Meet: Matthew Smith from New Zealand’s band Deep Water Creek talks about inspirations and influences.

  • Give us a potted history of you / the band:

I started the band Deep Water Creek about four years ago, sort of as a vehicle for my own songs. Before that I was in a band called Von Voin Strum for 4 or 5 years then did a solo album and a solo EP with a different crew. Most of my current music is produced by a guy called Thomas Isbister, so I write the songs, he produces them. We released an album end of last year called “News From the South”. There will be more recording this year and any shows we can do obviously, because of what’s happening in the world at the moment.

  • Who inspired you to start making music?

I guess music has always been a part of my life, I’ve always had an ear for it, I enjoy music in most all forms, I just remember ever since I was a kid always being drawn to singing and dancing…a lot of pretending that I was the lead singer of all the bands that I liked, practicing kind of in my room pretending like I was going out on a big stage, different bands like The Doors that my brother bought home from boarding school. My sister introduced me to all the classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, trip hop kind of influences, Massive Attack, Portishead, a whole lot of different folk artist and things that I got from my Dad, lots of different bands.

  • And the one (or maybe two) records that inspired you artistically (and why)

There’s so many, I guess Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens in terms of his song writing and his ability to say what he means, to really strip away any nuance and go right to the heart of how he feels. That was a big album for me to listen to, quite inspiring. I wish I was able to talk so candidly about my own emotions, failings, the future and things.  I also love Shepherds Dog by Iron & Wine, I think the music on that album is just incredible, just a really really good album from start to finish really, beautiful moments sonically, just incredible.

  • If you’re trying to explain who you sound like to someone that’s never heard you, what do you say?

I guess you would say kind of alt folky, alt rocky, alt country-ish…whatever alt means. It’s kind of sonic, musically driven with little bits of quiet in between.

  • Tell us about your latest release:

The latest single is Water today and that just kind of came one day I guess from my appreciation for water and my fear of water resources being wasted and water crisis’ happening around the world, water wars, things like that I guess. It was recorded with my band, primarily though Thomas Isbister and then there was a who’s who of great Christchurch Musicians are on it, Darren Pickering, there’s Jimmy Rainey, Ryan Chin, a whole bunch of people, I can’t remember the names off the top of my head but lots of great people.  

  • How can we get hold of it?

All platforms really, Apple, Spotify, Youtube…those are the main ones.

  • Tell us how you write?

It really depends, it’s sort of like a stream of consciousness most the time, I’ll pick up the guitar and play some chords, a melody kind of comes and if I’m inspired to keep writing I’ll flesh that out until there’s a whole body of work there and kind of happy that it’s got as form, it has a message and its worth saying and repeating.

  • Tell us about your live show? And how much have you been missing it recently?

First live show was probably at music school, studied a bit of music at school and that’s where I kind of learnt to jump up on stage and sing but before then I always played guitar. People would always ask me to play songs at parties and things like that. I guess the first big show I probably did was with my old band Von Voin Strum back in the day at a big sports arena, 10,000 people, that was probably the first big show I remember. Really cool, really fun, the band was really tight, yeah it was awesome. We had our News from the South tour booked last year, South Island, North Island, several dates around the country. It was going to be really fun, full band, a lot of cool shows in cool places but it all got cut on the dime because of lockdown. We were going to reschedule but it was just too much to organise all over again. We played a couple of shows in Christchurch which were really great, really local just friends and family, it was a good party.  I do miss the crowds and connecting with people and kind of what it means to me and other people having that space to share together. I do miss that.

  • What can we expect from you in the near future?

More recording, more album releases, single releases, I’ve got a couple of dates lined up for recording over the next month, just basically trying to balance my musical life with the other commitments I have in my life and just trying to be happy with my processes and balance it out so that everything works together.

  • Tell us your favourite record(s) (apart from your own) that’s rocking your headphones / tour bus / stereo

I’m listening to some classic rock, Queen Inuendo, yeah big Queen fan. Obviously that was the last record before Freddy Mercury died of AIDS so the lyrics were very poignant, I really love the whole arrangement, the whole production of it, just huge. You can tell that Freddy’s thinking really hard about what he wants to say which is, you know, pretty crazy considering he died not long after.  I’ve also been listening to an album from the 80’s by Billy Bragg, called Talking with the Taxman About Poetry, its kind of in that vein of the time, that era, sounds kinds of like The Smiths, a lot of its just him and the guitar but there’s some really cool songs in there. It’s a good snapshot of the mood in late 80’s England with all of the kinds of social pressures they had. I enjoy music where people have a message and something to say and that albums got a lot to say, it’s really kind of punky, it’s great. Hopefully the album form isn’t really dying and it’s not just singles all the time but those are a couple that come to mind just off the top of my head.

You can listen to tracks by Deep Water Creek through the link below:

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