The Jamirotalk Interview with Matt Johnson - December 2019

Dec 2 | By Dye


THE JAMIROTALK INTERVIEW WITH MATT JOHNSON - December 2019

We feel like the Automaton Tour has been an undoubted success. The sound felt bigger and "punchier" without losing that classic Jamiroquai improvisational touch. Do you agree? What was the difference between this tour and previous ones?

Matt J.: Yes I think this tour has been the best sonically for me. We spent a lot of time rehearsing before the tour started and incorporated some modern touches such as the Ableton live contributions with Howard. It's been great having Nate cover the string parts and extra guitars, freeing up Rob and myself to focus on the main keys/guitar parts. I also think we have matured as a band and understand how best to make the whole sound great rather than thinking just about our own egos.


How would say your playing has evolved since you joined the band to this day? What have you learned or improved upon?

Matt J.: Like anything the more you do something the better you get and I think my playing is like that. I never stop learning and I feel I have a broader palette at my disposal due to experience. Back in the day I just wanted to play as much as possible whereas now I am more considered in my approach and want to play melodies and memorable phrases on the keyboard.


What is it like to start a new album, to start with a clean slate? Dynamite was a bit more digitally-driven, while Rock Dust Light Star was more 'live' in its approach. Do you have some sort of general idea of the sound or the recording style you guys want to achieve with each album?

Matt J.: It's not as simple as that. Things make themselves apparent as the process goes on. I had a lot to do with the sound of the last album being the producer, that is a reflection of who I am as a musician.


When the album starts to get assembled and you feel you have enough stuff to create a cohesive whole, besides the strong singles how is it decided which recorded songs will end up on it? (There are great B-Sides that most of us feel were album-worthy!)

Matt J.: On the last album we didn't have any spare material. We abandoned ideas that weren't good enough before finishing them. On Rock dust there is one very good finished song that should have made the album but maybe one day it will released.


For us fans, the songwriting process has been a bit of a mystery for all these years. Now that you've been Jay's main solo wingman on Automaton, could you describe to us the process of how a song is put together, how does it evolve and what is the input everyone has?

Matt J.: On the last album it was just Jay and me sitting down and brainstorming. He often had a very basic original idea which we would start with but it would very often end up completely different from that. Once we had the song finished we called in the guys one by one to contribute their parts.


In 2011 Smile was shared on Soundcloud and most recently in 2017 another unreleased song, Now We Are Alone, was shared on YouTube by the official site. You must have a lot of finished songs that are being kept hidden. Has there been any talk of releasing some of that material in any form, either as a B-Sides compilation or a double album?

Matt J.: No


Are there any ideas or things you want to achieve with the next Jamiroquai album? Could you give us a hint of what has been discussed behind closed doors?

Matt J.: Not much has been discussed. I personally would like to expand upon what we did with the last album but I don't know what Jay is thinking. Ultimately he will dictate the direction.



Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Matt!


Interview questions by Diego Naccarelli

Thanks to Jo Geater for proofreading



Comments:

cosmicmouse
Dec 2
Awesome Interiew, Diego!! Thanks for your support!
JGRIZZ
Dec 2
Thanks Dye!
funkin
Dec 2
Great interview. Thanks for sharing it with us all.
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