Embracing the discord: the Matt Finucane Interview

Hi Matt and thank you for sparing time to chat with us.

Glad to. Thanks for asking.

Could you first introduce yourself and tell us how your musical presence came to be?

It’s the old, old story: this never-ending mission to be heard and understood, in other words I’m obsessed and not many people get it, but so what. It was time to move on from making lo-fi electronic-based stuff on my own, playing acoustic guitar in nice clean coffee shops and being called “quirky”…Time to get back on a real stage in unhygienic surroundings and yell at people, so I found a bass player (Stephen Parker) and a drummer (Barney Guy) on the circuit here in Brighton. Luckily, I was able to drag them into my world.

How would you define not only your sound but the creative character of the band?

The sound’s just pure emotional disorder: I can’t make feel-good music. The band’s focused on delivering the songs as tightly and urgently as possible, just keeping it sharp, but there’s a lot of room for personal expression…Which is how it should be… It rocks, but there’s something in there that isn’t… quite… right.

Are there any previous musical experiences for yourself or band members and how have they been embraced in what you do now?

Stephen’s a solo artist himself, used to be in a thrash metal band, can play pop covers; he’s at home anywhere on the music spectrum. This means he comes up with these fantastic basslines, the kind it’s great to listen to just on their own, but really rock in a very direct way. Barney does a lot of session gigs in about 500 bands, as with most drummers, so he’s likewise slick and versatile. This cuts out a lot of flab, we can zero in quick on what works. They bring pop smarts, enhance the actual tunes, but without sacrificing the more out-there elements – it feels quite spontaneous, which is always good. We’re all very into keeping the energy levels high.

Is there a particular process to your songwriting?

I put myself into some kind of self-hypnotic state and rough out the songs, and then write down the chords for Stephen, and away we go – just smash through them until they take a fixed shape. It’s open to any changes the others want to suggest; I’m not sentimental about my own ideas, because I’ve been doing this long enough now to know that you can always create more; I just wait a while for my subconscious to throw something out. It helps to think of song structure in story terms – prologue, opening paragraph, cliff-hanger, that kind of thing.

Would you tell us about your latest release?

“The Seizure” EP is three tracks recorded pretty much as-live by the band, at Church Road Studios with Julian Tardo… plus a final DIY track, featuring Mik Hanscomb of Junkboy on 12-string acoustic. He played drums before Barney then had to drop out and concentrate on making his own album, but we’d also done a few gigs as a duo playing acoustic arrangements of some of my older material. We had one new number, the first thing I wrote after getting out of rehab, which it seemed like a nice idea to include, for contrast to the other songs. They were done loud and raw with the express purpose of showcasing the band. It’s a rock record, brash and nasty, rather than the sort of introverted DIY head music I’d been putting together at home. Also, it was nice to let someone else think about the technical side for once. I’m not exactly hung up on audio quality – I recorded an EP using a mobile phone and some freeware a few years ago – but it was refreshing to work in a good studio with an expert.

What are the major inspirations to its heart and themes?

I keep coming back to addiction, because it directly affects me, and also it seems like practically everyone’s dependent on something, physically or emotionally, to help them through this life. So that’s an underlying thread, even if it’s not spelled out – there’s no preaching or Important Social Message – and it tied in to the idea that it’s hard nowadays to be honest, when there’s so much pressure to present yourself as a viable product for everyone else to consume, while you’re picking them apart in turn. I’m no longer a youth, so it’s also about expressing this discontent in a way that’s age-appropriate and concentrated. That sounds like an ordeal to listen to, but the idea was to put this into really driving, powerful music and make it a cathartic experience, rather than a gloomy slog through My Big Thoughts. So it leads up to a sonic outburst – a seizure, obviously – then ends on a calmer note.

I am always intrigued as to how artists choose track order on albums and EP’s and whether in hindsight they would change that. What has been the deciding factor for you or do songs or the main do that organically?

