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 ‘Unhealthy Contestant’, the cheeky winks had been in full pressure however, by the next 12 months’s ‘Krystal’, the Matt that got here to the desk was a notably totally 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 folks on facet.

Now, with new EP ‘madhouse’ launched in the present day through Nettwerk, we converse to Matt about getting down and choosing your self again up once more, and why he’s extra comfy in his personal pores and skin now than he’s ever been.

It looks as if you have been a busy boy throughout lockdown, together with penning your personal quarantine track (‘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 cause to not do it was ego so I simply let go of that; I do not actually care if folks suppose I am tacky. That is advantageous.

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 ‘Unhealthy Contestant’ and final 12 months’s ‘Krystal’, nevertheless it felt like the 2 got here from fairly totally different locations. Did you’re 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 ‘Unhealthy Contestant’. Every thing that occurred work clever, being dropped by Atlantic and being out of uni and free, nevertheless it being like, ‘Oh god…’. Simply trying into this abyss. So then ‘Krystal’ grew to become extra like proving myself to myself. It was virtually like making music after I was 18; I had nothing to lose however all the pieces to lose.

Did that have have an effect on your confidence?
In a technique, undoubtedly. I feel it performs with you a bit since you begin with no staff, and then you definitely construct a staff, after which while you lose that you just actually query if you are able to do it with out these folks. It is not a lot about being validated by the those that A&R a Jess Glynne file, as a result of I most likely do not want that if I am trustworthy – 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 concerning the base stage validity {that a} file deal provides you, which you’ll deny exists in your thoughts nevertheless it’s the factor you could inform your dad and mom about. I recognise that my second album appears 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 type of executed my profession backwards! That is type 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 suppose your writing modified on ‘Krystal’?
I feel the way in which I processed grief after I was making ‘Unhealthy Contestant’ was to actually hate on myself, and to actually chortle 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’, nevertheless it was simply totally different. I really feel extra comfy being the mushy, heart-on-sleeve man. Having folks name you cute and really 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 number of ego and concepts hooked up to being a man the place cute can really feel derogatory, nevertheless it’s simply not derogatory for me now. Whereas I feel earlier than, I wasn’t OK with that; I used to be attempting to get this structure out of me that does not exist.

Is it extra exposing to take that entrance away?
100%. I discovered it loads 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 undoubtedly, after I made the songs myself and stopped carrying a swimsuit 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 number of stuff that I’d have been cynical concerning the 12 months earlier than; I’d by no means have allowed myself to put in writing like that. I simply stopped wanting to place a joke each three traces. And I all the time need to make folks chortle – I feel that even in ‘Krystal’, after I play somebody a track and so they chortle at a line I really feel validated as a human greater than the rest. So comedy’s all the time gonna be a very 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 in the present day!
It was written between a mix of instances. ‘unhappy dream’ and ‘hello’ had been proper on the finish of ‘Krystal’; ‘queen bee’ and ‘madhouse’ had been supposed for a distinct second album, however they’ve all been completed within the now.

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

Our August cowl star Angel Olsen just lately 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 hen and the egg. What’s coming first – is my need to have a life fuelled by my need to put in writing good songs, or are the great songs gonna come from a life lived? I feel possibly at 17,18 I had fairly dramatic, angsty concepts about eager to undergo a nasty break up so I might write good songs, however as quickly as I went by means of it I realised I would a lot somewhat not try this! I undoubtedly do not feel like I had the final chortle, which I feel possibly I assumed I’d by writing a track [about it]. You do not take away the ache by writing about it; the writing is simply addressing the ache. Perhaps I will not all the time really feel prefer it, however at this level I really feel a way of objective in speaking concerning the particulars and getting them out, and the format of a track provides me a number of house to say issues that I am not good at saying in actual life.

What else have you ever bought arising?
I’ve virtually written what I feel would be the third album; I’ve most likely bought one track to search out, wherever it’s… After which I feel I wanna file in September – that is the plan. I actually get loads from doing a bunch of songs, getting them on the market and pondering ‘What is the subsequent factor?’. I undoubtedly do not want extra time to make selections as a result of I am going to simply make worse selections. The pace retains me going and stops me moving into the swamp.

‘madhouse’ is out now through Nettwerk.

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