As regular visitors to our site will know we are huge fans of Climbing Trees and we have promoted a number of gigs with the band and lead singer Matthew Frederick over the years. So when we heard the band were getting back in action we were extremely excited to say the least. The new single “Troubling times” is superb with a slight shift in sound but it doesn’t desert the bands identity. We caught up with Matthew Frederick to find out more about the new single and the plans for the band’s re-launch.
It’s nearly 5 years (no I couldn’t believe it either!) since the band released ‘Borders’. What was it that made the band decide to take a break for the past few years?
It’s flown by, to be honest! We put ‘Borders’ out in the summer of 2016, and by the end of 2017 we’d released five singles from the album, played a load of festivals and been gigging pretty relentlessly, including shows in Europe and the US. It felt like we’d come to the end of the cycle in terms of promoting that record, so we decided to take a year off to concentrate on our various solo and side projects. That soon drifted into a second year, save for a handful of acoustic gigs, and then the pandemic has seen the last year disappear, so we’re now three years down the line, which is much longer than any of us imagined our hibernation would be!
What have the band been doing during the sabbatical?
I finally got round to recording and releasing my debut solo studio album ‘Fragments’, although the timing in the end wasn’t great, coming out a fortnight into the first Lockdown, which meant the cancellation of a bunch of shows and festivals and a whole load of gigs from my living room instead during 2020. Colenso’s recording his first solo record as we speak (following a couple of releases with his side project The Minerals a few years back), and we’ve also been working on a separate project, Mahogany Fire Surround, with one album release so far, and another on the way later this year if all goes to plan, so we’ve been keeping busy!
What prompted the return? Who or what instigated it?
We played a few acoustic shows as a three-piece out in Belgium and Germany in the Autumn of 2019, which was half tour, half jolly, really, and it felt great to play the songs again for the first time in a couple of years. We also played a little house gig for Trees Superfan Ian Evans’ Green Man-themed birthday just before Christmas 2019, and it felt like we were easing ourselves back in to gigging again without any pressure to promote anything in particular. We then met up at Trees HQ – that’s Globetrotters Bar in Pontypridd, in case you’re wondering – for a bit of a chat at the beginning of 2020, if I remember rightly, about our respective plans for the year and the possibility of taking tentative steps towards a third Trees record. A few weeks later the world as we knew it was turned upside down, but we managed to squeeze a single out of it, at least…
‘Troubling Times’ is released on Friday April 30th via Staylittle Music. What can we expect and does it herald a new direction for the band?
It’s difficult to say whether it’s a new direction, really. I suppose that’s for other people to decide when they listen to it, but to me, at least, it just feels like a Climbing Trees song. There are a whole host of influences and genres across the first two albums, and with us sharing the songwriting (and singing) among myself, Colenso and Martin, there’s always been more than just one voice and one sound, if that makes sense. I’d say it’s closer to ‘Borders’ era Trees, than ‘Hebron’, but perhaps it’s more immediate than some of our previous output as well. It’s not often we write a three-minute radio-friendly banger, but I’d like to think we’ve got one in the bag with this single – it seems to be going down well so far!
Finally what can we expect from Climbing Trees over the next 12 months in terms of releases and live appearances?
The honest answer is that we have absolutely no idea! It’s difficult to plan anything at the moment, for obvious reasons, and we’re still unable to meet up to write and rehearse as things stand, let along play any gigs. We’re booked in for The Big Retreat alongside Reef, Toploader and our mates Rusty Shackle in the summer of 2022, so fingers crossed things are back to relative normality by then, and it’s just one of a host of festivals we’re playing next summer. Festival season is probably my favourite part of the year, as I suppose it is for many artists and fans, and that’s the one thing I’ve really missed during all of this. So here’s to more of that a little further down the line…