'The Brigadier soldiers on'

Exeter soloist, The Brigadier, has been writing and recording as a solo star for just three years but can already boast an impressive back catalogue - thanks to his D.I.Y approach to music. The Brigadier - aka Matt Williams - has recently released Time Is A Wound, his fifth collection of songs and, just like the previous offerings, it was recorded and produced in his flat. From what he told me, it sounds like a home from home - for me at least! "It's a bit like this BBC Radio Devon studio, but with equipment that might not be quite as good," he pointed out. But Matt was quick to confess that, whilst he enjoys putting his work together in the comfort of his own flat, he'd be more than willing to experience life in a studio and would definitely appreciate the advice of an experienced producer. "You've all the freedom and time to do what you want when you're recording at home, but on a technical level I'd love to learn some tips and get new ideas too," he told me.

Making the connection I've been a fan of The Brigadier's music ever since I played his track, 'Oh Paddington', on the show. It's catchy pop music but cleverly done and really quite original, which is always refreshing. His ability to connect with the listener is a real strength, best demonstrated on his track, Jobseeker. "I was on the dole when I wrote that," explains Matt. "I was between one of my many fleeting day jobs, hence the lyrics. "When it comes to song writing, the melody is the most important thing and I like to fit the words around that. "Hopefully they stick in the listeners mind." With plans for a new EP in spring 2010 and an album to follow in the summer, The Brigadier looks set for another busy 12 months, best let the neighbours know the home studio will be back in action soon.

'The Good Brigadier'

Matt Williams is quite an amazing surprise. Or maybe I should say that it’s surprising how the World (or should I say MTV, NME or whatever’s got three f characters in it’s name to drive youngster mad) is not paying attention in such talented people just doing art for the love of art. Matt William in – as a metter of fact – also The Brigadier, just like a Sci-Fi character moving undercover with some secret name redy to unveil his special powers only when someone crosses casually his path. And I had the chance to be enlighted and delighted by his music. Here’s our little interview.

Mark Zonda: Matt Williams, UK. Please introduce yourself to out sleepy audience .

Matt Williams: Well, my name is Matt Williams but I release music under the name of ‘The Brigadier’, as there are a few other Matt Williams’ and it sounds a bit boring.

Mark Zonda: Why Brigadier? There’s the image of an Italian Comics character on your blog. He’s a kind of “mystery detective”. Coincidence?

Matt Williams: I named my previous band I was in Brigadier and when I went solo after that I decided to keep the name, I didn’t really want to go under my own name as there already other musicians called Matt Williams so I just went with it. I’m not sure if it is a good idea or not, though a name suggests a more singer-songwriter sort of thing which I’m not. As for the drawing, It is a coincidence actually, an Italian artist friend of mine (Roxyinthebox) did a drawing of me which I decided to use on my profile, then people kept saying to me ‘It’s Dylan dog’ but I didn’t know what they were talking about then I googled it and found out!

Mark Zonda: When did you wrote your first song? When you felt the urge of writing music, and which song you consider your first success…

Matt Williams: I started coming up with tunes when I was about 4 or 5 and then continued until my teenage years when I learnt to play guitar. I always wanted to make music from a very young age, I was always enchanted by pop music and ad to see if I could make my own. I’m not sure what song I would call a success, it was an evolutionary process over many years of developing so I’m not sure. I think by the time I got to about 19 I’d pretty much honed my writing style which I still have now.

Mark Zonda: As for me I see the world of Pop Music like one big Marvel or DC comic. Which superhero are you?

Matt Williams: Hmm, I don’t know, someone who does a mundane day job and then gets to be his real self in the nightime – could be anyone really!

Mark Zonda: One man band, each sound close to perfecetion. Where have you learned to master your studio skills, and which artists would you like to collaborate with?

Matt Williams: I learned just by myself by trial and error, it took a long while to get where I am now as I’m not very technical and don’t learn things very easily, no one taught me and I didn’t read any books all I could do was listen to records and copy as much as I could! I don’t know who I would collaborate with but I do like producing people which I’ve done a bit of, I like not having the responsibility of writing the songs but just being able to suggest things and help to make it something else.

Mark Zonda: What would you suggest to a famous singer, Paul McCartney for example.

