COSMIC ROUNDUP - MATT BATY OF PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs have had a ridiculous year. More sold-out shows in sizable venues than you can count, appearances at well-known festivals, lots of radio play and in general… they have just taken over the world. Sometimes I’m in work in an office of around 200 people and I notice they are on in the background, it’s fucking mad. Next year looks even more insane with a UK tour in even bigger venues with low-ticket warnings already being delivered. Not to mention a new album and a tour of the USA, wow! It’s hard to keep up with this fucking madness so I thought I’d check in with front-man Matt Baty to find out what the hell is going on. Matt also runs the incredible Box Records and plays in various other acts, he’s a true little legend.
Hi Matt, how are you?
Good mate. Happy to be here, in the present.
When I booked you for the first time for the Windmill in 2014, I thought you were amazing but could never have imagined you would be announcing a headline show at The Electric Ballroom and a US tour in 2020. Can you begin to explain how all this has happened?
Can I explain how it happened? Not really. We wrote some rock songs and some people liked them. Sometimes it feels like we're in a rubber dingy floating along a lazy river but it's moving quite fast now. More exciting than relaxing, more rapids than river.
I think it's important not to analyse any of it too much. Everyone's journey is different but there's no tricks or short cuts. We're very grateful for the belief and faith other people have in our band but we started out the same as everyone else; playing shows, meeting incredible people and making friends. It's a simple way of looking at it but not much has changed in that sense. We're intensely passionate about what we do and it all still feels very wholesome. That's the valuable thing and the only real thing to consider.
Any showbiz stories to tell us?
Martin from Homes Under The Hammer was the compare for the Beak> Christmas Fundraiser in Bristol last year. Had a good chat with him in the green room about my synth. We had a bit of Sweet Relief used on a recent episode of Homes Under The Hammer recently. Coincidence? I think not.
You've just recorded at Abbey Road. How was that? When can we expect to hear the album? What direction have you taken?
Abbey Road was great. We did some mastering there and it's definitely benefited the album. I had loads of cups of tea and looked at framed platinum discs. There's a cracking canteen there too. Well worth the price of admission for that alone. We did not see Ringo.
We're expecting to announce details of the new album early next year, along with a bit of music hopefully. It's a rock opera horror.
You've always been a man of many bands. Are you managing to keep them up with the success of Pigs x 7? Any releases on the horizon etc?
Last year I was active with Blown Out and Richard Dawson as well as Pigsx7. Blown Out ended in a supernova explosion. With Richard, I had to very regrettably resign from drumming duties with him. It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make. I started getting anxious about the amount of things I had the capacity to commit to. Richard's album is fantastic and he deserves every plaudit that goes his way. He has an excellent new drummer, my guilt has subsided now.
A few months ago I did some vocals for Adam Betts for the next Colossal Squid album. That was a fun thing to do, also quite challenging. The man's brain is wired for rhythms that my head struggles to compute.
What does your label, Box Records have lined up for next year?
We've just announced the next Luminous Bodies record which will be released early February. It's called 'Nah Nah Nah Yeh Yeh Yeh' and it's of course amazing. Gracie O' Byrne summarised it best saying "they've managed to distil their bawdy life affirming live stage antics into perfectly recorded form". Feels appropriate to drop this handy link to pre order the vinyl here: [LINK]
There's also the new Casual Nun album to come, hopefully by the end of February. That's going to be a co-release with Hominid Sounds. I've seen them live three times this year and they've been pure fire. That also is a suitably killer record.
What was the best gig you played in 2019?
We've been blessed with so many incredible (and sometimes quite surreal) experiences this year. If I have to pick just one show I'd go with the Scala in London. That was the first gig where I was properly smacked with a feeling that something had shifted - Something big and bold and positive. I felt quite overwhelmed with emotion at one point during that show. I'm not sure anyone paid to see me cry on stage but I was close. The support, affection and enthusiasm for Pigs is not taken for granted and never will be.
Best gig you attended?
Easy. 'In Conversation With Nick Cave' at the Sage, Gateshead. It was
everything; poignant, insightful, uplifting, heartbreaking. I cried and I
laughed. One man, one piano, honesty.
Best festival you attended?
Again, I've been spoiled with positive festival experiences this year but I'm
going to go with the recent Brave Exhibitions in Newcastle. It's a weekend long
festival at The Cluny in Newcastle and this year was the festivals 2nd
birthday. We were privileged to play on the Saturday alongside Aja, Luminous
Bodies, Mesange, Cattle, Dorcha, Casual Nun, Melting Hand, Big Lad and loads
more. Lots of friends and inspirations in one building - It was a very positive
energy. Joel Thomson is the person who has dared to dream. Long may Brave
What are your favourite releases from 2019?
Richard Dawson - 2020 (Weird World)
Sleaford Mods - Eton Alive (Extreme Eating)
Terminal Cheesecake - Le Sacre Du Lièvre (Box Records)
Kate Tempest - The Book Of Traps And Lessons (Republic Records)
Big Brave - A Gaze Among Them (Southern Lord)
Little Simz - Grey Area (Age 101 Music)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen (Ghosteen)
Lankum - The Livelong Day (Rough Trade)
HIBUSHIBIRE - Turn On, Tune In, Freak Out! (Riot Season)
Beak> - Life Goes On EP (Invada Records)
Amyl And The Sniffers - Amyl And The Sniffers (Rough Trade)
Lower Slaughter - Some Things Take Work (Box Records)
Cocaine Piss - Passionate And Tragic (Hypertension Records)
Rainbow Grave - No You (God Unknown)
The Dawdler - Keith In Ballachulish (Treetrunk)
Thom Yorke - Anima (XL Recordings)
ILL - Kick Him Out The Disco (Box Records)
Self Esteem - Compliments Please (Fiction Records)
Kooba Tercu - Kharrüb (Hominid Sounds)
Centrum - For Meditation (Rocket Recordings)
John - Out Here On The Fringes (Pet Care Records
What the hell are you up to next year?
Surfing the celestial energy waves.
Photo taken by Jose Caamano at the Scala, London.
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