Matt has been involved in music for as long as he can remember. He was taken to his father’s gigs from a very early age, staying for the first set when he was very young and then to full gigs as he got older. He had his first drum kit at the age of 3 and his first guitar, a Yamaha Pacifica 112, at the age of 5. He’d already been practicing a few chords on his Dad’s guitars.
Matt gave his first live performance on guitar when he was 8 years old and then began to regularly stand in with classic rock band Catch 23, playing drums or guitar at various gigs around South Devon area and beyond. While doing this, he began to develop an interest in recorded sound and visuals and began recording the band and refining his skills as a studio engineer and live sound technician. He’d also begun to write and record songs and musical pieces with a couple of school friends.
Matt’s drumming exploits were interrupted at the age of 7, when following a fall, he developed juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. This illness meant that he could not partake in sport and he focused his full attention on music.
The next step for Matt was to put together his own musical act and he began to gig as a duo with a female singer in local bars. They took part in local talent shows and began to get a good deal of local press coverage. A drummer and bass player were added to the line up and this group became the first incarnation of Vivid Sky. A successful year followed with gigs a plenty, features on local radio and representing the South West of England at a national Battle of the Bands contest, at Jools Holland’s venue in Birmingham and meeting judge Rick Wakeman, of the legendary prog rock band Yes.
One thing led to another and by 2009 Vivid Sky had acquired a new vocalist. They had also attracted the interest of producer Stuart Epps, who had worked with Gus Dudgeon and Jimmy Page, producing and engineering Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Chris Rea, The Firm, Robbie Williams, Oasis and the Death Wish film soundtracks for Michael Winner.
A visit to Prism Studios in Stoke (run by Shaun Lowe, who has worked with Sting and The Drifters) produced the 4 track ‘Man in Black’ EP. Unfortunately though, due to various pressures, the band split up later that year and Matt involved himself in earning some money by gigging with various bands and musicians in the local area. During this time, Matt had also become one of the first students at the South West Music School.
Matt was also featured as Music Production Company – Cakewalk’s ” Recording Artist of the Week” at the age of 15.
In late 2010, Matt began to put together another band to find a medium for his song writing and music production skills. After auditioning a number of bassists, singers and drummers, the band Ashbird was born. Songs were written and Matt recorded a full 9 track album, The Edge of Reality, in his home studio (Seismic Studios). This was released on iTunes and on CD in December 2011 to very favourable reviews on Seaoftranquility.org and Musicplayers.com.
In between all of this Matt also (apart from attending college), began to give guitar lessons and to set up his own YouTube channel, demonstrating and showcasing musical equipment and producing the odd split screen cover song here and there.
Matt’s guitar influences are many but include John Petrucci, Alex Lifeson, Jimmy Page, Nuno Bettencourt, Tony Iommi and Mark Tremonti. On the drums, he admires the work of Gavin Harrison, Mike Portnoy, Neal Peart and John Bonham.
For guitar work he uses a PRS Custom 24 Artist Package, a PRS Custom 24 and a Musicman JP6. For amplification, he uses an Engl Invader II head and Engl 2x12 Horizontal cab loaded with vintage 30’s.
In the studio he uses, aside from the ever present Shure SM57’s, a number of microphones from Rode & AKG along with Logic Pro X DAW.