Matt Williams: I don’t know if I’m in any position to be suggesting things to Paul McCartney especially as he is one of my idols. I would ask him to release all his unheard songs though!

Mark Zonda: What does the Brigadier thinks about modern pop music, and why does he sounds like Todd Rundgren meets Bowie meets ELO?

Matt Williams: I listen to the radio a lot so I still here modern stuff though when I’m listening to albums at home its usually the older stuff. I want to like music and want to like new bands but not as much as I would like gets me excited. It’s odd that you mention those artists (Bowie, Rundgren, ELO) as I’m not really influenced by any of them. I like the odd song and album by Bowie and Rundgren but don’t listen to them that much, I don’t really like ELO at all! I do get compared to them sometimes though – probably the same influences – the Beatles!

Mark Zonda: Does a song ever helped you to reach something you really wanted? Does “some sort of magic” ever happened to you?

Matt Williams: I sometimes find that writing is very therapeutic if I’m going through a bad time or something, it can help to clearly write in words a situation that you’re experiencing and then making something creative out of it.

Mark Zonda: So we’re wishing you all the best to make the old magic work. Keep on watchin on us

 

'The Brigadier'

http://www.myspace.com/brigadiermusic - ridiculously gorgeous and unerringly infectious, the Brigadier is the alter ego of Welsh musician Matt Williams who these days calls home Brighton. Apparently the proud parent of one acclaimed self released full length to date in the shape of 'view from the bath' with another tentatively pencilled shortly for Spring release under the working title 'the rise and fall of responsibility'. Even before you've heard a single note played a quick check of Mr Williams' extensive list of influences gives you fair indication that this may well be something enticingly special - names such as Bacharach, Big Star, Gene Clark, Andrew Gold, Todd Rundgren, Dave Edmunds, Raspberries, Bee Gees and the Korgis give a fair indication of the promised pop rushes to come. And come they do.

'Some sort of magic' is ridiculously infectious - silken melodies wrapped in denim and smelling of hi-karate, audaciously affectionate hooks and pristinely wrapped sugar tipped harmonies al hallowed and framed by harpsichordian swirls and bathed in unfeasibly cute bristling baroque braids while the unapologetically retro candy coated 'this is why' appears to have been defrosted from some weird state of suspended animation having happily lived in ignorance of the last thirty years of pop and still tripping to a heartbeat and mindset so indelibly link to a more innocent early 70's age. 'regents park' is so wrong its right, picking the bones from the melodic astute uttered by the likes of early career Ashley Parks and current loves Muller and Patton - a kooky lightly crisp beauty replete with willowy plaids, bird noises and that sense of undisputed feel good loveliness that comes when the hot summers sun bathes warmly through an early morning bedroom window then again there's more than a whiff of Cliff Richard era 'Summer Holiday' about its persona which be honest is no bad thing.

Those of you who heeded our recommendations about Epicycle will positively swoon to the immeasurable classically crafted pop coyness of 'the language of love' - think Lloyd Cole, Mickie Most and Van Dyke Parks invited on a studio blind date and detailed to belt out a lavish and lush saccharine sprinkled radio arresting pop gem aided by a remit to procure the essence of 50's bubblegum pop, mid 70's summers and a glancing marinating of glam and pub rock formulas. Best of the set though by far the lilting 'Berkeley Square' - a heart stoppingly majestic nugget that appears to take its initial cue from Godley and Creme''s 'under your thumb', succulently saturated by porcelain electronic swathes and festooned deliciously by spectral keys and threaded with subtle 60's sourced west coast motifs that once heard stick like limpet mines inside your headspace. What we'd like to know is a) how does he do it and b) how does he get away with it? Stunning.

'Interview - The Brigadier'

The Brigadier is Matt Williams, a Welshman based in Brighton, England, who writes, performs and produces his own timeless pop. With kudos and plaudits from the likes of Alan McGee and Mark Eitzel, people are starting to take notice of Matt's catchy indie-pop tunes. He's released two albums off his own back, the latest; 'The Rise and Fall of Responsibility' has just been released.

