18 year old singer-songwriter Matt Grocott hails from just over the border in that there Grantham, this Sunday he’ll be heading into Nottingham as part of the stellar line up for this year’s Nottingham Acoustic Gathering, which takes place at The Maze. Ahead of his appearance we put a few questions to the youngster to find out what makes him tick.
Hi Matt, could you start off by introducing yourself to our readers?
My name is Matt Grocott, I’m an 18 year-old acoustic singer/songwriter based in Lincolnshire.
When did you first discover a love for performing music and that it was what you wanted to do?
When I was about 14 or 15, as it was when I had my first proper gig. Other than that, I’ve wanted to be a singer since I was about 9. Anything to do with performing I would just love to do.
Who are your biggest inspirations in your musical career?
My biggest inspirations that strive me to play music would be my musical influences. People like Frank Turner and Johnny Cash just make me want to carry on doing what I love cause it’s something I want to do full time. Well I hope I do. I’ve always had help from my family to gig so I’d say that my parents would play a big part in inspiring me to perform more.
How would you describe your sound to those not familiar with it?
I would describe my sound as a mix between Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer. I used to be in a punk/pop-punk band myself so I have listened to a lot of punk rock over the years. But it’s just in the last year I have started delving into more music orientated around the acoustic guitar. So that has inspired me to write more cleaner songs and get out of my comfort zone. At the end of the day I suppose I’d class myself as a Country Punk singer.
Do you still remember your first gig, how did it feel the first time you performed in front of an audience?
My first time on a stage infront of an audience would of been at my high school. I had been playing guitar a couple of years and me and my friends had put together a couple of Green Day covers. I remember shaking before we were gonna go on but when we played it was such a rush and I just wanted to do it all over again.
What have been your most memorable gigs to date?
The one gig that I always remember playing was back when I was in my old band. It was a battle of the bands and I planned on getting people going in the last song we were playing, which was GG Allin’s Bite It You Scum. I jumped off the stage and there was so much adrenaline going through me I didn’t bother unravelling the mic lead, so I just jumped off with the stand too. I tried to start a mosh pit but it backfired and it made me look like I was starting on random people. Then the organiser came up to me and grabbed the mic off me. I couldn’t imagine how stupid I would of looked to people watching. But I decided to keep going so I jumped back on stage and got the guitarists mic. That has to be the most memorable and embarrassing gigs I’ve had to deal with.
You’re playing the Acoustic Gathering at The Maze this weekend, the show has a great line up, you must be excited to be a part of that?
Yeah! It looks great, there’s a lot of acoustic artists in Nottingham and I’m glad The Maze put on events like this just showcasing acoustic music because a lot of it goes unnoticed, especially where I come from, as people just want to hear loud music.
The line up shows the strength in depth of the Nottingham acoustic scene, what’s it like to be part of a such a strong scene?
It’s cool to finally be a part of it. I have played at a couple of Nottingham venues now and it’s great because people seem a lot more interested in what I do than other areas of the midlands I’ve played.
Who are your favourite fellow Nottingham acts out there at the moment?
My favourite acts around in Nottingham have to be the Breadchasers and although I’ve only just heard of him, Ashmore. I saw a video of him online on The Beat’s show and I thought he was awesome.
With such a strong acoustic scene how important do you think it is to stamp your own individuality on your music, is there a risk of getting lost in the crowd?
I think there is a big risk of getting lost in the crowd, what I try and do is give my songs a spin by using quirky lyrics or singing depressing lyrics with a happy tune. It’s very important to me to get my own sound, it’s pretty damn hard too though. But then again, if people like playing music a certain way and are happy doing that then there is really no need to go and change your music just to get noticed.
What other gigs do you have lined up after Sunday?
I’m playing local in Grantham at The Blue Bull on Monday 26th August. I’m on at 8pm in the beer garden. I have one on Saturday 5th October in Derby at Cathedral Green, that is a day event from 12pm to 4pm. I also have another gig in Nottingham, on Tuesday 8th October at the Ice Nightclub, which starts at 9pm. You can find all these gigs on my facebook page.
Do you have any plans for any releases during 2013?
I released a four track E.P earlier this year called ‘Polished’. These are handed out at all my gigs. I would like to record and release an album but I don’t think it will be anytime soon.
If you could put together the perfect gig, featuring yourself of course, who would be on the line up?
The perfect gig for me would include Frank Turner, Johnny Cash (I know he’s not around anymore..but still) and Black Flag. That sounds like it’d be a good gig. I would put myself on first though because then I’d just be able to relax the rest of the night and watch class acts.
Where are your favourite places in Nottingham to hang out when you’re not on stage?
I’m not one to hang around Nottingham but when I do I like going to Rob’s Record Shop. I love going through records and finding new bands and new music that way.
Finally, who would win a fight between a Care Bear and a Moomin?
Oh, that’s easy. The Care Bear would demolish the Moomin.
Interview by Darren Patterson
Matt will be appearing at the Nottingham Acoustic Gathering 2013 this Sunday at The Maze along with a host of other Nottingham performers – for more information click here