from England by way of Australia, and owned and operated by pop impresario
Sean Hocking, Hong Kong based Metal Postcard is making sonic
waves with some
truly mind-boggling recordings, including a 2014 album by the U.K.
based pop ensemble Matthew Edwards & The Unfortunates.
A gifted 21st century pop-rock artist / composer with an ear that
spans decades of styles and genres, Edwards sounds influenced by U.K.
like Bowie and Morrissey. Assisting him on his solo debut, entitled
The Fates, Matthew has enlisted some fine players
in his ensemble, including guest spots from one time Henry Cow guitarist
Fred Frith, who adds in some of his patented progressive electric
guitar sounds on key tracks. Throughout the 11 track album, Edwards
introduces a wide range of musical concepts, merging progressive rock,
cabaret, pop and more. From start to finish, The Fates makes
for highly charged sonic joyride that is also quite a lot of fun to
listen to. In the following interview with mwe3.com, Matthew Edwards
gives a track by track synopsis of the various songs on The Fates
as well as discussing his working with producer Eric Drew Feldman
and also how he came to work with Henry Cow guitarist Fred Frith,
who remains something of an icon among fans of the early 1970s progressive
rock scene on the original Virgin Records label from England.
Those who enjoyed the later period Henry Cow albums with Anthony Moore
as the lead singer will enjoy The Fates. Matthew Edwards and
The Unfortunates carries the spirit of leading-edge English rock forward
into the brave new world of the 21st century. www.MatthewEdwardsAndTheUnfortunates.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
& The Unfortunates
Can you tell us where youre from originally and where you live
now and what you like best about it? I heard you were living in the
San Francisco area.
Matthew Edwards: I was born and brought up in the picturesque
inner city of Birmingham, England but lived in San Francisco for a
long time. I came back to England last summer to be closer to my mother.
mwe3: How did your new album on Metal Postcard come together
so to speak? Is this your first album? Tell us when and where the
music was written and recorded and how long the project took to make
the final CD. What is the Metal Postcard label philosophy?
Matthew Edwards: The story of how The Fates came together
is a tale of Tolstoyan length and hard to relate here. Suffice to
say, I broke up my previous group The Music Lovers when we fulfilled
our contract with Le Grand Magistery. I took a break from music as
I was fatigued and my life was topsy-turvy to say the least. I became
a temporary recluse. I then recorded an album that will never be released,
Easter In The Morning - kind of a Mickey Newberry on downers
sound. I destroyed the tapes.
I don't know what Metal Postcard and Sean's philosophy is but I admire
his chutzpah and energy... and love the diversity of the MP roster.
He's a throw back to the days of Andrew Loog Oldham/Immediate, etc.
mwe3: Who plays with you on The Fates CD and what was
the chemistry like in the studio with the other musicians? What did
Eric Drew Feldman bring to the CD sessions and how did he become involved?
Matthew Edwards: I only play music with people I like as people.
Not only admire but like. Time is too precious to deal with arseholes.
The US version of the Unfortunates are as much a social group come
cult as a band. I generally dislike 'musicians' - they are boorish
and want only to talk about music and flex their egos. I avoid them
whenever possible. Everyone I play with has an active mind, interests
away from music and a love of a drink and a talk.
Eric? I have admired Eric's work from the Magic Band on Snakefinger,
Pixies... He's a brilliant player off both bass and keys, is not afraid
to be simple or brutal or baroque. He's great producer, especially
his work with Deus and on PJ Harvey's White Chalk. I simply asked
Eric to be involved and once he'd heard the songs he said yes. If
you don't ask, you don't get as my Grandad used to say.
Also Fred Frith is playing on The Fates as well. How did you
hook up with Fred? Were you a Henry Cow fan and what is your favorite
Cow album, mine is / was In Praise Of Learning, and what tracks
did Fred play on on your CD? Your album is something youd think
Fred would play on!
Matthew Edwards: I am a Henry Cow fan. And In Praise Of
Learning is my favorite record by them too. I very much like Fred's
first solo record Guitar Solo and his work with Eno. Later
I absolutely loved Massacre... that is some wild, wild music. As per
Eric, I asked Fred and he said 'yes.' Once again, a lovely chap and
a joy to work with. He always surprises us. He plays on Accident,
The Way To The Stars, I Don't Care and Imposter.
mwe3: Can you tell us something about the album artwork for
the The Fates? Is there a location where the pics were taken?
Some remote beaches, near Hong Kong?
Matthew Edwards: Nope. A few years ago I saw a film by the
artist and filmmaker Eve Sussman The Rape Of The Sabine Women
at the Yerba Buena Arthouse in San Francisco and I was bowled over
by the power of the work. When preparing the artwork I approached
Ms. Sussman and asked if I could use a still. She very graciously
said I could.
mwe3: How creatively difficult is it to mix a great melody
with a scintillating rock performance? Is that something Fred and
Henry Cow did so well? On the track The Way To The Stars
you mix a soaring melody with some excellent guitar work. Sounds like
Fred. Is that track really about being English? I imagine that track
must go down well live. Is that one of your favorites from the CD?