So how did The Brigadier evolve, what made you want to make music? "I've always been in awe of the power of pop songs and how they can excite you, empathize with you or perhaps just offer you the promise of something better if you know what I mean. Even when I was very young in the 1980s the shiny, sparkly 3 minute pop songs that I heard around the place stayed with me, I liked the escapism that they offered and I knew then that I wanted to write songs too. I always used to make up tunes but I couldn't play anything, so in my teens I picked up the guitar and got into a lot of rock stuff and then started writing. It sort of evolved from there really, I liked the idea of the perfect pop song and that's what I keep striving for. I'll never do it of course but it's in the trying that you get the results".

Was it a conscious decision to be a one man band? And what are the pros and cons of doing it all yourself? "It wasn't really conscious, I was in bands for ages, originally as a guitarist but then as a singer and main writer but I got fed up with all the stuff that comes with being in a band. I'd always been into recording so I bought a computer and started making recordings for myself. I found that I preferred the results that I made that way rather than what I'd been doing in bands so I carried on. It's good because you can do what you want when you want but I do miss some of the interaction of playing with other people. It's most evident when I play live which can be a bit lonely and a bit boring too, it's more fun to have a band then but I haven't found the right people yet".

Who are your musical influences? "My main influences are lots of classic rock and pop, Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Velvet Underground, The Beach Boys, Black Sabbath, The Beatles, T-Rex, The Kinks, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Abba, Scritti Politti, Peter Gabriel era Genesis, Steely Dan, Wham, Fleetwood Mac and a lot more besides. I also like a lot of rock’n’roll, rockabilly and country rock stuff; Elvis, Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers, Dion Dimucci, The Byrds, Neil Young, Gene Clark etc. On top of all that I like Kate Bush, Saint Etienne, The Cure, The Waterboys, Paul Simon, Scott Walker, Nick Lowe, Stackridge, all sorts really!".

You've just released your second album, which has the intriguing title 'The Rise and Fall of Responsibility', how did that name come about? "After I'd finished the album I realized that there were things on there about growing up and all that sort of stuff and generally themes about facing up to things which wasn't intentional at the beginning but that's the impression I got by the end. I couldn't think of a good title so I was brainstorming with a friend for a title, most of them weren't great and then he said 'The Rise and Fall of Responsibility' which leapt out at me, it sounded grandiose and slightly ridiculous and it fitted perfectly".

Have you any plans for live shows? "I do play live every now and then, not every night by any means though! I did my first solo gig in London at the Notting Hill Arts club in London after Alan McGee asked me to play which was nice though it was very scary! After that I've just played in and around where I live, I'd quite like to get a band together for the live work so when I do I'll probably play a bit more, at the moment I play just with my guitar or to backing tracks from my mp3 player".

If you had any advice for any new musicians/bands starting out what would that be? "I've no idea really, I've had some misspent years myself so I'm probably pretty useless to ask! However, one thing I do think for young musicians or writers is that they should listen to a lot of music with an open mind, don't dismiss stuff because they think it's 'Uncool' or 'Old', I say that because I do know people who think like that. The worst thing you can do is be shut off, because through listening to all sorts of music you can find out what you do and don't like. Even within music you're not keen on there are always things to take note of, you might think 'This song's rubbish but that rhythm's good, I'll borrow that' or 'That's the worst guitar sound I've ever heard, I must remember never to use that!'".

'Interview - The Brigadier'

Some artists make recordings. The Brigadier (a.k.a. Matt Williams) makes records. The Brigadier's albums sound as if they were meticulously assembled in a 1979-era world-class million dollar studio. Electric Light Orchestra, 10cc, and Queen are all sonic reference points, as well as more recent artists like Teenage Fanclub. Except that Matt doesn't utilize a world-class studio. Instead, he uses a computer, a keyboard, and a guitar in the corner of his living room. And he posesses a very interesting microphone preamp, as you'll discover in the following interview.

If The Brigadier isn't a great example of imagination triumphing over gear, I don't know what is. The Brigadier's brand new album, The Rise and Fall of Responsibility, is a solid collection of Teenage Fanclub-meets-Jeff Lynne studio pop goodness. And at precisely the point in the album when you think you've got his sound pegged, he throws in two superb electro-disco tunes (The Melancholy Days and This, is Why) that amazingly don't feel out of place with the previous guitar-centric tracks. If you're looking for a good soundtrack to accompany this interview, look no further than The Brigader's MySpace page. If you're not won over by the end of Some Sort of Magic (from The Brigadier's 2007 release, View from the Bath), you should probably have your pulse checked.

