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Matt Lawson (The Prophecy)

Interview with Matt Lawson from The Prophecy
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 08 April 2013, 12:03 AM

Vocalist Matt Lawson has an emotional powerful voice and his performance on THE PROPHECY’S latest release “Salvation” is the highlight of his career. Full of hooks, crushing guitar riffs and captivating melodies. Steinmetal had a chance to sit down with Matt to discuss the thought process behind “Salvation”.

Greetings Matt, how have you been? It is an honor for me to be able to have you for this interview for Metal Temple. For starters, please share a few key notes about your band, THE PROPHECY, for the readers and Metalheads that haven’t heard of you yet.

Sure Lior. Well we've been going for 12 years now as THE PROPHECY. The band actually began a few years earlier than that when the guys were still at school playing as The Local Family Butcherers. So we are up to album number four now with a few year since our last release “Into the Light” however we have been busy in the years in between getting around a bit and playing various countries all over the world. That's one of the great things we love about being in the band, being able to visit new places and play for new audiences, experiencing the local culture and spreading the joys of Yorkshire to the rest of the world.

I was first introduced to THE PROPHECY, back in 2009 when you guys released “Into The Light”, which surely served as one of my points of light that year, and now three years later you come up with another masterpiece by the name of “Salvation”, which also linked you a deal with Code666 Records. How can you describe this transition?

We started writing “Into the Light” back in 2005 and it ended up being a pretty varied album. We had gone back to playing just one guitar live and we had kind of got ahead of ourselves playing songs off what was to be “Into the Light” before even “Revelations” was released. What this did do however was to fine tune the songs for a live audience and when we went to record it seemed right to record them as we played them live. However we had been aiming to be more concepty and ITTL fell short a little on that count for us. At the end of the studio session we had before us a blank slate to begin working with and we decided from the outset we would try make the album feel much more cohesive and less true to the live performance allowing the music to reach its potential without limitations. After all when we play songs live no-one wants to hear exactly what is on the CD and we like to chop and change songs in the live environment anyway. It is one of my annoyances with OPETH in that they are a little too perfect live and there is no room for ad-lib or artistic license. With THE PROPHECY it’s all about the jazz! One thing I wouldn't want people to think is that we've gone soft with “Salvation.” The feel of the album is very spacious and chilled. It wouldn't have felt right to drop in an up tempo death metally song like “Blackened Desire” or “All is Lost” as it would have stuck out like a sore thumb and ruined the overall feel of the album.

I believe that “Salvation” is one of the deepest experiences that every listener should undertake with strong emotions, a sort of “breaking the chains” kind of way, a relief of one’s self from the endearment which life can become. Do you agree with that assessment?

I think you are one of the people that 'get it'. Music can be a conduit for a kind of escapism. We channel our emotions into our music. Most people are surprised when they meet us and find out we're not actually a bunch of miserable gits but them all those feelings go into the music rather than our everyday life.

As a deep personal experience, did the overall theme of “Salvation” was inspired by a real term of events / a background story of one of the band members or mainly a universal understanding you wanted to share with the world?

It's bit of both with some personal experience embellished with an exploration of the subject. My hope is always that people connect with the music on different levels so that there is on the surface an enjoyable catchy song that gives the listener aural pleasure yet deeper levels that satisfy on a more emotional level.

Do you think that musically, “Salvation” is a step forward in your Doom / Death Metal experience in comparison to “Into The Light”, which in my opinion was a bit more energetic?

As I said earlier “Salvation” is much more chilled album than ITTL but it’s also a lot more cohesive. That's not to say the next one will be more of the same. As we write we are constantly expanding our musical toolkit and we use whatever seems appropriate to the album as a whole. It’s possible the next one might go ultra heavy.

Will the musical path of “Salvation” be your guiding pillar for the next steps in your career or do you believe that you still haven’t fulfilled your full potential regarding your style of music?

We've already started on the next album. I think “Salvation” will only be our guide in terms of album cohesion. We put no limitations on the music we play.

One of the greatest tracks of this album, at least for me, is “In Silence”. With every stroke this song penetrates deep with the soul, a captivating moment of pure clarity. What can you tell about it? Do you feel the same about its influence?

Imagine you're standing on a windswept beach in the grip of your despair, as you walk towards the waves the sea pulls back exposing the seabed all around. In the distance you hear a rumble of thunder as the wind dies down. Approaching quickly a giant wave bears down on the beach towering above. There's no possibility to run, no hope for survival, just a moment of perfect beauty as the sun glints off the wave before it engulfs the shore and in doing so it gives you freedom from your burdens. That's the feeling I was trying to capture metaphorically speaking.

Here is a general question. Looking back at your local Metal scene, the foundation of everything that is Metal around the world, do you think that it shifted into a place where it is less appreciated than before, in comparison to other Metal scene worldwide as the Scandinavian, American, South American?

Scenes come and go but good music has a habit of sticking around. The metal scene in Yorkshire is pretty terrible at the moment though there are pockets where it’s hanging on. The recession has resulted in the closure of many metal supporting pubs and venues and that really kills the live scene. I don't think fewer people are listening to metal but certainly I think fewer people are going out to gigs. We're lucky to know some people who are really dedicated to keeping live metal gigs going at great expense to themselves often. Sal from WHIPLASH in Liverpool, Paola from FUNERAL OF MANKIND, the doom over Moscow crew and Malta Doom crew just to name a few. If you have a local venue you should support it and the bands because without somewhere to play the scene is fucked.

What about the band’s plans for the upcoming future? I believe that a tour will be in order?

Yes we will be touring. Already we are booked to support MOURNING BELOVETH at their London gig in June and we are booked to play Bloodstock Open Air festival which is the UK's best metal festival. We're also going to flying out to Malta again to play the ever growing Malta Doom Festival. Our plan is to try get on some festivals this year so help us out guys by pestering your favorite fest via twitter etc telling them to book us on! Hopefully we'll get to visit some new places as well this year, ideally somewhere we've never been to before. Unfortunately we had to turn down Kiev and a revisit to Moscow this April as my firstborn is due any day now and it was a bit soon to be jetting off on tour. Hopefully they'll have us back next year.

Furthermore, it would be nice to know if you guys already planned the material for the next album, if that came in mind.

We've a couple of songs almost written, whether they make it as far as the next album remains to be seen.

Matt, I wish to thank you for this interview. I really enjoyed “Salvation” and it left me a taste for more and surely a band to keep on following. I bid you the best of luck. Any last words for the readers?

Only that you can buy the CD direct from us on www.the-prophecy.net so don't make those tax dodgers at amazon rich, buy it from us so we can afford to make the next one!



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