Matt Carstens a folk pop, singer/songwriter hailing from South Africa who blew me away with his rendition of ‘The Real Slim Shady’. I managed to catch up with him after his final show of the Coffee House Sessions tour
Q: What would you say is the quintessential Eminem package for you?
Matt Carstens: I got to say, ‘Kill You’, ‘The Real Slim Shady’, ‘Ass Like That’ just because it’s such a vibe dude and probably ‘Mushrooms’. I’m a classic man when it comes to Eminem man. I’m not a big fan of ‘Rap God’ though it’s just to long man.
Q: How have you enjoyed the Coffee House Sessions so far?
Matt Carstens: Well this is the last show, but it’s been great. We played Manchester before this and it was insane man, we’ve been playing a couple of really good shows. We’ve done 21 shows in the last two weeks, it’s insane man it takes its toll. But you do it because you love music, and you do it to put yourself out there and have other people enjoy what you’re into. In that retrospect it’s been fantastic, people have been so supportive and open to all these random acts from the southern hemisphere. People would come out in the middle of the day and ditch lectures to watch music man, it’s awesome.
Q: How was the whole recording process for your debut album ‘2D Heart’
Matt Carstens: I was in the first year of university when I finished it, but it was in high school when I started it. I had written all of the songs and I just needed to fine tune them, we basically recorded the whole thing in Cape Town two tracks a day because we were on a budget. That’s kind of the beauty of starting out though, I’m still at that stage and I’m loving everything. The impatient part of my personality thinks this is great, because it’s fast paced all the time.
Q: I noticed your Martin & Co acoustic guitar earlier, how long have you had it for since it’s looking pretty beat up?
Matt Carstens: I’ve had that guitar for 6 years now, I’ve been gigging non-stop with it. And it’s my only one. It was so peak when I got here, there was a whole crack down the side of it. So, we took it to the random sketchy ass dude in Daventry. But we bought a flight case today, and I could throw my guitar down a flight of stairs in that case and it would be fine.
Q: What made you decide to use a loop pedal, and not go down the sort of standard singer songwriter path
Matt Carstens: I was probably 16, and I was so depressed man I was so bored of the setup of just me and my guitar. And I couldn’t really find people I liked playing with to form a band, because I grew up in a really rural part of South Africa. I just looked up and saw Ed Sheeran do his live room session of ‘You need me, I don’t need you’ the 11 minute one where he just goes ape shit on the loop pedal. And it was absolutely insane man, then looping became a really big thing because Ed Sheeran suddenly became really famous. So, everybody started thinking I was trying to be Ed Sheeran. But now I’ve got a band to play live shows with, and next year we’re going to start showing me together with a drummer and bassist. And then we’re going to come to the UK for festival season, so keep an eye out man.
Q: Any festivals you’d like to play in particular?
Matt Carstens: Glastonbury is my top one, Glastonbury is huge. Fringe Fest in Scotland, and god knows how but Reading and Leeds would be fantastic. Any festival though that would really have us even if it were the ‘Framlingham sausage festival’ which we drove past, which was a really delicious trip.
Q:This is something people have been dying to hear, what is your favourite way to tie shoelaces?
Matt Carstens: I do double knots on these shoes (Converses) because they are so slippery, I had to tie my shoes twice today before I finally went with the double knot. But with textured laces you only have to do a single knot, but mostly double know because it puts my mind at ease. Usually people ask about pineapple on pizza, so this is the first-time shoelaces have ever come into an interview
Q: I read that you were a big fan of Pokémon
Matt Carstens: Yeah, I actually did a version of the Pokémon theme song like a folk version. It’s on YouTube somewhere, I love Pokémon. Pokémon is a must, I never got too into Pokémon Go but I’m a big fan of the original series.
Q: What’s your favourite Pokémon
Matt Carstens: Man, that’s a toughie… Snorlax, I relate to Snorlax on a very deep level. Because he’s pretty much the face of millennial success, if we could just sleep all day.