Jeff Boller: How did The Brigadier get started?

Matt Williams: I did the usual route of playing in bands throughout my teens and all that, though just initially as a guitarist playing rock stuff. I'd always been able to come up with tunes since I was young, and by my late teens was able to form them into songs. Then I started recording them on a four track. To cut a long story short, I went through some more bands but got fed up with all the stuff that comes with being in a band. So I decided to go 'solo' as it were. I didn't want to go under my own name, as there were already several other artists called Matt Williams and I thought it would be a bit boring to go under my own name. The last band I had been in was called Brigadier, so I decided to keep the name. When thinking of the name I wanted something a bit authoritative but also with a twinkle in the eye. All the regal names had been taken ”Queen, King, Prince, Princess” so I decided to go with a military name. The only one which popped out as sounding interesting was brigadier. I just kind of found it funny! Then I bought a computer to see if I could give it a go on the internet, largely because hardly anyone had heard my songs and I had no idea how they would be perceived. I went on loads of sites, but eventually settled down on MySpace, as I found it the easiest to use. Suddenly, I was getting a lot of feedback from people who really liked the stuff which was a real boost to my confidence. Then, when I started making CDs to sell, people actually bought them! Which was the best thing, as it really validated what I was doing.

JB:Your productions are reminiscent of big budget late 70s pop. Where the heck did you learn how to produce like that?

MW:I kind of just picked it up by doing it again and again. I used to record everything on four track tape. When I moved over to a computer, I utilized it in the same way just as a glorified four track. I used to be very sloppy with my recording. But the more I did it, the more my ears became attuned to hearing everything, and the better the sound became. I like fuller productions, like what you would hear on mid 60s Beach Boys and 70s Queen records. I like to bring out as much of the song as possible in the production without suffocating it. Sometimes I try to strip things down and do something with just my voice and piano or guitar but I don't often get there!

JB: How often do you play live? How do you make sure your songs translate to a live environment?

MW: I play live as often as I can. Some songs I just sing playing along with my guitar. For the others, I sing and play guitar along with backing tracks from my mp3 player. It's basically the same tracks off my albums, but stripped of lead guitar and vocals so it's kind of like Karaoke! It's not ideal, but until I can find a band, it's the only way. Surprisingly, it doesn't sound that bad, and the songs seem to go down well in the live environment.

JB: You do everything on your recordings - writing, performing, and recording. Your recordings sound fantastic. What's your studio setup?

MW: It's quite a skeletal setup, I use one microphone (Beyerdynamic) for everything, mostly because I never got around to buying any other, then that goes into a Tascam four track tape recorder, which is sort of my preamp, as I don't have a mixer.

JB: Are you serious? From the sound of your vocals, I thought you had a midrange microphone and a high-end preamp! What microphone model are you using? And which 4-track?

MW: The mic is a Beyerdynamic M300 TG. It's one that my dad gave me years ago when I started recording. To be honest, I don't know that much about mics, so I've never used any other! The Tascam is a Porta 03 MkII. It has a stereo input that I use for my keyboards, which you can switch to a mic input for the mic. Then, I plug the output of that into the computer.

JB: Are you using a separate audio interface, or are you running the audio directly into your computer?

MW: The audio is going straight in. I use an old Apple Mac G3, on which I'm running Logic Audio 4.7, an old but trusty program! I don't use any MIDI instruments, as there's a fault with my setup which won't allow it. But I do have some internal synths on my computer which I can use, like Mellotron samples and old 70s analogue keyboards.

JB: What sample libraries or virtual instruments do you use?

MW: I don't have many sample instruments, but I bought some on eBay, like Mellotron samples which I use and ARP synthesizers. I use them inside the EXS24 sampler in Logic. Aside from that, all my keyboard stuff is played in direct from my Yamaha portable grand. Most of my keyboards have to be played straight in, which can be annoying. If you make a mistake, you have to start again! But it makes you a better keyboard player!

JB: What do you do with your vocals as far as compression? Are you just running the vocals from your four track into the computer and compressing inside Logic? Or are you using some outboard hardware compressor?

