MATTHEW EDWARDS AND THE UNFORTUNATES
The Fates
(Metal Postcard)

 

Arriving from England by way of Australia, and owned and operated by pop impresario Sean Hocking, Hong Kong based Metal Postcard is making sonic waves with some truly mind-boggling recordings, including a 2014 album by the U.K. based pop ensemble Matthew Edwards & The Unfortunates. A gifted 21st century pop-rock artist / composer with an ear that spans decades of styles and genres, Edwards sounds influenced by U.K. theatrical rock legends like Bowie and Morrissey. Assisting him on his solo debut, entitled The Fates, Matthew has enlisted some fine players in his ensemble, including guest spots from one time Henry Cow guitarist Fred Frith, who adds in some of his patented progressive electric guitar sounds on key tracks. Throughout the 11 track album, Edwards introduces a wide range of musical concepts, merging progressive rock, cabaret, pop and more. From start to finish, The Fates makes for highly charged sonic joyride that is also quite a lot of fun to listen to. In the following interview with mwe3.com, Matthew Edwards gives a track by track synopsis of the various songs on The Fates as well as discussing his working with producer Eric Drew Feldman and also how he came to work with Henry Cow guitarist Fred Frith, who remains something of an icon among fans of the early 1970s progressive rock scene on the original Virgin Records label from England. Those who enjoyed the later period Henry Cow albums with Anthony Moore as the lead singer will enjoy The Fates. Matthew Edwards and The Unfortunates carries the spirit of leading-edge English rock forward into the brave new world of the 21st century. www.MatthewEdwardsAndTheUnfortunates.com / www.MetalPostcard.com



mwe3.com presents an interview with
Matthew Edwards
& The Unfortunates



mwe3
: Can you tell us where you’re from originally and where you live now and what you like best about it? I heard you were living in the San Francisco area.

Matthew Edwards: I was born and brought up in the picturesque inner city of Birmingham, England but lived in San Francisco for a long time. I came back to England last summer to be closer to my mother.

mwe3: How did your new album on Metal Postcard come together so to speak? Is this your first album? Tell us when and where the music was written and recorded and how long the project took to make the final CD. What is the Metal Postcard label philosophy?

Matthew Edwards: The story of how The Fates came together is a tale of Tolstoyan length and hard to relate here. Suffice to say, I broke up my previous group The Music Lovers when we fulfilled our contract with Le Grand Magistery. I took a break from music as I was fatigued and my life was topsy-turvy to say the least. I became a temporary recluse. I then recorded an album that will never be released, Easter In The Morning - kind of a Mickey Newberry on downers sound. I destroyed the tapes.

I don't know what Metal Postcard and Sean's philosophy is but I admire his chutzpah and energy... and love the diversity of the MP roster. He's a throw back to the days of Andrew Loog Oldham/Immediate, etc.

mwe3: Who plays with you on The Fates CD and what was the chemistry like in the studio with the other musicians? What did Eric Drew Feldman bring to the CD sessions and how did he become involved?

Matthew Edwards: I only play music with people I like as people. Not only admire but like. Time is too precious to deal with arseholes. The US version of the Unfortunates are as much a social group come cult as a band. I generally dislike 'musicians' - they are boorish and want only to talk about music and flex their egos. I avoid them whenever possible. Everyone I play with has an active mind, interests away from music and a love of a drink and a talk.

Eric? I have admired Eric's work from the Magic Band on Snakefinger, Pixies... He's a brilliant player off both bass and keys, is not afraid to be simple or brutal or baroque. He's great producer, especially his work with Deus and on PJ Harvey's White Chalk. I simply asked Eric to be involved and once he'd heard the songs he said yes. If you don't ask, you don't get as my Grandad used to say.

mwe3: Also Fred Frith is playing on The Fates as well. How did you hook up with Fred? Were you a Henry Cow fan and what is your favorite Cow album, mine is / was In Praise Of Learning, and what tracks did Fred play on on your CD? Your album is something you’d think Fred would play on!

Matthew Edwards: I am a Henry Cow fan. And In Praise Of Learning is my favorite record by them too. I very much like Fred's first solo record Guitar Solo and his work with Eno. Later I absolutely loved Massacre... that is some wild, wild music. As per Eric, I asked Fred and he said 'yes.' Once again, a lovely chap and a joy to work with. He always surprises us. He plays on “Accident”, “The Way To The Stars”, “I Don't Care” and “Imposter”.

mwe3: Can you tell us something about the album artwork for the The Fates? Is there a location where the pics were taken? Some remote beaches, near Hong Kong?

Matthew Edwards: Nope. A few years ago I saw a film by the artist and filmmaker Eve Sussman The Rape Of The Sabine Women at the Yerba Buena Arthouse in San Francisco and I was bowled over by the power of the work. When preparing the artwork I approached Ms. Sussman and asked if I could use a still. She very graciously said I could.

mwe3: How creatively difficult is it to mix a great melody with a scintillating rock performance? Is that something Fred and Henry Cow did so well? On the track “The Way To The Stars” you mix a soaring melody with some excellent guitar work. Sounds like Fred. Is that track really about being English? I imagine that track must go down well live. Is that one of your favorites from the CD?

