Matt Watson

Keen observers of our banner adverts will have seen us promoting The Endless Coastline tour by Matt Watson.  (That’s it, just up there over Matt’s picture  ).    It is a music tour with a difference, no stadium dates, no trucks full of gear and roadies swilling beer.   This tour is about stout walking boots and sleeping under canvass.  A charity walk along the Suffolk and Norfolk coastline with some gigs thrown in along the way.  I caught up with Matt before he set out on his journey and discovered that you should be very careful what you say on the radio.

Lets talk about this walk.  You wake up one morning and say “I’m going to walk the Suffolk and Norfolk coastline” – what on earth was going through your head?

I am a very keen outdoors person anyway.  We always went camping as kids and I am keen on natural history and wildlife, I like bird watching and that sort of thing and the coast in general, I surf, so I am always down at the coast.

I’ve always thought that I’d like to do some big adventure of some sort and it kind of came up in conversation and floated around in my head for months.  Then I was being interviewed on Radio Norfolk and somehow I blurted out that I’d like to do this live on air.  I got an amazing response – “When are you doing it?”

It is over a hundred miles, isn’t it?

I’m doing it in two stages.  The Suffolk stage from Woodbridge to Southwold, then I do from Lowestoft to Hunstanton.  In total it is approximately 140 miles max, over 11 days.  I start on 22nd May through to 26th then form the 29th through to 3rd June.

And not content with just walking you are doing at least four gigs along the way.

Yes, its all a bit crackers – defiantly confirmed are the one at The Angel in Woodbridge on Sunday, Chris has been incredibly supportive.  I am doing that one with Falling From Trees.  I am also doing the MO in Sheringham on Friday 26th May – with Broken Maps and Yve Marie B (of Morganway).

Then I go to The Albatross on Wells Quay which is very fitting, being on a boat.  I have wanted to play there for ages – it is tiny, I am doing that with Anto Morra and at the moment the last gig will be at Deepdale Backpackers in Burnham Deepdale on 2nd June with Sam Coe of ‘Sam Coe and The Long Shadows’.

Hopefully there will be one more but that has yet to be confirmed.

And you are doing this all without the aid of a support team or backup vehicles?

Yes – the Suffolk stage in particular is very much me carrying all my kit so I am very much self sufficient for that part of the walk.  The second part of the walk, I was approached by a lovely couple of people called Gin and Mark who have started a business called MarGins which is a walk and glamp package offering different ways of walking the Norfolk coast path but they then provide you with a tent at each stop.  They look after your luggage, you just need to take a day pack – which I think will be quite a relief after nearly sixty miles of carrying everything in a 10kg pack through Suffolk.

The whole point of this walk is to raise money for charity.  You are supporting three, the RNLI

Yes – an emergency service that is not government funded.  They work n the sea which I know from being out on it – you don’t mess with it.  Because I am a keen body boarder, I surf – they are going to be the people should I get into any trouble are, hopefully, going to save my life.

You are also raising money for Nelson’s Journey who support bereaved children.

Some members of my family worked with them after a sudden death and they were fantastic.  I really wanted to support them because dealing with death as an adult is horrible enough without thinking about it as a child, when you are still trying to find your way in the world.  I have seen some of the work they do first hand so was very keen to do something for them.  And of course there is the whole Nelson / coastal link!

And finally, a charity new to me, A Change of Scene for Children.

Yes, I played a gig last year in Norfolk – The Harvest Moon Festival, in Burnham Thorpe and I met this lady called Pauline.  Part of the festival was to raise money for Change of Scene, I got chatting with her and she was telling me that she basically does this on her own.  She has a small holding, she rescues animals and children come to her for respite and a day with the animals.  They just spend time being with the animals, helping out and doing stuff.  She is so passionate about it that I was quite touched by it and felt that I’d love to support her as well.

Now lets talk about the album – The Endless Shipwreck – which I have been listening to quite a lot lately.  Is the title a metaphor for life?

Partly.  I have been having interesting discussions about this on e-mail today.   The album is mixed and produced by a guy called Mark Freegard who has worked with people like Del Amitri.  Oddly enough I had an email from Justin Curry of Del Amitri telling me how much he enjoyed the songs… which was a bit surreal for me!  He is releasing his latest album on a label called Endless Shipwreck – a complete coincidence.  He got it from a quote from a book called 2666 by Roberto Bolano.  Mine was a completely different thing, it came from a conversation I had about the state of the nation at the moment I guess.

It is a very personal album, ‘We Were Young’ for example, if you don’t mind me saying so has echoes of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Castle on the Hill’ about it.

I am happy with that, yes, I guess it is reflective.  Looking back on how it was and how things have changed so fast.  Yes, very much a reflection on my youth.  There are a lot of truth in some of the quotes in the words of that song.

There are mix of styles across the songs on the album, was that deliberate?

Yes.  It is deliberate because I like so many different styles of music myself as a listener.  I have no boundaries with music genre-wise, it is all music, it is all valid in some way, shape or form.  I love everything from hip-hop through to classical to folk to blues.  I grew up listening to a lot of different kinds of music as well – progressive rock, love a bit of prog rock!

Did I read somewhere that you were going to take a year out from music?

No – I had a dream that I had retired from music, it was a really weird dream.  No, I am just taking a little bit of a back seat in the fact that I am just concentrating on gigging and enjoying playing rather than concentrating on getting that next release out.   I think I’ll give that a years break before I do something else release-wise.

They are two completely different beasts aren’t they?

Oh yes.  When you are writing you need to be able to let it breath and some of the material on this album didn’t really get gigged before it was recorded unlike the first album.  ‘Lets Jump Ship’ came about playing about with a loop station, it wasn’t even going to be a song, just an instrumental clip in the album until I spoke to Erica (Nockalls) about doing violins on the number.  She said I’ll do it once you’ve made this into a song, its too good to be just a snippet.  So away I went and that ended up becoming quite a tune for me.

Was there pressure on you then to create that song?

No, because I had the piece of music, and I liked the piece of music, and it kind of built  up in the studio, things would get added to it.  Some of the recording process for me was done at home and the recording process became part of the writing process for a couple of the things on that album, including ‘Lets Jump Ship’.  That is not something I normally do, I usually just sit down with a guitar and write then elaborate on the instrumentation later.  But that one came together in a different way.  Because I am interested in so many different kinds of music, looping didn’t seem like a crime to do.

Matt is a very gentle man, passionate about music and life.  His walk along the coast will doubtless give him a great deal of personal pleasure but that is not why he is doing it.  He has set quite modest targets to raise money for three charities – let us help him smash those targets.  Here is a link to his JustGiving page – even if you just give a small amount to just one of his chosen charities it will make it all worthwhile.

Good Luck Matt.