With a string of sold-out shows already across June and July, WA blues firebrand Matty T Wall has now announced his first-ever headline appearance at the Rosemount Hotel on Saturday, August 7 (get more info and tickets here). It’s been a year of ups and downs so far for Matty T Wall. In March he won the Blues Category of the WAM Awards, before a serious spinal injury saw him needing to cancel all shows as he went through a rehabilitation process he’s now delighted to have gotten to the other side of. BRAYDEN EDWARDS spoke to Matty T Wall to find out that the lay-off from live shows has only made him as excited as ever to get back on stage.
So you’re back playing shows again after a bit of a layoff through injury, what happened and how are you feeling now?
I herniated a spinal disc or two and ended up damaging the nerve root for my left leg. Lifted something I really shouldn’t have in a way I really shouldn’t have. I have learnt my lesson there! It took weeks to be able to walk, first on crutches and then a month and a half later, off crutches. I’m now keeping up chiro, physio, acupuncture, exercising and in traction. A lot of work, but it is gradually recovering. I can play gigs now, wearing a back brace. So, feeling better and seeing gradual gains.
How high was playing guitar again on your list of priorities with your recovery? And do you remember what you played first when you picked it up again?
Letting out emotions on the guitar is core to my being, so it was at the top of my list for recovery expectations. It took many weeks to be able to strap a guitar on and play, but then only for short moments. When I could finally play properly, it was a huge sense of relief. Playing music seems to be how I control various states of my mental health, so it was vital to get that back.
Congrats on winning the Blues category for the WAM Award earlier this year too! How far back to we need to look to find the beginning of your journey playing guitar and the blues, and do you remember the first artist you listened to that made you think “I want to be like that one day”?
Thank you , it was a really great feeling to feel supported in the local scene, it means a lot. My own love of blues goes way back into my teenage years, listening to heavier and heavier metal music starting from AC/DC into Sepultura and beyond, whilst still being drawn to the swing, shuffle and bend of blues guitar. It was Gary Moore’s Still Got The Blues album that did it for me really, combining the aggressive metal style tone with traditional blues, a journey I am still on today, although I am much more of a riffer. Learning how to bring in aggressive riffing into the blues style has been a fun journey.
Unfortunately live performers like yourself must have almost gotten used not getting on stage for extended periods during the lockdowns over the past 18 months. Did you find that in having that time away from doing shows gave you space to focus on your craft in ways you might not have otherwise?
Yeah, I found that I was focusing on other things, building a recording studio was one of the main ones, and then writing dozens and dozens of new songs, about 30% of which are now being rotated in our live sets. I’m just about ready to record another album or two.
So for those who haven’t seen you live in a while, how might your Rosemount show on August 7 be different from the last time they caught you on stage?
Well, with Ric and Leigh in the band, we have recently solidified a sharp and super-tight, but joyful and loose blues sound, and now with a whole bunch of new songs along those lines that the audience is really getting into – we are in top form and ready to lift the freakin roof off.
You’ve enlisted some pretty great support bands as well to really make a night of it. What made them a great fit for the occasion?
Power, energy and joy, and swing, is what I want to see in live blues music, and the two acts of Old Blood and The Vibrolators both fit that bill, albeit in different ways. They are a great match and also at the top of their game. I gotta say, they are two of my most favourite Perth blues acts, so this is a dream line up for me.
What’s next for Matty T Wall for the rest of 2021 and beyond? Any new music or more live shows we can look forward to?
Plenty of live shows – I don’t stop in that regard, well unless I bloody injure myself. So, tons more shows coming. And we are adding in more new tunes to the live sets, getting ready for our next recording, using the AC/DC style of perfecting songs at gigs before bringing them into the studio. I reckon 2022 will see some new releases from us. Fingers crossed.