It varies with each project – the last album had a theme, the stuff before that was more of a patchwork, but in each case I try to have a consistent tone or atmosphere running through the whole thing. As mentioned above, the idea was to vent all this stuff and then torch it. So by the third track, we go abstract, just obliterate it all in a glowing cloud of plasma (I also play with various free improvisation wizards in Brighton, and wanted to apply that method to a rock song)… Then after the seizure, all the discords and harsh sounds, you get the spaced-out calm, which calls for acoustic guitars and deep trenches of weird reverb. It’s meant to be an interesting virtual space to visit, as opposed to just a collection of songs.

What do you find the most enjoyable part of being in a band and similarly the most cathartic?

For context – I used to find getting wasted and stumbling around the stage the most enjoyable part, it’s embarrassing to admit. At first I suspected I couldn’t perform without chemical help then found I could, but chemicals made it so much more fun… then it wasn’t fun anymore, just a flimsy cloak for my own dysfunction. But nowadays, I make a point of enjoying all of it. The whole process – the satisfaction of creating something, shaping it then blasting it out live: the expression of a whole complex of thoughts and emotions. Notice audience approval doesn’t really figure – communication’s the important thing. Also, it’s a way to spend your existence that doesn’t involve chasing around after money or power and then dropping dead in a premature heart explosion of bile and regret – not the way I do it, anyway.

For anyone contemplating checking you out live give some teasers as to what they can expect.

Sarcasm and sudden loud noises… Something that’s unsettling but in a good way, stimulating, like watching a horror movie – but without horror-type lyrics or anything like that.

What has been your most thrilling moment on stage to date?

Hate to burst this bubble, but on the whole it’s difficult to remember, or at least describe, those kinds of peak moments. It’s not like I’m up there sacrificing a live deer with my teeth every night – that, we can agree, would be memorable. It’s easy to describe the fuck-ups and disasters, but very hard to express how it feels when everything really flows and time stands still. Besides, it’s better to think even more thrilling stuff’s yet to come.

Do you have live dates coming up?

Wed 16 Oct, Eight Miles High @ Brunswick Cellar Bar (Brighton) – w/ Seadog & Fane

Wed 6 Nov, Rossi Bar (Brighton) – solo – w/ Junkboy & Jako

Sat 16 Nov, Biddle Bros (London E5)

Sun 24 Nov, Gladstone (London SE1) – solo

Sat 30 Nov, Grub Club @ Global Cafe (Reading) – w/ The Mirror Pictures + Adam & Elvis

Tue 3 Dec, Bloc (Glasgow)

Wed 11 Dec, Green Door Store (Brighton) – w/ Adam & Elvis + tbc

What else can we expect in the near future?

There’s an album’s worth of new songs I’m working through with the band, hopefully to record next year for release in late 2020, with a few guest musicians and a broader palette. More gigs (was hoping to expand into Europe, but now it’s a question of waiting to see how the Brexit fallout’s going to settle). A 24-hour magic ritual in an underground car park…(Not really, but that would be cool.) A fucking nervous breakdown trying to keep all those DIY plates spinning, probably; most of the time, I barely know what to expect myself.

What are the major inspirations to you sound wise and as a musician?

I was ruined by listening to Lou Reed and The Fall at an early age. Whatever it is in me that’s distressed, that’s not at rest, responded instinctively to stuff like that… found a way of making sense out of the world in it… and soon enough I was compelled to try and pass that on. I like the sound of raw electricity, loud guitars or acid synths, whatever – doesn’t matter how it’s conveyed.

And finally what song or release would you say was the spark to your passion for music?

It probably started with some silly pop song that injured my brain in childhood, but it’s not clear. Most musicians, deep down, are started off by the most random, silly stuff that they probably can’t recall or wouldn’t acknowledge (so even if I knew, I’m not sure I’d tell you).

Many thanks once again; anything else you would like to add?

Thanks for listening – it’s good when somebody makes the effort. I guess people just have to be willing to meet me halfway.

