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Eoin Murray , April 27th, 2017 15:16

Not one to rest on his laurels, Matt Loveridge shares a new track from his MXLX project

Matt Loveridge (Williams) isn't one to sit still for long. With a whole rack of projects and monikers in his arsenal – from Team Brick to Fairhorns to Gnar Hest – and having formed part of Geoff Borrow's Beak> until last year, he stands as one of Bristol's most prolific underground artists of the past decade.

From the broken-megaphone psyche-punk of Fairhorns to the queasy ambience of Gnar Hest, each of Loveridge's guises sees him confronting the weird, uncomfortable processes of one's own head, projecting the ineffable through barrages of noise, shouts, uneasy vocal harmonies and brittle piano.

In March this year he released Relentless Hammer under the Knife Liibrary moniker, a defeated, anguished album that anxiously walked the tight rope between tension and poignancy. With another LP on the way in June entitled Kicking Away At The Decrepit Walls Til The Beautiful Sunshine Blisters Thru The Cracks under his far noisier MXLX banner, tQ caught up with Loveridge to work out the purpose and process behind both releases and to find out where things will go from here.

You can also stream the aptly titled first cut from Kicking Away…, 'your bastard mouth is open and will not stop howling', above.

The past year has been relatively quiet, but now you've returned with both the new Knife Liibrary album and the forthcoming MXLX. How is it feeling letting these two releases into the world in tandem?

Matt Loveridge: The Knife Liibrary LP was actually recorded way back in the last days of 2015 and Kicking Away... from May until December 2016. I just had to save up enough scratch to put out the Knife Liibrary album, which took a little while. Mostly I'm just feeling sweet relief that they're finally ready and I can get over the periods associated with them.

Listening to both albums, it feels like they were confronting similar personal phases but from different technical approaches. What do both projects achieve?

ML: Knife Liibrary is always going to be a primarily acoustic piano project. It's sort of a reaction against platitudinal singer-songwriter tropes and how "pleasant" or "nice" the genre is. I wanted to make something earthier with the muck downtrodden into the ground. MXLX started as a harsh noise/drone project but has been steadily consolidating into its own thing as the years have gone by.... I don't know what I'd call it. As for the similarities, it's just me being a constantly drunken curmudgeon misery guts cunt.

The last few MXLX releases felt like they came from a defeated place, like reflections on a personal collapse. It seems like there's maybe more of a resolution in Kicking Away. . . like it's a reflection from the other side of an incredibly turbulent time.

ML: I actually think the previous MXLX releases came from the verge of collapse. Kicking Away then is the full on 'fuck-I-am-drowning-here' breakdown. Though I always aim to imbue some sense of hopefulness and a sliver of beauty in my work.

What do you want people who listen to it to take away from it? When you look back at Kicking Away in future what would you like to remember it as being, both for you and for people who hear it?

ML: It was a fucker of an album to make and it took as much from me as I gave to it. It utterly ruined my already fragile little stupid mind. But making it was the only thing that I had to do and the only thing that kept me going and able to survive past year. All I would want is that people could be helped in some way by my music. I hope it helps them cope, sucks some of the dirt out of their heads or keep them afloat. I'm not concerned with being an entertainer and I don't want push gimmicky stock on people, I just want help somehow. I think that's what I do? It's just another goddamn album, but I feel like it's a strong one, and that I've finally stumbled down the route I've been wanting to go down for a long while.

You've recently started playing live again after quite a while away from that. How was it felt performing again? Can we expect some more MXLX live shows once the album comes out?

ML: Playing live again has been great, as much as being onstage utterly fucking terrifies me. The payoff when it works is worth the churning anxiety before, during and after the show. So I'd still like to play more and do more. The absence of live action over the past year was just because I couldn't seem to get any shows booked.