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Gaz Coombes: “I’m Feeling More Comfortable In My Own Skin”

The last two decades have been a hell of a time for Gaz Coombes. As the talented and charismatic frontman for one of the most iconic UK bands of the 90’s, Supergrass, Coombes has experienced so many highs and lows during his prolific, yet intense music career.

The artist has poured all of these experiences into his brand-new solo release, Matador. The title alone conjures an image of strength, flair, determination and the will to fight to the very end, not unlike Coombes himself. Speaking on the phone from London, he’s relaxed and clearly proud of the result of his new album.

“I guess it’s come from a different place. It’s further down the line being five years since the end of Supergrass and on this record I guess something kind of connected. I’m feeling more comfortable in my own skin as a solo artist and doing my own thing. It’s been amazing and an incredible 12 months writing this record, all the way up to it’ release and seeing how it’s been received. It’s been pretty overwhelming actually.”

A large portion of Matador was recorded at Coombe’s home in Oxford, a setting he says provided him with the luxury of time and freedom to experiment.

“I think it really suited the writing for me – to be in my own space and to have that freedom to explore at any time of the day and just let these instinctive ideas flow naturally.”

Working solo provided the opportunity to take ideas down paths which may have previously been obstructed.

“It’s been really exciting, the whole process of the conception of the song being so different this time around. You can start the idea with a crazy loop or with a weird bass line or a mad drum beat and there’s no-one there to say, ‘No, I don’t want to do that, let’s do it like this instead.’

“You get to see through these ideas, no matter how convoluted or strange they may appear at the time.”

https://soundcloud.com/gazcoombespresents/2020a

Lyrically, Coombes touches on some very personal themes and admits he felt a little unsure whether he was allowing himself to be too vulnerable.

“There were moments where I, or people close to me, questioned it perhaps. I played them something and I’d query the fact that it was so personal. I got such great support with that and the network I have around me just gave me confidence to be OK with being brutally honest or emotionally stark about something.

“It’s important to still invite people in and bring them into that world without kind of moaning about it or being too morose. I think I struck a good balance and I feel comfortable with the mixture of personal and equally accessible lyrics that people can grab hold of in a cool way.”

Conscious of the fact there has been a resurgence in popularity for vinyl records, and subsequent rediscovery of ‘the album’, Coombes says his goal for Matador was to ensure it was a great record with each track feeding off the next.

“The records I love and listen to most days and put on the record player – they’re all really complete records. They’re albums I can listen to from start to finish and enjoy every single song. It sounds really simple saying it that way but that’s just the sort of record that I wanted to try to make.”

‘Matador’ is out now via Caroline Australia.

Watch: Gaz Coombes – Detroit

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