Check Matt out further @ https://mattfinucane.net/ and  https://www.facebook.com/Matt.x.Finucane/

Pete RingMaster 11/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Matt Finucane – Vanishing Island

As uncertainty consumes an isle through Brexit confusion, Vanishing Island sees the troubadour of disharmony, Matt Finucane is back to confront, provoke, and captivate in his unique way. As all its predecessors, the new album is a release which comes soaked in physical and emotional discord whilst wrapped in melodic dissonance. It is another complete lure of fascination from the Brighton alternative singer songwriter and without doubt his most pop infested outing without losing any of the disharmony which gives his music its richness;  a proposition which without quite putting a finger on the actual ingredient it has added alongside a general blossoming, is easily his finest incitement yet.

The past couple of years or so has seen Finucane especially lure attention and acclaim through the likes of the Disquiet and Ugly Scene EPs, though neither success has exactly been a stranger since the release of previous album Glow In The Dark six years back. Through singles and EPs since, his sound and songwriting has thickly enticed as it has continuously grown but as suggested Vanishing Island has something extra which truly set it apart as it boisterously got under the skin.

The album carries the raw jangle of early Orange Juice, the pop disharmony of Josef K, and the sonic dissonance of Swell Maps whilst lyrically and vocally Finucane again embraces the inspirations of Mark E Smith and Lou Reed but all essences warped and mutated into its creator’s own imaginative and individual proposition. Vanishing Island opens up with War on Pain and immediately is baiting keen attention through a rhythmic pulsation swiftly joined by the inimitable tones of Finucane, his vocal delivery as maverick as his music. As the song expands with real catchiness to its swing infested hips, drone inspired melodies weave patterns in its sky colouring the route to the subsequent turbulence which from a simmer bubbles up and over.

It is a great magnetic start to the album but soon eclipsed by the following pair of Submissive Pose and Menace. The first similarly tempts with a potent rhythmic beckoning, its first lure continuing to steer the track as its pop roar and rock antics collude. Openly virulent, almost taunting ears like a blend of Television Personalities meets Marc Riley and The Creepers, the song is delicious pop cacophony and one of the albums major highlights but soon matched by its successor, The third track prowls the senses, crawling over the psyche with its singular sonic intimation but again there is an inherent catchiness in voice and character which easily seduced from within its devious drone.

Next up, Looking for a Genius is no lightweight in temptation either, its bass strolling alone enough to bait attention and more than ably assisted by the relatively calm but corrupted melodic clamour of the guitar and the general pop nurtured balladry at its heart while in turn Perilous Seat explores its own low key yet boisterous intimate clamour; both inescapable epidemics of sheer catchiness.

The dark, haunting summoning and provocative fingering of Offertory provides yet another shade to the crepuscular depths and adventures of Vanishing Island before Expensive Habits infests hips once more with its inherent pop sway; the latter carrying a hint of bands like The Only Ones and The Freshies in its eager breath.

Through the sonically suggestive, untamed croon of Yr Own Way and the seared rock ‘n’ roll of Safehouse Rules, the album expands its creative landscape further with the conclusion of the creative tour of Vanishing Island being cast by the siren sigh of Time Begins. A slow burner compared to many before, the song is an evocative shimmer on the ears and imagination, a sail into the sunset off of the album’s creative shores.

Matt Finucane is a one of a kind proposition and Vanishing Island an inimitable offering in his own creative adventure.

Vanishing Island is released May 3rd with pre-ordering available @ https://mattfinucane.bandcamp.com/album/vanishing-island

 https://mattfinucane.net/   https://www.facebook.com/Matt.x.Finucane/

Pete RingMaster 08/04/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

LaFlamme – Broken Hearted Sons

laflamme_RingMasterReview

Hailing from Surrey, LaFlamme is a punk ‘n’ roll fuelled band about to release charity single, Broken Hearted Sons, to raise funds and awareness for Muscular Dystrophy UK. It is a three track offering of instinctive and anthemic rock ‘n’ roll which, without fuss, pleases ears and sets attention the way of a great cause.

