INTERVIEW WITH... MATT JONES (TWISTED ILLUSION)
As Manchester Prog Rock mavericks TWISTED ILLUSION settle into a thirteen-date UK tour with a brand new dream lineup, we speak to main man Matt Jones about the three records he’s very ‘excited’ to unleash on the world!
You’re currently on the road on your ‘Excite The Light’ UK tour – will this be your biggest tour to date?
The tour is going really well, we are about half way through. The shows are just full of positivity. People are coming out and singing the songs - I couldn't ask for more! The tour is a pre cursor to the ‘Excite’ releases, a presentation of the new lineup and a new group of musicians approaching the Twisted Illusion material.
You’ll be ending your tour with a homecoming show in Manchester – what does it mean to you to be headlining in your hometown?
Nothing. I hate Manchester. It's full of pricks.
I joke (some people can't tell). I love playing Manchester, I am proud of being from this city. Its musical heritage is incredible and I hope some day people see Twisted Illusion as a quintessential part of that history.
Who have you got supporting you on your tour?
We haven't had a specific tour support. We have just picked some of our favourite bands to join us from the UK underground scene - most notably Ashen Reach, Midnight Prophecy, Zebedy, Scare Tactics, Prognosis and Kaine.
Tell us about the new lineup!
We’ve got Chris Jenkins on drums, Cici Powell-Melkonian on Bass, Andy Gotteri on keys and Saxon Davids on guitar. The lineup in Twisted Illusion has very much always been in flux. It's been incredibly unstable for a long time. I have always been the focal point and driving force behind it. Now I am absolutely unequivocal in my positivity for this lineup. No doubts, no reservations, just a complete certainty that we will achieve some notable things together.
For those who may not be familiar with your music, can you tell us who your influences are and would you say you sound like anybody else?
We get compared to an immense myriad of bands and artists, which I see only as a positive. Everyone hears what they want to hear in Twisted Illusion, it's never just an accepted sound. We have been compared to Slayer, Manic Street Preachers, Devin Townsend, Meat Loaf, Queen, Coheed and Cambria, Iron Maiden and a whole host of disparate sounding bands. The main influence that I think is most evident in the vision of the band is Rush. Their ethos, their integrity and complete dignity throughout their career is what I am definitely inspired by. They are absolutely a musical influence too.
You state on your Facebook page that “2019 will be the most pivotal year in Twisted Illusion’s history” – why is that?
We are currently reaching the end of the ‘Excite the Light’ recording process and it feels like a very natural chapter ending in Twisted Illusion. We have been an active band for about four years in various forms. It just feels like a new era is dawning on the band and with the injected positivity of the new lineup I am just immensely excited right now.
When do you hope to release your new material?
We are currently finishing up part 2 of a trilogy of records. We will be recording part 3 in the autumn and then plan to release them one by one in 2020. It's gonna be a lot of work but we are ready for it. People can get the records early however by joining in our crowd-funding campaigns. They are otherwise unavailable until 2020.
What have been the highlights of your career so far?
I'd have to say playing Bloodstock was absolutely thrilling. They really are at the forefront of nurturing the underground talent and giving an incredible range of genres a stab at a huge festival. We were invited to play in 2017 and it was an unforgettable set. The crowd were utterly phenomenal and ready to hear something new.
You were one of Bigfoot’s guest vocalists at last year’s SOS Festival – what was that like and were you ever tempted to become their new frontman?
I have known Sam for a long time and used to go and see his previous band Smitten Kitten. We always ended up at each others gigs or in the same sort of circles. Eventually Sam got Bigfoot together around the same time I started Twisted Illusion. I had always been a fan of Bigfoot from the first EP. Ant is an amazing singer and I was very honoured to sing those tracks with the guys. They are all great musicians. As for Bigfoot, personally I think Ant was their frontman and I think he was pretty damn hard to replace. I am a completely different singer and I think anyone would struggle to step into Ant’s shoes. Every singer on the bill at SOS found their parts hard to do right. I am always tempted to sing with other people though. I am not precious about where I sing, it makes me understand my voice better, know its strengths and equally its limitations.
What do you think of Manchester’s music scene at the moment and who do you think will be the next big rock acts to come out of the city?
I may be biased but it's a very fair assessment to proclaim Manchester as one of the best live music cities in the UK. Props to Danny Daemon of Prognosis and John Badger who tirelessly cater to the metal community within Manchester.
I don't really hear that many great rock bands coming out of Manchester... Manchester to me is definitely a better place to hear metal than rock. I'd love to see some better rock bands come up in the area.
How does Twisted Illusion stand out from the rest?
I tell the truth and don't suffer pricks. Some people blacklist you for that.
Twisted Illusion will be celebrating the last night of their ‘Excite The Light’ tour with a hometown show at The Star & Garter on 1st June and will be appearing at The Whitefield Festival in Prestwich on 28thJune.