Interview: Nestor Matthews of Sky Larkin

By on Friday, 18th October 2013 at 11:00 am

Whimsical indie rock four-piece Sky Larkin have reinvigorated themselves with a crisp autumnal LP in ‘Motto’ (reviewed by Carrie here), their third studio album out now on Wichita Recordings. Following a 3-year hiatus, a line-up change and what sounds like a subtle shift in perspective, drummer Nestor Matthews stepped in to talk us through their latest release after a balmy reunion with fans at London’s Lexington in September.

Sky Larkin has some new blood, with Sam Pryor and Nile Marr coming in on bass and guitar, respectively. How would you sum up their influence on your latest album, ‘Motto’?
It was fascinating to watch the songs develop and grow as they travelled through new ears and new fingers. Their interpretations and responses to the noises and established ideas that Katie and I might have been used to as Sky Larkin made us, in turn, open to new ideas and avenues that we might have never thought to explore were it not for them.

Do you think that the time you’ve had to reflect during your three years apart has changed the feel of the album?
I’d be worried if the time hadn’t changed us in some way. I think we took the opportunity to hone what we wanted to do and be, so that when it came to making the record, there was an unstated sense of unified direction and velocity. We might not have been fully clear on what we wanted the record to be, in the early stages at least, but we had the time to work out how we wanted to get there.

‘Loom’ (previous Video of the Moment here) has ‘irritating personality trait’ written all over it. Who’s got the worst habit in the band?
I thought I’d managed to conquer it, but towards the end of our recent UK tour I found myself tapping my forehead with a drumstick on stage again. It might not be particularly annoying for anyone else, but the headache and angry red forehead that I woke up to the mornings after certainly made me pretty irritable/irritating!

You came from a special moment in the history of the Leeds music scene, alongside the likes of Pulled Apart by Horses and Grammatics. What do you think is unique about the provincial approach?
I think it’s very much to do with the melting pot that was, and still is, Hyde Park. Students from every university and college in the city live there in back to back houses, with ideas and sounds and friendships constantly osmos-ing between the walls. Then there is, of course, The Brudenell Social Club, where those sounds and ideas can be put into practice in front of an enthusiastic and welcoming community of like-minded creators and collaborators. I don’t think it’s necessarily a special moment in the history of Leeds, but just a special place, as it’s still happening right now!

What is it about Seattle as a recording location that keeps pulling you back?
When we first ventured across the pond our plan was that in a new and scary place we would have to focus on working on the record, we wouldn’t be able to pop home for a cup of tea or stay out that little bit too late with friends the night before. But then as we got to know our producer John Goodmanson and he got to know us and as we gradually began to remember our way round it became almost the opposite of that: a city that we know and love in which we can work with a great producer who knows how to get to what we’re after and, most importantly, where to find the best coffee and doughnuts.

We know Sky Larkin are big festival lovers. What would be your perfect summer itinerary for 2014?
I’ve never managed to make it to an All Tomorrow’s Parties before, and now it looks like perhaps I never will, so ATP would definitely be a top, although extremely optimistic, priority for 2014. I’d like to make it to Liverpool PsychFest next year too, apparently this year was infinitely greater than last year, and last year was amazing!

I also completely missed David Byrne and St. Vincent’s Love This Giant European tour, which sounded absolutely incredible. David singing St. Vincent songs, Annie singing Talking Heads songs, horn sections and sporadic choreography, all the ingredients for a great festival show, right?! So, if they could be added to every bill for summer festivals that’d be great, thanks.

Oh and maybe The Knife for later on at night too, please!

What is the motto that matters most?

TGTF would like to thank Nestor for taking time out of the band’s hectic tour schedule to answer our questions and Kate for sorting this for us. Cheers!

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2 Responses

11:01 am
18th October 2013

New post: Interview: Katie Harkin of Sky Larkin @weareskylarkin answers our London correspondent Ben’s burning qs:

2:28 pm
18th October 2013

Correction: Ben interviewed drummer Nestor Matthews for his Sky Larkin @weareskylarkin Q&A here for @tgtf:

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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