Interview mit Matt Abbott von Skint&Demoralised

The Postie hatte die große Ehre einInterview mit Matt Abbott von der britischen Band Skint&Demoralised führen zu dürfen. Die Band wird gleich ihr mittlerweile drittes Studioalbum veröffentlichen.  

The Postie: Hey. First of all congrats for the new single! I think it is a great piece of work.

377597_10151232319226836_1226598133_nBefore you began to make music you were a poet/ comedian. But what made you change from comedy to music? The special thing about your music is ist message and espacially the honesty of your lyrics. I am always wondering who influenced your sound and especially your lyrics?

S&D: My two main influences when I started performing comedic poetry were John Cooper Clarke and Bill Hicks. JCC is a legendary punk poet from Salford and to this day I still believe that he’s the greatest wordsmith the 20th Century ever produced. Bill Hicks as I’m sure you’re aware is a political comedian, and it was a fusion of their two styles plus my own personal twist that formed the basis of my early stand-up gigs.

The main difference was that I performed these sets of comedic poetry at music gigs and in music venues; so even though it wasn’t music, it was within a musical arena, and music was always something that I wanted to be involved in. The trouble was that I couldn’t play an instrument or sing in the slightest, so really I did the comedic poetry because I had no other option.

After a few months, a producer (MiNI dOG) found my poetry online and started layering it over some dance instrumentals that he’d recorded, and that’s how S&D as a band was born.

The Postie: The message in your songs is very clear and sometimes critical. What are you willing to achieve with it?

S&D: All I’ve ever wanted is to (a) write lyrics that are 100% honest and (b) hopefully have people relate to them. My poetry quite often has a strong left-wing political message and is very critical of the Conservative Party and the (fascist) BNP, but the lyrics in my songs are simple and honest and don’t really have an agenda, other than trying to be conceived as great pieces of art.

The Postie: In the last few decades a lot changes have taken place in music-bussiness and -industry. Few weeks ago the record company HMV went bankrupt. Digital downloads become more and more popular. What are your thoughts about this process?

S&D: I think it’s a double-edged sword; in a way, music is now a lot more accessible because people can purchase/download it from anywhere around the globe and at any time of day. So I could release an album, and within ten minutes somebody from New Zealand or Northumberland could be listening to it.

However, it has also dramatically decreased the value that music holds for the vast majority; the common notion is, „why should I pay for music when I can download it for free?“ and I find this very sad. People don’t see music as something to be cherished and appreciated; it is very much a „throw-away“ commodity, which as a knock-on effect means that people don’t necessarily appreciate the artistic merit or the effort that comes with an album.

Similarly, the way that people consume music has devalued a lot. Instead of listening carefully to an album on vinyl and cherishing the details and intricacies of the mix, they listen to a low-quality mp3 on their mobile phone or watch a low-quality video on YouTube.

Finally, as a former employee and regular customer of HMV, I think it’s very sad to see them struggle. However, the battle with online suppliers was always inevitably going to be lost. The HMV stores were battling with HMV.com, which is ridiciulous. I discovered many of my favourite films by popping into HMV, browsing and randomly reading DVD blurbs, but I have to admit that I didn’t buy a lot of music from them in the last year or so, unless it was something that I specifically wanted.

The main issue with the music industry is that they failed to adapt, and instead of embracing the digital revolution, they attempted to fight it for far too long. Major record companies were still spending money as if they were realistically going to sell a few million copies of every album that they released; even during the S&D campaign they were spending £20,000 or £30,000 on a music video – some of which were never even released. It is baffling how stubborn and ignorant the major record labels have been over the last 5 years or so, and now they’re suffering as a result. Less money is available to develop new artists, acts are dropped before their debut album has even been released and everybody is too scared to sign something new because they can’t afford to lose even more money.

It is a worrying time for music and I don’t think many people will pay for it in a decade, but hopefully live music will still be going strong and bands will make a living through means over than record sales.

The Postie: Do you think that there are differences between Germany and Great Britain when it comes to politics and youth culture?

S&D: I honestly don’t know enough about German politics and youth culture at the moment. All I can say about Great Britain is that the vast majority of young people are completely disengaged and uninterested when it comes to politics, and that apathy seems to be the trend for most adults as well. The media has dragged politicians‘ reputations through the mud over the last few years and it just seems to be one scandal from the next, which of course will have a knock-on effect for voter turnout at elections. One positive seems to be that the (fascist) BNP have dwindled in support over the last few years because at one point it appeared as though they could be a genuine threat, although as the public become more and more ignorant when it comes to politics, it allows the Conservatives to basically do what they like.

The Postie: Is there any track or band that became very important to you lately?

S&D: I was recently introduced to Arab Strap and I fell in love with them straight away. In many ways their debut album is quite similar to the new S&D album, even though I’d never heard it when we wrote „The Bit Between The Teeth“. My favourite Arab Strap tracks at the moment are „I Work In A Saloon“, „The First Big Weekend“ and „Deeper“, and if you’ve never listened to them then I strongly advise you doing so!

The Postie: What’s your proudest achievement to date?

S&D: That’s a very good question! I’ve achieved quite a lot of things that I’m very proud of over the last 6 years with S&D, but right now I would honestly say that my proudest achievement is the new album. I think that lyrically and musically it is far superior to anything that we’ve done before, all of the artwork is fantastic, we’re producing a photography and short story booklet to accompany the download and the first music video we’ve done is brilliant as well. So even though the album hasn’t been released yet and might not even be successful, it is still my proudest achievement to date.

The Postie: Do you have a favourite concert anecdote you can still laugh about?

S&D: What goes on tour stays on tour!

The Postie: Your new album „The Bit Between The Teeth“ will be released digitally on 8th April vie Heist Or Hit Records. What are your expectations? Are you excited about it? And what’s the explanation for this significant title?

420233_10151253006976836_1376612586_nS&D: I am excited about it, yes, although I can’t honestly say that I have any expectations for it. I know that we have a core group of fans that will download and hopefully enjoy the album, and it’s great to be played on BBC 6Music so early on, but I don’t know if we’ll enjoy the same level of mainstream success as we did with the debut album. Anything that we do achieve is a bonus, and if we manage to do well enough for Heist Or Hit Records to manufacture a CD copy then I’ll be absolutely delighted.

The Postie: As for the fans of your music I’d like to know if there is any chance that you will be coming to Europe this year or will it be more like a „national“ thing?

S&D: Unfortunately I very much doubt we’ll be coming to Europe this year. This isn’t because we don’t want to of course but because we can’t afford it, and realistically we don’t have a big enough profile for promoters to pay for us to come over. But we played Germany in late 2011 and I’d be delighted to return, so fingers crossed for 2014 maybe! It all depends on how well „The Bit Between The Teeth“ does I suppose, but I won’t be getting my hopes up.

The Postie: And a last question. What would you call a perfect friday night?

S&D: Playing a sold out gig to a great crowd and then partying afterwards with the band and my best mates – preferably somewhere like London, Dublin, Berlin, Glasgow, Manchester or Brighton, but anywhere would do!

The Postie: Thank you so much for your time. It really means a lot to me, that you took your time to answer my questions. I wish you good luck for the release of your album. Greetings from Germany, Heidelberg.

Hier könnt ihr euch die aktuelle Single von Skint&Demoralised anhören:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh-wjY4he70&w=560&h=315]

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