Bearded’s Guide To… Bristol. An Interview with Matt Loveridge

Cloudrunner chats to Matt Loveridge

Posted on Sep 11th, 2012 in Features and Interviews / By Cloudrunner
Bearded’s Guide To… Bristol. An Interview with Matt Loveridge Self confessed “weirdo”, Matt Loveridge (Williams), aka MXLX/Fairhorns/Klad Hest/Gnar Hest/Knife Library, is a prolific maker of electronic and experimental music, who strikes a very likeable and healthy balance of exuberance versus cynicism versus self-deprecation. Loveridge has been associated with a number of celebrated Bristol acts outside of his solo work, and is dedicated to his art and respected by his peers, and that’s not weird at all. In truth, he talks a lot of sense.

Bearded: With so many active projects or alter egos, can you explain how the material for each one emerges? Are there distinct root points in the pool of ideas that flag things up as being appropriate for particular personas, or is it a case of working on each branch independently from the beginning?

Matt: After Team Brick “disbanded”, it was a slow and kinda confusing process. I ended up taking each element that I still enjoyed from that and putting it in its own, more focused place, where things had time to expand upon their own merit, rather than being a puzzled jigsaw. So, for every project I'm working on, it'll be a mixture of the continuation of a certain aspect of the old days and a general aesthetic or reaction. I tend to cycle round projects one by one, and the last thing I did by one thing may feed into the next thing I'll do. Each project has its own quite strict not-quite dogma to it, and it's starting to make more sense the more I work on them. It's interesting to see how everything's changed in just a year or so since I started everything again, to watch them flesh out and take on their own character in ways I wasn't expecting; every project has started with this one little seed of an idea/aesthetic/reaction and kind of tumbled forward all in very different directions.

As well as these solo efforts, you are a collaborator too, what sort of things, and types of people inspire you to get involved?

I'm more likely to want to collaborate with somebody without even hearing how they play, or if they can play at all. It's always more that if somebody has the right attitude about music that'll spark something off .Whether it's how they talk about a certain band or musician, or if they're reacting against something that they would consider reductive and want to address it.
Sometimes it's a lot simpler, you will just end up in a room with somebody, and notes will start coming outta your fingers and you get that magic teenage feeling of fluttery excitement in your guts and your mouth goes dry and you can't speak. That's actually my favourite way to collaborate, totally by accident. Other times it's even simpler than that, I'll just need some people to play things that I don't have the arms to play!

What does the internet mean to you?

The internet means different things to me now than it used to; it's changed a lot in the time I've been on it (since 1998). When I first started using it, it was massively beneficial for me, as it really helped me learn how to communicate, and since then, I've always been a more effective communicator when sitting in front of a computer, as an autistic person, that seems to be quite common. You had interesting specific websites with relevant chatrooms/forums, and it was a great way for me to be able to meet people without being too shy/awkward, we'd all be able to share resources and articles about new music/art/science, whatever we were interested in.

The whole reason I started playing music live was because of the internet, you had people blowing my mind on a daily basis by showing me what they were up to, stuff I'd never even considered existed at the age I was! Meeting local promoters and local bands as well was great (and still is, don't get me wrong), but at the time I didn't even understand that you COULD be a local band and do small shows! The days of 56k were awesome for me, as you still HAD to be patient if you wanted to use the net. Broadband and web 2.0 come along and something's not quite right, and this attitude of not being able to wait 10 minutes for something and feeling entitled to everything – like you want the whole world plopped out right in your cereal bowl every morning, and GOD-DAMMIT you deserve it too – has permeated into modern life in a way I find really grating. Not that I'm not guilty of that feeling from time to time myself . . . Homogenised web-culture, irritating and countless memes upon memes - I'm not a huge fan of all this nowadays net.

The internet isn't a magical place like it was for me way back when; it's more of a commodity now, just something that's always there, ready, greased-up and waiting. When it was slower, and web pages were much more basic and not cookie-cutter – your life in a friendly little box – things, it seemed like so much more of a place for discovery. It's probably still the same in a way, but with the current influx of being bombarded with everything all at once is a real pain and makes it a chore to retain any information.

I have very much enjoyed your Twitter FanFics; can we have another one please?

I'll gladly waste another evening on twitter writing FanFics, but you'll have to send me enough booze to grease the wheels.

The video for ‘Completely Scaaaaaared’ by Gnar Hest features an animated hypnotic pterosaur; it's a low budget and brilliant thing. What would happen though, if you had an unlimited budget to make a video?

If I had an unlimited budget for videos, I think I would still prefer something crummy. I wouldn't mind being able to lock myself away for a month and make an animation. I'd probably also end up spunking a load of money on pig's blood, octopuses and fire. Actually, who am I kidding, I'll just blow the entire budget on beer, coffee and fags and make the whole video out of screengrabs of me abusing myself on Twitter.

What are the best and worst things about being an obsessive music maker?

The best things about this compulsive music making is the satisfaction of being able to get super involved in completing projects all the time, being able to totally immerse myself in these little worlds of mine, which are always much preferable to the real world, which I find upsetting and terrifying most of the time!

The worst thing about it is that as a compulsive writer, I'm also a compulsive listener and consumer of music. So, whatever little money I manage to scrape together, most of that will be spunked right out in record shops, where I can spend hours and hours just digging through racks and checking things out. Spending a lot of time at home processing the music I'm listening to eats up a lot of my day quite often too. Another thing is that as much of a joy to get completely locked into this zone-of-sound as it is, it becomes the only thing you really know how to do, so you just end up this smelly antisocial hunched-over weirdo drinking away his social anxieties in the corner! Hah! Swings et roundabouts I suppose.

Now, you’re about to up sticks for the Big Smoke, can you act as a conduit and recommend to us some lesser known acts from both cities before you go?

There's too many good bands ticking away at their little furrows to name a satisfying amount! You ask me to name some and I'm overwhelmed with names, so I won't name any! Eat that!

It would take a feature on each project to describe Loveridge’s work effectively, the best course of action is to buy his records and see him play live, or ply him with alcohol and watch his Twitter feed for a night. Label owners take note, he’s currently looking for a home for a Gnar Hest full length album, in the meantime let’s all go wild on the internet, grab a copy of the Fairhorns release on Invada, and get excited about the upcoming MXLX release, Black Meta.