Aqualung - Interview
Aqualung - Interview

Contactmusic.com spoke to Mat Hales AKA Aqualung about his new album entitled Aqualung and current single Strange and Beautiful featured on the current VW Beatle advert.


So how is your day going?

Great thanks, people keep on calling me up, every time I get a phone call from the record label I kind of just hum to my self and don't really listen to what they are saying, so its quite a shock when I get real people calling. It's nice meeting people face to face but its also nice being able to speak to people from the comfort of your own home.

Aqualung @ www.contactmusic.com
Aqualung @ www.contactmusic.com

Why aqualung?

Well I had nearly finished the album and I still didn't know what to call it, I knew I didn't want to call the project Mat Hales, I didn't really want it to be obvious if it was a band or just me. So I had a listen to the tracks and it all sounded like it was underwater, well to me anyway… well either underwater or slightly out in space, so I was thinking about things to do with either being out in space or under the water and at some point I was reading something or other and I saw the word aqualung, and it looked quite weird when it was written down but it just seemed right.


There has been some confusion over what the album is going to be called, what is the title?

It was originally going to be called Strange and Beautiful and now it's just going to be called aqualung and that is the official truth!


How would you best describe the sound of Aqualung the album?

I'm not too sure really, it's still a new sound to me and the best way I can describe it is kind of the sound of my house, its quite intimate really, my favorite records are the ones where I feel you have shared something with the person who is listening, its almost like someone has let them inside their head and I hope this album is like that. It's a kind of mixture of melancholy and optimism, but musically I don't know really, it's a weird mixture of piano songs but at the same time as being quite chilled, some people have mentioned things Beck & zero 7 so there is a little bit of post club vibe there. Mainly it is just an album full of intimate songs.


What are your favorite tracks on the album?


I don't know... I don't really spend much time listening to it, but I really enjoyed listening to it in the order it appears on the album because all the songs sounded like they belonged together. There is a song called "If I Fall" and that song was mostly written about an actual time in my life, so that song will always be particularly special but it really sums up the experience of the last few months.


The Beatle advert, how did that come about?

It was just one of those crazy things really, I had been in a band which had a deal but we got dropped in the beginning of May this year. Basically I was out of work and not knowing what to do next, but I had already done some work in adverts and I few people in that business knew of me and VW were really desperate to find some music for this advert and they had been looking around for ages in all they spent nearly 2 years looking for the right song, so they got everyone on the case of finding a song, ideally they didn't want a piece of music to be written for the advert they wanted something that had already existed that would really work. Then a week or so after we got dropped and I was just starting to get on with some new projects I got a phone call from someone who I had worked with before on adverts and he sent me over the video and I played some tracks on my piano over it the footage to see if any suited it and Strange and Beautiful really worked, so I recorded it that night and sent it off the following morning and amazingly they decided to use it so I thought I would carry on making some more stuff with the same feel to it, after the advert kicked off I was lucky to be able to approach record companies for an album deal, instead of individual singles.


Do you use a computer for recording your music?

Yes I do its actually in my hall, that's where I recorded all of the album. I have kind of converted it into a office-hall-recording "bit".


Have you any plans for a tour?

Ha ha well we have plans to do A gig, I think we will be doing it at a theater in the west end, having been in bands before and doing lots of normal things I'm quite interested in trying to do things slightly differently so I thought it would be quite nice to do my first gig at a place that isn't usually a venue and try and make it a bit special. I think that will be around November time and hopefully we will tour around the new year.


What was the last band you watched and thought wow they are really good?

It was actually a really significant moment it was a guy called Cornelius and he is really brilliant and I went along to watch him just after I got dropped and I kind of went on a weekend of drinking and not sleeping and ended up having just an extreme weekend, it ended on Monday night when I went to watch Cornelius it was partly just seeing a fabulous show and partly not from sleeping all weekend but I came back really inspired and really wanting to get on with a new project and amazingly it was that morning I got the call from VW saying they were going to use my music.


We have the Strange and Beautiful video on our website at the moment, did you have any input in the look?

Yeah I did, it was actually a friend of mine Dryden Goodwin, he is an artist and I asked to do a drawing for the album cover and I thought it worked really well so I asked him if he thought we could take the same approach into making the drawings into a video. We have just made another video as with the Strange and Beautiful video that is more of an art piece and it kind of evolves but the other one is kind of super dark and quite creepy it kind of takes you to other end of the spectrum, from worldly to kind of slightly dodgy!


Contactmusic.com has an area on the website dedicated to unsigned artist, what advise would you give them?

I have two bits of advise, One is to only ever give your music to someone you know, if you want your music to go into the record company the way you ought to do it is to give it to someone you know and then onto someone that they know, it should always be a recommendation, that is the only way it works, I really don't think that there is any point sending in demo's to labels its only like one in a million times it works out but from my experience most people are signed and found out about because the little network of people around them that they trust hear about them through people.
Look in your address book and find out who everyone knows, you will know someone who knows someone.

And the 2nd is if it is what you love and what you are passionate about don't give up because you never know what is around the corner!

Listen to Aqualung 'Strange But Beautiful'