Though 2020 certainly proved to be a trying year at best, for many it was a chance to spread their creative wings and explore avenues not yet walked down. This was exactly the case for Cheshire based songwriter Matthew Awbery, who channelled his lockdown frustrations into a brand new musical project.
The result Allées, a solo project that mines the murky depths of shoegaze and psychedelia, channelling the likes of The Black Angels, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Psychic Ills & Bad Liquor Pond. The first taste of Awbery’s new project comes in the form of ‘Shooting Up’. Six minutes of sprawling shoegaze tinged psych that’s unnerving and as disconcerting as the year which gave the project birth.
Described by Awbery as being “inspired by the grip heroin has on people. I was watching a lot of documentaries at the time and became pretty intrigued with watching Pete Doherty writing on the walls in blood and that modern day squat-like aesthetic and how it’s become entwined with the classic image of a poet”, ‘Shooting Up’ harbours a narcotic wooziness all of its own, and though just the first taste of Alées material, like it’s inspiration it’s really rather moreish.
We caught up with Awberry following the track’s release:
Please Introduce yourself in less than 10 words…..
My name’s Matt I make psych under Allees and stuff
What made you want to get into music?
I was 11 or 12 and I’d heard my sister listening to Rock n Roll Star by Oasis then I asked my parents for a guitar, then I just got into all sorts of stuff through the years.
What’s the writing process?
I come up with what I feel is a good chord progression then a switch in my brain goes where I think of things symphonically, I’ve been in bands with a lot of great players but that’s all they are, they can come up with a good riff but struggle to break out of that one thing, I’m not tooting my own horn but I think I have a pretty good instinct with writing songs, I mean I’ve always found it in bands that people end up knocking heads in the writing process, in this project it’s just me so I have to have everything covered and just tell a drummer what to do, it’s really easy, it’s the same in my other band, I don’t
want it to be about me I just like to be productive and make things happen.
What come first lyrics or music?
Music always, in any style of music I write the melody comes first and I find them hidden in the progressions I feel are more powerful and go from there, I just go with what I feel is right, the words that make me feel something just come out, I’m no poet but you subconsciously take words and phrases in, that resonate you know?
If you could collaborate with any band / person / producer who would it be?
I’d love to work with Anton Newcombe from The Brian Jonestown Massacre, that guy is just a genius.
If you could open for any act who would it be?
The Black Angels look great live, so them, just so I could watch them haha.
What other bands do we need to be checking out right now?
I’d actually just discovered a band from the UK who are doing pretty well called Black Market Karma who are amazing, if you’re into psych you should check them out for sure. My favourite find recently is a band who broke up a few years ago called Bad Liquor Pond, I’m playing them none stop recently!
What’s in store for you when all this is over?
When covid is gone I’ll be trying to turn this project into a full band, I’m in a band that’s completely different to this we have some exciting plans but I’m just going to keep recording with this project, because I love psychedelic music, I listen to it more than anything really.
How are you coping with lockdown?
I’m pretty at peace with it in a lot of ways, I want to play shows with this and my other band I’m in, but I’m getting into a pretty good place creatively, this whole project came out the barriers of lockdown really, sitting in with my partner having some drinks and listening to old 60’s stuff, The Fall and all that good psych stuff. I’m in a sad sounding rock band, but I’m a creative person I don’t have to just be one thing so I thought well this is what’s making me tick right now so I’ll go in the studio and see how I fare at this stuff, my other band are very committed people but this isn’t their “thing” and we all have other projects, I will give it a go at making this happen live though, we’ll just see what the future brings, I’m enjoying making it, I’d love to tour with it.
What’s the scene like where you are from?
I study at university in Stoke, though I live in Cheshire, there’s a few, Deja Vega are great, they’re like Joy Division on speed, but like Sonic Youth and Can all at the same time, they’re doing really good things. Psyence from Stoke are doing well too, they’re two bands I’d like to get on board with playing some shows with this once it’s a functioning band. My other band are more involved in the punk scene really, great stuffs coming out there like Death of Me, Black Coast, Freeza but that’s not really anything to do with this project.