Music Writer, Matt Jacobson interview singer songwriter, MT Jones.
“When you have an idea in a studio or anywhere, you run with it – you have to keep the muscle moving.”
With 60s and 70 inspiration, MT Jones brings a timeless and classic sound to the streets of Liverpool. With pure, stylish, crooning vocals the singer songwriter somehow transports you to those very years but it feels fresh, new and exciting.
MT Jones has travelled the world as a session musician and influential singer songwriter, playing live for artists like Jalen and Louis Berry, but he is now creating his own path and unique journey.
I recently watched MT Jones supporting Louis Berry and was blown away by the voice, style and sound. My advice, catch him now and keep him in sight. I wanted to know more about thejourney so far and whats to come, so I met the man himself to talk about the early years, the recording process and the new single.
The early years, who were your first influences and what was it that invited you in?
I’ve always been introduced to the classics and my Dad introduced me to The Beatles. And while I had vinyl records, I remember having an MP3 player with every Beatle song on it. I used to listen to the charts but I was always drawn to 60’s music and lots of soul music.
I started playing piano at about 8 years of age, my uncle played piano and played by ear as such and my dad bought a piano – so I was really drawn to that. And then I had lessons and by 18 I was classically trained, but I was writing songs at 13 and trying out different things and I was in a few bands at school, back then I was writing lots of songs, many shit ones but many good ones, I was learning my craft and that put me in good stead for the future. I was also veering off into Jazz and became obsessed with Ray Charles. Then I was into Motown and Stax… I was naturally draw to soul music.
And do you recall any stand out gigs from that time?
I went to see Stevie Wonder in Manchester, and that blew my mind. It was a birthday and Christmas present. I went with my dad and I was near the front and I met the backing singers and they also waved to me, I was delighted – that was a standout! I also remember Paolo Nutini and again this inspired me, I went to so many gigs though, like Steely Dan and since I’ve been touring I’ve seen so many brilliant bands, – so many stand out.
The writing process, are you constantly thinking about writing or do you have to stop and say it is time to write a song?
If I’m writing with someone, I’ll have to sort of stop and write with the artists but usually it’s just fiddling around and you find something. The voice memos on my phone contain so much. If I lost my phone, people would wonder what I was doing at 3am ! I have thousands of voice notes and melodies. You have to harvest your ideas, not just force them. When you have an idea in a studio or anywhere really, you run with it, nothing can distract you, the phone is thrown in the corner and you have to focus on the song – you have to keep the muscle moving.
You’ve played and toured with various artists, what were the highlights?
So many really, I had a close writing relationship with Jalen. We met at university and we had bags of songs and that was my first major experience. We toured everywhere, festivals in Netherlands, Germany, Canada and played Montreal Jazz and we supported Lauryn Hill for two nights. It was an amazing time. We had 3 of us in a car, just touring – really great times.
Then I started touring with Louis Berry, playing keys. Originally, I was a step in to play bass. And then I toured with Louis at all the festivals and I then had to unfortunately stop gigging with Jalen – I am super close to Jalen but time didn’t allow it. So I carried on playing for Louis and we then supported Liam Gallagher and Richard Ashcroft – which was amazing. Liam was a genuine guy and Richard Ashcroft was really cool, again, great times.
When you collaborate are you aware of boundaries and stay in your lane as such?
Yeah, for sure, Louis will do his thing and I play keys on his songs and add key parts if necessary. We don’t really jam together. We build on ideas really, but I have written with together with other artists – but its how its suits the individuals approach which is fine.
So what made you take the Leap of Faith and form your own band?
Many things really, I moved to London and I had a bank of songs and I started thinking then. In lockdown I had time as I was not gigging and I spent a couple of years crafting and making the songs work and we recently released my first single, I Wont Ever Say Goodbye” and it went down well, it was an honest song and from the heart.
The new single, ‘Feeling Lonely’ – can you tell us more about it?
I wrote it many years ago with Jalon and it appeared again quite recently. Basically my parents were away, so I travelled back home with Ben Wall (drums) and Adam Lewis (bass) and producer, Cal. We placed quilts over windows and walls and turned the room into a studio. And recorded it there. Then I recorded the piano at home. It was really collaborative . But it’s a romantic song about love and meeting someone… slightly tongue in cheek.. but about romance. The first single was successful with airplay etc and I hope for the same with this.
So what next for MT Jones?
Gigs, as many as possible and not stop! Just time to raise my profile etc and playing festivals. I’m also playing Fredericks on 31st Jan which will be intimate and chilled out. And after this, getting out there and playing live. I’ve recorded songs and want to move towards an album. But we are ready to get out there and look forward to it!
Well, from myself and all at Explore, I wish you the very best for the future.
Thank you, Matt.
With thanks to MT Jones
Matt Jacobson – Explore Liverpool