The list of local artists who can be described as multi-instrumentalist blending, nu-folk is quite short. In fact, that mouthful only really applies to one – Matthew Mole.
Ghost contains Matthew’s typical eclectic blend of folk, electronica undertones and positive vibes. “While the new album contains the usual traits,” says Matthew, “I have experimented with electronics a lot more and I’ve introduced a bit of a ‘bigger’ sound in terms of instrumentation.”
The inspiration behind the album, he says, is overcoming all sorts of difficulties. It is also what inspired the album’s title. A quirky addition is that the ghost that graces the cover has a name – and his own Instagram account! “While he is cute,” explains Matthew, “Olly, which is short for Oleander, represents fear.”
And that is exactly what Ghost is all about. “The songs on this album represent fighting difficult situations in life. A lot of the difficulty comes down to fear or insecurity. The ghost represents those insecurities,” he explains. “It is something that intimidates us when we feel most vulnerable, but which ultimately has no power over us because we know that things will get better.”
Matthew wrote all the songs himself – with the help of Josh Klynsmith’s ‘magic ear’ on two of the tracks – and the album was recorded in Cape Town, Johannesburg and London over the course of a year. He admits that the album is different to anything he has ever done. “But it is the best music I have ever written, and I believe that there is a message in the songs that anyone can relate to.”
While he finds it difficult to pinpoint a favourite track, he says that Back to You – which, incidentally, is the next single off the album – is his favourite to play. Describing it as an up-tempo, happyaggressive song, Matthew explains the inspiration behind the track. “In most situations, if we let fear creep in, it keeps us from saying what we truly feel. This song is about speaking up for yourself when you are feeling intimidated. It is talking about something that we all need to hear, that will have a positive impact on our lives. It also has a badass guitar part!”
Matthew recognises pressure as a challenge for any recording artist, but also regards it as a gift. “Music is powerful in so many ways and I love how music can have such a major influence on the message someone is trying to convey. I am grateful that people are still listening and waiting for more. It encourages me to continuing writing music I can be proud of.”
Another challenge when recording a new album is song selection. “It takes a lot to write a song. I would love to think that every song on Ghost is the best, because I put the same amount of thought and effort into each one,” says Matthew.
While he has been in the industry for seven years, Matthew still considers his career as being in its infancy. And as for career highlights?
“There are so many that I am grateful for. But every time I play a show and hear people singing along, it gets added to my list of highlights!” Ultimately, Matthew only has one goal. “I want there to be a strong message of hope in the music that I write. I want someone to hear a song, be intrigued about what I’m saying, and ultimately feel more hopeful than they did before they heard it.”
Oh and to find the world’s best burrito!