Bryony Matthews Q&A - 'We're All The Same' album tour
Friday 14 April 2023
Six years following the release of Bryony Matthews' debut long player Little Queen, the Ōtautahi songwriter is preparing for the launch of her sophomore album We’re All The Same. Co-produced by Ryan Fisherman and Josh Holmes (both of whom also play on the record), We’re All The Same brings together material written over the past half decade and beyond, including earlier singles 'Thinking Of You', 'Here We Are', 'Yellow Flowers' and 'Who Am I Now'. Matthews squeezed in the time to answer Charlotte Lovrin's questions about her reflective new album.
Charlotte Lovrin: Your forthcoming release will bring together both older and newer material. How did you choose which tracks to include on the new record?
Bryony Matthews: After the release of my first album Little Queen, I had songs from back then that I really wanted to release. 'Thinking of You', 'Here We Are' and 'Tuesday' are songs that come from that time. All of them have evolved since I wrote them as a soloist and I'm so excited to be sharing them in their new form. I had my daughter the same year I released Little Queen, so I had written new material that represents that time and it is important for me to have those songs on this new album as well.
Are there any unifying concepts that drove the album, or themes that tied the tracks together?
Not so much unifying themes, but songs that represent different chapters in my life. I wanted it to be a collection of songs that cover different aspects of being human so they would tie in with the album title 'We're All The Same'. So I guess the themes are ones of human experience and emotion.
In what ways (or otherwise) have you found motherhood to be an influence on your songwriting?
I am generally inspired to write songs about things that are currently in my life, so yes motherhood was a big influence. 'Baby Of Mine' was written when I was very pregnant with my daughter, it's such a special song for my family as it captures that time when you're waiting for your child to arrive and all the thoughts and feelings that come with that. 'Who Am I Now' is another song that I wrote which is about that intense time of being a new mother, the sleep deprivation, the losing yourself and wondering how to get through it, and the fierce love that you have for your child. 'Perfect Child' is another track on the album, the title pretty much sums it up — it's a love song written to my daughter, I wrote this in the first lockdown during that beautiful autumnal month. We had a lot of space to be still and be together and this song represents that.
What inspired the title of your album, We're All The Same?
This is an important song for me, it was one of those songs that came tumbling through the air and I managed to catch it and write it all down super fast, like it wasn't really my idea, I was just the messenger. This song is about the importance of equality, acceptance, looking after our environment and focussing on our similarities rather than our differences. Deep down, despite being different in many ways, we are all the same. We all need love, acceptance, community, safety. I wanted to make this the album title as it's such an important message, not a new message, but one that we constantly need to be reminded of.
How does it feel to be releasing your first new album in 6 years?
So incredibly good! I thought it would be a lot sooner but having a child definitely slows things down, and that is something I have needed to surrender to. My first album was put together so fast and it's been really lovely to have more time to spend on this new album, to perfect things and to have space for ideas to evolve.
What elements do you feel producers / engineers Ryan Fisherman and Joshua Holmes have brought to the new record? Have you found yourself exploring new directions in sound?
I feel very fortunate to have these two as friends and to be able to work with them. Josh has been playing music with me for a long time and has gotten more into producing over the last couple of years. He has brought so much to this album, he likes to play with sounds, adding subtle stranger qualities, layers, points of difference. My sound has evolved so much because of what Josh brings to my music and I'm very grateful for his work on the album. I write quite sweet and uncomplicated songs which are perfect for Josh to play with. HIs ideas bring my songs to a whole other level. Working with Ryan is so lovely and easy, he has a great ear for production and recording with him in his Christchurch based studio The Hut is very relaxing. Everyone loves Ryan, he is one of those personalities within the Christchurch music scene that everyone knows and appreciates, and I'm really grateful to him for all the time and energy he has put into this album. Josh and Ryan both played on the album as well as Victoria Knopp (Imperial April, The Response), Amiria Grenell and Alice Tanner (Agnes Aleesy).
The album tour begins next month. What do you find to be the most rewarding part about touring / performing live?
I'm so excited to be going on tour, I've spent the last year releasing singles and have been furiously organising this release which involves huge amounts of admin and social media which I find quite difficult. I can't wait to finally perform and share my music with real audiences. That is the most rewarding thing for me, when I finally get to play onstage with my friends and travel around to share my music with different people. I'm so enjoying the band practises leading up to my Christchurch show at Space Academy. I have an amazing group of musicians playing with me and getting together to play music is so gratifying. I can't wait to receive my vinyls and create all my merch and share that with everyone. It is the sharing of my art that I have been working on for so long which really makes me happy.
Bryony Matthews - We're All The Same Album Tour
Friday 5th May - Grainstore Gallery, Oamaru
Sunday 7th May - Space Academy, Christchurch
Friday 19th May - Barrytown Hall, Barrytown
Saturday 20th May - Ruby Bay Store, Mapua
Thursday 25th May - The Wine Cellar, Auckland
Saturday 27th May - Vogelmorn Upstairs, Wellington
Sunday 28th May - Le Cafe, Picton