Somojo Magazine

Would you mind introducing yourselves and telling us what instruments you play?
Lewis – My name is Lewis Wright and I’m the
vocalist of Matchstickmen.
Probes - I’m Paul Robins, people call me Probes and I play Guitar with this bunch of idiots.
Peter – Peter… guitar.
Ryan - Hay, I am Ryan and i ‘slappa de bass’ guitar.
Barrie - Barrie and drums.

Barrie - Sleepwalking EP, like clockwork single… both releases are available from iTunes.
Matchstickmen Live at the 02 will be released on 7th
December to coincide with our show in O2
Academy, Liverpool with Electric Six.

How long has the current band line up been together?
Peter - About 3 months.

How did you meet each other?
Lewis – I was introduced to Probes through a friend and met Ryan shortly after.
Peter - I was a fan of the band before I joined and had collaborated with Lewis in my previous band.
Ryan - I met Probes and Lewis when I was in an old band and met Barrie and Peter in work.
Barrie – I met Lewis, Ryan and Peter through work, and met probes when I joined the band.

How did you come up with your name?
Peter - My mum gave it to me when I was born :D
Ryan - From an old song called Matchstickmen about horrible scally’s
Barrie – Haven’t the foggiest, I joined and the name was already in place.

Did you always want to be in a band?
Lewis –I’ve always wanted to be some sort of performer but it took a few years to find out which way I wanted to channel this. Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots helped me make the right decision.
.Probes – Yes.
Peter - Hell yeah.
Ryan - I think I did. I was brought up on bands and love music so I think I was bound to end up in a band.
Barrie – I had been in bedroom bands with my mates before but after I met Lewis and Ryan and they asked me to come down for a few jams… I knew this is want I wanted to .

What music did you listen to while growing up?
Lewis – Def Leopard, Belinda Carlisle and Richard Marx and of course Faith No More but in my teens I got into Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains … the whole grunge scene really.
Probes - Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses, Therapy?, Rage, Dinosaur Jr.
Peter - Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, Linkin Park, Deep Purple.
Ryan - Pink Floyd, The Doors, Led Zep, Jeff Buckley,The Cure, Nirvana. Good music!
Barrie - Guns N’ Roses, Van Halen, general 80’s rock.

How long have you played your instruments?
Lewis – I was in a choir when I was a boy with a voice that would make Alid Jones weep but puberty came along… and I had to start all over again lol.
Probes - 20 yrs
Peter - 7 years.
Ryan - I’ve been playing bass for about 3-4 years now, I have been a guitarist in other bands
Barrie - 7 - 8 years.

What was your first instrument?

Lewis – Trumpet. My teacher told me that when I got the trumpet home from school that I needed to bathe it to give it a good clean… but no one told me that I wasn’t supposed to get in the bath with it. My mum walked in and was shocked to see her son playing a trumpet badly in full to the brim bubble bath ha ha.
Probes - Tin whistle.
Peter - Keyboard.
Ryan - Do pots and pans count? Fender telecaster. My dad got me it for my 17th birthday.
Barrie - I used to rock out on the recorder baby!!! But seen sense many years later.


What is your current equipment?
Lewis – Whatever mics and pa Vulcan rehearsal studios and the venues provide for me. I do use a megaphone 25w megaphone on some of our songs and play the harmonica on Wilson’s Lane.
Probes - Prs soap bar, marshall 100vs head, custom marshall cab with 3 x g12t-75 and 1 marshall wolverine
Peter - Les Paul imitation guitar with a Marshall Valvestate amp, with a VOX Wah wah pedal in the middle.
Ryan - A f***ing big fender bass amp and yamaha bass.
Barrie - Pearl export exl kit, sabian xs20 range cymbals, iron cobra double bass pedal.

Are you self taught or did you have lessons?
Lewis – Learnt the basics myself but have had a few lessons and have purchased vocal coaching cd’s.
Probes - Self taught
Peter - Self taught out of necessity. I didn’t know any other musicians back then.
Ryan - My dad showed me a few chords and then I picked up the rest from some old book my uncle had.
Barrie - lessons, tried to teach myself some things, but think you mostly need a teacher.

