Thursday, 25 June 2009

Interview with Matt Abbott (Skint and Demoralised) - Noize Makes Enemies

Twenty-year-old Matt Abbott makes up one half of the Motown influenced spoken word duo, Skint and Demoralised, and despite his newly acquired acclaim and whirlwind two months – Abbott’s young feet seem pretty firmly fixed to the ground.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Skint and Demoralised (that’s anyone who works during Edith Boman’s daily Radio One stint), Matt Abbott was fresh from the monotony of education in his hometown of Wakefield, Yorkshire, when he started looking to poetry as a way of finding his footing in a dog-eat-dog music industry (“I’m not a singer and I cant play an instrument so I didn’t have any natural path music”) but before long he found his platform alongside producer MiNI dOG:

“I was really inspired by John Cooper Clarke who used to do spoken word before bands like The Fall and The Sex Pistols. I always loved words and language but as a teenager it’s not cool to say you like poetry so I started doing spoken word in pubs and clubs.

“It was just an excuse not to do college work really but I would record it on my mobile and then upload them onto MySpace so people could hear them. Then someone got in touch with me about putting my poetry over music tracks and I thought it’d be a bit of a novelty and agreed. Within a month we had five songs, without even having met, but when we did, we just clicked and after two years, we’re still trying!”

And the trying appears to be paying off with new single ‘Red Lipstick’ out 13th July and already earning the duo a place at some of the most prestigious music festivals around the country over the next few months. Their debut is a three minute ode to the girl next door revealing Abbott’s college penchant for more down to earth girls who apparently like no more than ‘red lipstick, fish and chips, orange juice and trips to the sea-side.’

Whilst this fresh pop track will likely win them some criticism from more ‘serious’ Indie-meets-spoken word fans when compared to the likes of The Streets and Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Matt’s words plummet to further depths than the quirky debut would perhaps lead you to believe; with one poem specifically targeting the errors of the BNP, warranting him a place on stage at Love Music Hate Racism:

“The racism issue has always been important to me and obviously the BNP were elected in Yorkshire and I’m a Yorkshire lad so hopefully I’ve put that point out there. Love Music Hate Racism is important and a good cause because kids don’t listen to politicians and need younger people. Racism is a social and moral issue. I can’t change the world but if I can help, I will do.”

Barely out of his teens, Matt seems to have had quite a impact with his profound words establishing him a firm following, something demonstrated with Skint and Demoralised playing their first headline tour in February earlier this year and all their plans to help them pass the time throughout the usually dubious weather of the English Summer:

We’re doing Bestival, Reading Festival, Wireless, Latitude and now Glastonbury and we’ve got the release of ‘Red Lipstick’. We’ve also got another single coming out in September, a tour around then and then the album will be out 15th October. We’re just taking it one step at a time though. We don’t want to disappear after one single and an album.”

Hopes are also high for their debut album, fusing a sort of 60s soul with Matt’s Mike Skinner-esque observations and his innate balls to be different and veer away from the mainstream:

“Our music is largely inspired by Motown and Northern Soul but we didn’t want to do an Amy Winehouse rip off but we used her band to get that real authentic sound and not a sort of Mark Ronson soul-by-numbers.

“Although a lot of people, like John McClure in Reverend and the Makers, don’t put their spoken word stuff on their albums - we’ve done spoken word interludes on the album. Not like Eminem, but like spoken word with sound affects. It’s a bit weird…but we quite like that it’s a bit strange because it shows people what it is that we do.”

As the interview with Matt comes to an end, three things resound; (1) he chats faster than I thought was humanly possible when his bubbly nature and excitement for his career take over his speech, (2) He does do mainstream, caving to Twitter (and confessing that he is ‘a bit sad’ and does all his updates in rhyme) and (3) Skint and Demoralised are really quite a refreshing addition to the music scene and clearly loving every minute.

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