The Ripple Interviews Ex Leicester Student Matt Henshaw
October 31, 2013 by Culture Editor 1 Comment
26 year old, Matt Henshaw, talks “tea and tealights” after his acoustic set at Curve.
How long have you been playing for?
Well, I’ve been playing since I was a kid. Before I came to the University of Leicester I was in a band with a record deal but going to uni was an attempt for me to distance myself from that sort of life. I’m not certain if it’s recession or lack of jobs but that kind of thing inspires my creativity and a need to do something off of my own back. I’ve realised that ultimately, this might make me happy, and that’s really all that I can ask for.
So, have you only just come back to playing music or did you play during your time at university?
I fell out of love with playing the guitar so I just did vocals with hip hop groups and soul bands. A lot of the songs that I write are about falling in and out of love with things, and whilst it’s easier to sing about falling out of love with people, it’s not always the case. Now it seems that I’m falling back in love with playing the guitar and writing songs.
Have you listened to any of the local bands? What do you think of the Leicester music scene?
I decided to be a singer/ song writer this July and since then, I’ve met a lot of great people and a lot of great bands. For me, watching a gig with a cup of tea in a room full of tealights is the best kind of experience. It’s quite a warm scene, I’ve found, and everybody is friendly.
Your band, Satsuma Elephants, are they still touring?
When I decided to get back into playing music, I asked a friend of mine, who plays drums, to come and jam with me for a bit. Another guy that I know filmed a 45 second clip of us playing, and once it was uploaded onto YouTube, we got a few requests to play some gigs. It’s not something that we’ve put much work into but the rewards that we’re reaping have been fantastic. Unfortunately, the drummer is also a rather dedicated accountant so I don’t know if we’ll be continuing with the band.
What is your view of popular music at the moment?
I think that the music industry, the charts, and televised competitions are completely against what music is about. What’s quite sad is that as much as I love playing and performing on stage, the majority of the time, I’m looking for money in it. The difficulty comes in trying to do that without selling my soul. I got a phone call from somebody from The Voice asking me to participate in the show but I just couldn’t do it. I don’t feel as though I could be honest and that would affect my music.
As much as you want people to hear your music, are you alright with people listening to it for free online?
Apart from a vocal minority who have the backing of the industry, I think that most artists would be happy for the public to be sharing and enjoying their work. Hopefully, listening to the music will initiate people to come out to live gigs which is where an artist should be at their best.
What’s next for you?
I’m going to be putting some stuff together for a record and then finding the right people to back it. The only problem that I’ve been having is just the boring stuff: getting the pocket change together and licensing. That kind of thing.
Some Tealights with Matt information was passed around during the performance and they’re quite a fitting vehicle to represent the kind of music that he plays. The music is understated and works well in a warm, intimate atmosphere. The only problem with Matts work is how safe it is. The songs are well performed but the lyrics can be a little prosaic and one or two songs lack that something extra to elevate them creatively. Thankfully, Matt Henshaw’s personality comes across in his music and this, in itself, makes him worth a listen. It won’t necessarily change your life, but Matts music is fine when you just want something simplistic.
If you want to see Matt Henshaw live, he’s playing at the Charlotte Carpenters Tea Party gig at the cookie jar on the 29th November. He also has two webpages with some of his solo music and some of his work with the Satsuma Elephants.
by Theo Beecroft