It’s no exaggeration to say Diane Warren is probably the most prolific and successful songwriter working today. She’s also something of an old school ‘non-performing’ writer and very forthright and candid. Check out this interview with bonus questions from my blog buddy Nicholas Tozier
Matt Blick is a singer/songwriter from Nottingham, UK. Like his early inspiration Billy Bragg he sings in his real accent and plays electric guitar (there’s more tuba than acoustic guitar on the Let’s Build An Airport EP). He plays like someone who spent more time in mosh pits than coffee shops and sings about faith that hasn’t had all doubts and questions photoshopped out and everything else from love and loss to airports and abattoirs.
At the age of 20 he had a spiritual awakening and walked away from a music career to become a christian pastor, get married and raise a family. Over the next 20 years he taught guitar to pay the bills, preached sermons, studied theology and served in 3 different churches. But even though making music often felt like a sinful waste of time, it kept calling him back. A demo he’d made prompted a call from Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott who said it was one of the best he’d heard. Volunteer work with refugees led to recording a CD released in Iraq and live gigs with an Iranian bagpipe player. He filled in with a friend’s funk rock band and won a Battle of the Bands. Songs he’d written were performed in churches and kids he taught got signed to major labels.
Having written music since before he could play, songwriting was in Matt’s bones. But years of denying who you are can bring you to the point of burnout. He gave up Church responsibilities, cut back on teaching and wrote almost 50 songs in the following year.
‘Reinventing yourself’ is often superficial – some new clothes and a haircut. But sometimes re-invention means taking the broken parts of who you are and putting then back together in a new and stronger way.
Let’s Build An Airport is the sound of a personal reinvention.
Following in the footsteps of Tom Waits (to whom the EP is dedicated) Matt’s songs blend deadpan humour and deadly serious soul searching that weave a drunken path between too cynical for church and too spiritual for bars. A raw, yet intricately arranged, sound built around a dirty electric guitar, violin, viola and cello, tuba, accordion and numerous obscure instruments is reminiscent of post rock bands like Sigur Ros and Gungor – the inevitable result of a lifetime of playing multiple genres. Matt sounds like someone who’s been everywhere and belongs nowhere.