Matthew Edwards: “The Way To The Stars” will not be played live again until Fred joins us onstage to play it. I love the song but circumstances have to be perfect for me to perform it. Not wishing to appear precious but it works better playing it in the U.S. rather than England. No, it's not site specific, nor is it about being English per se. More it is about willful self-sabotage which is in itself a very 'English' trait. Ha!

mwe3: What guitars do you prefer and what instruments are you playing on your new CD? Do you still practice on instruments or do you mostly concentrate on song writing?

Matthew Edwards: I never practice. I pick up the guitar to write and play shows. I have no interest in improving as a musician and if I do 'improve' it'll be without attempting to. I love playing but I have to have a reason. I have never 'jammed' in my life. However, we do extend, change, molest the songs live but it's never premeditated.

On the album I play mostly acoustic - a 1968 Guild. On “The Imposter” I played a Hagstrom.

mwe3: Who are some of your favorite singers? What are some of you favorite least known singers? You said you’re a big Laura Nyro fan. What are your favorite Nyro song and what is one of her least known classics in your opinion?

Matthew Edwards: I adore Laura Nyro and could bang on about her 'til the cows come home. Suffice to say New York Tenderberry is my favorite album. I generally love female singers - Laura, Dagmar Krause, Annette Peacock. Male singers - Donny Hathaway, Lux Interior, Tim Hardin, The Congos. Just off the top of my head.

mwe3: What challenges do indy artists find and what are the ways an artist can make a breakthrough in 2015? What ways are you going in to bring your music to the world stage?

Matthew Edwards: I have no idea. I do what I can. I'm fair and I treat people with respect. I would like more success and I want more people to hear our work and I'll try my best to get it out there but I won't prostitute myself... I'm too old and I wouldn't make much. Ha!

mwe3: Every song on The Fates is original except “I Don’t Care” which was written by The Ramones. What’s the scoop on that track and what the song means to you?

Matthew Edwards: Jefferson Marshall, the bass-player and Barry Burst, the old bass player and I were drunk in the Lucky 13 bar in San Francisco one night and it came on. I thought it'd work as a Gene Pitney song. When I sobered up we tried it and it sound like the wobbly psychedelic drone piece it is today! If you don't like The Ramones you don't like life.

mwe3: Is the lead off track “Accident” sort of autobiographical?

Matthew Edwards: Yes. I had an car accident on a hillside in Marin County and this song describes the psychic aftermath.

mwe3: “Ghost” is another cool song with an amazing middle section that sounds like a time warp into the twilight zone.

Matthew Edwards: Oh, that’s Eric on mellotron doing his Jack Bruce ice-skating in hell thing.

mwe3: “English Blues” is easily a hi-point of The Fates. Is there a story behind that song? It’s really indescribable... a new musical genre. Is there a reason you didn’t want to print the lyrics to the songs? Some don’t need it. Even Procol Harum used to print at least four of their lyrics on a couple albums, sort of to keep the intrigue alive.

Matthew Edwards: I have been approached by a literary agent to represent me on another project but my lyrics might form part of that. Who knows? Maybe I should take the Procol Harum route next?

mwe3: “Dizzy” has a kind of swingle singers mid section and the song has a kind of dark humour. Also nice string work on that one.

Matthew Edwards: That's Adaiha... she arranges the strings and cello. Yeah, there's a drunken Harpers Bizarre outro sung by Sasha, Adaiha and I. Very swingin'.

mwe3: “The Imposter” has a kind of Lou Reed feel to it. Although instead of hard rock guitar solo you have a cello solo in it which is cool!

Matthew Edwards: Once again, Adaiha.

mwe3: How about “Sandrine Bonnaire”? Is that song based on a true story? It sounds like Donovan a bit... great song in its own right.

Matthew Edwards: Thank you. Nope, not truth. I had a dream where Sandrine Bonnaire was trying to kill me. I'd just watched Mississippi Mermaid which I think triggered it.

mwe3
: Tell us about the next Matthew Edwards & The Unfortunates album? Will it be equally rocking as The Fates? What kind of album would you like to make next? Can you imagine touring the world with Fred playing lead guitar on some tracks?

Matthew Edwards: Is the The Fates rocking? Thank you. The UK version of The Unfortunates has recorded the basics for the second album already. Our drummer here Derick Simmonds is a very old friend and has taken my writing somewhere else. Inspiring times... We've have already done sessions in San Francisco with Fred and Eric. I got Adaiha to sing and play more percussion and my old accordionist Isaac to switch to guitar. I have another guest on the record too but I can't tell you who she is.

My original concept was a folk-rock La Dusseldorf but it's gone way beyond that. It's both more rock and roll and far more low-key than The Fates by turn.

Fred? Of course I'd love him to play with us but he's a busy fella with a family to feed. I'm just glad he does what he does.

The new record will be out on Metal Postcard in late 2015 entitled Spirituals..

We are available to play at your county fair, art opening or vaudeville show in 2015!

Thanks to Matthew Edwards and the Sean Hocking of Metal Postcard

 

 
   
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