An Interview With MATTHEW EDWARDS of THE MUSIC LOVERS  Endorphin Bath & Todd E. Jones presents...
 INDIE MUSIC Reviews & Interviews
by Todd E. Jones aka The New Jeru Poet

music loversInterview: THE MUSIC LOVERS
“If Loving Music is Wrong, The Music Lovers Make It Feel So Right.”
An Interview With MATTHEW EDWARDS of THE MUSIC LOVERS
(October. 2004)
Interview by Todd E. Jones aka The New Jeru Poet

    Some music has a timeless quality and does not have a dated sound even after decades. Other music can feel classic the moment you hear it. Purposely sounding dated, this music can be labeled timeless. Timeless music transcends the commercial yet is tangible at every turn with every song. This juxtaposition / combination is a commendable feat.  The Music Lovers make timeless, emotional pop music with a beautiful sophistication as well as an erudite sound. Like other artists such as Pulp, Pas/Cal, Stereolab, Damien Rice, Mr. Wright, and Felt, The Music Lovers have a unique, mature, and elegant sound. Unlike the puerile, young over-produced stars of today, singer and songwriter, Matthew Edwards has a wild story to tell. He has spent a century living life, whereas for an artist, equals perfecting his craft. He felt he truly have lived and thus had something to share. He refuses to be consumed by nothingness. The next step was to find the perfect band as a vehicle. Originally born in England but now living in San Francisco, Matthew Edwards was inspired by a myriad of artists like Dusty Springfield, Vic Godard, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and others. He has been imprisoned twice and even homeless. Finally, he formed a band of people who love music and in turned, called themselves The Music Lovers. Piano and accordion player, Jun Kunhara was in the Japanese cult pop group The Nelories. Other members include Jon Brooder on bass guitar, Leigh Jurecka on violin, Bryan Cain on electric guitar, and Colin Serlock on drums. The Music Lovers signed to Marriage Records, a sub-label of Le Grand Magistery, home of Momus, Pas/Cal, Stars, and Kahimi Karie. Their debut 2003 EP “Cheap Songs Tell The Truth” received rave reviews by the press. Fast forward to the Autumn of 2004….  The Music Lovers release “The Words We Say Before We Sleep”, their first full-length LP on Marriage Records / Le Grand Magistery. The lush melodies, insightful and clever lyrics, and sophisticated arrangements make this a marvelous album.  While every song is wonderful, standout tracks include “Sometimes People Just Do Stupid Things”, “Virginia Lights”, “Nothing”, “May Ballard”, and “Delinquent Lullaby”. On a warm afternoon in September 2004, I had a conversation with the lead man from The Music Lovers, Matthew Edwards. Honest and interesting, Edwards loves music and creates lovely music. While both press and fans are beginning to appreciate and love their music, the timeless quality of The Music Lovers will make their art last for centuries from now.

T.JONES: "What goes on?"
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Planning, posing, and plotting at the moment. Recording a further record, and planning another trip to New York... Oh, and reading EP Thompson.”

T.JONES: “The new album by The Music Lovers is called ‘The Words We Say Before We Sleep’. Tell us about it.”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “It is 12 songs from my pen subsequently molested by The Music Lovers. It has had a long gestation, but it is ready to blossom. It's dark, but optimistic. Someone just described it as 'Arthur Lee sings a Bond theme', which I loved. It is 12 proper songs.”

T.JONES: “Can you explain the difference between this LP and the ‘Cheap Songs Tell The Truth’ EP?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “The EP was a collection of lovely oddities. The runts of the litter, but a nice introduction of our thing! The songs on the EP were recorded at a variety of times in an assortment of odd places like New York, Birmingham, and San Francisco. The LP however was planned and recorded as a very defined entity unto itself. We started recording, knowing the songs, running order, etc. Little has changed. A lot of it is quite live, and most of it was recorded in the middle of the night.”

T.JONES: “How long did the LP take to make?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “80 hours, spread over 3 months. We had a charitable studio owner, Bob Coover. He gave us a cheap rate on the off hours. 10pm to 4am mostly.”

T.JONES: “Is there a deeper meaning to the title ‘The Words We Say Before We Sleep’?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “It is a line from the song 'Nothing'. That's deep enough.”

T.JONES: “Favorite song on the LP?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Mine is 'Nothing,' but no two people have concurred yet which is very good.”

T.JONES: “What song took the longest to do?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “No song took longer than any other. I don't believe in belaboring the process. Music is supposed to be a release, not a burden.”