MW: I use a compressor inside of Logic on a lot of the vocals but not all of them, then I EQ them to make them a bit warmer. I don't have any external processors, as I don't want to get overwhelmed by too much stuff! Also, I'm currently trying to upgrade my equipment at the moment, but it's not working as I keep getting plagued with technical hurdles!

JB: On 'The Rise and Fall of Responsibility' many of the songs seem to revolve around the transition from being a teenager to a young adult. Were there any real-life situations that inspired the songs?

MW: Some songs derive completely from real-life situations and others are exaggerated somewhat. The rest are either fictional or songs about somebody else, so are not applicable to me. Generally though, there is a biographical and nostalgic element to a lot of the songs. In that sense it could be construed as self-indulgent, but that's just the way it is!

JB: Well, if you're a songwriter, you gotta write about something, y'know? Is there a specific song on 'The Rise and Fall' where you could describe how 'real life' influenced it?

MW: Well, there's a song on there called 'Under the Influenza' which is written about having the flu or colds and all that sort of stuff. That comes from always being ill when I was younger. I'm generally much healthier these days, but I had the flu earlier in the year. I wrote this song in bed when I was feeling pretty dire!

JB: You pull off a credible 'Discovery'-era ELO sound with 'The Melancholy Days.' (And it's a fantastic song, as well!) Have you ever considered doing a 12" remix? A disco album?

MW: Rhythm is very important to me, and I try to give every song a different rhythmic feel. There's nothing worse than listening to a collection of songs which all have the same groove. I think you should be able to move to most music, whether it's 'dance' orientated or not. That said, I do like 'dance'music in a traditional pop way. I like a lot of disco, funk, and early 80s dance pop, as its quite fresh-sounding, and most importantly, full of groove which I think a lot of dance music gradually lost over time. I don't know if I would do a whole disco album, but probably after a few more albums you could certainly compile a good dancing compilation!

JB: As a one man band, you obviously don't have the luxury of other musicians helping establish a groove when recording. Are there any tricks you've discovered to help get the right sort of 'feel' for a song?

MW: Yes I basically borrow a groove off a record that I like. Generally, when I've written something, I'll write down next to it, 'The feel is like this song by whoever it is'. That's usually the start off point. That's why it's good to listen to lots of music, even stuff you don't like because you might find something like a rhythm or groove that you can borrow!

JB: Could you provide a bit of a breakdown about how you produced 'The Melancholy Days?'

MW: It was just something I wrote on guitar. It was going to be a slow ballad, but I thought that might be a bit obvious, so I didn't do anything with it for a while. One day, I was listening to a song I liked called La Dolce Vita by Ryan Paris, who was a sort of early 80s Europop one hit wonder. I thought that I should do something with a similar beat, so I basically used the groove off that song, though compositionally they have nothing in common. Sound-wise, then I was just fiddling around with different synthesizer sounds. I had to keep relentlessly stripping it down until it was very sparse, though by the end of the song it gets quite busy again!

JB: How long does it take for you to write and record a typical Brigadier song?

MW: I'm quite quick at writing, but the recording takes time as I have a day job and have to fit it in around that. I'm always thinking simultaneously about loads of different songs at any one time. Some songs I finish and some I don't. Some come back for another day. Some songs literally are all completely recorded and mixed within a few hours (like This is, Why off the new album) and others I might start at some point, and then burn off my computer coming back to them weeks or months later. Usually if you record and mix something on one day, you go back to it a few days later and you want or need to refine it. After a few more times of doing that, it usually sounds finished. The more experienced you become with recording, the easier it is, because you know instinctively how you want it to sound and how to get there. But then that's like anything, I suppose!

JB: Do you throw stuff away?

MW: I abandon lots of songs in the writing stage if they're not keeping my interest, but will usually just throw them into a pile for another day. With recording, sometimes I'll do a backing track and decide I don't like it or it's in the wrong tempo or key or basically, it's not inspiring. So I'll bin it. Then maybe a few months later, I'll come back to that song and redo it in a different way. I have lots of songs like that!

JB: What are the best things about being a one-man-band?

MW: The best things definitely are being able to do what I want when I want. I can write anything and release it and don't have to teach someone how to play it. I have collaborated with people before many times on writing and recording, but would generally prefer to produce other people than write with them but I'm not ruling it out.

