matty lloyd

Interview: Matty Lloyd talks motivations and movements behind new album ‘Episode One’.

In Hip Hop, Interviews by Vicky Thompson

Following the release of the Nutty P produced album Episode One by Aylesbury rapper Matty Lloyd, we dive deeper into the dark pool of trials, tribulations, drugs, music and mental health. As his fanbase continues to grow, so do the questions behind the project. The 11 track project is organic and original in every sense of the matter. We spoke to Matty to find out where the ideas came from and where he’s planning with them to go next. So sit back and tune in to Episode One with Matty Lloyd.

Episode One sounds like the beginning of a newly established era – Can you tell us a bit about the thoughts behind the name of the project?

It’s definitely a bit of a resurgence for me. If you look at television series, they usually launch with a pilot  to test the waters. So I just wanted to stick with that theme after my first project ‘The Pilot Episode’, plus people often say it’s like we live in a TV show due to some of the ridiculous amount of obstacles that life wants to throw their way. Or if everything seems to be working for them they’ll remind you that their “life’s a movie”, that type of thing. It makes sense to me.

In terms of the structure of the project, it has a mixed-emotional aesthetic, ranging from confident lyrics to melancholy, from love to hate, and hard-headed to vulnerable, almost as if it were a diary or a therapy session. Do you see writing and making music as a form of therapy, or even like writing a diary?

I’ve always struggled to express myself properly via actual conversation unless I’m drinking and then I don’t shut up. So yeah, writing is more therapy than anything for me and if it helps other people along the way then it can only be seen as a positive.

Could you talk a little bit about your environment and musical influences and how they may have inspired or contributed to your sound in the project?

Aylesbury is just like any other small town, it has its good and bad days so everything is literally from the perspective of a regular person going about his day today. It’s a completely different to city life but it’s expanding and getting busier with new builds popping up and people moving here as it’s a bit cheaper to live. The project is littered with elements of rock, hip hop, R&B and D&B. It isn’t something I set out to do it’s probably more to do with being around different types of people over the years and not sticking to one set group which is a lot of cases leads to ignorance. I’m open to all sorts of sounds, if it’s good it’s good and clearly it’s rubbed off in the sound of Episode One.

How did the relationships with Nutty P and Suspence come about?

Me, Nutty & Suspence were introduced towards the end of 2006 by a woman from Kent named Chloe Morrison. She was an artist herself and she’d put on her own event and had booked them to perform. They went by the name Lyrical Rebelz as a duo at the time, then later on as a ska/hip hop band named La Rebla Fam. She’d heard me on MySpace and invited me to a separate event in Camden at Oh Bar called “Word Of Mouth” that Nutty & Suspence were performing at. They introduced us and since then we’ve been cool. I was already familiar with Nutty because of his music with Sway and Baby Blue, but Suspence has been a pretty big driving force with getting me to actually make a proper project, I procrastinated a lot over the years but he kept on my case to get it done.

You tell stories of both political and social topics including the issues surrounding male suicide. Would you be able to delve a little bit deeper into the lyrics, motivations and meanings behind the track ‘Clarity’ with the accompanying music video…?

With ‘Clarity’ that’s the first solo song I recorded with Nutty, it was more about venting, like, with the opening line:

“I reckon if I took my life right now you people wouldn’t be surprised, be like we see it coming.

Matty had to follow suit, already happened twice.”

On the 2nd occasion, my brother Michael had passed and I’d gone into work so that I could get my grievance leave and somebody had asked me if suicide was hereditary within my family. So it shows how people, especially around that time didn’t know how to act at that moment, and it always stuck with me. In both situations, everybody’s main response was to just ‘get on it’… the best way to deal with your problems – “let’s drink”. You find yourself in a downward spiral, and before you know it years have passed and you’re still stuck in that rut, dwelling on everything. So the song is more reflective of that than anything. It was only supposed to be a one-off thing as I hadn’t written in a long time and it was fast approaching 10 years since it first happened. I contacted Genesis Elijah and told him what I wanted to do and we headed to Wembley Stadium on June 16th 2017 and filmed. Exactly 10 years to the day that I last saw my brother. We went to see Muse and The Streets at Wembley Stadium, so there is personal meaning to the video, I’m not just randomly at Wembley.

What message do you have for anyone who can resonate with the messages delivered on this song, and what can they take from the song?

I’m the last person anybody should want to take advice from. I’m not trying to be the ‘Mental Health’ guy at all, it’s not something I want to be labelled with. That’s not something I feel I’m remotely qualified to do… plus nobody’s ever wanted to have this type on a conversation with me so sometimes it’s awkward. People only seem to ‘relate’ when it comes to a celebrity. We all deal with things differently. I actually hate that term and up until a few years ago nobody really cared, and all this “be kind” stuff seems patronising to me. But if anything, find something to focus on to take your mind off of it, otherwise it’ll tear you apart and destroy you if you let it. It took years for me to figure that out, but I got there. I’m definitely in a better mental state now than I was.

You tend to convey a variety of stylistic genres alongside hip-hop as well, including jazz, soul and even some D&B production in there too. Talk me through the process of combining all those sounds together for this project?

I’m not really too into the current sound, I don’t have anything against it, it’s just not for me. It’s either drill beats or xylophone sounding basic underproduced beats with a touch of autotune. You’ll notice artists staying “current” will often switch the sound that they’re using just to fit in with what’s popular. One week they could be grime, that sound fizzles out and then they’ll jump onto the next as they’ll be brushed under the carpet. I’ve always been into more 90’s – mid-2000’s hip hop. Rawkus Records, J Dilla, Jazzy Jeff, Dr Dre, Erick Sermon, Timbaland types of production.

Nutty is into that whole sound too plus he can play actual instruments so he was more than happy to assist, we just did what we wanted. Aylesbury has a little bit of history with D&B so ‘Til Its Over’ is just a nod to that, the version that appears on Episode One is a Remix by Turrican Tracks who runs Runway Studio in Aylesbury with Dan Thomas, those 2 have been very pivotal in getting this project made.

You speak about your frustrations with the music industry on this album – what can be done to help provide a platform for a broader range of rappers?

The industry as a whole loves to push this thing of “we support UK artists”. Unless you are from within the M25 bar a very small amount of Birmingham/Manchester emcees will completely ignore you and act as if you don’t exist. I’ve had many things fall flat on its face as soon as it becomes apparent I’m from Buckinghamshire. Last time I checked, the UK is made up of four different countries. So a better balance is definitely needed, but I don’t see anything changing anytime soon.

Which emcees inspired you the most when you were forming your rapping style?

I can’t pinpoint any particular person, I’ve probably taken influence from loads of different artists without even realising both UK and USA. I have always been big on artists like Redman, Big Pun, Talib Kweli, Xzibit, Ludacris, Eminem, Royce da 5’9, Sway, Kano, Klashnekoff, Skinnyman, Nolay, Wretch 32, and Lowkey. Currently, I’m listening to a lot of Joyner Lucas, Snow Tha Product, Loyle Carner and Slowthai, so it’s very mixed. But everybody featured on Episode One, they’ve definitely played a major part in how I rap. Be it their sense of humour, honesty or straight up bluntness and how personal they can get. So hopefully I haven’t let them down.

Do you have any plans for an Episode 2?

I’d like to do an Episode Two, but it’s entirely down to whether or not I can raise the money to fund it and if Nutty wants to work with me again.

Stream the album here  and follow Matty on Instagram here.