Matthew Mole is an artist who, once a geeky youngster making music in his bedroom for himself, has become an internationally signed singer, songwriter and producer in just four short years – all in plain sight of a young and skeptical market with short attention spans.
I’ve always been a quiet fan, watching him grow up from the sidelines, quite skeptical myself – but now Matthew, at the age of 25, married and enjoying the success of his second album Run, is more on fire than ever. We took this nice guy for a creepy walk in the forest to discuss what’s changed, why he’s looking so hot these days and what’s new in his career.
Matthew Mole seems very grounded. I feel like he pays his taxes or would know what to do if I got a flat tyre. But I digress. Having just released the third single from his second album Run, he is emerging as a mature and focused artist who is not afraid to push the boundaries of what’s become so expected of him by fans, record companies and fellow musical peers. After the success of The Home We Built there’s been huge unspoken pressure to release something better, more radio friendly and more accessible than ever before – the pressure of which can often force an artist to lose the creative freedom that shaped the very existence of their brand to begin with.
Sitting on a rock in the forest with a green beanie on, he doesn’t look too phased about pressure to me – “It’s not always comfortable, but it was nice knowing pressure was there and having a challenge to accept. Having to write songs that I knew would need radio play was very different for me, but I allowed some advice of friends to sink in and I just wrote songs from where I was at that moment in my life.”
The first two singles, Holding On and Run weren’t that far off the quirky, poppy indie sounds that Matthew has become known for, and he, all floppy haired, cute and the crush of every teenager this side of Fourways, did not disappoint. But when Light (my personal favourite track on the album) was released as the third single, he was met with some reservations from fans that weren’t that convinced about his growth. “Light came so naturally to me”, he says, “the beats and everything just worked with the vocals and it’s one of my favourites on the album.” It will be released as an acoustic and live track with altered vocals quite soon on iTunes with matching videos, but that aside, the message really is about being a flawed human and acceptance thereof. “I’m just trying to be the best person I can be, while still trying to figure things out. Trying to find the positive outcome to just being human.”
Matthew has just been internationally signed to Elektra/Warner, only one of the biggest record labels in the world for Europe, a fact he is very blasé about despite it being a massive turning point in his career. The planning of a tour of France is already underway and his gorgeous wife Jess will tour with him as she works on her online fashion label, jessica-anne.co.za.
Luckily for us Matthew has no plans of moving overseas and quite likes the idea of spending a month touring here and there while life unfolds naturally. Luckily babies are not on the agenda right now for the still quite newly weds. Matthew has been quite public about his adoration for his wife, as can be heard on the track Wedding Song, written and recorded for his wife on their wedding day. Originally not included on the album, they decided to include it last minute as he, as a solo artist, felt it was a reflection of something personal that his fans may want to experience. (It probably just made them jealous Matthew but whatevs, it is rather beautiful that you allowed that vulnerability to shine through).
If Run is the musical direction that Matthew Mole takes to Europe, then I honestly believe music lovers will find a new indie-pop star in his offerings. With his perfect blend of humble but focused, chilled but driven sounds and the fact he is constantly soaking up experiences like little memoirs for songs to come, I’m pretty sure this is just the beginning of the journey into the woods, and as we all know, for Matthew, there are miles and miles to go before he can sleep.
Watch the video to Light below:
Written by Caroline Hillary / Photographed by Joanne Olivier