After winning 'The X Factor' in 2010 and getting a number one single and two top 10 albums, Matt Cardle hopes to extend his success with the release of his independent new album 'Porcelain', due for release on October 28th 2013. Said to be his most musically diverse album to date, the album incorporates funk, soul, rock and pop in what he promises is his most authentic album yet.
Matt Cardle speaks to us about the decision to self-produce, his departure from 'The X Factor' and becoming his own artist.
CM: Hi Matt, how are you?
Matt: I'm good thanks pal, how's it going?
CM: Very well thanks, you're sounding very well!
Matt: It's all good! I've just got up! (Laughs) I've been all over the f*****g place at the moment; I'm just recovering from Bali doing the Miss World final which was fun but it's a long way to go for one song.
CM: Wow, that sounds exciting! Welcome back to the UK!
Matt: Thanks man, this way it won't cost you a million pounds.
CM: Your new album 'Porcelain' is to be released later this month - do you have any preconceived expectations on how it's going to be received?
Matt: No, I can't have any preconceptions. At this stage of the game, it's had a better reaction to anything I've ever brought out. From the duet with Mel to the single which we've just released a video for, it's got such a good reaction. I'm feeling good about it!
CM: You've done three albums in three years while still managing to tour. A lot of artists have a matter of years between albums - how do you manage to remain motivated and work so efficiently?
Matt: The core of everything is I've had a lot to write about. If my relationship hadn't have broken down then I wouldn't have been in a position to write 'The Fire' and through that I wouldn't have been in the position to write 'Porcelain'. For me, it's all to do with personal experience and how much trouble I can get myself in and out of that's going to keep the music coming.
CM: So the music you write is very relative to you. Do you find music can be therapeutic?
Matt: I know how people can say music is cathartic and therapeutic to get it all out but, to be honest, a lot of the stuff that I write about I don't really want to be thinking about any more than I have to.
CM: You worked with Mel C on your single 'Loving You' - is there anyone in particular you would love to collaborate with who you haven't yet had the chance to?
Matt: I've always said I'd love to work with Chris Martin - the guy's in the biggest, coolest band on the planet but it's not that easy to achieve. I just think he's an absolute genius and I'd love to work with him.
CM: It's always a possibility! The video for 'When You Were My Girl' has just been released - between that and 'Loving You' do you think it's a fair reflection of what the album is going to entail?
Matt: Not really. Those are two pop sides of the album. I've pushed it in a soul direction at times, there's some very Michael Jackson-esque stuff from the album. And just some straight up rock - back to my roots.
CM: Is that a reflection of the current music you're listening to and has inspired you?
Matt: I listen to all sorts. At the moment I'm listening to Pearl Jam and Rage Against The Machine. I really thought Pete Gabriel - 'London Ground' was amazing! I've got their album, it's incredible. I like Rihanna, Emeli Sande - it's all good!
CM: What have been the benefits of independently releasing 'Porcelain' compared to releasing your debut album on a large label and your second on a smaller one?
Matt: I just get full control over where the money is spent, where we do the videos - it's a control thing for me more than anything. It's lovely to be in control as much as I am.
CM: Was the reasoning behind self-producing the album for the same reason?
Matt: There's a personal control in the fact that I know how the album should sound, I know how each track should turn out and I know I can do it; I've been [producing] for years. With regards to playing instruments on the album, I do play all the instruments apart from part of the string sections and all the very difficult bits. I've been playing the drums and the bass and the keys and the guitars and I've found the more I put into the album, the more it sounds like me.
CM: I feel like each of your albums have had a different intention and result, what's the reasoning behind this album specifically?
Matt: I think 'The Fire' was a drastic leap right from where I was, in a metaphorical sense as well. 'Porcelain' is just a big step forward. I wanted to step away from what I'm being perceived as - which isn't necessarily what people have heard. For me, it's a big leap forward.
CM: What concerts have you been to/do you intend to go to as a fan?
Matt: I'm off to see Lawson at the Roundhouse at the weekend, I'm friends with those guys - they're really great lads. I'm also going to see Blue because we did the Miss World final together - I've got a lot of time for those guys as well, they're absolutely f*****g brilliant. Apart from that I haven't been able to get to that many gigs, I've been too busy!
CM: Do you intend to go back on tour in the near future?
Matt: Oh, God yeah! We've got a tour lined up but I can't say where or when until it's all been finalised but we'll be going international as well.
CM: Are you hoping to include a mixed set list on this tour?
Matt: It's great because on the first album tour, we toured with the first album, that's all we had. On the second album, we toured with the second and first but now we get the pick of the bunch to make the best show we can!
CM: Do you prefer performing live or working in the studio?
Matt: I like them both just as much for different reasons. There's a certain buzz that you can't get from anywhere else when you've written or been involved in writing a good song. But, at the same time, there is no buzz like going out on stage and having a thousand people singing it back to you.
CM: Are there any specific venues or countries you prefer to play at?
Matt: I'm just interested to see what happens around the world with this new album. Wherever we tour it, I just want to see how it goes down.
CM: Obviously, the UK do have some preconceptions of you, do other counties perhaps not have them as much?
Matt: Well, exactly, they don't watch the show. What they see is the music and I want it to be now that I start bringing my music internationally because I'm getting back to what I really do.
CM: Between touring, recording and promoting your album how do you like to relax?
Matt: I like to skate. I still skateboard a lot when I'm allowed. Just chilling out, staying at home and having a drink and what not.
CM: Is it possible to have a life outside of music during this period of your life?
Matt: It's all consuming. I get very unsettled some days but I'm doing what I love so I don't care.
CM: Obviously, I do have to mention 'The X Factor' which you won in 2010. Do you feel you have progressed more as an artist since then?
Matt: I've come a long way in those three years personally, but I'd also come a long way in the fifteen years leading up to that. I'd been singing and playing since I was about eight or nine, doing the circuit like everybody does, just trying my hardest.
CM: 'The X Factor' seems to have given you your career boost, however there's almost an impression that you're trying to separate yourself from the show. Is that your intention?
Matt: Well, they've helped (laughs). I wasn't intentionally separating myself from 'X Factor'; there was a preconception from outside parties that I wanted to detach myself from 'X Factor' and distance myself, but I had no intention of that. I still am proud of the fact that I won the show and it's cool but I am my own artist and I always will be.
CM: Have you been watching the show this year?
Matt: I haven't been home enough to watch it.
CM: Have you felt self-producing the album has helped you break away even if it wasn't intentional?
Matt: Definitely. I've been able to write the music I want to write and produce it the way I want to produce it.
CM: For somebody who has so much experience in the industry, what advice would you give to somebody interested in pursuing a musical career?
Matt: Just be yourself. You can only ever be yourself and if you're not then eventually it all comes down. Have fun and keep a strong network of people around you who you trust and can work with.
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