T.JONES: “How did The Music Lovers come together to form a group?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “I ran a cabaret / open mic in San Francisco for a while and Jon was an occasional performer who I admired. He is very charismatic. Bryan was a guitar player for a country drag act I much liked. He was tutored yet irreverent. I enlisted them and an old friend from England, Paul Comaskey to play drums. This was the nucleus that got signed and made the album. The golden rule being I write the tunes. Beyond that, ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law'. Paul had to move in January for family reasons. I enlisted the incredible Colin Sherlock to play drums, and then, I met Jun when we were both approached by Bid from The Monochrome Set to be a part of a touring version of said band. We declined, but formed a friendship and Jun joined the group playing piano and accordion. We have actually co-written a little too.”

T.JONES: “How did you hook up with Le Grand Magistery and Marriage Records?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “I sent a 4 song demo to ten labels that I loved, and waited. Matthew and Leigh at Le Grand Magistery was top of that list. He called me, we clicked, and we signed. Subsequently, I had offers from two more labels on the list, but Matthew and Leigh’s label was the one.”

T.JONES: “When did you first begin writing songs? Playing instruments?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “I started singing when I was nine, and was performing at 13. I was playing guitar badly from about 7 onwards, but not onstage until I was 26. I was always primarily a singer. I started playing working men’s clubs and pubs in England, then into Punk Rock bands as a bass-player. Then, I was a singer. For a while, I decided that I wanted to be in Earth Wind and Fire. Soon, I had a breakdown. Then, I started writing songs. I still don't know 50% of the chords I play. I loathe musos of all stripes. The Music Lovers are all intuitive wonderful musicians, and I am blessed. I think Jon was playing bass in bands in London at a very tender age. Jun was making records in Japan when she was 17. Bryan knows all the chords to 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' and had his own country band in High School. Colin was drumming in a Soul Revue in Ireland when he was a slip of a lad. I was writing awful droney 2-chord folk pastiches when I was in my teens, but frankly didn't write a song worth a damn until I was almost 30. I hadn't lived enough previously. Too many songs are about nothing. None of my songs are about 'nothing’.”

T.JONES: “Do you have a favorite kind of guitar?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “No. There is no guitar brand or type, which is guaranteed as being good (or bad). For me, I play a 1968 Guild D35 acoustic and a '66 Burns Bison. However, I had a $20 Kay for years that I loved and lost (sigh).”

T.JONES: “What other artists / bands inspired you?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “A lot of people I met working the club sewer circuit and cruise liner gigs in Europe -what to avoid! There was a guy called Andy Wickett who I knew at home that fronted a punky rock n' roll band called TV Eye. I thought he was just terrible and quite brilliant. I thought, if he can do it, I certainly can. My parents’ record collection has been an abiding influence. There were lots of show tunes, vaudeville, Elvis, PJ Proby, Dusty Springfield, Motown, Glen Campbell. There were many bloody good songs. Jimmy Webb, Goffin and King et al. I like Tin Pan Alley. I like Vic Godard and Leonard Cohen's humor. I like songs and good singers. I like Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds a lot too.”

T.JONES: “Tell us about your history. What led you to this point?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Bad personal management, stubbornness, and always following my heart.”

T.JONES: “Do you believe in ghosts?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “No Comment.”

T.JONES: “Favorite drugs?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “This has changed dramatically in recent years, but now I am addicted to love, sex, pop songs, Chimay, Sandeman's Port and love and sex and kissing.”

T.JONES: “What has been in your CD player or on your turntable these days?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Recently, The Czars lovely new album, Candi Staton, Low Water, Bohannon, Richard Hell and the Voidoids. The new Nick Cave. 'Five Leaves Left'.”

T.JONES: “Are the lyrics and the vocal melodies written first or is the music written first?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “I write the songs and they all come together in a blinding flash of sheer gosh-darned inspiration. If the body of the song takes longer than a day to write, I throw it away. Or, if I can't remember it in the morning, it is in the bin but this doesn't apply to lyrics, which I labor over occasionally. This is not to say that the songs are throwaway. On the contrary, I believe in summary, saying what I want and not boring people. If you can't say it in a 3-minute pop song, I do not want to know. Pop music is not Proust after all. It is also really easy to string pretty words and phrases together, which are meaningless. I don't do this.”

T.JONES: “Abortion. Pro-life or pro-choice?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Compulsory same-sex marriage. Abortion on demand. Abolition of all organized religion.”

T.JONES: “What is the biggest mistake you have made in your career?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Career? This is not a 'career'. If it were, I'd have a desk and a mortgage! It's a bloody vocation and where's my rich patron? Where's my Louis XIII?”