Formed in 2013 as floods and storms engulfed their home county, LaFlamme consists of guitarist/vocalists Richie Lambert and Kieron Robathan, drummer Dan Motchman, and bassist/vocalist Ditch. Breeding their sound and songs upon inspirations from the likes of AC/DC, The Ramones, Lou Reed, Blink 182, and Biffy Clyro, the band found itself headlining the Surrey Advertiser stage at Guilfest in 2014 and soon after playing support to bands such as The Ramonas and Sex P****Sed Dolls, as well lighting up a host of leading venues across the south east of England. A self-titled laflamme art_RingMasterReviewEP awoke further attention whilst the past few months has seen LaFlamme working upon Broken Hearted Sons in aid of Muscular Dystrophy UK; a release inspired by two of Kieron’s cousins who have muscular dystrophy and “have been such an inspiration to do what you love and never give up doing it.”

Broken Hearted Sons is the lead track; a rousing slice of rock ‘n’ roll which, from a subdued yet potent opening, uncages a torrent of rolling rhythms, spiky riffs, and sonic enterprise which simply flow with punk rock infectiousness. It is an undemanding but seriously catchy offering quickly whipping up involvement in feet and spirit, not forgetting an eager appetite for the band’s unassuming but magnetic sound.

With a whiff of Eddie and The Hot Rods to it, the track makes way for the more classic rock scented Breaking In. It’s initial hook and character has a Bowie-esque hue to it whilst further into its melody entwined body, a Thin Lizzy like flavouring colludes with the restrained but vibrant rock ‘n’ roll lighting up the ears.

The closing romp of Liar is similarly textured but soon reveals its own mischievous imagination and boisterous punk ‘n’ roll endeavour. Rhythms alone are a spark to keen physical involvement, eagerness only reinforced by the tenacious vocals and sonic exploits of the guitars.

All three tracks provide honest slices of perpetually enjoyable rock ‘n’ roll; straightforward uncomplicated proposals which get the job done whilst providing thick satisfaction. The fact they are raising funds and awareness for a very worthy cause only thickens the pleasure.

The LaFlamme charity single, Broken Hearted Sons is released 15TH April via Goloud Records.

http://www.laflammeband.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/pages/LaFlamme/235358599953530   https://twitter.com/laflammeband   http://www.musculardystrophyuk.org/

laflamme show

Pete RingMaster 29/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Bear VS Rhino – Fake Fake Fake

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Ahead of a new EP due later in the month we thought we would look at the Fake Fake Fake EP, the debut from UK band Bear VS Rhino and a three track confrontation which will not be for all but one that offers something compelling for hunger of all things discord corrupted and noise bred.

Its creator is a trio from London consisting of drummer Nico, Italian bassist Carlo, and guitarist/vocalist Markus who the bio for the band says occasionally sings in Greek. Though classed as an alternative rock band, Bear VS Rhino seemingly spawn their sounds from post punk and whereas their influences are listed as the likes of Biffy Clyro, Mogwai, Queens of the Stone Age, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Deftones, and Neutral Milk Hotel, we can only suggest that you imagine a raw obtuse mix of The Fall, Marc Riley and The Creepers, and Swell Maps to really get a flavour before taking a bite into their tempest of noise.

Opening track Useless enters on a drunken swagger with toxic sonic fumes laying their breath upon melodic discordance and vocal disharmony. It instantly strikes up thoughts of early Mark E. Smith and co, the track a cross between Rebellious Jukebox and Bingo Master’s Break Out. If that is a sound not raising the juices already, then step away from the vehicle as song and release only delve deeper into that caustic aural dissidence. Catchy and challenging the track is a richly pleasing introduction, the guitar scraping the surface of the senses for the rhythms from drums and bass to punch and gnaw on respectively, but at the same time breeding a seductive temptation which recruits thoughts and passions wholly.

The following Daisychain has to wait whilst the band struggle to find its body but once given ignition it taunts the ear with a punk vocal snarl over an aural disunity and testing that lures in and sees off mind and emotions simultaneously. There is a strong song trying to escape from within but not given the opportunity, though again there is enough bait to makes you want to return and know more.

