Toby Fournier spoke to Matty Mullins of MEMPHIS MAY FIRE about the band's latest album, faith and fish and chips
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Matty: It's different every day. I've been at the peak of Machu Pichu and looking at the most beautiful scenery in the world and not felt inspired at all and then I've been at the grocery store and shopping for chicken and I have a great lyric idea, you know? It's random. I think a lot of times it's like if I'm getting ready in the morning and doing something mindless and routine that oftentimes gives my brain an opportunity to expand. My phone voice memo app is the greatest thing that I've ever had. It's a huge tool.
Toby: Obviously as a musician you've been interviewed over and over again discussing your music. Has talking about your music in an interview ever changed how you feel about it or made you reappraise it in any way?
Matty: Yeah, that's a really cool question. I think a lot of times I've figured things out as I'm saying them. I do interviews all the time. You're forced to be on the spot in the moment so sometimes I'll get to the end of the sentence and I'll be "Dang, I didn't know I felt like that" but I do. So, yeah, I think that when, especially when the right questions are asked, it can really spark a whole new interest in something or a whole new understanding of something.
Toby: It's great to be in a talking therapy with you.
Matty: Yeah, it's great, I'm actually a big fan of therapy; my sister's a therapist. When I was at my worst with anxiety and depression I did a couple of years of therapy, different types of therapy, EMDR and standard counselling. It's really incredible, I really do believe that God designed us, wired us, to be in community with one another and our phones and our email and texting and phone calls - those kind of things have really robbed us of genuine human connection. Rarely do you sit down with someone and have a conversation that allows your heart to open up for a minute and therapy is that, especially faith-based therapy. Sitting in a room with someone you trust but don't know that well and letting it all out, saying things you thought of but never said can really connect dots mentally for you in a way you never knew you needed. I talked about things from my childhood that I remembered but didn't know they affected me so deeply, so when I spoke about it, it felt like I had solved a problem. So I'm a huge advocate for therapy and having one on one conversations and that's why I like interviews so much.
Toby: Are you the only Christian in MMF?
Matty: No, there's two of us in the band that are believers. Kellen is a believer as well. Kellen the guitar player and I, the two of us write all the music for MMF.
Toby: Was that since you became a believer or was he always a believer?
Matty: I think Kellen's faith has been fairly new in the last five of six years or so but I don't think I could take any credit for that.
Toby: No, we can't really take any credit for [God's work]. Is there anything you dislike about being a musician?
Matty: Lots of things! I love doing interviews. One thing that's been really tough for me is wanting to be more outspoken about my faith and not hide it because I feel like if I have something that's played such a big role in my life, had such a big impact on my life, I feel it would be selfish to keep it a secret. But when you're outspoken about your faith in a mainstream industry, I think a lot of people have a magnifying glass on you at all times, waiting for you to make a mistake. I want everyone to know I'm just as imperfect as anybody else and I'm going make mistakes and fall flat on my face but being in the public eye and the spotlight all the time can take a toll on you.
Toby: This is two questions in one really. How many times have you been asked about guitar music and whether it has exhausted its possibilities and how do you feel about that?
Matty: It's so weird. Everyone has an opinion and I always feel like I see a trend and think I know what's about to happen and I'm always wrong. I'm like "this is about to explode" and it's the opposite. Rock music, especially active rock music, is alive and well. Bands like Papa Roach and Breaking Benjamin and Shinedown and Avenged Sevenfold are the biggest they've ever been and to see that at this point makes you realise that it's not necessarily a genre that's dying, it's just good songwriting maybe that's dying. I think that it really always come down to the song. I think no-one is as tied to a genre as they think they are. A song is a good song if it's a good song. I think that rock music is alive and well, we just need songwriters to keep it alive.
Toby: Do you think it's become overly stylised, particularly in the metal area?