JB: What about the worst? MW: The worst thing is that you have to be your own motivator and you have to really force yourself to keep your own morale up. It's especially evident when I'm doing a gig. It isn't as much fun doing a gig by yourself. I'd rather play with a band behind me in that capacity.

JB: Do you have any tricks you use to stay motivated, especially when writing and recording?

MW: I think having strong self-belief is the only thing which you can use to motivate yourself a lot of the time. That, and getting feedback from other musicians and fans. You tend to feel validated when people like what you are doing, so it helps keep you on track. That said, there are many dark days where you feel a bit lost and directionless and what you're doing is not worth anything. But you need to try and not let those thoughts hold much weight.

JB: Who are, in your view, some excellent but severely overlooked recording artists that everybody should know about?

MW: A lot of my tastes are quite mainstream and go from the mid 50s to the recent day, but that encompasses pop, rock, progressive rock, funk, heavy metal, country, bluegrass, country-rock, disco, electropop, etc. So as far as I can think the overlooked bands that I like did enjoy some success but not enough of it: artists like Saint Etienne, Stackridge, Salad, The Auteurs, Emitt Rhodes, and Mike Scott. I think as well as bands that are underrated or unknown, there are also periods in famous artists histories that go completely overlooked, people like Nick Lowe, Dion Dimucci, Delmont Shannon and The Everly Brothers, even The Beach Boys too. People might only know them for a handful of hits, but if you delve in to their back catalogues, there are some really great albums.

JB: What's next for The Brigadier?

MW: My first priority is to try and upgrade my recording equipment to make things easier. I'm also working on an EP for release in the late summer with a loose theme of 'Holidays' but that will probably change. I've also started recording my next album for probable release next year. I've got so many songs that I'm just going to keep recording them because I can't think of anything better to do. Thankfully, I have a good fan base who enjoy what I do, and I always sell enough to cover all my costs of making CDs so there's no reason to stop!

JB: 10 things that inspire The Brigadier?

Food, The weather, Photographs, Nostalgia, States of mind, Going on trips, Films, Other peoples songs, Love, Not going to work

'The Brigadier'

THE BRIGADIER - By Tom Watford It can't be easy being the Brigadier. A head full of radio on constant rotation, 24-7, which just won't switch off: Insomnia: Turning the pillow for the seventeenth time *please just a little sleep* and quitting in despair at five thirty, and now it's light again. Back to work. Can't concentrate. So tired. Can't turn off the radio music music music a snippet of a vocal a fleeting glimmer of a guitar line a drum part looped over and over and over and over. Music we never heard before got to get it on tape quick write down that lyric I like that wordplay I've seen the way the Brigadier seems to have this infliction and you might be speaking to him and then the eyes go up to the left, a distant thought in the recesses of a part of the brain where others can't begin to reach or tap into. He's felt the slightest tweak on the line; a fish, reel it in“ the way you said that last sentence, it's slowly turning into a melody or a rhythm and a minute, day, week later it's a song. And it's all there; verse, bridge, chorus, a big fucking shark of a song.

How did you do that man? Oh, I don't know, it just came, you know, I worked on it a bit, and there it is. Do you like it? I like it. 3 minutes short, crafted, fleshed out, laboured, effortless. Every second drenched with some kind of reference to last 50 years of pop. Not in a blatant rip-off way; more like the Brigadier has been endlessly sourcing the secret ingredients of the finest songs rather than stealing the whole dish with one greedy swipe. Nobody's taught me how to produce an album. Or arrange a record. But I want to draw everything I can from a song. You have the initial idea, and then you put the work in and get out as much as you can. Obsession doesn't easily acknowledge laziness. I think you have to be slightly obsessed with music to write music. Are you obsessed with music? 'I'm not sure. There's plenty of evidence in the Brigadier's home studio that suggests if pop music isn't an obsession then it's certainly more than just a healthy hobby. Stacks of equipment, old and new. An applemac/a pc/a vintage Copycat/a handmade telecaster built by his father before I was born. Records and records and records which have be arranged in some kind of library so allowing the Brigadier to find an album in moments but which has no obvious order to the outsider. Here's an old tape. 'Ah, Burning Ice. My first band. Me and a friend at school started this band. We couldn't play anything of course, but that didn't stop us. There were other members too. Fictional ones, who would play everything for us. I kept all our albums written in a folder all 40 minutes long, ten tracks four minutes long'.