If you had an unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
Probes - Hendrix’s strat
Peter - A Marshall stack, A Gibson Les Paul, a PRS SE guitar and a pleck made out of one of Slash’s teeth.
Ryan - A Gibson SG

Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio?
Lewis – No, I use a different mic, one solely used for recording.
Probes – Yes.
Peter - Yes.
Ryan - I use the same bass but get the sound I use from the comp levels.
Barrie – I try to, but if there is another drum kit at the venue, can save me a lot of time rather than lugging around an entire drum kit.

Do you record at a purpose built studio or do you record at home with portable digital equipment or pc/mac with audio software?
Lewis – Both. As part of our songs writing process, the other record riffs/demos and send them to me to have a play about with on my mac.
Probes - Both
Peter – I record demos at home on my mac andsend it around to other band members, but prefer to record full songs at a purpose built studio.
Ryan – Both, We have are own recording equipment, which is really good gear so we can do good sounding recordings. We also go to studios to compare recordings with ours.
Barrie - For band recordings we use the purpose built studio, but I like doing a lot of recording
myself at home.

Which software do you use?
Lewis – Garageband at home. At the moment we use Cubase at a studio.
Probes – Cubase.
Peter - Garageband when at home. Mostly Cubase at a studio.
Ryan - Cubase… the SX3 version I think.
Barrie –Cubase.

.Do you have any new recordings planned?
Lewis – Hopefully soon… we’ve been discussing that a lot lately.
Probes – Yes.
Peter - Yes.
Ryan - Loads I hope.
Barrie - I’m expecting we’ve got a few lined up.

Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
Probes - Its a mighty roller coaster, can range from tedious, frustrating and annoying when its going wrong to really rewarding and inspiring when it all clicks.
Peter - Yes, it’s fun and definitely gets easier.
Ryan - I enjoy doing it. Its good to listen to what others are hearing instead of just concentrating on your own instrument. I feel it makes us tighter as a band too.

Do you try to capture your ‘live’ sound on recordings or do you think that the ‘live’ sound and recorded sound should be different experiences for your fans?
Lewis – We’re quite an intense band live so it’s a difficult process to try and intertwine the two.
Probes - Its good to capture the unique sound of the band with a similar guitar sound and voicing’s on recordings, so that recordings sound similar to live performances but they are definitely 2 different entities. A recording sound is well rounded, without mistakes and easy to listen to time after time. A live sound should be raw, spontaneous and unique to that moment, that’s why you go to gigs. To capture that on a recording is impossible, it’ll never seem the same after the event. It’s all about the moment man, all about the moment.
Peter - I just start playing and see what happens. I prefer to sound the same both live and recorded, so the audience gets a familiar feeling from your sound. It’s easy to create strange sounds on a recording, but if you can’t replicate it live it sometimes sounds weaker.
Ryan - I think it’s hard to capture ‘live’ sounds on recording. Our live shows are full of energy due to the crowd and I think it would be hard to move all that energy on to a recording.
Barrie - I feel like we try to capture out live sound when recording so fans can enjoy the recordings more, but I think that fans should be given something extra when they come to see us play live.

Do you any favourite tracks from your original material?
Lewis – ‘Like Clockwork’ and ‘Throwing Stones’ but ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Taxi Rank’ are live favourite’s for me.
Probes – ‘Longridge’, ‘Drifter Love’, ‘Sexy bulletproof mama… baby’,’Wilson’s Lane’.
Peter – ‘Drifter Love!’
Ryan – ‘Taxi Rank’ and ‘Jealous Times’.
Barrie - it’s got to be ‘Jealous Times’, its just so fun to be playing when I’m up on stage.

Who are the main songwriters for the band?
Lewis – We all have input into the creation of each song.
Probes - At the mo, me n Lew come up with the initial idea.
Peter - I like to think all of us help. We all have different ideas but manage to put our own spin on it when writing our parts to other peoples ideas.
Ryan - Every one apart from me :S  Lewis usually writes the lyrics.
Barrie – It’s just a huge collaboration, one of us will present an idea and we will all just give our 2 cents towards the final product.