T.JONES: “What is the biggest misconception about you?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “That my shyness is arrogance, and that I am Australian.”

T.JONES: “What is your live show like?"
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Absolutely electric, utterly professional. No one in The Music Lovers wears t-shirts, jeans, sneakers or bloody baseball caps. We are entertainers, damn it, and should look like it! A good suit and clean shoes, a nicely pressed shirt. This shows respect to the paying customer. I like looking into the audiences eyes.”

T.JONES: “What is your favorite part of your live show?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Taking the room.”

T.JONES: “You have a song on the new album about an artist leaving the ‘Trade’. Can you expand on this?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Hmmm, interesting... the song is actually about a friend leaving prostitution. All I can say on that subject is that it is a tough business to come out of unscathed, no matter what the protagonist might think.”

T.JONES: “You were also homeless? In what city? How did that happen and how did you survive? Also, how did you rise above that situation?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Homelessness can happen to anyone. I discovered that all it takes is a couple of poor decisions and pride to remain so. At least in my case, others have more serious reasons. The minutiae of my bout are tedious in the extreme. To elaborate, a few years ago, I moved to an unfamiliar American city. Within days of arrival, my marriage situation became unattainable, so I left my wife. Then, the job I had been promised fell through. I had spent all my savings on the move. My parents have no money whatsoever. I come from an English working class family, so I could and would not trouble them with my predicament. Pride forbade me contacting either them or asking my recently separated wife. I moved from street to agency to hotel to agency until I got a job and managed to claw myself upright. I had no substance abuse problems, nor mental health issues; I have always been a spendthrift yet I still became homeless. It is proof that it can happen to anyone.”

T.JONES: “Word association. I am going to say the name of a group, artist, or famous person and you say the first word that pops into your head. So, if I said ‘The Beatles’, you may say ‘John Lennon’ or ‘Let It Be’. Ok?”

T.JONES: “Julian Cope.”

MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Turtle.”

T.JONES: “Momus.”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Eye patch.”
edwards
T.JONES: “Jamiroqaui.”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Car crash.”

T.JONES: “Gil-Scott Heron.”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “The bottle.”

T.JONES: “Pulp.”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Window.”

T.JONES: “Felt.”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Hygiene.”

T.JONES: “Eminem.”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Caravan.”

T.JONES: “The Stone Roses.”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Flares.”

T.JONES: “Happy Mondays.”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Gurning.”

T.JONES: “Elliot Smith.”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “No friends.”

T.JONES: “Stereolab.”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Drab.”

T.JONES: “The Beatles.”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Help!”

T.JONES: “George Bush.”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Foliage.”

T.JONES: “Are you living in San Francisco now? If not, where? What are the 3 things you love about the city you are living in?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Yes, I’m in San Francisco. The 3 best things are the restaurants, cinemas, and The Make Out Room.”

T.JONES: “What are the 3 things you hate about San Francisco?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “The San Francisco self righteous, a lack of urgency… so I try to supply it, and the lack of seasons.”

T.JONES: “You wrote 2 un-produced musicals? What are the titles? What are they about?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “'Hardware' is about the attempted gentrification of a gay-owned hardware store. 'I'll Get Me Hat' is about the English Music Hall tradition.”

T.JONES: “What is next for you?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “The album is released! We are looking for an agent because we want to play out much, much more. We'll be back in NYC and beyond in January and February, play in LA. We may well have another record too. Oh, and 'The Words We Say Before We Sleep' might also be out in some other countries soon, which is wonderful.”

T.JONES: “What releases should we look out for? Remixes? New albums?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Well, 'The Words We Say Before We Sleep' is out on October 5th.  I'd like to be a luddite and do a vinyl single too. Also, we are constantly recording. I write a lot.”

T.JONES: “Would you like to be buried or cremated?
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Fired from a canon into a rat infested canal in Birmingham.”

T.JONES: “What do you want on your epitaph (your gravestone)?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “He was a great dancer!”

T.JONES: “Any final words for the people who will be reading this?”
MATTHEW EDWARDS: “Buy a Music Lovers record. Be awake and alive. Lose yourself in love! Go to http://www.themusiclovers.net and…did I mention buy a Music Lovers record?”

  

Thank you MATTHEW EDWARDS of THE  MUSIC  LOVERS !



-interview done by Todd E. Jones aka The New Jeru Poet
(toddejones@yahoo.com)
Official site for The Music Lovers
www.themusiclovers.net

Marriage Records
www.marriagerecords.net

MP3:  click here

INDIE MUSIC Reviews & Interviews

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