Chelmsford, Essex, home to the famous V Festival, a rollercoaster of a live music scene, and some talented musicians as well. One of those talented musicians is Matt Herbert, a 12 string guitar player and singer, who sparked my interest earlier in the year. I caught up with him to find out all about his new solo CD, and much more besides!
1) We like to ask all our new acts to introduce themselves to music.co.uk, so what should we know about Matt Herbert?
Ok my name is Matt Herbert, I’m 28 years old, and I play the 12 string acoustic guitar and sing. It’s pretty new to me, I’ve come from a punk and metal background, but I’ve found this now and I love it. I find it easy and honest to play, which is what it’s all about for me.
2) How do you find it, playing solo, and in a band set-up?
The music is a different beast when we are full band, the solo shows are a lot more laid back and intimate which is really nice. Also I have to play better when the shows are solo, because I have nobody to cover up my mistakes. A lot of the songs work better solo as well.
3) What’s been the best thing you’ve done so far musically?
I played the London International Music Show 2009 for Trace Elliot, demoing their brand new acoustic guitar amp; that was great. Musically though, I’m still pleased that I manage to play the thing sometimes. I’m really accident prone and I always seem to hurt my fingers. I also drive 18 tonne trucks and I once slammed my finger underneath the shutter on the truck, which pretty much took the end off. There was a lot of blood, and it was just after I started working with Faith Guitars so I was really worried. But its ok, a little bit flat, but its fine. I had a show about 3 days after, but I had a bandage on, so I had to use a pencil to keep my whole finger away from the neck so that I could use the 3 good fingers I had left.
4) Do you have any memorable gig stories to share with us?
I’ve been lucky enough to have played some great shows, in front of some great people. You can’t please everybody all the time unfortunately and sometimes they choose to heckle me. There was a time at a show a guy was showing off in front of his girlfriend and his mates, and giving me a hard time. He was right in front of me making a lot of hand gestures which I didn’t like, and was eventually taken out of the bar by the door staff. That was pretty weird.
5) What first appealed to you about playing the guitar, and have you ever wanted to take up any other instruments?
I started playing the guitar when I was 8 years old. I won the premium bonds and I got £50. My mum asked me what I wanted, and I said a guitar. I think my parents thought it would end up in the cupboard never to be seen, but I proved them both wrong I suppose. The thing that made me want to play guitar was Brian May the guitarist in Queen. From the age of 8 until I was about 13 I didn’t listen to any other bands. I can play the drums a little, and I played bass for my mate’s punk band for a few shows. I would love to learn the banjo.
6) What are your views on all the websites out there you can upload music to? Are they effective, are there too many of them?
I think on the most part they are a great thing. I don’t think anybody has really got the balance right yet, although I think that has a lot to do with the fact that people sign up to hear more about an act, and then that artist or band take advantage of this and spam people ( I think I can be guilty of this sometimes).
I think there probably are too many sites like Myspace that will let you upload your profile, if there were only 1 or 2 it would work a lot better.
7) Rumour has it your producing a new solo C.D, what can we expect from that?
Ah yes, I will be recording a brand new solo CD, and should have about 4 tracks on it. I will be re-recording the song “Saved Me”, but everything else will be brand new. I’m definitely looking to go into the studio and be very honest, a lot more honest than I ever have been. In fact, I think, and I hope the CD will be a turning point in my song writing and my approach to the songs.
8) Newton Faulkner spoke to us about a gig that he did in a hot air balloon for a radio broadcast, what would your fantasy gig be?
Well I definitely wouldn’t get into a hot air balloon! In fact, I can only think that I would’ve liked to play the Astoria in London. I know its not there any more, but when I started this, that was my goal. The Mayor moved my goal posts eh, But I think apart from that I’d love to play the 100 Club on Oxford Street.
9) Is there anyone you’ve seen or heard about on a reality TV show that you would say YES to?
In a word, no!
10) What would you say to people out there to sell Chelmsford, and our music?
There are some great acts in Chelmsford, and I don’t just say that cos I’m friends with them, most are definitely worth a look. I do think that Chelmsford music is in danger of ruining itself. The same bands will play a paid entry gig, in the same month as a free entry gig! That to me is the venues fault.
Barhouse is by far the best venue in Chelmsford! Great sound system with a great soundman, and the guys that run it have got it right I think. The other venues in town need to charge on the door so some of that money can go to the bands to get to their next show. I figure that if I go to watch a band, and I pay to get in, I pay knowing or thinking that they will get some of that money, and that I’m helping them.
11) If you could play/collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
I’m not sure. Id love to collaborate with a band called The Living End. Really like those guys, and obviously I’d love to play guitar with Brain May. My mind has gone blank other than that.
12) Outside of music, how do you spend your time?
To be honest I don’t do much, I work driving Lorries around the South of England mainly. I enjoy snowboarding. I’ve done 3 seasons now, I’ve been a snowboard guide in France, and I have done 2 seasons in New Zealand.
13) We’ve not had much of a summer, shops are already getting ready for Christmas, it’s getting a bit annoying, but what gets you on your soapbox?
Yeah people that wear real fur. That gets my back up. I have been vegetarian now for 7 years and I really enjoy it. I went vegetarian, because I don’t believe I am that important, that something should have to die, just so that I can have a snack! There are so many other things I could eat! But the fur thing really gets me, it’s just a fashion thing, and I see no point at all in people buying it.
14) Finally, if we asked you to play us a song right now, what would you sing?
If you asked me to play one song I’d struggle, because I normally like to play all of them. But I suppose I’d play my song “Saved Me”, but id just carry on and play them all anyway!
15) And one last thing do you have a website, or My Space link you’d like to plug to our readers?
We’ll have all the news, and a review of Matt Herbert’s solo CD soon, in the meantime why not check out one of the links he’s mentioned above, there’s some interesting musical treats on both!