Do you write songs only about personal experiences?
Lewis – Each song I write has the essence of personal involvement but I prefer to take a step back from a situation and write about past experiences or I am given a subject matter by one of the guys and write a story as such around it.
I believe that the lyrics alone shouldn’t tell the tale; the music should be used to magnify the listeners’ emotions. I want our fans to make up their own minds on what our songs are about.
.Probes - Any lyrics I write are usually either personal or about the s***e state of affairs that we’ve got our world into. I try not to use other peoples music and melodies and just let them manifest themselves, its amazing what’s hidden away in your consciousness, years of listening to certain types of music mixed up with how you feel/old feelings, you just got to let it pour out, if that means a song with 2 chords then so be it, but we do have quality control. That way the music will always seem to come from the heart... for me that’s my youthful angst lol.

Do you find song writing easy or difficult?
Lewis – You always want every song you write to be the best song in the world but sometimes the process can be a timely one and other times, they can just flow.
Probes – Both. It either comes very quickly or can take months to build a song.
Peter - Music writing is easy. I start playing and eventually I’ll work out something worth turning into a song. Even if it’s one small riff, the trick is to pick the best ones.
Ryan - Am very critical about my song writing so I find it hard.
Barrie - I find writing music easy, and a lot of fun. Just sitting there jamming out a few ideas and deciding which 1’s to show to the lads.

Is there anyone who you would like to collaborate with on writing songs or performing?
Lewis – Eddie Vedder, Rob Thomas, Keith Caputo, Scott Weiland, Chris Daughtry and Pat Monahan.
Probes - My sister
Peter - Velvet Revolver. Since they’re looking for a singer I think Lewis should kindly step up and have us become a 4-guitar band with 2 bassists and 2 drummers. Basically, what I’m saying is, I’d love to jam with Slash.
Ryan - I’d love to perform with all the usual cliché people like Jimmy page, Dave Gilmore etc. But I think if I could choose anyone to work with, alive or dead, it would be Jeff Buckley. His music and lyrics just make the little hairs on your arm stand up. I’d like to be able to do that to people without shouting at them to do it.
Barrie - Just to many to list.

Who are your favourite song writers?
Lewis – Eddie Vedder, Rob Thomas, Keith Caputo, Scott Weiland, Chris Daughtry and Pat Monahan.Probes - Probably rage against the machine.. so much energy and anger.
Peter - Ritchie Sambora, Jimi Hendrix and Robert Plant.
Ryan - Jeff, for the above reasons and Robert Smith
Barrie – Queen, Skid Row, LA Guns.

Which countries have you gigged in?
Ryan - England. Oh and Leeds lol

Which countries would be at the top of your list to tour?
Lewis - Japan
Probes – Germany.
Peter - America.
Ryan - USA because if we’re doing America then we’ll be rich and famous.
Barrie - would be amazing to travel the U.S.

Who would you like to tour with?
Lewis – Any high profile band at the moment but mainly Pearl Jam
Probes - Most bands.
Peter - Velvet Revolver but realistically, The Music or Wolfmother or Muse.
Ryan - The Cure. I think Robert Smith is amazing and I’d love to say ‘I’ve supported The Cure.
Barrie - Good bands.

How do you promote your music and get your music to new fans?
Lewis – Online we promote our music via our website, through our mailing list and social network sites like Facebook and myspace by emailing updates to existing fans and friends and by searching and adding more.
Peter - We use the Matchstickmen banner at gigs, which has our logo and website on. And I print off cards adverting upcoming gigs and hand them out to new people I meet when I’m out at rock clubs, sipping fine Jack Daniels. But my favorite trick is getting the fans to hold up the banner at the gigs for photos then posting the photos on Facebook. When the fans tag themselves in the photos our banner will show up on their page.

Do you think such sites are good for independent and unsigned artists?
Lewis - I like how Reverbnation has its own chart depending on your genre. It gives you a sense of success if you get more song plays from your fans and climb the chart.

