Music writer Matthew Jacobson interviews singer-songwriter Matt McManamon.
Matt McManamon is the former vocalist and songwriter of The Dead 60s. Releasing their debut in 2005, the band scored 5 UK top 40 hits and surpassed over 100k sales in the UK alone. During his tenure as frontman, McManamon toured with the likes of Morrissey, Kasabian, and Deltasonic label mates The Coral, appearing on stages from Glastonbury to Top of the Pops. Prior to launching his solo career, Matt also toured with The Specials as their live guitarist.
I caught up with Matt to discuss touring, the past, and the future.
How did the tour go with Holly Johnson and is touring any different from when you first started out?
The tour has been amazing, as I speak to you now I’ve literally just finished the last date which was in The National Concert Hall Dublin. It’s been such an honour and privilege to tour with scouse music royalty Holly Johnson. He is an absolute joy to be around and has championed me and my music from the start.
The touring side isn’t all that different from when I started out, except for the fact that I’m now a solo artist and not in a band so to speak, I think the most important thing for me though is: I still enjoy touring!
Does it give you time to write and record?
It doesn’t give me any time to write or record, that being said I always have a few song ideas manifesting in my head, and usually as soon as I get back off tour I head into the studio to record some new ideas.
Does touring provide further inspiration when visiting various cities?
I’ve always found travel in general provides inspiration, especially as I almost exclusively write about life experience. As the late great ‘Joe Strummer’ once said. “You have to have input to have output” This is a theory I most definitely subscribe to.
Do you reflect on your time with The Dead 60s, and moments like supporting Morrissey?
I do occasionally, it’s hard not to at times, especially as I did so many great tours and the fact that The Dead 60s was a big part of my life. But. In general I try to look forward and concentrate on the future, which I’m thoroughly enjoying!
Did you feel any further pressure going solo?
I definitely did at first, but as soon as I took the plunge and went for it, I soon could see that people were enjoying my solo material, which gave me a massive confidence boost. I now feel completely comfortable and at ease being a solo artist.
How do you select your set list for the tour?
I usually have a provisional list of songs that I (quite possibly selfishly) only want to play, but I do have my whole catalogue rehearsed and ready to go. Quite often I gauge the audience and see what songs will fit the mood or vibe of the night.
What next for yourself?
I’m back in the studio putting the finishing touches to an EP I’m going to release in 2024, then more gigging. One notable date will be a full band performance for Independent Venue Week in Liverpool which will take place @handyman Smithdown Road on Saturday 3rd February 2024.