Handling The Truth

21 June 2012 | 11:53 am | Benny Doyle

Paul Matthews, bassist for Kiwi-cum-British four-piece I Am Giant, talks tackling the world with Benny Doyle on the eve of the band’s second headline tour for 2012.

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Have you heard this one? Three Kiwi musicians set up home in London; the aim, to form a new band. They audition 150 potential frontmen, eventually stumbling across a British garage vocalist. He sings, they love it, they all jam happily ever after. Not funny? It's not meant to be. It's simply what led to the formation of I Am Giant, one of the hottest New Zealand rock prospects to rise in recent years.

Far from strangers to the stage though, the band have some serious notches on their straps, having done time with multiplatinum selling New Zealand acts Blindspott and Tadpole, as well as British 2-step icons The Artful Dodger. However, it didn't make getting amongst it in the UK capital any easier.

“At first, it was like, 'Wow, we are here now, we are in the centre of it',” Matthews reminisces. “Then it was more about how do we get stuck into the action and start doing the same thing. And it's hard to make your presence felt because people are just being inundated with live music. Like our first gig in London, it was a pretty small gig, but on the same night we had Green Day playing in one place, and The Eagles playing in another place; there's just so much choice, so it took a while to get used to.”

It didn't take the band long to make an impact though. In fact, the first song that the quartet wrote together was City Limits, one of the group's most popular tracks. The soaring vocals of frontman Ed Martin, reminiscent of our own Ian Kenny, combined with crisp, on-point riffing which quickly grabbed the attention of the action sports community. It's led to I Am Giant being featured on a slew of DVDs and the band receiving support from industry heavyweights.

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“Quicksilver were interested in us which was great,” he admits. “They're a really cool label and brand, and they've been supportive to snowboarding, surfing and skating so it was just a natural fit – we were more than happy to roll with that. Sheldon and I used to skateboard when we were younger; I don't skate any more unfortunately, it's pretty hard when you are touring. But we go snowboarding when we get a chance, although there's no amazing riding talent in our band.”

Australian Forrester Savell (Karnivool, The Butterfly Effect) was behind the production work on their debut The Horrifying Truth, a move that Matthews acknowledges has helped them connect Down Under.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” he agrees. “Australia's almost like our second home because we recorded the album there and we worked with a very talented individual. There's a lot of other bands that he's done which people are familiar with, so I think it gives them a point of reference as to what we're going to sound like. But again, it really comes down to the music doing the work.”

And now, with The Horrifying Truth getting released in Europe and the US later this year, the real hard work has only just begun.

“We just keep plugging this album and playing these songs, and as it gets released in more places we have to tour those places,” he says. “We've getting airplay on this massive Polish radio station called Eska Rock, so we've just started to see an influx of support from Poland. So we'll get over there later on in the year and play some shows there. That's the way that The Horrifying Truth has worked; it's an introduction to our band, so we'll just see how many places around the world we can make ourselves known.”