Do you think the internet overall is a good or bad thing for new artists?
Lewis - It’s a very good thing. When I started out in bands, it was a lot more difficult to advertise gigs and get people to take you seriously but the Internet has made this so much easier.
Peter - Very good. Most people use the Internet for stealing songs anyway, new artists have the perfect opportunity to promote songs without being streamed on programs like Limewire, so it’s very difficult for people to steal their music.
Ryan - Both. Its so easy for artists to promote themselves and get out there thanks to it. But, it’s a double-edged sword due to that. There are so many artists out there that it’s hard to get noticed… If you get me?

With all the various websites out there for independent and unsigned artists, is there still something that is missing from them that you think would benefit unknown artists?
Barrie - I think there’s plenty of availability to promote if you know where to look.

Would you sign with a major record company?
Lewis – In a heart beat
Probes – No!... Joking
Peter - Before they even finished the sentence!
Ryan - Is this a real question??
Barrie – Of course we would!

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet heard you?
Lewis – It’s what they’ve been missing for their dull lives.
Probes – F****ng amazing
Peter - Good ol’ fashioned rock n roll.
Ryan - good music. non of this **** that’s out there by people who sample songs. just 5 lads making original, good, rock music
Barrie – All of the above.

Who do you listen to or do when chilling out?
Lewis – I listen to Train and Counting Crows a lot and acoustic versions of songs from heavy bands I like… for example Sevendust.
Probes -  I chill out when I’m asleep
Peter - Ritchie Sambora, REM, The Music, Pink Floyd, Chili Peppers.
Ryan  - A mix of the likes of yeah yeah yeahs, fall out boy and the smiths while playing on X-box live
Barrie - X-box live and our version of material girl.

Have you ever entered any ‘battle of the bands’ competitions?
Probes - Yes and we did exceedingly well, we lost to someone original which was better than losing to a rubbish band.
Ryan - Yes. Twice. We came second in the final of one after winning four heats

What are your day jobs if you have one?
Lewis – I work in Marketing.
Probes – I’m an engineer
Peter - I work as a Projectionist.
Ryan - By day I am a supervisor… by night… I stalk the streets of Bootle and kick the s**t out of tracksuit wearing t**t’s! lol
Barrie – I’m a student .

What’s your best/worst experience at a gig?
Lewis – Best – Any gig with the new line up. Worst – We supported Baddies and we were made to look like amateurs by a previous member who was to wasted to even stay in time.
Probes - Worst... dying on stage in the cavern during an acoustic gig, the sound was horrific and a guy passed out and nearly died in front of us, cpr the lot. Best... probably a number of drunken gigs when it all clicks and your bladdered… well I am!  Rock on!
Peter - Worst was playing with my old band when about 6 people turned up to see us. Best was at the O2 Academy at the end of the last song seeing hundreds of people cheer for us and hearing some chanting the band name.
Ryan - Best was the first time we played the O2 Academy Liverpool’s main stage. It was such a buzz… the second time was just as good. Worst was the time when has just started out and everyone in the band, apart from me, was so pissed  they couldn’t play properly. Longest 40minutes of my life!
Barrie – Worst - We played for a promotion company a while ago and because it was so unorganized, unprofessional and there was so much messing around; I could be bothered to play the gig in the end. Best - O2 Main Stage, it was amazing.

Do you get nervous before a gig? How do you calm down?
Probes – Really… it’s just the moment you walk on stage and only because you’ve suddenly got loads of faces looking at you, you feed off the adrenaline but soon relax into it, I look forward to getting out there an doing what we do. Me, Ryan and Barrie normally have a few pints to take the edge off… Lewis and Peter stay sober… Crazy b******s!

Has your music been used on any film soundtracks?
Probes – My old band were on relocation, relocation if that counts and Lewis was in an independent film in which ‘Like Clockwork was used as part of the soundtrack.

Is it something you’d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
Barrie – I think so; I think some of our songs would go down well in a film… ‘Violently Beautiful as the next James Bond theme!

Is there anything you’d like to add?
Lewis – We are supporting Electric Six at O2 Academy Liverpool on Monday 7th December, Tickets are available at
Probes - What you reap is what you sow!
Peter – Come and see us live! We rock!
Ryan - I have a smile that could bring a puppy back to life.
Barrie –Ha Ha You’re an idiot!

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