While he was born in Hamilton, Matty Simpson had spent most of his career developing his chops as part of ensembles where he wasn’t necessarily in the spotlight. Simpson garnered acclaim as a part of Fred J. Eaglesmith’s Travelling Steam Show but since leaving that position, his folk and roots are tempered perhaps with more of the rock that he fostered in his youth growing up in the ’90s. Matty Simpson has spent the last five years developing his own original songs and at long last, Matty Simpson’s debut full length Strange Weather is now available.
“I wish it was sooner but I went to school for a little bit and the scheduling meant it ended up taking a few years,” says Simpson on the time taken for his debut collection of songs. “I knew [studio owner] Jeff Ciraolo as a friend and he opened his door and said let’s try some stuff out and I took him up on it. Everything was trial and error with me trying to sound the right guitar sound for a song. As we worked on the arrangements, I’d often backed up other people and just played alongside them with whatever chords but as we worked on this music, a lot of rock sounds started feeling good — like from Nirvana or Black Keys. It came out of the guitar playing and that’s how these songs evolved. No one was watching the clock so we just took our time with it.
“Some people say it sounds like a seventies rock record but I think there are a lot of nineties influences but it’s all up to interpretation,” adds Simpson. “I was listening to a lot of Ryan Adams, Rolling Stones, Nirvana so all of that might be in there. I like all music so whenever we came up with a sound we just went with it. Maybe my next record will be even more rock but for now we have this."
Produced by Matty Simpson (guitar, vocals), Justine Fischer (bass) and Matt Burns (drums), Simpson offers the fleshed out realization of a set list that has endeared him to fans on many occasion. The album cover was assembled with the idea of creating something more fanciful from the song fodder itself.
“It was a do–it–yourself project putting the record together but the songs have been around for a while,” says Simpson. “I don’t write like it’s a diary, I just write things that rhyme. I try to paint a picture with some imagery and I try to make you feel good when I play it. I can relate to the tunes but they’re not autobiographical. Strange Weather is a song that people might nkow the most. The song is about communication and sometimes you’d rather talk about the weather instead of the hard topics. I liked the title because the world is having some strange weather in a lot of ways but there is no deep meaning to it.
“James Thomas has done artwork for Terra Lightfoot, Tom Wilson and the Arkells and he’s a friend of ours,” adds Simpson. “I asked him to listen to the record and I wanted a Sin City look or one of those old Iron Maiden records with the zombies on the front. I wanted something gnarly and interesting rather than me and a guitar cliche. He did a really good job with all the characters of my songs, you can look at the record and get an idea of what’s in the record.”
Now more in the spotlight, Matty Simpson is releasing his debut full length and hopes to further develop his career although his aspirations remain humble.
“I just hope that I get a positive enough response to this record so that I can make another one,” says Simpson. “I know a lot of people will know a lot of these songs already so I hope they like the CD. And for all the poeple who haven’t heard the songs, I hope they like it, too. Some people hear Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin — I think it's a rock record.
“And so the CD release party — it is going to be a rock show,” adds Simpson. “‘I’m going to have the trio but we’re going to have some special guest guitar players to really put on something special. The bands are going to be great and this is real music that everyone should experience. It’s happening.”
Matty Simpson plays this Friday June 7 at This Ain't Hollywood with Mississippi Bends and more. Doors open at 9pm and tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Click on mattysimpsonmusic.com