Hi Matt how is life on the Thames Delta (Essex) these days?
Life is good, thank you. It’s been very humid recently, just warming up for the summer time.
The last time we spoke you were recording under the moniker of 'Whispering Pines', why the change this time around?
I’ve changed my recording name a few times now. Once I had completed this new album, it didn’t feel like a Whispering Pines album, it wasn’t as mystical or rugged so I thought it should be called something else, so I have decided to put it out under my own name M G Boulter.
You had a fabulous band around you to record the record, how did you get everyone by your side?
I was blessed with this record to get some fabulous musicians and also, friends to play with me. For the rhythm section I asked my Lucky Strikes friend, Paul Ambrose to play bass and Rees Broomfield, who recorded the album, to play drums. They play great together and were my compadres throughout the whole project. On harmonies are Lizzy O’Connor and Bryony Afferson from Troubadour Rose. They are good friends and we’ve played many shows together in various forms. They are just a wonder when they sing together.
For this record I was also honored to have a hero of mine, Pick Withers, play on a few tracks. Pick has played with Bob Dylan, Dire Straits and Bert Jansch among others. We met in Liverpool while I was on tour with Simon Felice a few years back and we kept in touch. It’s so great to have him on the record.
How do you find the spark or the inspiration to write a song and what comes first, melody or words?
A good question. Inspiration just comes. Sometimes words or phrases hit me while I’m on the train, or walking, or invariably sleeping. Sometimes, a musical piece comes and I save it until the words are right for it. It’s not an ordered process or methodical for that matter, it’s elemental! It comes to me and I have to manage it into a song. Sometimes it works a treat; sometimes it doesn’t quite reach where I wanted it to be.
How did you decide what song goes where on the album?
That’s called sequencing. It’s one of the hardest bits of making an album. You have to judge how you want the listener to feel at different times of the record. I never do it on a commercial basis, i.e., put the ‘hits’ first.... mainly because I don’t have any. I want the listener to go on a journey and I want them to feel or understand what I’m trying to convey so I will sequence the songs to compliment that aim.
How did you go about getting the album released on vinyl and was that a financial risk?
This is the first release I have made that has come out on vinyl. And yes, it is a financial risk so I’m hoping people will like the music enough to buy one!
Just what was the feeling like holding a vinyl copy of the album in your hands?
It’s the greatest feeling. It’s always exciting to hear your music when it’s all finished but without a doubt, I was the most overawed and excited when the needle was making its way to the groove of my vinyl. You have to get the music mastered differently for vinyl and CD most of the time and the album sounds very different on vinyl to what it does on CD. It’s a real unknown when you get your vinyl...the album cover looks amazing on vinyl too.
Did you try anything new in the recording process that you hadn't tried before in the studio?
Not especially. All the tracks were recorded live as a three piece and then everyone else came and made it lovely with their contributions afterwards.
Who is ‘Evelyn’? (first song on the record)
Evelyn is a young Irish girl waiting for her beau to arrive at the boat to leave Ireland for the new, the unknown, and the adventurous. The song is from the perspective of the young man. He just can’t do it in the end. He has not the guts.
Any plans for solo live dates other than the Slaughtered Lamb launch show?
Very much so. I will be touring in September, with the Slaughtered Lamb show on 24th September. Lots of people are coming to help me out- it’s going to be a great night. People can find out about my tour from my Facebook site or www.mgboulter.co.uk . Tickets for the London show are available here
If you could choose anyone in the world to record or tour with, who would that, be?
Lots of people- to record would be Bonnie Prince Billy, James Yorkston, Tom Waits. To tour, it would have to be someone like Springsteen, Neil Young, Iron Maiden!
Any music other than your own so far this year, that you would like to recommend?
I’ve been playing with some amazing people recently and would strongly recommend Neil McSweeney’s ‘Cargo’, due out in September. It’s got lots of folk musicians on it and the songwriting is Zevon-esque. Country Parish Music are releasing a lovely 12” EP in a few weeks on Stone Tape Recordings. Lovely folk music you should buy. Rosalie Deighton has a new album out soon, which I played on, which was pure Country Soul, she has a beautiful voice.
The Album: The Water or the Wave is available from Harbour Song Records on 8th July in CD 180g vinyl & Download