Matthew Bannister AKA The Beautiful Fear is close to releasing his new single 'Never Yesterday', and sat down to answer some questions from Female First about his music and the future…
For those who may be new to your music, how best would you describe your sound?
It's a soundscape of layered textures, vocals, synth and guitars.
I like to describe it as 'Punk Floyd'. It has the wide cinematic sound of 70s Floyd yet the song hooks are quite basic and primitive in places. Perhaps it's my subconscious attempt to make a sound that might approximate what Floyd would have sounded like in the late 70s and early 80s if the Crazy Diamond had kept his marbles and stayed at the wheel, or at least on the boat. Syd and Bowie are both huge influences for so many of the bands of the late 80s and 90s that I adore. A lot of great musical DNA all goes back to Syd and Bowie.
What challenges have you faced in the music industry so far?
I think that the preciousness of music has disappeared. There is perhaps too much music to digest and therefore getting one's music to be heard can be problematic. The audience has far too much editing to do. There was a time when one's access to tapes and records was limited. The magazines that presented these records were also limited. This made them precious items. Now everything seems to be fleeting. There are a million blogs and online magazines posting an endless waterfall of music. Because they feel pressure to post new material every day there is perhaps less curation and too much material for the audience to sift through. Music has become an endless and disposable scroll.
That all sounds rather depressing. On the flip side there is still some wonderful new music to be found if you are willing to do a lot of clicking and watching wheels turn.
How difficult would you say this career path is in terms of making a name for yourself?
Making a name for oneself in any career is very difficult. It requires talent, drive, narcissism, time and a lot of luck. Music is no different.
How important is it for you to have creative control over the work you produce?
I'd happily relinquish control to someone whose work I adore. I would love to work with a legendary producer, who time and time again has delivered enduring masterpieces. Learning is the greatest privilege. Imagine a week in the studio with George Martin, Visconti, Eno, Nigel Goodrich, Bob Ezrin or dare I say, Phil Spector. You'd come away a different and better musician… That's if you made it out alive.
Where do you draw influence and inspiration from for your work?
I draw influence from my life. It provides the mood and the framework. My struggles become the context. Art and architecture inspire me. Music is very spatial for me. Each song has a very particular size and shape in my mind. I tend to listen to a wide range of music from the 1960s to current releases. I have been enjoying the new SPC ECO this morning. As mentioned above I do have a particular love for the 60s and 70s work of Pink Floyd. David Bowie and Roxy Music are also constantly on at my place, along with a lot of Shoegaze, Post Rock and 90s Britpop. I exercise to early US hardcore.I assume it all gets in there somehow. It's inevitable.
If you could collaborate with anybody going forward, who would you choose and why?
Due to the recent deaths of Bowie and George Martin, I would probably choose Paul McCartney. He can still pull a beauty out of a hat and he would help me find what I didn't know I was looking for. HE could also approach the songs from a pianist's perspective. I know they would evolve differently. He seems like a good bloke too. Cheerful chap. Currently, I am enjoying collaborating with Carl Negin and Woody Pak. I have worked very well with both of these friends for years now.
Tell us a random, funny fact about you that not many people know.
I have a bit of a shoe fetish. I have a particular addiction to Adidas Dragons of which I have enough pairs to last me the rest of my life. Desperately looking for a lime green in US 9.5… IF you happen across some. Buy several pairs, I am good for it.
Do you have definitive aims or goals for your career?
My goal is to make the best music I can make given the forum I am working with. I hope to play acoustic sets at rehab centres after I have finished the next record. My live set is half music, half stories. I'd like to help people who suffer from addiction. I also hope to collaborate with more musicians.
Where do you hope to be this time next year?
I hope to be close to finishing the next record. We work very slowly… And purposefully.
What should we expect from you in the coming weeks and months?
I don't intend to play any live gigs for the remainder of the year. I will be releasing some videos of my live performances. We filmed a gig back in May and I need to edit and share it!
New single 'Never Yesterday' is officially released on September 9 via Addictaclique Records.