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Tune-In Tuesdays #60: Neverman Singer Matt McGown on “the War Within Themselves”

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By: burgundy bug

Neverman recording at Monnow Valley Recording Studios on Oct. 10th, 2019

Source: Neverman

Deeply personable and incomparably energetic, Neverman intrigues their listeners through their candid lyricism on wading through rough times only to emerge from them stronger and more resilient.

Following the release of their latest EP, “It’s Not a Prison, It’s a Prism,” we spoke to Neverman frontman Matt McGown to learn more about his personal connection with music and the band’s big goals for this year.

Tell us a little bit about Neverman

We’re from Portsmith, UK, we play alternative-rock music.

The music we write is heavily based on the war with ourselves.

Matt McGowan, Neverman Frontman

It’s a bit darker than the happy stuff, but we try to keep it energetic so it’s got the energy behind it.

How would you summarize your sound in just three words?

Energy, dark, and thoughtful.

What sparked your interest in music?

It’s a bit of a weird one. I’d always liked music from when I was a kid, I sang a lot. I sung in choirs when I was younger, which is quite funny – one of those things your mom makes you do.

Music always relaxed me. Whenever I sung or did anything, it made me feel good. As I was growing up, I just kept doing goods that made me feel good, so I got into music that way.

How did studying music at Fareham College influence your work? Would you recommend studying music to any readers out there who may be interested in pursuing it as a career?

Yeah – well, there’s yeses and nos.

From a very young age, I liked being in a room with very like-minded people and I got so much from it. You draw a lot from other people who become your influences because you hear someone do well and you want to do better, it kind of drives you on a bit.

Obviously meeting other musicians is quite hard in this day in age. [Especially] meeting musicians that they get on with.

[Studying music] you get a feel for it, you get a feel for gigs, they kinda force you into bands.

For that, it’s really good. But there are some negatives that come with it, you have to ride those along the way.

What are some of those negatives?

Clashing. At that age, sometimes people aren’t the nicest people, are they? Some people can fall out of favor and out of love with music because other people haven’t done nice by them.

I kinda kept my nose clean and went through it, but I saw it a lot around me. You can come out a stronger person from it, nine times out of 10.

In the two years that you’ve all been playing together as a band, how have you impacted and inspired each other?

We’re all very different people, which is quite strange for a band to be loaded with different minded people.

The way we act is very different, but when we play music together it just gels really nice.

What I’ve drawn from other people is, for example, our bassist Aaron is very organized. It’s made me a bit more organized.

You feed off each other in a band. Pick up little things off each other – some are good habits, some are bad.

Your debut EP “It’s Not a Prison, It’s a Prism” is brimming with a dark, groovy sound that feels like it’s straight out of the ‘90s yet brand new at the same time. Who were some of your biggest musical influences while working on the EP?

Whilst I’m working with music, while I’m writing it, I never really listen to what’s influenced me at that time. I think you collect it in life overtime from the bands you’ve always loved; the Nirvanas, the Radio Heads, there’s that kind of darkness there, I’ve always loved The Doors.

Even the really good songwriters – Elton John, Michael Jackson. I feel like the people I listened to growing up and the people I feed off over the years all pushes towards it.

I mean, the album music has spanned over a few years. I wrote some of the songs two years ago and some of them now.

I feel those bands you collect as you go through life always stick with you when you’re writing music.


I try not to concentrate on zoning in on a kind of sound, I just let what comes out come out instead.

What does the title “It’s Not a Prison, It’s a Prism” mean to you as the artist behind the EP?

The title was based around an idea where if you’re going through anything in life, a lot of the time you can be very narrow-minded and just concentrate on the bad things that happen to you.

Seeing from a different perspective and other ways you can think about it, how it can be a good thing in your life. I tried to put it into words and that was it.

But the name itself came way before the album did, actually. We were out one night, together as a band at a gig. We were absolutely smashed and we were looking through some gates – the club we were in backed onto a train-line and they had a fence up where you could see the trains through the gate.

Somebody said, “Look at the trains, do you think they’re imprisoned,” because it looked like prison bars in front of them.

And then (I don’t know who) said, “Maybe we’re in the prison.”

We always kinda turned that from it’s not a prison into a prism just as a gimmick – y’know, when you’re talking with your friends.

After that, we made a meaning from it.

“It’s Not a Prison, It’s a Prism” touches upon deeply personal topics relating to the “internal conflict from the mirrored halls of the suffering mind,” as the press release says. What was the most challenging part of writing the EP?

