on the radio. No compromise. A perfect combination of artistic output and minimal advertising. Matt Saxton reminds me of those years of music-where each song had something to say, being a window into the artist’s mind. This is Matt’s 2022 album, It’s Only Now That I Know. Let’s reminisce in musical resurgence.

Like Petty’s Don’t Back Down, a simple beat and melody form the framework for Tonight. Being a track I reviewed earlier, I remember writing how its simplistic nature made it easy to enjoy and remember. The disco vibe is an effervescent extra, and Matt’s soft vocals do the rhythm enough justice for it to be enjoyed.

Another single I had reviewed, Animal, is the second track. With a bare-bones approach to just the piano and a beat to keep track of, the lyrics outshine everything. It is a progression that you hear commonly, the execution is, however, special to say at the least. It carries a certain pain with it, the performance, yet believes in a brighter day. When hope is all we have.

From the views of life

Tell us your musical journey between 2018 and 2021. Were you still writing music or needed a break?

I was still writing music with no break! In 2018, I released my album I Wasn’t Looking For Love. I put a lot of effort into writing and recording the songs on it, but I did not promote it enough. I was not even on Instagram back then, which was daft for sure!
In 2018, I also put on a concert at the International Graham Greene Festival. This came about because I had previously released a single called Greeneland about my favourite author Graham Greene. The single was picked up by Martyn Sampson, the Director of the festival, who asked if I could put on a show about Graham Greene. I had to write a bunch of new songs about Greene and form a small acoustic band for the concert, which was a great exercise to do.

2019 to 2020 was spent writing, recording demos and recording the final songs in the studio for my current album. I am rather slow at writing songs, but I do though keep at it so hopefully within a year, Now, I have enough new songs I want to record properly in the studio. I released Animal, the first single from my current album, in December 2021.

Glimpses of hope

The title track is next. Let’s talk about the brilliant layering here. With a piano arpeggio, we have some smooth guitar frills. The beat does its bare minimum and then some. The groove lasts within the prolific poetry from Matt Saxton. A powerful chorus section resonates through the silence, with harmonies that are apt for the moment. By playing with volume dynamics, Matt makes sure the audience is drawn in for the sensitive quality of the sound and nature of the build towards the chorus. Simple techniques like this are artful elements that make a huge difference when used.

It’s Alright brings in the Cash/Cohen style of ballad writing, with lyrate narratives. Layered with only the essentials, the gentle delivery of the seconds and lead vocals make it a special track. This might resonate with those who wear their heart on their sleeve. From the progression to the lyrics, all give an emotional premise to this spectacular track.

From your hit single Seabird to the success of Tonight, what do you feel is your biggest skill acquired in the duration?

Good question and a hard one to answer! Seabird was a lucky bit of exposure, but since then maybe one skill or attribute has been around not giving up and just keep going with the writing and recording. I feel my songwriting and recordings are stronger on my current album. But that is of course for the audience to decide!

You try to find this perfect blend between pop and rock, with touches of even the Laurel Canyon. How did mastering this cocktail happen?

Maybe it’s to do with the musical influences. My main influences come from Leonard Cohen, Bowie, The Who and Neil Young. So perhaps a mixture of those four give a folk, pop, rock and LA West Coast vibe to my own songs.

Turning to heroes

Back to You channels in the Neil Young cannon to make a resoundingly relatable track. Each song tries to create another complex premise that really reels in the listener. Tales are told with ease, and each song is a voyage that will shine light on a different skill or manoeuvre from Matt Saxton. This is how he sings to the audience, as the protagonist.

Biggin Hill Blues lays down the enchanting, heartfelt chord garland, where Matt controls and modulates the tone and delivery of each powerful line. In the nature of blues, there are unique elements that are done very differently from usual play book rules.

If you’ve assumed Matt Saxton to be a one trick pony, here is a salt shaker. Doomed from the Start has a happy-go-lucky beat and melody with a stylish performance style. There are elements that rise with Matt’s voice, especially the piano and synths, which he utilizes to his advantage. Closing out with Souls, this is a gem that is common thought and visualization for many. The single notes on the guitar, even the slides, are marked carefully in your head, stylish catchy portions that belong.

Is there a kind of sound you would like to experiment with next?

I have been experimenting a lot with more electronic sounds and drums beats for the demos on my next album. I am seeing whether some of the songs can be recorded completely at home.

What is the first thing you go to when a composition comes to mind? Paper and pen or the instrument?

If I am out and about, then it will be paper and pen or most often recording something quickly on my phone and hope that no one nearby is listening to my singing! If I am at home, then it will be the guitar I will grab.

Matt Saxton proves that you don’t need a complicated background to make feel-good, honest music. Grab a guitar, move where the compass points, and you might have a tale to write a song about. Rudiments and the nuts and bolts-things that people discard nowadays, help Matt make one of the best sounding albums I’ve heard this year.

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Discovered via http://musosoup.com

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Self professed metalhead, moderately well read. If the music has soul, it's whole to me. The fact that my bio could have ended on a rhyme and doesn't should tell you a lot about my personality.

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