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INTERVIEW: Matthew Wright, The Getaway Plan

| 20 November 2015 | Reply

INTERVIEW: Matthew Wright, The Getaway Plan

By Shane Pinnegar

The Getaway Plan 01

Indie rockers The Getaway Plan return to West Oz for five dates this weekend – Wednesday, 18 Nov at The Leisure Inn, Rockingham, Thursday, 19 Nov at The Prince Of Wales, Bunbury, Friday, 20 Nov at The Rosemount, Saturday, 21 Nov at Mojos, and Sunday, 22 Nov at The Dunsborough Hotel, singer/pianist/guitarist Matthew Wright tells SHANE PINNEGAR.

Heading off the beaten track to do regional shows is just part of the adventure, Wright says from his Melbourne crash pad, where he and the band are relaxing after a few Queensland dates.

“We’re currently chilling at home, in Melbourne. We just got back from the Queensland leg of the tour that we’re currently on. We’ve got 12 days off – we’re just chilling, sitting in our undies, doing nothing, enjoying the time off!

“[The tour] is really a big one,” he continues. “We really just wanted to get out and play as many places as we possibly could. Often, we just get requests from people to play in obscure places. This time we thought we’d try and avoid those comments – just get out everywhere that we possibly could, yeah.”

Wright is realistic about the response the band receives in some regional areas where they’re perhaps not used to seeing bands every week.

“It can be hit or miss,” he admits. “Because the places we go to aren’t often used to getting live music. It can go either way. Some people don’t know how to handle it. Other people are just so, so appreciative that we’re there. It’s always worth it at the end of the day. Even if it’s there’s one person there that’s absolutely stoked. That’s all that matters to us. The response has been awesome for these last three shows.”

When asked to elaborate on what ‘not being able to handle it’ means, Wright doesn’t pull his punches.

“I guess some people just maybe have a bit too much to drink sometimes. Get a little bit loose. Kind of start acting a little bit primal.”

That aside, Wright is adamant there is a real hunger for live music in regional areas.

“Absolutely, man, yeah. Since the dawn of this band ten years ago, that’s always been important to us to get out and play places that don’t get [much live] music. When we were growing up in Melbourne, we were all extremely lucky. To think of not having access to the shows that we did, we wouldn’t even be a band, you know?”

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That ten years includes a lot of hard work, a breakup for almost 18 months, several line-up changes, and most recently the formation of their own independent label to release their material. Wright says it’s all starting to pay off for the band.

“Especially with the whole independent thing: I think we’ve really found our stride. Having been with a label for like, ten years, we’ve just kind of got into an unhealthy pattern of just shifting blame onto other people and not ever learning from our mistakes. Now that we’re [independent] it’s all up to us – we’ve got nowhere to shift the blame. We’ve only been growing, ourselves as people and as a business, in the meantime, yeah. It’s been awesome.”

With latest album Dark Horses crowd funded through a Pledge Music campaign, then released under their own steam, there’s a real sense of the band working for themselves and their fans, Wright says.

“Yeah, absolutely. It’s 50/50 for us: it’s 50% a business, 50% a hobby – the music. It’s a lot more work, but, long term, it’s way more gratifying to be able to look back and know it’s something that we created from the ground up.”

The payoff for Dark Horses, of course, was the album going straight into the ARIA album charts at #10 – the highest chart position of the band’s three albums.

“That was massive for us, man,” Wright enthuses, “because it was independent, we didn’t expect anything. We didn’t even expect to crack the top 100 to be honest. To land at our highest ever debut, it’s mental.”

Wright is also sanguine about the various line-up changes within the band’s ranks.

“I think with the multiple line-up changes it was, basically, just a journey for us to find the right members – and we’ve been pretty cut-throat in the process. Clinton [Owen Ellis – lead guitarist] and myself just sort of had a conversation a few years ago where we felt that the current line-up wasn’t working. We both decided that we’ll do whatever it takes to get the band into the shape that we needed it to be.

“We found Dan [Maio}, our current drummer… I used to play with him in a band that performed during Getaway’s hiatus. Yeah, he was always somebody that was on my mind, [so] when things ended with our ex-drummer, which they eventually did, I gave him a call. Not long after that, his brother Mike [Maio] stepped up and offered his duties [on bass guitar]. Yeah. It’s all been pretty amicable, as far as ex-members go, for sure.”

“The friendship [with the ex-members] was still left for sure,” Wright continues, “there’s no doubt about that. Yeah, it was purely a business decision, at the end of the day – which was really, really fucking hard. When Dave [Anderson – bass] left that was kind of very mutual. He had a baby on the way, which is fair enough: he really couldn’t handle the touring lifestyle anymore with a kid. As far as Aaron [Barnett, drums] goes, it wasn’t so mutual… at the end of the day, we have to do what we have to do.”

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These changes are hugely significant for any band or business, but they all add up to more freedom for The Getaway Plan.

“Absolutely: just a bigger sense of togetherness, I guess,” states the singer. “We’re working as a unit now which is something that we weren’t always great at in the past. It’s definitely, like a four-way free-flowing collaboration now. It used to be a little bit awkward in the past. Now, yeah, it’s very open and very healthy.”

Wright says the new material is finding its place alongside their older songs.

“It’s a bit weird going from [one to the other], because on this tour we’re playing some really old stuff as well. Songs that we wrote when we were like 16, 17 years old. Those ones up against a couple of the softer tracks from Dark Horses is a pretty crazy juxtaposition, but it still feels like the essence of what makes The Getaway Plan The Getaway Plan is still there.”

With all this touring around the country the band are not only racking up frequent flyer miles, but feeling like they’ve embarked on a grand adventure.

“Especially this tour!” he states, excitedly. “We usually, Clint and myself, have been touring for, what, ten years together. We can be pretty jaded when it comes to touring Australia. With the two new guys in the band, they’re really inspired to get out and actually explore the country. Which is something that Clint and I have not really ever done in the past. We’re seeing a lot of places that we haven’t seen before, which has been awesome.”

Wright is also excited about the inspirations from the wide open road that have been seeping into their music.

“I think that’s inevitable – we’re always going to be inspired by what’s going on around us in some shape or form, yeah.”

And with that it’s back to chilling out in his undies for Matthew Wright and The Getaway Plan. They promise they’ll be more suitably attired when they hit Western Australia this weekend – don’t miss them.

An edited version of this story was first published in X-Press Magazine’s 18 November, 2015 issue

Category: Interviews

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