EMQ’s With LEATHERBACK
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Chester, UK based, one-man Industrial/Post-Metal act Leatherback. Huge thanks to Matt for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
I’m Matt and I play a bit of everything really, but it mostly comes down to guitars and synths. I started Leatherback at the beginning of 2018 as a writing project in my spare time and released a 4-part concept EP collection called ‘The Cycle’. It’s an instrumental mix of heavy metal, electronica and noise. I generally just refer to myself as Industrial metal though as it seems to be the best catch-all for what I do.
How did you come up with your band name?
I’d been trying to think of a name for ages and was really struggling to come up with something that didn’t sound crap or corny, but one night (probably early hours of the morning to be honest) I was scrolling through Reddit and I came across this picture of the inside of a Leatherback turtle’s mouth and I just remember thinking “That is the most metal thing I’ve ever seen”, which was just like a splinter that stuck in my head from there.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
I’m originally from Norwich in Norfolk and the rock scene down there is pretty good, but quiet when you’ve been out of it for a while, I sometimes play in a two-piece garage rock band down there called The Bad Apples. But now I live up in Chester and I have to say, I feel really welcomed by the metal community up here.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
I have a YouTube channel that I have started releasing semi-regular videos on that’s mainly clips from live shows, but my latest big release was a split EP with a Black Metal artist and buddy of mine, Iskalade Morket called ‘Bleak’. It’s super dark and evil.
Who have been your greatest influences?
Number one would be Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, I’m fascinated by all the recording techniques he uses, especially on a load of the mid-90’s stuff like Downwards Spiral and Broken which is something I tend to lean on when I’m writing for Leatherback. There’s also Mick Gordon and the DOOM 2016 soundtrack. That album was pretty much the spark that started Leatherback. Lastly, I’d have to say this band called HIDE from Chicago. I saw them live in Manchester last year and they absolutely blew my mind, they were so intense and visceral which became a massive influence on my live show, definitely a must check out!
What first got you into music?
I’m not really sure to be honest, there’s always been some form of music in my life. My Grandmother used to play piano and teach singing lessons which I picked up on, but it was all really religious stuff, hymns and that. So, I guess my interest in punk and heavier stuff kind of grew as a reaction to that. I remember the first time I really got into heavy metal music was when a mate of mine played me ‘The Scorpion’ by Megadeth in primary school because it had a cool sample of a news reporter talking about shotguns in it. I then got into Iron Maiden and Metallica and things went on from there.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Again, it would have to be Trent Reznor as an all-time dream, but there’s loads of people that I think are doing and have done some really interesting stuff that I’d love to work with, Mick Gordon, Imogen Heap, Justin Broadrick of Godflesh, Toby Hayes of Meet Me In St Louis, Wednesday 13, The Melvins, Daughters, Author and Punisher just to name a few.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Probably Download, I’ve had some real good times there (matter of fact it was my first ever festival) so it holds a bit of a special place for me.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Truth be told, I’ve never received a gift from a fan (is that weird?)
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Be good to each other.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
First person to come to mind is David Bowie, the dude was the epitome of cool and such a huge influence on the artists that have been a massive influence on me. Plus, if I brought him back from the dead, I hope he’d let me introduce him to my Mum and that’d which would make her decade.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I get the biggest kicks through the act of creating something that I think is special, having an idea and seeing it come to fruition. Whether that’s the music or the stage show or the artwork, it’s the process of building something that I find most exciting.
One of the things that I dislike most about being a musician is the social media side of things. It’s so easy to get caught up in how many followers you have or how many posts you put up that you forget about what you’re actually creating, which is something I feel guilty of sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, social media is a great tool for promotion and engaging with people on a personal level, but it’s so easy to get consumed by it. I try not to over-state its importance but, unfortunately with the way the world works now, social media has become a necessary evil that you can’t live without.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I’d change the way artists get paid, you can get so much done as an independent artist in today’s climate and its great, but the problem is that artists are dependent on things like merch sales from fans (which again, isn’t necessarily a problem) but the streaming royalties paid out by companies like Spotify makes it so much harder to survive, especially as streaming is now the way that people predominantly consume music.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
“Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars” by Bowie
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Personally, I think all of these have their place but for me it depends on the kind of listening experience you’re going for. I’ll stream music to listen to all day every day because it’s convenient but if I want to sit down and properly listen to an album from top to bottom, it has to be on vinyl.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
I think it was probably Metal 2 The Masses heat this year actually, it was sick! Probably the first wall of death I ever had, everyone seemed to really get into my set, I met some amazing people from the community and played on the bill with some wicked bands.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Something in film, I’m a massive movie fan. Either that or building stuff, like guitar pedals or synthesisers, I love getting into some soldering.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
David Bowie, Tom Hanks, Jeremy Irons, Eva Green and Stevie Nicks. It would be a classy affair.
What’s next for the band?
I’m working on my first full length album at the moment that I’m hoping to release later this year, so there’s that and everything that comes along with that, shows, videos, promos etc, so keep an eye out for that!
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
I’m on most of the main social media platforms but I mainly hang out on Instagram (@leatherbackworld). I also have a website that I use to keep people updated (www.leatherbackworld.com), there’s a mailing list that you can sign up to that I use to update people semi-regularly and you’ll normally get info on stuff before anyone else.
Other than that, all my releases are up on Spotify and Bandcamp.
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Most definitely a cake.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Just thanks to you guys for your questions! Looking forward to speaking with you some more. Cheers!
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