INTERVIEW: Mat Hunsley | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Returning to music after a five-year hiatus, folk singer songwriter Mat Hunsley will release his majestic latest EP on 28th January. Featuring six tantalising new tracks, two of which – Friend & Foe and Backward Steps – are already fan-favourites, A Worrier’s Dream is a most worthy successor to his debut EP, To Being Free.

By the time To Being Free came out I was pretty burnt out with music.” He admits. “Even as Dropping [the EP’s lead single] was picking up steam, I could feel in my heart of hearts that I needed a break. So that’s what I did. It was probably terribly timed given the buzz the first EP generated, but hey ho. Sometimes you’ve got to look after yourself first.”

It seems that taking some time for himself ended up paying dividends: “I barely picked up the guitar for about two years after that. It wasn’t until early 2020 that I started writing again with any real gusto, but when I did it felt great. I was back to playing for the fun of it, without any real agenda, and that was something I’d missed massively.”

It’s written about one of the most personally difficult periods of my life and is a clear reminder of how far I’ve come

A Worrier’s Dream is opened by the lush Rambling, a track fronted by Mat’s tender acoustic guitar and vocals and supported by an abundance of backing voices, reflecting some of his indie rock roots. “It’s probably my favourite song that I’ve ever written. But it was definitely a labour of love. I recently found a voice memo of me sketchily playing the main acoustic guitar riff that dates back to 2018… Not only does Rambling feel like my most accomplished and relatable release to date, but it’s also the most important to me. It’s written about one of the most personally difficult periods of my life and is a clear reminder of how far I’ve come.”

A notable difference in Mat’s new material is its fuller sound. “Whereas To Being Free was a very stripped back and simple record, this time around I was keen to create something bigger and more ‘band-like’. For the songs on A Worrier’s Dream, I was determined to drag the best of my half-boiled ideas over the line. I wanted to learn how to develop my songs into full arrangements and build in more layers, so I reached out to two of my best friends in music Ben Helm [Tessera Skies] and Matt Hardy [Tessera Skies, Lovely Assistant, Soup]. Together we were able to develop the songs and present them in the professional way I was so keen to achieve.”

Fans looking for a live rendition of Mat’s new release will be in for a treat on Sunday 30th January, when Mat will play an afternoon show at Bobik’s alongside his band. “Support comes from the sensational Nadedja. Her recent Transient EP is simply stunning and it is an absolute honour to have her join in on the celebrations.” With suggestions of new material to be recorded and possibly released later in 2022, now may be just the time to become a part of Mat’s growing fanbase.

Mat Hunsley releases A Worrier’s Dream on 28th January, he plays Bobik’s, Newcastle with support from Nadedja on Sunday 30th January

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