The EP itself was really fun to write. I think the most challenging thing is trying to find a way to get it across the way you want it to.

I don’t want it to sound too negative, if that makes sense. It’s not supposed to be a negative thing, it’s something good.

To touch on those subjects, you have to look at those negative subjects in a better way, trying to make better of it rather than being depressed or whatever else is happening in your life – it may be quite serious or a lot lighter, but it’s the same kind of concept.

It’s not a prison and it’s hard to get that point across, even though that’s the title. Within the songs, you want to make sure it’s coming across as lighthearted as you want it to.

What song off of the EP means the most to you and why?

For me, personally, “Ibiza 98.”

When I was growing up, my parents were like 90s ravers in the UK, so I listened to a lot of dance music when I was younger. [“Ibiza 98”] just reminds me of back then.

While I was writing it I realized it kind of sounded like an old, 90s dance tune and went with it a bit to play on that.

The lyrics aren’t anywhere attuned with that, but the music itself reminds me of fond memories from my childhood.

Do you have any songwriting advice for aspiring musicians that may feel apprehensive about being open on more personal topics in their work?

It’s hard, isn’t it? Me, as a writer, the reason I play music a lot of the time is as an outlet. To write music and then sing it out is an outlet.

For me, it comes quite naturally. But I’d say just don’t be scared. A lot of people connect a lot more with what you’re saying than you realize – and a lot of people want to [connect], as well.

Most crowds are engaged no matter where you play ’cause someone’s pouring their heart out. If you pour your heart out on stage, you’re going to connect to someone, surely.

Otherwise, you may be living in the wrong place [laughs].

You also have a few shows coming up this spring. Are you excited? Nervous?

Excited, yes. Not nervous.

We love playing so much, we’ve just been itching because we finished the EP last October. Then we took a little time out to get the sound and everything right on it.

We’re ready to start gigging again, we’re itching to get out on the road. We’ve been gigging kind of in limited numbers, where now it’s big enough to do a week sometimes.

What’s your favorite part of performing live?

Like I said, for me, it’s an outlet. Singing as loud as I can, being noisy and an idiot in front of a group of people is going to be my favorite thing to do [laughs].

What are your overall goals as a band?

I have real goals – I’m not going to go for mine personally, but I’ll try and think theirs [the other members] out [laughs].

I think Liam definitely wants to go on tour, abroad somewhere, have a nice little holiday out of it, have the story.

All of us really would like to just put a little stamp on music. Get to a point where our name is there and enjoy it.

What we get out of it is the crowd – it’s the outlet. We like playing together, so we don’t mind if the crowd liked it or not because we’ve had a good time playing.

How do you hope to impact your listeners?

To have an effect on them where they actually listen to the words, ’cause I’ve always been one to. I’ve always liked poetry and it makes me think in a different way.

It’s almost like reading a book. You read a good book and it makes you think in a different way for the rest of your life.

Matt McGown, Neverman Front Man

I feed off of people when they tell me things like that or I listen to a certain piece of music. It’s just a nice way of looking at things from a different perspective.

What’s next for Neverman? Will you be scheduling more performances throughout the year or releasing any additional music videos?

We’re looking to get on to the festival scene, as well. We’ve got a couple we can’t announce and then hopefully some more coming up.

But we’d like to play some bigger festivals. I think that’s the next stage for us, ’cause we’ve done a lot of big gig venues. We’ve played big local festivals, which is good.

To get on a big national festival is a nice little target for us.

The last [festival] we played at we got stumped by Lewis Capaldi, he was on another stage at the same time. He was big news at the time and it was a sea wash, to be honest.

You couldn’t compete with Lewis Capaldi at that time, but we’d like to be the person doing that to somebody else one day.

We will be coming out with another single at some point this year, and maybe a bonus song because we have recorded another song but we haven’t released it. We might work on that at some point, as well.

Do you have any additional comments or final thoughts to share?

I really hope people connect with music as much as we do.

Matt McGown, Neverman Front Man

Give “It’s Not a Prison, It’s a Prism” a listen on Spotify!
Be sure to follow Neverman on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with their latest releases and show dates.

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burgundy bug


A cynical optimist and mad scientist undercover, burgundy bug is the editor, graphic designer, webmaster, social media manager, and primary photographer for The Burgundy Zine. Entangled in a web of curiosity, burgundy bug’s work embodies a wide variety of topics including: neuroscience, psychology, ecology, biology, cannabis, reviews, fashion, entertainment, and politics. You can learn more about working with burgundy bug by visiting her portfolio website: burgundybug.com

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