British born singer-songwriter and musician Matt Owens first came to prominence as a founder member of Noah And The Whale. The Bath resident is now the curator of the Americana-influenced 7 Hills Festival. We chat to Matt about this year's event and his new music.
It’s great to hear the 7 Hills Festival is back in 2023, this time being held at Komedia across 3 stages on 19th March. What can we expect to hear and see at this year’s event?
I’m really excited to setup a weather-proof Music Festival, within the walls of Komedia- right in the centre of the city, on a lineup which combines some of the finest acts working today, with a platform for local artists who’ve long been doing great work.
The calibre of musicians that live around Bath such as Ethan Johns, Beth Rowley and Ida Mae is truly astonishing and right up there with some of the most respected in the UK. To complement that line-up with a few special guests from elsewhere, in Hannah White (London), Robert Vincent (Liverpool) and David Hope (County Clare, Ireland), coupled with great local talent always creates a really rich, exciting event.
I know there are a number of local acts taking part in this year’s event, it must be great to know that Americana is alive and well in the UK?
Absolutely- I’m also really excited to watch so many people play, especially those I haven’t see live yet like DG Solaris, Ajay Srivastav, Sam Brookes & Paper and The Girl.
Ultimately, we want to pull together great instrumentalists and songwriters – true musicians we can get to do everything from a songwriters-circle, to then jamming on the main stages. There are always new acts out in Bath and Somerset that I keep becoming aware, and inevitably not enough space on the bill, so it drives me to keep creating events where we can pulling everyone together!
How important is it for you to see up-and-coming acts get the opportunity to share the stage with some big names in the business?
It’s crucial to have that progression.
I’ve chatted to a fair few students who felt they had to go Bristol for a scene and that’s something I want to change. I think we’re at a moment in time where it’s really hard to for kids to watch their peers play- scenes and gigs were much more accessible and prevalent back in the day.
One of the great things about last summer’s festival, is that young kids were watching older ones play, the older kids watched the students, the students watched the pros etc and it has a knock on effect. You take the egos out of it and inspire everyone to muck in. We all had to learn our instruments at some point, and obviously there are a lot of folk on the roster to show us all how it’s done!
Having curated the festival, how much time will you have to enjoy it yourself?
I try and make it a priority come the day, and thankfully surround myself with much more competent people! We’ve got a killer production team of Bath Spa students past and present who run it all like clockwork!
So how much influence has this genre had on your own music, and songwriting?
A huge amount. I think you get better by listening to the masters, so whether that’s Tom Waits, Rickie Lee Jones, Guy Clark, Dylan, Warren Zevon, Ryan Adams, Ray Wylie Hubbard… the list is long.
You’ve recently released your latest album ‘Beer For The Horses’. I know you recorded your second album over lockdown, so how different was the process of recording this album?
That record was cut in a rainy weekend in January, all-live to tape with my 7 piece band The Delusional Vanity Project at Middle Farm Studios. It was a knee-jerk reaction to having predominantly had to multi track my last “lockdown album” Scorched Earth. It was so much fun to record like that and I’m currently working on my 4th at Bert Jansch Studios in Frome – where we’re again cutting live. It’s hard to look back once you’ve had the freedom to do it like that!
"I think we’re at a moment in time where it’s really hard to for kids to watch their peers play- scenes and gigs were much more accessible and prevalent back in the day."
How can readers buy tickets, or keep up to date with the event?
All from the Komedia Website, please. We’ve kept tickets as affordable as possible- so it’s a complete steal, and available to as many as possible!
to book tickets to The 7 Hills Spring Festival at Komedia, on Sunday 19th March 2023. Simply click on the link below and follow the steps...