Playlist: Matthew And The Atlas

Matt Hegarty picks some favourite tunes from friendly faces...

Celebrating the release of his debut album ‘Other Rivers’, out on April 14th, Matt Hegarty is the real name behind the sounds-like-a-full-band name of Matthew And The Atlas. But then, Echo wasn’t a real person, so why assume the same of the Atlas?

‘Other Rivers’ mixes the acoustic textures you’d expect from a (Mumfords-co-founded) Communion-associated act with a smattering of light electronics and the ache characteristic of a clutch of acclaimed stateside singer-songwriters: think Bill C and Will O rather than anyone of a simply perfunctory slant.

‘Other Rivers’ is fronted by ‘Pale Sun Rose’, the video for which is below. After, Matt selects some tracks from sorts he has worked with (or is just really fond of) to share with Clash and our readers (oh hello, you).

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Mumford & Sons – ‘White Blank Page’ 

“I first met Marcus, Win, Ben and Ted when I was the local support act opening for them in a 200-cap venue in Reading. I remember them playing with so much energy and passion to this tightly packed room, and thinking there was something special going on here. It was a pivotal point in my musical life as well, as they stayed in contact with me after the show and I ended up touring with them in the UK and US, which was an amazing experience, and I certainly wouldn’t be at the point I am now without the opportunities and support they kindly gave me. It was also the first introduction I had to Communion, as a month after that Reading show, Ben asked me to play at London’d Notting Hill Arts Club (the initial base for Communion nights).”

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Nathaniel Rateliff – ‘Early Spring Till’

“One of the great things about touring with the Mumford lads is you get to meet some great songwriters on the road. I first met Nathaniel in Kansas City. It was the first show on the tour and I was the first act on. We had some sound problems during the show and, to be honest, combined with first show nerves, it was a bit of a nightmare! Nathaniel was playing after me. I remember him just strolling on to stage, this amazing voice starts booming through the speakers and him and his band just seemed to breeze through their set with a kind of effortless grace. It probably wasn’t like that for them, but it seemed that way to me and it was inspiring to watch. I’ve never quite understood why Nathaniel isn’t selling out huge theatres; he’s a powerful performer and a great songwriter.”

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Daughter – ‘Youth’

“Elena played at both of my EP launches back in 2010, first solo then later as Daughter. She’s a brilliant emotional songwriter and singer, and combined with Igor’s thoughtful and immersive soundscapes, they have created a captivating, beautiful sound. It’s been wonderful to see them grow into such a successful and respected act.”

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Bear’s Den – ‘Isaac’ (Live)

“Lads. Can’t speak highly enough of this trio, they’re good friends and it’s amazing to see them doing so well. I think (Andrew) Davie’s one of the best songwriters out there. Kev (Jones) is one of the founders of Communion – I first met him when I gave him a lift to a festival back in 2009 and we’ve been friends since. Kev co-produced my first EP and upcoming album. He’s a creative force, and a lovely guy and I certainly would be at this point without his help and support as well.”

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Matt Corby – ‘Trick Of The Light’

“I first met Matt back in 2009 when we did a small showcase together in a café off Portobello Road in London. Matt’s one of those musicians that knocks you off your seat as soon as he starts playing. I love this live track of his as it really shows what a natural and talented performer he is. Luckily for me, Matt kindly sang on a song of mine called ‘Another Way’, on the new album. It added so much to the track and I can’t think of anyone else who could have brought that to it. Though it has made it really difficult to replicate live, as Matt hits such a high note a one point. Let’s just say it’s provided some strange sounds and facial expressions from me and the band when trying to reach it.”

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Raging Serfs – ‘Two Side Of Me’

“Probably the most unknown act on the list. Raging Serfs are four-piece band from South Australia. Their songwriter, Tom Baker, is a close friend of mine who I’ve known since I was 18. When I was younger I played in one of Tom’s bands for a couple of years. I learnt so much from him as songwriter and think I he’s an amazing talent. I highly recommend having a listen.”

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The Low Anthem – ‘This God Damn House’

“Another one of the acts I met while on the road with Mumford & Sons. I was a fan before, so I was pretty excited when I heard they were playing as well. The Low Anthem use lots of beautiful and obscure vintage instruments in their performances and create these lovely warm shades and tones. This is a lovely performance from them.” 

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Story Books – ‘Simple Kids’ 

“I was first introduced to Story Books through Kev. We were talking about potential producers for the album and Kris’s name came up. Kris (Harris) is Story Books’ main songwriter, a lovely bloke and a talented producer. I heard their track ‘Peregrine’ first, which I loved, then pretty soon after we were making the record together. Rob (Wilks), their drummer, put all the drum tracks down, and Jack (Tarrant) their guitarist did some guitar lines and also recorded Matt Corby’s vocal as well. So the band was a big part of the album. Great band.”

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Willy Mason – ‘Talk Me Down’ 

“I’ve been lucky enough to support Willy Mason a couple of times. I think he’s a real songwriter’s songwriter, and every artist I know has a huge amount of respect for him. His debut album (‘Where The Humans Eat’, 2004) had a big impact on me – his songwriting always seems very effortless with a kind of strong, unforced identity, so you just know a Willy Mason track straight away. I love the latest record and the direction him and Dan Carey took with the production.”

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Marcus Foster – ‘Strange Woods’

“Marcus was one of the first acts to work with Communion Records, like me, so we’ve known each other since then and I did some backing vocals on a track of his sometime ago. He’s one of those guys who can creatively turn his hand to a few things, sculpture being one of them. I have a close friend who works at the RCA in London who often comments on how respected Marcus’s sculpture work is. I think he’s a great songwriter, who can write these lovely tender songs, but I really like it when he goes a bit darker and Tom Waits-y, like on this track!”

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Thanks, Matt. ‘Other Rivers’ is out on April 14th via Communion, and you can find out more on this here internet.

Related: more Playlist features on Clash, featuring Owls, Albert Hammond, Jr, The Beta Band and The Dirtbombs.

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