I started young. I’ve been playing in bands since I was 12 or so. Originally as a drummer, then moving on to bass and guitar so I could write songs and make records. I’ve always liked a mix of different music, although it all just seems like good rock n’ roll to me. Be it Thin Lizzy or Johnny Cash.
Do you think your Irish heritage as helped your ability to write lyrical narratives?
It would be nice to think so. I certainly like a song that tells a story and endeavours to find a bit of poetry in day to day life.
Your new album ‘Old Souls’ is your first official solo outing – can you tell us a bit about the record and the inspiration around it?
It’s a bit of a new beginning for me yeah. I wanted to make a record that blended the various styles that influence me, from straight up rock, to country and folk. I think I’ve made a decent stab at it. There’s a few
songs I’ve been playing live for a while now, so it’s great to have definitive versions down on tape, so to speak.
You put out Isolation Tapes – 10 acoustic tracks during lockdown, so clearly you have been keeping busy! Was the bulk of this written during lockdown?
I’d been working on ‘Old Souls’ for a while before all of this happened, but I considered putting off releasing it until the world got back to some sort of normality and I could go out with my band and gig it. But I ended up writing so much new material during lockdown it started to feel like I was stockpiling songs. As we don’t seem to be much closer to getting back out there I decided to just go for it. Hopefully it will entertain and come as a welcome distraction for people. In spite of everything, it actually feels like a pretty good time to put some music out.
How have you been coping around lockdown and has it impacted your plans musically at all?
Just on the gig side of things really. I had some good stuff lined up this year that has obviously been cancelled or postponed, but you have to roll with the punches and at least we’re all in the same boat. Otherwise, I must admit it’s been quite a good, productive time for me. I finished Old Souls, wrote and recorded the acoustic album ‘The Isolation Tapes’ and released a charity single for Samaritans. I also did a country rock covers EP and a few other bits and pieces. I’m lucky as I can do these things remotely, working with some very talented friends, like Gary Pennick who has produced all of these recent recordings with me.
Could you recommend an album, a book or a TV show that you’ve enjoyed during lockdown that we should get into?
To be honest, when I haven’t been working on new music during lockdown, I’ve ended up revisiting old favourites rather than discovering new things. Once this record is out I’m looking forward to catching up on some reading and new music, when everyone else has gone back to work! Then again, I’ve
started writing the next one.
At a time like this its nice reminisce about live shows, having played so many gigs yourself – and as bass player for Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour – can you share a favourite tale from life on the road?
One of the best things about touring is the bizarre situations you find yourself in that just wouldn’t happen in ordinary life. I’ve had everything from being locked out of the venue mid-set, to gigs cancelled after
soundcheck because of a riot. I was once doing a solo acoustic gig in France and I must of got swept up in the moment as I sang the entire chorus of a song with my eyes shut, only to open them and discover the room had emptied and there were 2 police officers standing in front of me, politely waiting for me to stop warbling so they could let me know the show was over due to noise pollution... at an acoustic gig!
Do you have a message for your fans?
Thank you for supporting all of my musical endeavours during this strange time and if you are just coming aboard, there’s plenty to discover. I’ll see you out there as soon as the time is right but for now, stay safe and take care. Cheers!
Check out the official video for Rosary below, or listen on Spotify. Visit Mattyjamescassidy.com for more, or visit his Facebook page.