Matt Handley - All by myself

One is the loneliest number and it's been a struggle for Matt Handley to come to terms with his new solo career.


Personal and professional heartbreak, and hours of sitting in the studio alone didn't inspire much confidence or enthusiasm in the ex-Pollyanna frontman. He seems to speak so dejectedly about his post-band studio time that it's amazing to think that he finally got through it to become one of the countries most underrated singer songwriters.


He's flattered at the compliment and now sees that it was that solidarity that allowed him to explore himself as a singer/songwriter.


"I've always tended to write about relationships but this time 'round I was able to covey the emotive detail that I haven't been able to previously," he says, "I was being a lot more open and honest and not trying to shroud ideas in metaphors."


It's not just the emotion and subject matter of his music that has evolved post-collaborative days, but also his sound.


"Sonically it's less produced -I liked the character of the original demos for these songs where my voice would be ragged or drums and guitars would be recorded with a minimum of effort," he adds, "The emphasis was creating an atmosphere rather than going for the perfect take or a radio friendly sound."


He looks back on his studio time with more optimism now, and sees that his independence was a blessing in disguise, without major labels pulling the production strings.


"I was also paying for the recording so there wasn't a record company to appease with a certain mix -the whole process was a lot more organic," he says.


Now, Handly is looking towards a brighter future, with just enough melancholy to get him through to the next release.


On the music business, he has very little animosity, particularly towards the evils of money-driven pop, choosing to take a pragmatic view of the situation.


"Popular music will always be subject to trends and thankfully there is the diversity within the music industry to cater for more than just the common denominator…


"People have just had to think outside the established ideal of how you can become successful. Best of all, artists are having more control than ever over what they are doing-because they are usually the ones investing their time and money!"


The increase in control is a plus for a self confessed control freak, who gets to manage every part of his creative output from start to finish;


"Even down to designing cover art/ street press ads is a lot easier-you can definitely do more for yourself and thereby be less reliant on other people to get stuff done."


The most significant change Handley has seen since he started out in the business is the internet, he admits, showing his age.


"Having a presence on the internet is so much more important now in promoting what you do. By the way www.matthandley.com.au for those who want to see my new little site...."


Do visit the site, check out his music and catch him on tour with his band the Dagger Stares or on his lonesome…again.

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