Matthew Brocklehurst, keys player for Morganway, recently met up with us to take a trip down musical memory lane. We could not think of a more suitable subject than the rather tasty Matthew for the interview, for his band are charged with retro vibes and scintillating harmonies. Here is what he had to say…
What song reminds you most of your childhood?
I remember listening to a vinyl 45 of ‘Get Ready’ by The Temptations over and over on my parents’ record player, I think that’s what started my love and appreciation of motown and soul music. The other track that brings it all back would be ‘Festa’ by Misty In Roots, which was something my dad always put on at parties in the summer, lovely chilled 80s British roots reggae…
Which song inspired you to become a musician/singer?
My biggest influence as a pianist – and the guy that really got me into piano-led power pop – is Ben Folds. His album ‘Whatever And Ever Amen’ is so much fun to play, and it really pulled me through from the difficulty of classical piano into something bright, fun, but with an anti-establishment – or at least outsider/underdog – perspective. He has a real talent for choosing interesting chord progressions that still manage to work, which are very satisfying to play and figure out how his songs fit together melodically!
Which song do you wish you had written?
That’s a tricky one! In terms of a fairly simple, but incredibly touching song, I’m gonna have to go with ‘I Went To The Store One Day’ by Father John Misty. He’s a songwriter who often takes a very cynical or satirical view of the world and the media at the moment, but this track from his last album is so pure and touching I absolutely love it. It’s about the effect that falling in love has had on his life. He still manages to sneak in a bit of cynicism towards the end with the line “Insert here a sentiment re: our golden years,” and the song ends with the first words he said to his wife. It really gets to me, and the simple acoustic guitar and strings arrangement makes it all the more direct and powerful.
Which artist/band has been the most inspirational to you?
In terms of really solid songwriting, I’m gonna go with The Shins. James Mercer’s music is honest, full of life, and he manages to make interesting melodic ideas catchy and memorable. Their last three albums have been consistently strong in production, songwriting and creative structures and arrangements. The Shins have got me through the bad times and kept my energy up in the good times – It’s music that gets me, and I love it.
Which song/album currently dominates your attention?
I’m really excited about the new record from Dirty Projectors, which is out very soon! The lead single from it – ‘Keep Your Name’ – is one of the best break-up songs I’ve ever heard, and the production is modern and absolutely stunning, full of experimental freak folk energy. Plus, the power of the song is multiplied by context – it samples part of a love song duet that David Longstreth (the lead singer) originally sang with his former band member Amber Coffman, who is also David’s former partner and the subject of the breakup song… it’s so heartbreaking and powerful. From what I’ve heard of the other new songs released, the rest of the album will be incredible and compelling music.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Collaboration is definitely an interesting possibility in the lifetime of a band, but I’m not sure who would work well with us without taking over the project and steering it away from our sound. I guess it’s tempting to work with other songwriters from the Americana spectrum, like Ryan Adams or Neko Case. Once you move beyond songwriters it becomes a different question – if we were to work in collaboration with another band, who would get to play which instrument? In terms of the feel of other bands, I love the vibes that My Morning Jacket, Iron & Wine and Calexico create with their music, but I appreciate that working with another band might result in a bit of a conflict of ideas and energy, not particularly productive!