Interview by Sarah Williams. Photos and video by Mark Richards.
Matilda’s Scoundrels must be one of the hardest-working bands in the UK DIY scene.
They’ve been touring up and down the country, popping up on all-dayers, in pubs and at a whole range of festivals this summer, building up a reputation as a cannot-miss live act. Although they’ve been together for three and a half years, it wasn’t until September 2017 that they released their first full-length album As The Tide Turns (review here). It’s 42 minutes of rollicking, overdriven aggro-folk, with all the calms and crests of a rough sea and plenty of rousing shout-alongs.
I sat with down guitarist Dan Flanagan and accordionist Jens-Peter Jensen at The Palace in Hastings, just before doors open for the main day of Wotsit Called Fest. The festival is a two-day blend of different genres, with DIY at its heart. It’s organised by Dan and Jens, plus Kathy Butler and The Barracks’ Mark Tanner. Matilda’s Scoundrels also treated the Friday night as their album release party, playing a storming set to a room full of enthralled fans.
Given that we were all still up celebrating at 4am, we had a surprisingly sprightly chat, however when I asked them about As The Tide Turns Dan and Jens both paused to give consideration to each answer, rather than diving straight in with a response. I started to get an insight into the care and consideration that’s gone into writing and producing this brilliant new record…
How did Matilda’s Scoundrels first get started?
- Jens: We all did exactly the same thing that most people did; we met up at gigs, we drank and had fun together. One day we decided it would be a great idea to start a band. It tumbled from there.
You’ve been together a long time, so it feels like there’s been a lot leading up to the first album. How long have you been working on it?
- Dan: It’s taken us forever!
- Jens: We’d released a couple of EPs and some singles. We’ve released music every year.
- Dan: Getting on for 2 years ago, we wrote the first songs.
- Jens: It didn’t take long to record…
- Dan: It did take long to record.
- Jens: Okay, yeah, that’s a lie.
- Dan: About 8 months. We wanted to take our time with it; an album is quite a big thing so we wanted to make sure we did it right. There’s a lot of us, that’s the thing.
- Jens: There are six of us. It’s going to be a lot easier to do it if you’re a two piece punk band, because you have three major instruments and that’s it. To be honest, it wasn’t that hard to write, because we are a very writing-focussed band. There are always songs that we’re playing, trying to push up and trying to write.
- Dan: We’ve already a got a couple towards the next album.
- Jens: There are several tracks towards the next album! Whether they make it or not is another story!