Matt Wilcock (Shotgun Mistress): More breathing space
The Melbourne rock outfit Shotgun Mistress, formed in 2018 by Matt Wilcock, David Lee, Ben Curnow and Glenn Patrick, is finally back in concert business. They have just been playing several shows, e.g. supporting legends Electric Mary or headlining Camp4Cancer Festival. They’ll be touring again in May 2022 (see below). Plus, they have just released a new album… Guitarist Matt Wilcock tells us more about this, the band and himself:
Matt, you were in Akercocke and The Beserker, before Shotgun Mistress. Could you tell us about being in those bands?
Yea.. So basically I’ve been a death metal guitarist all my life, I joined the berzerker what seems like a lifetime ago. We recorded the ‘dissimulate’ album and played probably 150 shows around the world. I then moved to the UK for 10 years and recorded 2 albums with Akercocke. We played lots of festivals and toured untill my time with them came to a natural end. I’ve done numerous other extreme metal bands/albums since, but those two bands have played a major part in my life leading to the kind of musician I am, and where I am in life now as well.
When and how was Shotgun Mistress formed? Could you tell us the story?
I think it was 2018, everything’s a bit of a blur and I’m rubbish at timelines, but basically I had an urge to play some Guns’n’Roses/Slash/Motörhead kinda tunes.. Straightforward rock music really. I knew all the guys from various bands that I’d played with many years earlier, so I kinda pieced a ‘band’ together. We pretty much all got together in a room and started making some noise and it all fell into place pretty quickly.
Any favorite bands?
This is a weird question because ive got a peculiar and varied taste in music. But just for fun here’s a few faves. Marduk, Cannibal Corpse, Heart, Earth Wind and Fire, Slash, ZZ Top. So yea… It’s a weird selection for most people.
Who writes the music for the band?
For the debut I wrote the majority of the riffs as such, Ben and Glenn made contributions though and we would definitely work on the songs as a band. Now that we’re writing for our next album, both Ben and myself have been coming up with most of the riffs or basic ideas and in the rehearsal room we all work on arrangements and piecing everything together.
Once there’s a rough song structure, Glenn will usually come up with a few vocal ideas or melodies pretty quickly and we’ll refine things from there.
You have just recorded the new album. What were the recording sessions like?
To be honest, the sessions were all pretty independent of one another.
We did a fair bit of preproduction, so we were well prepared for recording and then we each tracked at different studios. I think this kind of thing is pretty normal nowadays, people live in different parts of the world, technology has gotten better and there are more options. I don’t think in my whole career I’ve ever done an album from start to finish with everyone tracking and mixing at the same place. The mixing phase was quite exciting though, that’s the point when the songs really started to take shape and come to life.
Is being in Shotgun Mistress different than being in other bands?
Well, it’s different for me in a sense that I’ve generally always been in extreme metal bands so this has a much different vibe. It’s got a bit more room to breathe than other bands I’ve been in, more opportunity to improvise or at least freestyle the riffs a bit.
We definitely still focus on being airtight and playing well, but there’s just a bit more breathing space really, both sonically and in terms of physically playing.
The work ethic is always the same with anything i do and shotguns no exception, we’re all pretty focused and driven in all aspects of ‘getting things done’ regarding the band.
Can you tell us about upcoming live dates with Shotgun? Do you enjoy playing live?
We’ve started playing a few shows again lately seeing as covid restrictions have fizzled away. We’re totally into playing live and its been a real strain to have not played throughout the whole pandemic.
But the gears are starting to turn and we’re hitting our stride again.
We just announced a nationwide run of shows in the coming months, so we’re getting ready for that and can’t wait to get out and play at a few places we haven’t been to yet.
text: John Wisniewski photos: Band website