“I habitually write a lot of music. Last year I released two albums to follow on from the one that I did at the end of 2019. And so I just thought I would challenge myself a little – not only to create a single a week for a year, but also to keep the quality going.
“It would be easy enough to do a song a week, but I wanted to produce something that I would be proud of at the end.
“I usually start about ten different ideas in any given week and then it ends up with about three songs and I will then generally pick the best song. I am looking for listenability in terms of the hook that will draw people in, but I am also looking for something that fits in within the singles that I have released so far so that there is like a progression. I don’t want it to be too abrupt going from one single to the next.
“I would certainly consider putting them all together at the end as a 52-song album. The old limitations about length of album don’t apply anymore!
“I would say that the heart of the music is generally indie folk. That’s what I started on with the first album. It is emotionally-centred taking an abstract take on lyrics, but genre-wise I like to hop around and play with different instruments and use them like you would use colours in a painting. My main thing is the guitar, but I also use keyboards – and the melodica which is like a tiny keyboard with a pipe that comes out of it. It sounds like a toy instrument. I like to take stuff that sounds broken or cheap and try to fit that into the production.
“My fiancée Kylie does some of the backing vocals. I play all the instruments and the vast majority of the vocals are me and I produce and master it.”
Inevitably, the pandemic is the background lyrically: “I don’t see how anybody could write anything at the moment and it not lean on subjects like isolation and so on. But the lyrics are usually quite introspective. I have had my own personal mental-health troubles, and that tends to be the emotional core.”
Music is a great way to address them: “Growing up, I played a lot of music but I fell out of it at the same time as I started having mental-health troubles which were getting worse and worse. I tried various things like diet and exercise, but I think music is the real curative thing if ever I am in a dark place. It tends to take my mind off so that the things that might trip you up don’t talk to you. Not that I am hearing voices! I don’t mean that!”
Charles Eyrie is the artist name for Tom Mattinson.
“When I was ready to start putting music out, I just didn’t like how my name sounded, to be honest. I thought I would be better with a pseudonym. Tom Mattinson had all the implications of my life up until then, and I wanted something that was a fresh start for my music. I wanted my music to be on its own.
“Charles is my middle name and then I just wrote out hundreds of words as possible surnames and just tried to pick the one that rolled off the tongue best. I chose it in late 2019, a month before I put out my first album.
“Maybe if I wanted to do something really different in a different direction, I could come back to my real name, but for the moment I am happy with what I have chosen as my artist pseudonym.”