Anyone who frequents gigs in the Gong, particularly The Strides or Rai Thistle, would have witnessed the impressive musical abilities of Matt Smith – his chilled demeanour belies his guitar skills and significant career accomplishments, and… he calls Stanwell Park home.
Matt attributes his start in music to his parents’ record collection, and that he was learning piano from the age of five.
“I always wanted to switch to the guitar when my hands got big enough.” says Matt, “I started learning it when I was 8 and still am! I have also been lucky to ﬁnd some totally inspiring teachers along the way.”
In 2009 Matt went to LA for six weeks with Thirsty Merc to record an album in a place called ʻSound City Studiosʼ, which has been the subject of a recent documentary and album by Dave Grohl.
“It blew my mind because a lot of the albums I listened to growing up were recorded in this same studio’. When asked about his musical highlights he mentions supporting Meatloaf on his Australian tour. “We played in front of some pretty huge crowds. He liked my guitar playing and asked me to play a guitar solo on stage with him in Perth which was a real honor.”
Last year Matt also toured the country with Jimmy Barnes and Noiseworks, playing lots of regional football ﬁelds and outdoor stadiums, and in past years has played with many other artists including Darren Percival, Karise Eden, Mahalia Barnes, James Morrison, Jonathan Zwartz, Ray Beadleand Wendy Matthews to name but a few.
“Stanny just has such a relaxed feel about it. I love surﬁng and ﬁshing on my days off. All this and still in striking distance of the city and airport its too good! Its a great music community. Lots of great musicians as well as music lovers keeping the scene really thriving. Recently some venues have been popping up like the ʻBombie barʼ at Coalcliff SLSC. Some of the best gigs are happening down this way!”
Matt’s year is looking pretty full with upcoming commitments – The Strides are ﬁnishing their third album with a national tour in September including a May gig at Heritage Hotel, Bulli, and he has also been playing with new-comer Karise Eden the winner of last years hit TV show “The Voice”.
“I also have some jazz gigs with trumpeter James Morrison and some more Thirsty Merc stuff later in the year. I am playing a weekly Tuesday night residency at 505 in Surry Hills too as well as more exciting news which I cant yet announce. Also gonna slip over to LA mid year and do some playing with my buddy Rai Thistlethwayte from Thirsty Merc.”
The clip below is from a recent gig at The Bombie Bar at Coalcliff with Rai Thistle.