Seeing It Through : An Exclusive Interview With Guitarist Matt Schofield
Born in Manchester, England in 1977, raised on a steady diet of his father’s Muddy Waters and B.B. King records, it perhaps should not come as no surprise that Matt Schofield would grow up to become a world class blues guitarist.
It was after seeing a video at the age of 16 of blues legends Albert King, Albert Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughan that the fledgling musician chose a path which during the course of four studio and two live albums has seen him garner many prestigious awards. Not least of which has been his being voted as the “Best British Blues Guitarist” at the inaugural 2010 British Blues Awards.
Now Schofield is back with what is being hailed as his most polished and accomplished effort yet with the release of ‘Anything But Time’. Produced by the legendary John Porter, whose resume resembles a veritable who’s who of rock and blues, having produced such legends as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker among many others – it showcases the guitarist’s quite impressive blues and jazz influenced guitar work framed by extremely strong songwriting, which very well may see him picking up even more awards by the time next year rolls around.
Recently we had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Matt in California during a break in the tour by the Matt Schofield Trio to talk about the new album, his influences and inspiration, what he envisions for his future and much, much more. Come join us as we have an exclusive conversation with one of the leading purveyors of modern blues rock guitar, Mr. Matt Schofield…..
Interview and text by Keith Langerman for Nightwatcher’s House Of Rock
Nightwatcher’s House Of Rock : First off I’d like to talk about the new album ‘Anything But Time’ which was released in June via Nugene Records. Now that it’s come out, how satisfied are you with the results this time around?
Matt Schofield : It’s always hard for me to say, because as soon as I’ve done one I’m already thinking about the next. That’s the way it goes with these things. But what I can tell you is it’s certainly the most enjoyable experience I’ve had making a record. In retrospect, I always look back at my records as towards how did it feel. Having John Porter produce this album this time was a huge difference for me, having produced all of my own before. That was really a great experience and made it a lot of fun. It took a lot of stress away. So in that regard it’s certainly my happiest of records. (Laughs)
NHOR : The album, as you mentioned was produced by John Porter, who has worked with so many incredible blues and rock artists in the past such as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, John Mayall, Keb Mo’… Los Lonely Boys and so many more. How did you get hooked up with John, and what do you feel that he brought to this album which you hadn’t previously had before in the studio?
MS : I got hooked up with John actually a long time ago. I was in a band with a singer from the U.K by the name of Dana Gillespie. She’s known John since the late 60′s. When I was in her band she would say, “Oh, you should work with John Porter one day”. Of course I knew him from getting Buddy Guy’s ‘Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues’, which was one of the first records I got for myself. Because it came out around the time I started playing. He gave me his phone number, but at the time I wasn’t in a position to really make use of that for a very long time.
Then last year we were out at the NAMM show in Los Angeles, and went out to lunch with John. We hit it off. We had all the same reference points musically, even though we’re a generation apart. He said, “I think we’d have a lot of fun making a record”. That stayed with me. So when it came time to make the next one, it was, “Yeah, let’s give John a call”. It’s the right time and we’re in a situation where we can”.
What John brings to it…Well, first of all some producers have a real sonic stamp that they put on everything. You can hear it. Like T Bone Burnette, who is the real go to guy for a lot of people. All the the records sound like T Bone Burnette records. John is the opposite of that. He makes you sound as much like you as he can. He doesn’t insert himself on top of it, he’s just there guiding it, so he’s great. We worked on a lot of arrangements, trimming the fat really, going, “Well you don’t need that really”. He’s also got a really great feel for knowing when you’ve got the right take.
Of course he’s made something like 120 records. He’s not even sure how many he’s made. (Laughs) So I was just going to leave it to him this time. It was the most hands off I’ve ever been. My thought was if we were doing this, I was just playing guitar, singing and writing the songs. It was great. It was a lot of fun, with a lot of great conversations while making the record. It was all pleasure.
NHOR : So you felt it very liberating to be able to let go of the reigns a bit on this album…..
MS : Yeah. In a weird way having less control was more liberating. Exactly .Plus we were down in New Orleans. That was a real thrill. I’d never been there before. We love so much of the music from there. Just being there was a big part of it.
Read the rest of the Interview here
Check out Nightwatcher’s House of Rock here: http://nightwatchershouseofrock.blogspot.com
Nightwatcher, from the Desert Sands Of New Mexico, United States has served as a Collaborator, Staff Writer and/or Interviewer with This Is ROCK Magazine (Spain), Rock N Roll Universe 2005-2008, Guitar 2001 Magazine and U.S. Editor Rock It! Magazine.