Sheffield music veteran, of Dead Like Harry, launches ‘deeply personal’ album
Write what you know; singer-songwriter Matt Taylor has spent the last few years doing just that.
It’s been a busy time for the Sheffield musician, who met and married the love of his life, Abbi, and had two beautiful sons. It turns out to have been an inspirational time too. ‘Year by Year’ is the result – an 11-song album that tells the story of the last few years of Matt’s life.
“I’ve spent years writing music that looks to the future, to the possibility of what comes next,” Matt says.
“This is the first time I’ve stopped to take a look back.”
Matt is a music veteran, with 20 years under his belt as a founding member of well-known Sheffield band, Dead Lie Harry. The band, Matt assures me, is – unlike the name suggests – alive and well, reuniting just recently for a gig to mark its 20th anniversary.
“We’ve been playing together since 1998,” Matt explains.
“We’ve never broken up, we've simply taken a step back and are working on our own things at the moment.”
One of the things Matt has turned his attention to Anytown, a new band which features several of Dead Like Harry’s original members, and released its debut album in 2013. The album went on to feature in 16,000 digital jukeboxes in cafes and bars around the UK, and even had one track featured on Channel 4’s Hollyoaks.
In between raising his young family, and working full time at Sheffield Hallam University, 37-year-old Matt has spent the last four years creating this second album. The song titles hint at the variety on offer – from Steel Town, and Little Soul, to Ivor’s Song, and Year by Year.
“Some of the songs I wrote as far back as 2002,” explains Matt, who lives in Norton, in the same city he was born and raised.
“Steel Town sets the tone of the album for me, and is a song I wrote whilst away at university in Scarborough. I was reflecting on the city I’d left behind, and feeling like I was in the wrong place. As it turns out, I was. I left shortly after to return to Sheffield and focus on music.
“Little Soul is a song I wrote when my son Archie was born four years ago. When my second son, Ivor, was born two years later, I wrote Ivor’s Song, so those two mean a great deal to me.
“Year by Year is a song I wrote to sing at my wedding. When Abbi and I got married, instead of making a speech, I decided I wanted to do something musical, and Year by Year was the result; it's all about when my wife and I met, so that song features towards the end of the album. In that respect, Steel Town sets the scene of where I’ve come from, and Year by Year is the culmination.
“This is an immensely personal album for me.”
Matt is also proud as the album is the first he's worked on without an external producer.
“I had amazing people working with me on this,” he says.
“My brother Sam Taylor is a fantastic engineer, and John Redgrave and Robin Baker both joined me to help create the sound.”
And while the album was never designed to be a live album, Matt reveals he is likely to arrange a gig in Sheffield towards the end of the year to launch the album, and get some of his bandmates together.
Visit facebook.com/anytownmusic for details on the album.