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Once we first met Matt Maltese on the finish of 2016, the shaven-headed younger south Londoner was penning large, wry piano ballads, full of 1 liners and eye rolls. On 2018 debut ‘Dangerous Contestant’, the cheeky winks have been in full power however, by the next 12 months’s ‘Krystal’, the Matt that got here to the desk was a notably completely different one: having been dropped by main label Atlantic and sporting a brand new shaggy do, the now-23-year-old had audibly shifted his lyrical voice into one thing sweeter, softer and fewer depending on cracking gags to maintain individuals on aspect.

Now, with new EP ‘madhouse’ launched at this time by way of Nettwerk, we converse to Matt about getting down and choosing your self again up once more, and why he’s extra snug in his personal pores and skin now than he’s ever been.

It looks like you’ve got been a busy boy throughout lockdown, together with penning your personal quarantine music (‘Ballad of a Pandemic’)…
That looks like a lifetime in the past! It was a really spur of the second factor. I wrote it, and it felt too apparent to not put out. Sure it was a barely tacky transfer, however the one motive to not do it was ego so I simply let go of that; I do not actually care if individuals assume I am tacky. That is fantastic.

Cheese is considerably a part of the bundle!
It is a large a part of this bundle!

There was solely a 12 months between your debut ‘Dangerous Contestant’ and final 12 months’s ‘Krystal’, however it felt like the 2 got here from fairly completely different locations. Did you are feeling like there had been a noticeable change?
I feel I modified so rapidly in how I felt about myself and in my very own pores and skin from the day I launched ‘Dangerous Contestant’. Every part that occurred work clever, being dropped by Atlantic and being out of uni and free, however it being like, ‘Oh god…’. Simply trying into this abyss. So then ‘Krystal’ grew to become extra like proving myself to myself. It was nearly like making music after I was 18; I had nothing to lose however every little thing to lose.

Did that have have an effect on your confidence?
In a method, positively. I feel it performs with you a bit since you begin with no crew, and you then construct a crew, after which if you lose that you just actually query if you are able to do it with out these individuals. It is not a lot about being validated by the folks that A&R a Jess Glynne report, as a result of I in all probability do not want that if I am sincere – no disrespect to her, however we’re not doing the identical factor. I am very grateful for the chance, however I wasn’t so unhappy about dropping them as a house; I used to be extra unhappy in regards to the base degree validity {that a} report deal provides you, which you’ll deny exists in your thoughts however it’s the factor that you may inform your dad and mom about. I recognise that my second album feels like one thing you’d begin with, however that is what being signed after which being dropped did to me, and I embraced that. I’ve form of achieved my profession backwards! That is form of the way it feels!

“I spent a very long time being referred to as cute and hating it, however no matter. I’m what I’m.”

How do you assume your writing modified on ‘Krystal’?
I feel the best way I processed grief after I was making ‘Dangerous Contestant’ was to actually hate on myself, and to actually giggle at it. And I feel, even simply as an individual, I simply had a distinct angle in the direction of utilizing comedy [later]; I nonetheless used it sparsely in ‘Krystal’, however it was simply completely different. I really feel extra snug being the mushy, heart-on-sleeve man. Having individuals name you cute and truly not minding that anymore; I spent a very long time being referred to as cute and hating it, however no matter. I’m what I’m.

Are you saying you are cute, Matt?
I’m cute! No no, that is not what I am going for. However there’s a variety of ego and concepts hooked up to being a man the place cute can really feel derogatory, however it’s simply not derogatory for me now. Whereas I feel earlier than, I wasn’t OK with that; I used to be making an attempt to get this structure out of me that does not exist.

Is it extra exposing to take that entrance away?
100%. I discovered it rather a lot simpler to be behind a shaved head – I had a distinct floor to what I used to be, and that is not saying I wasn’t being true to myself, I did not get up on a regular basis being like, ‘I am actually uncomfortable’. However positively, after I made the songs myself and stopped carrying a go well with on a regular basis, there was a vulnerability to that the place I could not cover behind as many issues.

I used to be writing a variety of stuff that I’d have been cynical in regards to the 12 months earlier than; I’d by no means have allowed myself to jot down like that. I simply stopped wanting to place a joke each three traces. And I all the time wish to make individuals giggle – I feel that even in ‘Krystal’, after I play somebody a music and so they giggle at a line I really feel validated as a human greater than anything. So comedy’s all the time gonna be a extremely necessary half for me, however I wanna use it successfully.

“I feel essentially the most profitable love songs for me are the weirdest ones.”

OK, so inform us about ‘madhouse’ – which is out at this time!
It was written between a mix of instances. ‘unhappy dream’ and ‘hello’ have been proper on the finish of ‘Krystal’; ‘queen bee’ and ‘madhouse’ have been meant for a distinct second album, however they’ve all been completed within the now.

‘little individual’ particularly is a really pretty love music – what makes a great one?
I feel essentially the most profitable love songs for me are the weirdest ones, or those which are essentially the most distinctive to that individual’s expertise. It is all within the particulars, and there perhaps aren’t sufficient particulars in a variety of music which I why I do not join with it.

Our August cowl star Angel Olsen not too long ago spoke about how, as an artist that writes very private music, you find yourself commodifying your personal life considerably. Do you ever take into consideration that?
It is the rooster and the egg. What’s coming first – is my want to have a life fuelled by my want to jot down good songs, or are the nice songs gonna come from a life lived? I feel perhaps at 17,18 I had fairly dramatic, angsty concepts about desirous to undergo a nasty break up so I may write good songs, however as quickly as I went by it I realised I would a lot moderately not try this! I positively do not feel like I had the final giggle, which I feel perhaps I believed I’d by writing a music [about it]. You do not take away the ache by writing about it; the writing is simply addressing the ache. Possibly I will not all the time really feel prefer it, however at this level I really feel a way of goal in speaking in regards to the particulars and getting them out, and the format of a music provides me a variety of area to say issues that I am not good at saying in actual life.

What else have you ever acquired developing?
I’ve nearly written what I feel would be the third album; I’ve in all probability acquired one music to search out, wherever it’s… After which I feel I wanna report in September – that is the plan. I actually get rather a lot from doing a bunch of songs, getting them on the market and considering ‘What is the subsequent factor?’. I positively do not want extra time to make choices as a result of I will simply make worse choices. The pace retains me going and stops me stepping into the swamp.

‘madhouse’ is out now by way of Nettwerk.

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