Meet Melbourne musician Al Matcott, who emerges with his debut single, Mediocre
The charming indie-folk tune is the first from his debut EP You Can Be Anyone, out via his own label this August.
Header image by Rick Clifford.
Al Matcott isn't exactly a new addition to Melbourne's live music space, even if you mightn't have come across the name before. Over the last few years, he's played a variety of roles in bands spread through the city's wide-ranging indie and rock worlds (think Euphoriacs, Honey Badgers and Buried Feather), before stepping aside to focus on his own personal and musical growth (and how the two intertwine with Matcott in the centre of a solo project, with his own stories and songwriting in the limelight).
He travelled around a bit before ending up back in Victoria, where the lessons and learnings from his past few years turned into more subtle and reflective bouts of indie and folk; music that had his own self - his thoughts, feelings, experiences and sense of introspection - at the forefront of what he was doing, and not hidden behind everything else. "They’re all my stories," he says. "I don’t want to hide them behind anything."
The first taste of the Al Matcott project recently arrived in the form of its debut single Mediocre, and what an entry it is. It's a hazy blend of alt-rock and country that relishes with its personality, taking these charming and quite bright-eyed guitar melodies and twisting them with darker, potent lyrics that envelop the song and capture Matcott hitting a newfound stride, both as a musician and as a person.
"Mediocre is for cruising on a skateboard at sunset but also it's a kiss-off to self-important and self-indulgent people," he says on the single. "The first time I had played drums in 2 years was recording this song. Brendan (bass) and I recorded it at my Mum's house in Castlemaine and we managed to find a slick groove pretty quickly. We recorded the guitar and vocals at his place in North Melbourne, then I got my old high school friend James Gilligan onboard for some lap steel. Not a lot of parts, plenty of space. Kept it simple."
There's a DIY-esque spirit that thrives amongst Mediocre and Al Matcott as a greater project, from the slight, rough twang in the sound to the fact that it arrives via his own label imprint Skip Hero Records. Skip Hero will also release his forthcoming debut EP You Can Be Anyone, scheduled for release on August 6th, with Mediocre being the first tease of what to expect from the musician's introductory moment. "Once lockdown hit, I picked up the guitar and started writing a whole new pack of songs," he explains. "I think I write as catharsis. The songs off this EP I wrote back in New Zealand in part to deal with how isolated I felt. When lockdown hit it only makes sense, I dove back into writing to get through it."
It's an incredibly exciting debut that launches with a whole lot more to come, so as you take a dive into Mediocre below, introduce yourself to Al Matcott and his songwriting underneath:
Tell us about yourself?
Hi I’m Al, I am a Cancerian but my Moon is in Pisces and my Rising sign is Aries which means something something singer, something something songwriter.
What’s your music like? What does it sound like? What kind of themes does it usually cover?
My music is sometimes me on my acoustic guitar singing about like, my feelings or like, society. Sometimes there are stories about characters and sometimes there’s a full rock and roll band and it sounds kind of loud and it isn’t very jangly. Some people say it sounds like Pavement or other ‘90s bands and sometimes people say I have a deep voice. I don’t think it’s that deep but it’s not up to me I guess.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
I usually write my songs alone on an acoustic guitar, usually in the dark (I’m very moody) and usually, I have the melodies written first. And then the lyrics happen and sometimes that takes fucking years, but patience is a virtue. Then I take the songs to the band and we flesh them out and go from there. Doesn’t happen in that order 100% of the time but definitely above 85%.
Can you tell us about your new single, Mediocre?
I wrote this song when I was living in Wellington, New Zealand. It was a reflection on a time in my life back in Melbourne where me and a lot of people around me weren’t the best versions of myself/themselves and yeeeeah a bit of catharsis. That’s the general theme and then the way it sounds is cruisy, it sounds like a light shade of blue with a hint of lilac and maybe you’re on a road trip and also there’s lap-steel guitar. Something like that.
What do you have planned for 2021?
Oh my goodness, maybe a tour. That would be super sweet. Definitely releasing an EP. Definitely writing new songs. Trying to get seven hours’ straight sleep on a regular basis.
What do you want people to take away from your work?
Hopefully people like the melodies and rhythms and if they stick around for a few listens maybe they dig the stories and hopefully all their dreams come true.
Where can we find more of your music?
All the streaming places.