Beatenberg frontman Matthew Field talks balancing a solo career and singing in the band

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M Field
M Field
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Channel24's Bronwyn McKay has a quick chat with Beatenberg frontman, Matthew Field, about embarking on his solo career, his new EP and how he juggles going his own way while still being a part of the band.

Cape Town-based group Beatenberg is known for composing infectious and whimsical music interwoven with local sounds.

After forming in 2008, travelling worldwide and receiving multiple awards for their unique sound, the band – made up of Matthew Field on vocals and guitar, Robin Brink playing the drums and Ross Dorkin plucking the bass – took a break with their last album releasing in 2018.

But that wasn't the end. 

'I didn't realise that I wanted to do it until I started'

Frontman Matthew Field saw an opportunity at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and took it by embarking on a solo career. He has since released two EPs: M Field and, most recently, RE: M Field.

In a quick catch-up with Channel24, Field describes his solo adventure as something he didn't know he needed until he did it.

"Creatively, it's been very rewarding, and it's been essential for me. I didn't realise that I wanted to do it until I started."

The South African muso, now based in the UK, added that creating music as a solo artist has been "creatively freeing and fulfilling" and helped him "reset and just explore different things and get into different spaces."

'It's always been envisaged as being a parallel'

Before anyone goes jumping to conclusions, however, the Hyenas singer clarifies that his solo career is not replacing the band.

"It's always been envisaged as parallel with the Beatenberg project. It's not a replacement," Field explains, adding that he always feels the need to clarify that Beatenberg is still very much together. 

"We just haven't been doing much recently, but we've started up again with the band," Field says. "I think that they [his solo career and the band] can positively influence and affirm each other."

Field's sentiments are proven with the release of his second EP on 9 June and the release of Beatenberg's first single in years just a week later, on 16 June. 

"We're releasing a song for the first time in years! Thank you for waiting so long. It's called The Lighthouse of Alexandria," the band wrote on their official Instagram account ahead of the song's release.

'It's more about letting the two things naturally grow rather than trying to steer them'

While the two avenues appear to be working in tandem, Field admits that it has been easy because he hasn't had to wear two different hats when writing music.

"I haven't really had to put on a Beatenberg hat or an M Field hat, so to speak, because everything that I've been doing recently has been M Field," Field says. "The Beatenberg stuff we're going to be putting out now, we did a little while before I started doing the M Field stuff."

The Capetonian adds that he hasn't given much thought on how he would separate the two avenues, because its something that would just happen naturally.

I don't think too hard about that, to be honest. I just trust that the stuff with Beatenberg will have the flavour of Beatenberg because that's who we are, and that's why we work together. And whatever I do in my solo capacity will probably have a lot in common because it's my voice and my musicality coming through, but I don't make a conscious effort to differentiate the two. I think it's more about letting the two things naturally grow rather than trying to steer them.

'I'm just happy to have made this body of work'

Speaking more about RE: M Field, the guitarist elaborated on being able to put something out for people to enjoy and the writing process involved.

"I'm just happy to have made this body of work and have it received by people in the world. That alone is just a nice feeling," Field says before revealing that he worked on the album with his bandmate, Ross.

"I end up just constantly putting ideas down. And then it's a matter of time before I settle on one particular idea to finish. But this particular EP came together here in London," Field says.

"I worked on the production with Ross, so it was quite nice to have someone I know really well working with me even though it is my solo project. He was very instrumental in helping me create the songs I wanted to create."

And while Field remains busy with his solo career, if collaborating with his bandmate on his second EP wasn't enough of a sign that Beatenberg is not down and out; the House and Leisure singer signs off by saying that fans can expect "a balance between" more solo music and band music. 

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