Final track Linseed Oil returns to the same breeding ground as the opener, guitars carving an anarchical web driven by the up and down vocals as the bass prowls alongside with throaty menace. Sparking good reactions and again an appetite for more it would still be fair to say that track and EP is for a limited audience, though it also suggests a promise of adventure which makes the impending new release one needing to be investigated. Basically for all fans of the references we mentioned above…not much else left to say.

http://bearvsrhino.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/BearVsRhino

7/10

RingMaster 15/08/2013

 

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Matt Finucane: Glow In The Dark

Hard Science the latest single from UK songwriter Matt Finucane left a mixed emotion to its intriguing and unpredictable sounds. The song hit the spot at times but also missed easily in others moments to spawn an uncertainty towards his wrong footing invention. August 13th sees the release of his new album Glow In The Dark via Light Crude and is a collection of songs which offer a broader understanding of the man and his intent. It does really not solve the riddle of how one feels about his music but it certainly makes it fun trying to find out.

From Brighton, Finucane began on his solo quest in 2008 after fronting art rock band Empty Vessels. His limited edition Episodes EP of the same year drew some attention but he stepped back to write more songs. Last year saw the singles Wet Dream Disaster and Hands Up released, the latter earning some good radio play. Both marked the way for debut album This Mucky Age which came out in July that year and again to strong responses. A re-issue of Episodes began 2012 with Hard Science which with its release in July heralded the imminent arrival of Glow In The Dark. Though our first introduction to the man, within a few tracks of the album it is clear Finucane is one who rips up the supposed rules into little shreds and discovers his own path. There is always something impressive about a musician prepared to create his own world of sound and disregard what came before and the opinions of others. The album is a perfect reflection and one can only admire its rugged use of discordance for a blistered adventure. Sometimes it did not work to the preference of these ears but to the ideas and emerging intention one can only nod in approval.

Finucane is from the same stock and well of musical destruction as Mark E. Smith, an explorer and purveyor of the wonderfully unconventional and confrontational. You can add elements of Lou Reed and Iggy Pop especially vocally to the man but it is that breath which took The Fall to such heights which marks the sounds and invention of Finucane.

The album opens with the acoustic enticement of Into It. The track is simply guitar and voice stirring up the air with a gentle coaxing of the senses whilst an electric whisper plays in the background like a searchlight of inciteful invention. Finucane has a voice which takes a little while to warm to and at times is not easy to get a handle on though as always it is a matter of personal taste and connection. As the song plays there emerges a shuffling sound as if the body of familiarity and expectation is being dragged to the nearest dumpster to inspire great delight even if the thoughts drawn were not as intended.

Hard Science works better within the context of the album or it is just that it has worn the defences down through multiple plays. The sizzling electrified surface sound which roughs up the ear is a great counter to the strong melodic play and eager hook which becomes quite infectious over time. Imagine Thomas Dolby creating sound with 1,000 volts running through his veins and you can imagine Hard Science.

The likes of Face Of Stone with its assembly of disconnected but perfectly aligned sounds, Impermanence and its disruptive garage rock barracking, and the acoustically shimmering In The Market Place, all leave one in various degrees of pleasure. Each keeps one attentive to their presentation though trigger many questions alongside the enjoyment they bring, though thought provoking music is never ever a flaw in our book.

The highlight of the album comes with a consecutive trio of songs. The first Larkin’ hypnotises with a nonstop spotting of the senses through pulsating beats and irresistible melodic guitar strikes. Easily the best song on the release it jabs persistently whilst giving a caustic vocal rub and that alone is mesmeric but with the distillery of thrilling concussive unique sounds and teasing hooks it elevates itself to greatness. The other two tracks have their own individual and equally compulsive worlds. Great Beginnings pulsates with a swing groove which no one can say no to within its stirring discordance whilst Doom Vibes is a sinister caress with less than healthy intentions which leaves one rattled but needing to feel its shadows again.

The album is maybe a rocky journey with the likes of Love Unknown, Alter Ego Hi-Way, and Yr Own Poison not hitting same personal target of the hungrily received imaginative sounds of the tracks previously mentioned. There is nothing truly wrong with them but just do not find a welcoming home but this is a release for individuals, what works for one will not always for another. Glow In The Dark is a release which deserves investigation, to ignore it would be a mistake. Honesty dictates that we declare the album was certainly enjoyable but by how much is still in debate with a decision not expected until further meet ups.

http://mattfinucane.net/

RingMaster 10/08/2012

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