Matthew van der Want is terug met sy nuwe album terrorlove ná ’n rukkie se stilte. Dié album word die 22ste Julie vrygestel. Klyntji het met hom hieroor gepraat, oor sy skryfproses en waar hy op die oomblik is.
- Hoe lank het terrorlove se totstandkomings-proses geneem?
The whole thing has taken about two years from writing the first song in June 2014 to its release in July 2016. It’s the first album I’ve done that I have deliberately and self-consciously focused around a theme, as opposed to just recording the last ten songs I’ve written, as was the case with my other albums. Once the theme and ideas that I wanted to communicate with the album were in place, the songs came quickly, without the struggles that characterised my songwriting previously. I then spent a long time and lots of energy on recording the songs. In fact, the recording took well over a year of pretty much daily work on it.
I’m also very happy that Just Music has got behind the album. They’re being great to me. I was getting very despondent doing that side of the work myself.
- Musikant wees is nou nie jou dayjob nie – so jy is seker beperk tot jou vrye tyd as dit kom by skryf en opneem?
Yes, I am limited by my work as an attorney. But because I run my own law firm, I am able to make the time to work on my music and have been able to spend many, many (many) hours working on the album, often until late at night, emerging bleary eyed to help people with their legal problems in the morning.
- Verder met daai work-life balance: dis prokureur wees en dan is daar nog familielewe. Jy noem op die firma se webwerf dat jou kitaar vir eers “bagged/boxed/binned” is. Ook: “I confirm that James Phillips was right when he said that being a musician in South Africa is like climbing a fire-escape with a grand piano strapped to your back handing R100 notes to anyone you pass on the way down. Or up.” Tog is jy hier en terug met nog ’n album – what changed?
I’ve always struggled with the fact that my music doesn’t appeal to everybody because of its very personal nature. On the one hand, I think the musical work I’ve done is important and deserves more recognition than it has received, but on the other hand, I came to realise and accept that working in this market making the type of music that I make was never going to make me enough money to live the life I want to live and to support my three lovely daughters. So I stopped doing it for a living, which has really helped me to learn to just enjoy the process of writing and recording songs, without the pressure of having to worry about whether anyone was going to buy the stuff and support my live performances. I’ve found it quite freeing creatively not to rely on music for money. My music has really become a tool I use to cope with the harder things and more complicated and difficult emotions that I face. I use it as a weird sort of therapy these days.
- Jou musiek word geken vir donker lirieke oor die lewe, liefde en bestaan. In ’n goeie manier. Uit wat put jy inspirasie? Is daar tye wat jy die pen neersit? Wat is die dryf agter die musiek? Die nuwe album dui aan dat daar ’n interplay is tussen “terror” en “love”.
I’ve only ever been able to write songs about what I feel. It’s a way of writing that is often in danger of being too introspective and losing its intended audience. That’s why it makes me so happy when somebody tells me that a song I have written has moved them or made them feel less alone with their own feelings. Because that tells me that I’m not alone with mine, and that what I feel is acceptable and understandable and that it is possible for someone I don’t even know to relate to my feelings. It’s powerful and lovely to communicate successfully about intense, difficult and complicated emotions with someone you don’t know.
I’m now grateful for the fact that I don’t think I will ever be able to stop writing songs, even if I wanted to. My songs and my music is an important part of me. I use the process of writing and recording songs, of expressing myself through music, to soothe myself and to process and understand difficult, awkward, and often lonely thoughts and feelings.
Terrorlove began as a break up record, but luckily I found myself cheering up a bit as I worked on the album. I wrote a couple of songs during mid 2014 about the disintegration of one of those relationships that hindsight tells you was a huge mistake from the start. The type of relationship that is a bad decision, a disaster waiting to happen, moths and flames etc, and when it unravelled, I had to think seriously about relationships, and about what can go wrong when two people become close, and why it goes wrong, and why loving somebody and being loved by somebody can be so terrifying. That led me to make all of the songs on the album be a sort of contemplation about the scary parts of becoming close to someone. The terrifying side of love. Terrorlove!
Lucy is track 7 op terrorlove.
- Jy is hierdie jaar weer terug by The Unsea se Top Bar. Jy was by elke Oppikoppi van 1996 tot 2005, en het toe teruggekeer in 2011. Nou weer in 2016. Jy het ook vanjaar ’n draai gemaak by die Nasionale Kunstefees in Grahamstad. Hoe het dit verander om op die verhoog te wees sedert die Shifty Records dae in die 90’s tot nou? Ons hoor jy het een keer opgehou speel tot die gehoor ophou raas het.
To be honest, I have always struggled with the performance side of music, and my focus these days is to get material recorded nicely so that it is there and there for good. When I was younger, I used to struggle a lot with the fact that people talked while I played. My music is the type that really demands to be listened to, otherwise it loses its point. So yes, I used to become angry with audiences who didn’t seem to care about me while I sat there spilling my guts and revealing vulnerable parts of me. I took it as a rejection of me somehow, which I know it wasn’t, but it felt like that.
These days, I try to enjoy the live performances by just putting myself into the moment as much as I can regardless of what the audience is doing (or even regardless of whether there is an audience). I have really enjoyed putting the terrorlove material together into a show and using some of the album’s sounds while I play. That’s what I’m doing for this Oppikoppi show in 2016. Really looking forward to playing.
I’ve also been enjoying playing the piano again as opposed to just the guitar.
I must just also say that if everybody treated me with the decency and respect that the Oppikoppi people have always treated me over the years, I would probably write much happier songs! They have always been so supportive towards me and my relationship with the Oppikoppi team means a lot to me.
- Jy is al ’n hele paar keer om die blok – enige advies of mantra wat jy kan deel met ’n jongeling? Of laat jy die musiek eerder praat? Is daar hoop?
There’s always hope. I think the most important thing with songs and probably with life too is to keep it honest. Write about what you know. Tell what you think is the truth. Be yourself and allow yourself to be vulnerable. We’re all lovable.