Years later, having taught himself how to play as good as the unreal members of the band, The Brigadier would write the songs for real. THE actual songs. Yeah, a lot of them became songs I have now. Not all of them. Some of them will stay in the folder. I never get to see the folder, although I secretly rummage for it when The Brigadier is making us a cup of tea. But I do find 300 cds stashed behind an amp, each original track carefully labelled with Title, Mix, Date. The guy is obviously proficient. Obsessed? Yes, but you have to be, slightly. Debut album 'View From The Bath' was released in Spring 2007. As with all classy debuts, one can at once sense a purpose, a battle-plan that the Brigadier has carefully drawn up and executed with an eye to detail and a loving touch. 45 minutes long, it's a reflective, absorbing work which retains a real home made quaintness. Individually, the most obvious influences on the tracks here are the genius of Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney, with shades of Nick Lowe and Lindsey Buckingham. But the vision of the LP as a whole looks to other sources for inspiration. I was always impressed by records that took you on a journey, that would take you somewhere, a place, or a feeling, and bring you back again. I think of Lou Reed's Berlin when I think of that. Saint Etienne are a band that I come back to. Tiger Bay is one that springs to mind, and I wanted to make something like that, an overall piece, a mood. What also becomes obvious after talking to the Brigadier is that there is more where 'View From The Bath' came from and we could end up with a bundle of records like this in five years time, which would a very exciting place to be. I can certainly imagine wandering over to the player and picking up a record, and then sinking into a chair find myself slowly drifting into the Brigadier's most enchanting world.

'The Brigadier'

IN 2007 THE BRIGADIER TOOK PART IN E4'S "POPWORLD PROMOTES" - THIS IS A BIT OF WHAT THEY SAID: "I am TOTALLY in love with this guy! Lovely voice and a brilliant sound in all his songs.He is GREAT!xxx" -"The album is fantastic! This guy will go far" - "He is excellent his music just lifts your mood and puts a smile on your face:-) he will go far" - "To infinity and beyond...X X" - "You are brilliant Matt!Fantastic songs!Wish you all the best!" - "Greetings from Canada, great lyrics, great melodies, sounds like you're on your way to the top." - "I can't stop listening to The Brigadier's album... It's great! Worth every vote!" - "I am totally in love!!!This is magic:)Best wishes..xxx" - "The Brigadier is one of those rare animals - genuine and original melodies and lyrics, but with a distinct 60's early pop feel - and it makes you feel great! Love his music to bits, and I'm sure he will go far!" - "Great sound and voice!" - "Great! .. fantastic song ! .." - "The Brigadier writes cool, catchy songs with his own distinctive style of totally original intelligent pop music that simply oozes hip - proven by his popular MySpace page which is really buzzing with fans, of which I am one of them!" - "The boy has talent. Love the songs... from New Orleans" - "The album is fantastic! This guy will go far" - "Rated 10. For sure. Excellent stuff" - "sumptious darling. do the vocals sound a bit "Rent-a-Ghost"..or is it just me? LOVE IT x" - "Love all the Tracks! You are going to be big x" - "He's great! Sign 'im!" - "Brighton's best. ;-)" - "i like this very much" - "A breath of fresh air in the Pop world. Looking forward to seeing him signed! Just listen to those melodies and harmonies" - "Saw the Brigadier at Death Disco in Notting Hill - great gig, loved the music!" - "i would like to say just two things,an amazing voice and wonderful songs" - "He should be signed" - "Wow, really great music..." - "great song! he should be signed!!" - "with the brigadier.....once you pop you can't stop... ciao ciao" - "Great gig in Notting Hill, Come back soon!" - "I FOUND HIM ON THE WEB...IT'S GREAT MUSIC...REALLY...I HOPE TO SEE HIM TOP THE LIST" - "Had a great set at Death Disco, well recomended" - "Fantastic music. . . the world needs to hear it. . . he must be signed. . . fast!!" - "Fab Fab KEEP DOIN IT" - "it's beautiful" - "Matt,The Brigadier sound awesome! Matt you have my full support! U sound super psychedelic! Un bacio grande, ur lil' swedish fan;)"