Tell us about the show you’re bringing to the Vault Festival, Softboy.
It’s basically a show that makes fun of fragile masculinity. I ‘play’ a struggling singer songwriter that is very obviously desperate for approval. I put ‘play’ in quotations because sometimes it feels like a character and sometimes it’s definitely just me singing about being sad about something. I’ll do a lot of singing, some talking in between and I’ll probably do a bit of shouting as well.
How did you get into musical comedy?
As a teenager I thought I was going to be a super earnest singer songwriter. Think Bright Eyes but sadder and less self aware. I wrote lots of very tragic songs that were then emailed to a lot of confused women (girls). At some point I started playing these songs at comedy clubs instead and they got a much better response, so I just carried on.
What inspired your intensely emotional comedic style?
I think singer songwriters and musicians get credited with a lot of emotional intelligence – when in fact their range is quite narrow. All of their songs make them seem really cool and great. I like writing songs that make me seem like a loser, really selfish or petty. There are loads of emotional areas that lots of real singer songwriters never write about,* in a weird way I think you can be a bit more honest in a comedy song.
*I also do write loads of songs about break-ups.
What sort of experiences motivated you to plunge such emotional depths in Softboy?
I’ve always been an anxious person and prone to bouts of feeling pretty low. In the past I think I’ve vastly overcompensated for this by trying to appear incredibly confident, even arrogant. It’s an absolutely classic move from the playbook of the insecure man. I think lots of men feel like a complete failure but act like they are on cloud nine. It’s a funny juxtaposition.
You’re planning on taking Softboy to Edinburgh this year. How much do you expect it to change between now and then?
I guess we’ll have to see! At Vault Festival it will be about half stuff I know works and half new songs/material. I’m excited about the new stuff so hopefully this won’t be too far off the finished product.
What do you hope people take away from your show?
I’ll be happy as long as they say it was funny. Sometimes people come up to me after shows and say “that song could have been about me after my last break up” or “my ex boyfriend was exactly like that”. That’s always nice. I like it when people can recognise their own emotions in my songs and laugh at them.
Are there any other shows you’re looking forward to at the Vault Festival?
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to break into comedy?
It’s basically impossible to make a living (but it’s a lot of fun).
Matt is performing Softboy on 29th January.