- Words Aimee Phillips
Sitting in the sweet spot between soul and pop, Mathilda Homer chats about her new EP, 'Dear Life', its creative process, and what she's looking forward to.
Mathilda Homer is full of beans; you can almost hear her brain bouncing around as she’s chatting away. Her attitude is completely infectious, so it’s only natural that her music would be too.
The enigmatic young artist has a knack for building relatable, visceral narratives into her songwriting. Whether she’s deftly navigating sadness with smooth vocals on “Too Much” or making light of a recent split on “Breakup Breakfast”, Mathilda’s music is truly something that everyone can enjoy.
Out today on RCA, Mathilda Homer’s new EP, ‘Dear Life’ balances up-tempo, jazzy melodies with slower, reflective numbers. Written as a “diary entry to the world,” the new EP features “love letters in postcard form, thoughts and memories, fears and worries.”
With three of the five tracks released over the course of 2020, ‘Dear Life’ also serves up two new tracks, “I Hate That I Love You So Little” and “Postcard”.
Before ‘Dear Life’, Mathilda had released a string of singles including the popular soulful numbers “Probably Sorry” and “Garden Of Eden.” This project marks her second EP to date, following ‘God’s A Girl’ in 2018.
We caught up with Mathilda ahead of the EP release to hear how she writes music, the story behind “Breakup Breakfast” and it’s gorgeous music video, and much more. Dive in below!
First of all, how are you? How have you been getting on in lockdown? You’ve been at your family home in the countryside, right?
Yeah, I haven’t been out of the house in about three months! I’m shielding in East Sussex. I’ve been with my family which has been quite chaotic. We’ve made films, loads of joke adverts, we just try to be doing loads of creative stuff. My sister’s an actor so she can’t do any work… it’s just so mad.
Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations over the years?
By far the first one that always comes to mind is Eva Cassidy. I used to have her CD and would drive in the middle of the night and have it on so loud. Her voice is just insane. When I was younger, we listened to a lot of Tracy Chapman… My Dad listened to Jeff Buckley, Bob Dylan, so a lot of classical influences. Recently, I just love Adele. I’ve been listening to her so much recently, like, ‘what the hell, you’re amazing!’ But the other day I found this new guy called Mustafa the Poet. He just did a song with James Blake which I absolutely love. His voice is in-sane! All my peers I’ve always listened to like Eloise constantly on Spotify to get her streams up [laughs]. Lily Moore… you know all the gang. They’re the nicest girls as well. I’ve been FaceTiming Eloise through the whole of lockdown! Every day basically.
Have you guys written songs together?
We’ve never written together! But I so wanna do a song featuring her or a duet or something. I’m obsessed with her voice; it’s one of the best voices I’ve ever heard in my life. When this lockdown’s over, we’re gonna get in the studio. I’m also gonna write a bit with Lily. I’ve written a song for her before, “Better Than Me”. It’s really nice to write songs with other artists.
When you’re writing new music, do you still listen to songs from other artists, or do you shut yourself off?
When I’m in the writing process, I definitely don’t search for new music – just because I don’t want to be too heavily influenced by what’s trending, but I definitely do listen to music that I’m familiar with. The roots of my music are quite classical but then obviously I don’t want it to be dated so we try to make it more modern-y but in the lyrics, I don’t want to write about Instagram because I feel like Instagram won’t be a thing in like five years. I don’t really think that fits with my style.
What are you hoping people will take away from ‘Dear Life’ when they listen to it?
Recently I’ve put out quite a few sad songs, but I’ve got a song called “I Hate That I Love You So Little” and it’s like – that isn’t a cheery title is it? But I like the thought of having – not a sad song with sad music but a sad song with upbeat music so it contrasts. The contrast in the lyrics against the melody, but it feels like it fits together. I wrote “I Hate That I Love You So Little” with Jimmy Hogarth who’s done the maddest stuff; written loads with Paolo Nutini, I think Amy Winehouse… working with him I was kinda starstruck at the start. We just became like best mates! He’s such a legend. I wrote that song with him and then there’s another song coming out later this year I wrote with him. He’s just a great person to write with.
But yeah, the EP… I make my songs relatable so it sounds like when I sing, I’m singing someone else’s story. I genuinely feel like, if you make your songs have quite a few meanings then people really relate to them.
“Breakup Breakfast” is one of the songs featuring on the EP. What’s the story behind the song?
Well, I went to Amsterdam to do it with Benny Sings who wrote “Loving Is Easy” with Rex Orange County. So I went there and I had the words breakup breakfast in my mind because they sounded good together in my head. I had that alliteration and had the context – obviously, a lot of people have had that – broken up with someone; been with them for ages, and then you sleep with them after you’ve broken up and it’s that feeling of, we’re so familiar; this is fucking awkward! It’s not like it used to be, but it’s still me and you… It’s that awkward morning after and you’re sitting together, and you both know what happened and it probably shouldn’t have happened. But then it could be one night stands or just awkward mornings. You make it as you want. I’ve had some funny stories come back to me. In fact, I’m gonna do a FaceTime with Lily Moore and share some stories of people’s breakup breakfasts. Or a podcast or something!
The accompanying music video is so lovely. How did it all come together? It’s like a deconstructed house within a forest.
That was during lockdown! It was at my parents’ house in Sussex. We obviously couldn’t have it inside so I was like, we’re probably going to need to do it outside, but I still want it to have a homely feel. The director, Jay, came up with this idea that by the end of me being in each scene, everything would be overgrown. Also, we couldn’t obviously have someone else lying in the bed with me, so we had to imagine a person [laughs]. It was like what I would do, but the ghost of the person’s with me in my house.
What makes you most excited and nervous when releasing new music?
Definitely most excited is that potentially people are gonna like it [laughs]. And nervous – potentially they won’t. But it’s worth the gamble, isn’t it? Also, by the time you release a bit, you kind of know what the people who listen to your music like. You kind of get to know the personality of the body of your fans. So, you can know if they’ll like it. It’s very much in my brain more than it used to be now. When I release music now, I listen to it as if I’m my fan. I think it’s good to be objective; to take myself out of myself – if I was listening to this, would I like it? If I think yeah, then I think we should go for it.
What are you most looking forward to at the moment?
It’s a bit of a difficult time to be looking forward to stuff because realistically it would be festivals because I was meant to do loads of festivals this summer; it’s heartbreaking. It’s now been pushed to next year.