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In Conversation: Alpines

Catherine Pockson: Hey Bob! Here’s the first question…Where are you most excited to play on our tour in Feb and March? 🗺  

Bob Matthews: Maybe Bristol? I just think it’s such a great city.

We’ve had a few shows there before but I have a feeling this one will be special. Lousiana seems like the right venue.  

Also, Munich, because I’ve never been there and it’s such a beer capital!

How about you?

Catherine Pockson: I am really excited to play in Brussels in the Botanical Garden. It sounds like my dream venue! And also my Belgian family will be coming so that’s awesome 🌺🌵🌸🌿🌴

Catherine Pockson: Which is your favourite song from ‘Another River’ and why? 🌊

Bob Matthews: Almost all of them have been my favourite at different times. I love Completely because of the overall sound and the different components we used, I feel like it was a real turning point for us. However the one I keep coming back to is ‘Under The Sun’, probably the least listened to track because it’s a slow-paced one at the end of the album, but it has a vibe I’m always trying to capture from your songs. There’s something very special about when you’re at the piano and the first time you play through a freshly-written song – there’s something so natural about it. I always try and keep that vibe through to the finished production but I can’t always do it. ‘Under The Sun’ has that intimacy that is so difficult to convey.

Catherine Pockson: Ahh that’s a great answer!  ok here’s another question for you…If you moved to a desert island and could only take one piece of gear from the studio, which piece would it be? 🎛🦀🎛

Bob Matthews: My favourite piece of gear is probably the Juno 60 – so good for the synth pads and we’ve used it loads on songs like ‘Heaven’. But I wouldn’t be able to power it on a desert island! So maybe the little Pocket Operator Sub that you got me for my birthday last year? The one that looks like a pocket calculator!? I could while away the hours with that, until the batteries ran out…

…wait you didn’t tell us your favourite song on the album!

Catherine Pockson: Nice! My favourite song changes. But I think overall ‘Another River’ is my favourite tune because it came straight from the heart and was written at a time when I was seriously trying to figure out my place in the world. I was trying to accept so much about myself and other people close in my life. It will always be a song I’m proud of. Writing it made me realise I didn’t need be scared about being truly honest about my feelings ♡

Ok here’s the next question…

Bob Matthews: Ok then it’s my turn!

Catherine Pockson: Which piece of music would be the soundtrack to your life? 🎵🎶🎵

Bob Matthews: Great answer about ‘Another River’. I found the voice memo from when you first came up with the idea yesterday!

That’s a tough question….

How can you soundtrack a whole life with just one piece of music!?

Catherine Pockson: Yep sorry it’s a really tough question…

Bob Matthews: I’ll say at the moment ‘Thursday Afternoon’ by Brian Eno, which is one of his ambient albums. It helps me relax, and also it lasts an hour, changing very subtly all the time. I think I would go mad if my life was soundtracked by a three-minute pop song!

Are you gonna answer this one!?

Catherine Pockson: Ok. Today, right now, I would choose Bob Dylan’s ‘Blowing in The Wind’. The lyrics break my heart in the most life affirming way. It reminds me of growing up in a household of Bob Dylan lovers and learning the importance of song writing from my Dad. It makes me think of home and family and the importance of both of those things. Also, lyrically it feels very poignant at this very moment in time where we are faced with a huge climate crisis. I wake up everyday deeply concerned and determined to make a change and a brighter future.

Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head

And pretend that he just doesn’t see?’

What advice would you give to budding producers out there? 💌

Bob Matthews: Don’t be afraid to do things your own way. It is good to learn the rules, but only so you can break them. That is such a cliché, but I have learned it is true. Don’t get bogged down in technicalities; plugins and EQ frequencies. Focus on the music, and getting that vibe right. Always remember, it’s about serving the song. The song always comes first.

This is a bit of a mean one – if you had to stop performing but could continue writing, or you had to stop writing but continue performing (singing other people’s songs), which would you choose?

Catherine Pockson: Oooof that is such a difficult one Bob! I love and live for both elements but if I had to choose one I suppose it would be to continue writing. That is something I do everywhere and anywhere and cannot live without. It helps me to make sense of the world. Without it I think I would be a little bit lost. To make up for the lack of performance in my life I could don a hairbrush microphone (I actually own a hairbrush in the shape of a microphone!) and make shapes in the mirror pretending I’m at Wembley Arena supporting Beyoncé 🤗

If there is one person you could spend time in the studio with who would it be? 🎧

Bob Matthews: Well Brian Eno is one of my heroes. But they say you should never meet your heroes! He sounds like he has the most amazing approach to creating music, I use his ‘Oblique Strategy’ Cards all the time (look them up if you don’t know what I mean!)

James Holden is another really interesting producer, he is doing lots of cutting-edge, experimental stuff, I would love to talk to him. Also Gwilym Gold has been doing really interesting things with generative music, which I am really interested in (music that changes each time you listen to it…) I would love to talk to him about that.

Any of the xx guys – Romy, Oliver or Jamie. They are such nice people – it would interesting to work with them individually and see what they could come up with away from the xx sound!

This question just came into my head… do you think the internet helps creativity as a musician or hinders it?

Catherine Pockson: It is such a fine balance. But overall I would say that the internet does help musicians creatively. There is so much freedom and ease now in how you can express yourself and your music. The infrastructure of how people are listening to music is still being figured out day by day. Maybe in time there will be one main platform where people stream music and a fairness will be found between the artist and the label financially. Perhaps this will be Spotify. Right now I feel like that is the future.

Bob Matthews: Yes I think it is great for music on the whole.

Catherine Pockson: Ok final question…Which five emojis can you not live without and why?

Bob Matthews: Well as people will be able to tell from this conversation you seem to rely on them more than I do! But I will go ahead…

Catherine Pockson: Ah ha! Yep.

Bob Matthews: 🍻 – Great to use when you’re planning meeting up with someone and just speaks to good times in general. Also I love beer! I just wish there was a bottled beer as well.

🐌 – Useful when someone is being slow!

🍣 – I love Sushi!

🚵 – I also love cycling. I like that there’s a cycling one with mountains in the background. The rider should be going uphill though!

🇸🇨 – I also love that they have all the flags! I am a bit of a Geography nerd. Hard to pick one but this Seychelles flag is very cool.                        

What about you? I think I can guess a couple! 💅💃🏽

Catherine Pockson: Ooooh nearly. Here are mine:

🔮- I’m a bit of a hippy and the crystal ball is sometimes the best way of expressing that there is magic in the world.

🕊- It is a pretty weird time right now, and there is a lot of negative energy flying around. I like to send the dove as much as possible to people to spread peace and good vibes.

❤- there is nothing more important than love.

💅🏻 – anyone who knows me well will know I live for the sass. And the painted nails is pure sass.

😂 – you keep telling me I over use the crying laughter emoji but I find a lot of things so funny all of the time. I can’t help myself.

Bob Matthews: Nice!

Words by Niall Flynn

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