Champions, Bournemouth

The Rock Regeneration website was started originally because of a post that was put on the Dorset Rock Online website on the day before it closed it doors.

The post was by Rapids front man Matt Holliday who felt that the closure of the site was the death knell for the music scene in Bournemouth, after the amazing night at the Dorset Rock Online Birthday bash at Champions he felt that it was a shame that the momentum could not be continued.

When Dan Renton’s, Dorset Rock Online’s founder, mind could not be changed about the closure I made my mind up to start something new and with the help of a great team Rock Regeneration was launched on 1st March. As it was now over 3 months since the website started I thought it was only right to have a chat with Matt and get some of his thoughts about the current local music scene and on what was happening in the world of Rapids. I caught up with Matt as he was preparing to play a gig at Champions and we were kindly offered the champions Rehearsal rooms to conduct the interview :

Chinners: Hi Matt thank you for taking the time to speak to us.

Matt: No thank you for inviting me.

Chinners: I really wanted to talk about what you feel about the current local music scene.

Matt: As I currently live in Bournemouth the local music scene really interests me. I am not going to lie and say I love every band in Bournemouth, but there are a lot of great bands and personality’s here. When we played the Dorset Rock Online 1st party, that was just the most amazing night and it just shows what can be achieved when you have the right ingredients. There are some great guys such as Toby and Lawrence from Icraus 1, and I like The Longest Day. The ingredients are there to make it something great, I am not sure what it is, I don’t think there is the confidence in the town. I moved here 3 or 4 years ago, it now feels very much that this is my home. everywhere I have lived I have not lived there for that long, I have now set my roots up here, I enjoy it, there is an awful lot of old people and tourism.

Chinners: How did you get starting in a band when you 1st came to the area?

Matt: I had to really look hard when I was trying to start a band, I did a http:// post and heard back from someone in Southampton that never went anywhere. After a year I felt I really need to get something started and it was the first time I looked at what other people were advertising again on http:// , on the 3rd page there was an advert saying ‘Synth player and vocalist extraordinaire needed for indie rock band’ I could not play synth at the time but I thought oh well worth a try, so I gave them a call and went and met them on a brick wall on Ashley Road. They had written the music for ‘Maps’, ‘The elitist’, ‘Economics’ and ‘Bombs’ that was never recorded. It all really started from there and we just gelled together. I wanted to become the spokesperson for the band, I hate the idea of being a Bono, but I felt there needed to be someone.

Chinners: You are tonight playing your 1st show in Bournemouth for a while.

Matt: Yes we played one at the Winchester a while back, but I have been looking forward to this one, I used to get really nervous before a show to a point of having bad anxiety, now I have some red wine before the show which helps. When I am playing up on stage I am in a sort of a daydream, you are aware of what’s going on, but you not really aware, do you know what I mean.

Chinners: In the zone?

Matt: Yes, I think it’s an adrenalin thing, every time I play a show in Bournemouth and I want to make people want to be in a band, to inspire people to get up and do something.

Chinners: Who are your favourite bands on the current music scene?

Matt: I love Icraus 1 they are great, I think there is real potential there, I like the Pretty Marx I don’t actually know them, I like The Neon Tigers, you cannot not like The Neon Tigers. The County Hospital guys are great as well, so are Mutant Vinyl . I like all these l bands, the music is really good but also the people in them are great too. It takes both. While I have been talking to you I have been thinking it would be great to rent out one of these rehearsal rooms out and various members of these local bands together for a sort of jam session.

Chinners: Your band are lucky in the fact you got a record deal with a London label.

Matt: Being signed is great as it takes a lot of pressure off, but then again it puts an awful lot of pressure on, we are very lucky as our manger is an absolute top guy. We did an interview and a live session for Tom Robinson on BBC live music, that was not anything to do with being signed, that was got purely through writing music and putting it on BBC introducing it did take 6 or 7 months. It is good thing if bands get picked up and signed only if they get the right deal. We were very fortunate that our label are very god to us and they are very patient as we take ages to write songs, we are not a band the knocks songs out every week. We have just finished recording our new EP which is five tracks, we work are arses off, we rehearse usually twice a week, we all have jobs and two of us has kids and mortgages. One of the songs on the EP ‘Comets’ we have been playing this since October, we now have changed it three or four times because we were not happy with it. When we are not happy with it, it may not be the best way to do things.

Chinners: Why not do a complete album?

Matt: We are not the most productive of bands, Radiohead made a good point when quizzed over the length of their ‘King of Limbs’ record, 8 tracks a 37 minutes, we felt that was the maximum time that we could hold peoples attention, they had done loads or research and stuff that was the perfect amount of time for a record. We are not a big band by any sense of the imagination, we are a little band that has had some radio play and we have not earnt the right to demand 40 minutes of someone’s time. 5 tracks has worked out well in the past. I sent an e-mail to the band members before we recorded the new EP and said let make this the best we can make as if it was our last record, I don’t imagine any of us will be in any other bands considering our ages. We did have another 2 songs, but these 5 songs just fit well together. We are looking at a June release.

Chinners: How did your deal come about?

Matt: Rob is a massive work horse more so back then, we were sending out Jiffy bags to every single label and following them up with e-mail after e-mail. I wrote on to Steve Lamaq with a hand written letter which I did to keep it personal. We put our EP, two photographs and this hand written note along with a press release which is really important as well. That should be enough to give them what they need. We were very fortunate that all our hard work paid off.

Chinners: I’m going to put you on the spot here, so please be honest. What do you think of the Rock Regeneration website?

Matt: I really love it, I have been on it quite a few times now, I find it easy to navigate. The level of writing is good, and has carried through from Dorset rock Online. I have been on some websites where the material is just unreadable and yours is by no means like that. I think you team get that bands that you are reviewing, I want to go and see some of the bands you have reviewed on the strength of what I have read on your site and that is what it should be about. I love that fact that you always try and print the set-lists. I usually make a playlist of the set list of certain bands that I am going to see on my iPod.

Chinners: Wow!! I thought I was the only one who did that. I am such an anorak , I go on to check out the bands set-list before I go to the gig, its spoils any surprises. Thank you so much for taking time to chat to us, it is really appreciated. All the best for the future.

Matt: Cheers I enjoyed it thank you.



Thank you to Tony Foster for the use of the rehearsal room at Champions music venue in Bournemouth, where we conducted this interview.

Interview By;
Dave Chinery(Chinners)

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