Face to face with Mark Mathews

Mark Mathews

Emotional, very sincere and absolutely charming – this is the music London-based singer/songwriter Mark Mathews makes. Boasting a very interesting cultural background and having travelled a lot in his life for the ultimate experience, Mark cuts a striking performer indeed. But wait, let him tell you all about it…

– Your single London Lives is out. How was the song born?

– The song came about from me first moving to London. I lived in a tiny room in a shitty part of Camden Town and just had a ball! After one particular mental weekend, with someone who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, I picked up my guitar and ‘London Lives’ came out.

– You are based in London. What do you like most of all about living in the city?

– I love how diverse it is. Everyone is catered for and can get involved with whatever they love. I love how I can get on a bus and it be filled with every race, creed and sexuality known to man and no one batters an eyelid. I’ve been round the world and I am yet to find a more culturally diverse city.

– You busk a lot in London. What are your favourite things about busking? What are your secrets to being a successful busker?

– I absolutely LOVE busking. I love how it offers me a chance to practice and try out new songs on the public. People in the tube are trying to get from A-B and are not looking for that journey to be interrupted. So, if a song makes them stop, dance, smile or give money I know that the song has something that works. It is a fantastic way to hone your craft.

With regards to secrets to being successful, they’re secrets and I can’t share them!

– How do you usually write music? How do your songs appear?

– I never sit down and proclaim “I shall now write a song”. Any time I have done that the songs have been awful. I basically, play guitar everyday and sometimes I write and other times I don’t. Up until a few days ago I hadn’t written anything for months. Songs just fall out of the sky for me. I cannot chase them.

– You’ve travelled a lot around the world. What do you usually take away from those trips and how do you incorporate it into your music?

– I don’t make a conscious effort to incorporate it into my songs, however the themes I tend to write about are to do with escaping and freedom, so I guess the freedom that comes from travelling may play a part in my writing.

– What role does meeting as many people as you do play in music making and inspiration for your music?

– It matters a lot. I write about people and actions and things that go on in my life. Meeting people often inspires me to write. If I honestly think about all my songs I’ve written the majority of them have been inspired by someone pissing me off or someone who has made me happy or made me look at something from another perspective…I of course will also not be naming any names!

– You discovered music in a very interesting way. What band can you call the most important one of your life?

– The Beatles are without a shadow of a doubt the most important band for me. They were the ones that really made me take note and listen to music and songwriting properly. They made me see how a three and a half minute pop tune could actually resonate and impact someones life hugely, and was not simply something that was throw-a-way.

– Do you remember the moment when you realised you wanted to be a musician? How did it happen?

– It would have been when Definitely Maybe came out. Up to that point I was just a fan of music and songwriters, but when Oasis came onto the scene, particularly Noel Gallagher, I actually thought “I could do that”, so I got a crappy £30 guitar and taught myself to write and play.

– Your mother is from Spain and father -from Northern Ireland. How do these two cultural backgrounds find reflection in your music?

– I really do not know to be honest. In my everyday life I think the Spanish side of me comes out in my temper and passion and my Northern Irish part is finding the humour in most of life. It’s a real dichotomy, because I’ll be arguing a point whilst simultaneously trying to make you laugh. I think the best pop music has that juxtaposition, where the music is up-beat and happy and the lyrics slightly sombre and dark. My second single, ‘The Girl’ which is released in August, is a perfect example of this, so maybe my heritages do affect me. I don’t know.

– What are your plans for the nearest future?

– I have a ton of gigs going on and on the last Saturday of every month I play with my full band, ‘The One Ts’. I release “The Girl”on August 25th and the video will be out a couple of weeks before and let me tell you, it is mega!

Find Mark Mathews on Facebook

Photo by Cecilia Paulsson



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