Matthew Sheen’s on tour to launch Cloud Appreciation

An interview with Matthew Sheens for Jazz Australia.

Downbeat and APRA/ AMCOS PDA winning pianist/ composer Matthew Sheens is releasing his third full-length album this July in Australia. The new album, was recorded with two different bands in Sydney and New York City respectively.

JK: Who is on the album?
MS: The Australian band was Gian Slater (voice) , Lauren Roth (voice) , Alex Boneham (bass) and Tim Firth (drums)
The US band was Alex Goodman (guitar), John Patitucci (bass) , Kenneth Salters (drums). Aubrey Johnson, Tom Cruz and David Lang also did vocal overdubs

JK: How did it work, recording with two different bands?
MS: The process behind this album was very strange. I had won an award through APRA, and one of the prizes was a whole day of recording at the
amazing 301 Studios in Sydney (the biggest studio in the Southern Hemisphere!). I live in NYC, so as the expiration on the prize approach I had to
squeeze the session in on a trip back and write a bunch of music in a very short amount of time. It took 18 months for me to get the album completed in NYC, and trying to make the album sound unified was important to me, while allowing the musicians to be themselves. I had my guitarist in NYC, Alex Goodman, overdub extra melodies etc on the old studio session, and we did similar things with voice and rhodes.

JK: What was the inspiration for the album?
MS: A lot of the pieces on the album were automatic musical reactions to events that had occurred in my life and also global events. “Rage Against the Dying of the Light” was written while my 13 year old cousin was in a post-car crash coma, not expected to wake up (he did!). “Last Poem” literally the last poem written by an Auschwitz prisoner that was found in his pocket after he died, which I wrote music to, and half of “Cloud Appreciation Day” was written before a friend died suddenly and completed after the event, so there is a bipolar quality to it. Almost every track has a distressing background, but it doesn’t always make the music depressing! In some cases the reaction was to write more uplifting sounding music.

Matthew Sheens, is launching his album this week around Australia with Gian Slater (voice), Hugh Stuckey (gtr), Lyndon Gray (bass) and Tim Firth (drums).


Melbourne Recital Center | Thursday 21 July | 7pm
Newcastle, The Unorthodox Church of Groove (presented by NIMA) | Friday 22 July | 8pm
Sydney, The Sound Lounge, Seymour Centre (presented by SIMA) | Saturday 23 July | 9pm – Support by Mary Rapp 8pm
Canberra, Ainsely Arts Centre | Sunday 24 July | 2pm
Adelaide, The Wheatsheaf Hotel (presented by COMA) | Monday 25 July | 8pm

More info