Matthew Edwards: The Way To The Stars will not
be played live again until Fred joins us onstage to play it. I love
the song but circumstances have to be perfect for me to perform it.
Not wishing to appear precious but it works better playing it in the
U.S. rather than England. No, it's not site specific, nor is it about
being English per se. More it is about willful self-sabotage which
is in itself a very 'English' trait. Ha!
What guitars do you prefer and what instruments are you playing on
your new CD? Do you still practice on instruments or do you mostly
concentrate on song writing?
Matthew Edwards: I never practice. I pick up the guitar to
write and play shows. I have no interest in improving as a musician
and if I do 'improve' it'll be without attempting to. I love playing
but I have to have a reason. I have never 'jammed' in my life. However,
we do extend, change, molest the songs live but it's never premeditated.
On the album I play mostly acoustic - a 1968 Guild. On The Imposter
I played a Hagstrom.
mwe3: Who are some of your favorite singers? What are some
of you favorite least known singers? You said youre a big Laura
Nyro fan. What are your favorite Nyro song and what is one of her
least known classics in your opinion?
Matthew Edwards: I adore Laura Nyro and could bang on about
her 'til the cows come home. Suffice to say New York Tenderberry
is my favorite album. I generally love female singers - Laura, Dagmar
Krause, Annette Peacock. Male singers - Donny Hathaway, Lux Interior,
Tim Hardin, The Congos. Just off the top of my head.
mwe3: What challenges do indy artists find and what are the
ways an artist can make a breakthrough in 2015? What ways are you
going in to bring your music to the world stage?
Edwards: I have no idea. I do what I can. I'm fair and I treat
people with respect. I would like more success and I want more people
to hear our work and I'll try my best to get it out there but I won't
prostitute myself... I'm too old and I wouldn't make much. Ha!
mwe3: Every song on The Fates is original except I
Dont Care which was written by The Ramones. Whats
the scoop on that track and what the song means to you?
Matthew Edwards: Jefferson Marshall, the bass-player and Barry
Burst, the old bass player and I were drunk in the Lucky 13 bar in
San Francisco one night and it came on. I thought it'd work as a Gene
Pitney song. When I sobered up we tried it and it sound like the wobbly
psychedelic drone piece it is today! If you don't like The Ramones
you don't like life.
mwe3: Is the lead off track Accident sort of autobiographical?
Matthew Edwards: Yes. I had an car accident on a hillside in
Marin County and this song describes the psychic aftermath.
mwe3: Ghost is another cool song with an amazing
middle section that sounds like a time warp into the twilight zone.
Matthew Edwards: Oh, thats Eric on mellotron doing his
Jack Bruce ice-skating in hell thing.
mwe3: English Blues is easily a hi-point of The
Fates. Is there a story behind that song? Its really indescribable...
a new musical genre. Is there a reason you didnt want to print
the lyrics to the songs? Some dont need it. Even Procol Harum
used to print at least four of their lyrics on a couple albums, sort
of to keep the intrigue alive.
Edwards: I have been approached by a literary agent to represent
me on another project but my lyrics might form part of that. Who knows?
Maybe I should take the Procol Harum route next?
mwe3: Dizzy has a kind of swingle singers mid section
and the song has a kind of dark humour. Also nice string work on that
Matthew Edwards: That's Adaiha... she arranges the strings
and cello. Yeah, there's a drunken Harpers Bizarre outro sung by Sasha,
Adaiha and I. Very swingin'.
mwe3: The Imposter has a kind of Lou Reed feel
to it. Although instead of hard rock guitar solo you have a cello
solo in it which is cool!
Matthew Edwards: Once again, Adaiha.
mwe3: How about Sandrine Bonnaire? Is that song
based on a true story? It sounds like Donovan a bit... great song
in its own right.
Matthew Edwards: Thank you. Nope, not truth. I had a dream
where Sandrine Bonnaire was trying to kill me. I'd just watched Mississippi
Mermaid which I think triggered it.
mwe3: Tell us about the next Matthew Edwards & The Unfortunates
album? Will it be equally rocking as The Fates? What kind of
album would you like to make next? Can you imagine touring the world
with Fred playing lead guitar on some tracks?
Matthew Edwards: Is the The Fates rocking? Thank you.
The UK version of The Unfortunates has recorded the basics for the
second album already. Our drummer here Derick Simmonds is a very old
friend and has taken my writing somewhere else. Inspiring times...
We've have already done sessions in San Francisco with Fred and Eric.
I got Adaiha to sing and play more percussion and my old accordionist
Isaac to switch to guitar. I have another guest on the record too
but I can't tell you who she is.
original concept was a folk-rock La Dusseldorf but it's gone way beyond
that. It's both more rock and roll and far more low-key than The
Fates by turn.
Fred? Of course I'd love him to play with us but he's a busy fella
with a family to feed. I'm just glad he does what he does.
The new record will be out on Metal Postcard in late 2015 entitled
We are available to play at your county fair, art opening or vaudeville
show in 2015!
Thanks to Matthew
Edwards and the Sean Hocking of Metal