Interview: Matt Henshaw
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By Luke Tyler / January 12, 2014 / REVIEWS/INTERVIEWS / 2 Comments
Midlands man Matt Henshaw is a burgeoning talent in the UK music scene, working both with collaborators and going it alone, armed just with an acoustic. We caught up with him to hear a bit more about his diverse and original sound.
The internet has informed us that you’ve operated under a B-Boy Soul formula. Can you shed some light on that for us?
B-Boy Soul was something that me and my mate ReggiiMental worked on whilst I was at University, basically a combination of his hip-hop influences and my soul influences, good fun, funky and a bit political in parts. We’ve done two albums and a couple of EPs, and might do some more in the future.
Have them influences shifted somewhat in your current songwriting, or would you say they’re still a mainstay in your work?
Soul music is my biggest influence, Sam Cooke and the rest of ‘em. Love it. And I do love some hip-hop stuff but I’m no rapper, so when you get Matt Henshaw solo it’s soulful acoustic stuff.
Your Rhythm and Gospel Calvacade leans away from your earlier work slightly by removing the hip-hop element, but it’s still predominantly soulful as you’ve mentioned. Is the influence of black music a generally a key component in your overall sound?
I suppose so, I’m not a fan of the term ‘black music’ but a lot of my favourite singers are or were black so I guess by default I am. But it’s often said my biggest three influences are black music, blue eyed soul and BritPop, and you would think these things would exclude one another, but no, it’s all music, it’s all good no matter what colour or country provides the sounds.
Does the prominence of your acoustic work lately suggest you might be moving in that direction?
It’s more a geographical and logistics thing, it’s a lot easier to organise the affairs of one person, especially if you are that one person. I’ve collaborated with people all over the country – they’re so spread out that it’s hard to work on something other than my acoustic tunes with any level of consistency that I’d be happy with.
Besides it being easier logistically, do you enjoy cutting it solo in that more stripped-back way?
Yeah, I’ve only myself to blame, it’s easier to let go and be more emotive, and it’s easier to express myself without compromise or considering how anyone else might feel, I do love it. It took some getting used to, though, as I hadn’t really ever played much proper proper solo until last summer.
With that in mind, you’ve got a gig in Leicester and then back in your native Notts. Is it good coming home?
Yeah, I love playing in Nottingham – seeing people that I don’t see week in, week out – I always make sure I see all my grandparents, still blessed with four of them knocking about !
Finally, what does 2014 hold for Matt Henshaw?
Getting around the country playing as many gigs in as many different and new places as possible. I’m recording with a few different people over the coming months and just seeing where this journey takes me. There’s no plan, just keeping myself happy doing what I’m doing and avoid going back into an office or job centre again at all costs … is that too much to ask?