Matt Hamer is one of Manchester’s hidden gems, if you haven’t heard of him yet then you’ve come to the right place. This acoustic folk singer/songwriter is very special indeed. With his unique way of playing guitar and passionate live performances, he will have you hooked and mesmerised in no time at all and with the promise of a début EP on the way, it’s about to get real for Matt Hamer.
I caught up with Matt to discuss everything from his upcoming UK tour with Jai McDowall, his evolution from model to singer/songwriter, his music and much, much more.
Your song, On My Soul, is definitely my favourite song of yours. Can you give us a little insight into the song, what’s the message behind it and how long did it take you to write it?
I guess I was in the early stages of a break-up and I was feeling regretful, but as time has passed, I’ve realised that it was for the best and I now have someone better (for me). But that song will always be there to remind me how I once felt and also to not take people for granted. I wrote it and finished it over a weekend.
Your songs are very thoughtful and full of meaning. When you sit down to write them is this something that you have in your mind that you want to create with the songs or is it something that just happens naturally?
For me, I feel that my writing style is a little ambiguous. I just kind of ‘write’, or ‘strum’ until I come up with something, but there are occasions when I purposely sit down to write, and, despite those occasions being rare, I do tend to have the best outcome, musically.
Are all your songs written from personal experience?
Yes, but I would like to write something through the eyes of someone else, fictional or otherwise. One of my favourite artists, William Fitzsimmons, does exactly this.
You were working on your début EP last year, is that now finished and when can we be expecting it to be released? How many tracks are on the EP and how’s it sounding?
It isn’t quite finished. I’m aiming for five tracks, but I’m awful in the studio (ha). I am feeling more and more pressure to get something out there soon, though!
Your song, Winter, has been getting some airplay recently. How does it feel to be getting that sort of recognition?
It feels great, it really does. It’s one of my personal favourites and also the first song I ever wrote it the ‘lap-slap’ style which I use in some of my songs.
You’re going on a nationwide tour of the UK, with previous Britain’s Got Talent winner, Jai McDowall. Firstly, congratulations on that, it’s a pretty big opportunity. How did that come about, what was your reaction when you got that call?
Thank You! Well, last year I pitched a music video to Jai’s label and, luckily, it was accepted, so I directed and edited the official video for Jai McDowall’s song, Got to Let Go. Since then we have become quite close and Jai recently offered me the opportunity to tour. I’m excited to get out there with him. The video can be found here.
You play a lot of shows in Wales and Ireland. Do you feel like that’s where the majority of your fanbase are located and do the crowds differ from each other at all?
I do have a nice little fanbase in Wales, but I guess it has a lot to do with being from Wales and knowing people there who are willing to support me and spread my music around. Ireland, on the other hand, is a great place to play and I have made some nice friends there. One of my best friends happens to live in Dublin, so I head out there to visit, taking advantage of the music scene whilst I am there.
Do you think starting out in modelling has helped you prepare for performing live and all that comes with being a professional musician, the attention etc?
Absolutely. I’m extremely grateful for the experiences I’ve had through modelling; they’ve helped me become a more confident person in terms of performing in front of audiences.
Growing up in Llandudno, how did that shape you as a person?
It certainly made me appreciate nature. I had such a happy childhood taking advantage of the sea and the cliffs. I also lived in Manchester as a child, so I guess I had an urban/country upbringing and I find myself content in both.
You chose to move to Manchester to pursue your career in music. Do you think that journey has influenced who you are as a musician now and do you feel like Manchester has inspired you at all musically?
Well, I initially moved to Manchester to study. I’m now in my final year of Uni, but Manchester is certainly a great place in terms of opportunity when it comes to my music.
When did you realise music was your passion and that you wanted to pursue it as a career?
It’s definitely my passion, but realistically, I’m not too sure I am pursuing it as a full-time career, despite the recent success and all the gigs I’m currently playing. I think this is a decision I will have to make once I graduate.
I couldn’t interview you and not mention the way you play live. For people that don’t know, for the majority of your set you don’t play the guitar conventionally which is especially what makes you a very special artist. The way you play means that not only are we hearing the guitar chords but we also have percussion, making for a fuller sound. Can you just explain to everyone exactly what you do and when did you start playing like this?
I’ve played the guitar (conventionally) for about ten years, but I came across a video on YouTube a few years back and I saw a guy playing the acoustic across his lap. It’s basically learning how to hit the guitar in such a way that the chords resonate whilst hitting the body of the guitar to create some percussion. I realise how captivated it makes audiences and I rarely have to fight to get an audience’s attention because the majority have never seen a person play in such a way, so the intrigue instantly quietens a room.
Finally is there anything you want to add, anything you want to say to your fans?
Well I definitely want to thank anyone and everyone for their ongoing support, because without that, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. Keep up-to-date with all my future shows via Facebook and Twitter – facebook.com/matthamermusic and twitter.com/matthamermusic.
A special thanks to Matt Hamer for this interview and for more info on his music, check out the following links below.