Entertainment Magazine

Interview with Matt McDonough from the Owls

Posted on the 06 June 2014 by Tomatrax @TomatraxAU


Newcastle rockers The Owls have returned with another EP. Tomatrax caught up with The Owls’ drummer Matt McDonough to ask a few questions.

Where did the name The Owls come from?
It was a bit of a misidentification on Josh’s behalf. He thought an owl was keeping him awake at night but it was a tawny frogmouth (not an owl) & he decided we should be called The Owls. Makes complete sense ay? Hahaha

You’re about to release your third EP how will the music compare to your previous two releases?
We are pretty happy with the direction we are going. We’ve matured a lot over the past 5 years, our age & sound. I believe we are a bit smarter with how we write now, but sometimes there are songs that just write themselves & they are the best kind of songs.

Was it hard to pick what went on the EP?
Looking back now, yeah it was. This EP has been finished since last September. We had a core 3 or 4 songs that were always going to be on the EP, but had another 3 or 4 songs for 2 spots. We could have done an album, but decided to hold off for that… Sorry.

Where’d the name Own the streets come from?
It’s the title of one of the songs on the EP. But basically our Sydney mates think we are crazy, going down there from Newcastle (2 hour drive – 3 hours in our van) every time we play, then driving back after the show. Sometimes not getting back until 4am. After doing it for so long we are used to it. But we are a hard working band & spend more time on the road then we do playing. So that’s where the title came from.

What made you pick Krakow as the lead single?
I don’t know. It’s hard to pick a lead single for any release. We work under a democracy not a dictatorship. I guess we all just thought ‘Krakow’ was fresh & radio friendly. But none of us knew ‘Ocean’ would do so well.

Your bio says that you longed to create a sound that broke through the derivative uniformity, do you think that is an issue with bands these days?
It’s an issue if you want it to be. No doubt there are trends that come and go in the music industry. We just keep doing what we are doing & don’t really think too much about it. Obviously everyone talks about who’s playing what & why on different radio stations, but we are happy just to have our music out there. And radio airplay does bring a smile to your face.

Is it hard to achieve a sound that breaks through the derivative uniformity?
So by the wording of your question it sounds like it’s working. So in that respect, no, it’s not hard. HAHA. There’s no doubting who our influences are & you can hear elements of them but I like to think we are our own master. We write music the way we want to write music & if that is breaking through derivative uniformity, I’m all for it.

You’ve posted songs on Triple J’s unearthed page, has this had any impact on your music’s exposure?
Absolutely. For example, ‘Ocean’, was picked up from Triple J Unearthed. We’ve done radio servicing in the past & it can be hit or miss. But as I said before, ‘Ocean’ completely surprised us. We didn’t service it & it gets rotation, which then opens doors for any unsigned band.

You’ve received a fair amount of critical acclaim and have had people predict big things for your musical future, does this make you feel any pressure when making music?
Nah not really. None of us really feel pressure to write the next big hit, so to speak. We just write, it’s that simple.

What is Newcastle’s music scene like?
Myself personally, think that Newcastle has some of the most gifted musicians & there are hundreds of them. That’s not the problem. There is a serious lack of venues for those musician to showcase their material & be appreciated for it. Clubs are dominating in Newy & live music venues a few & far between. Thanks god for The Lass O’Gowrie Hotel (The Lass).

What was it like to play with members of Queens of the Stone Age?
When we got asked to play that night, its hard to keep your emotions in check. QOTSA is probably our biggest influence / idols. So obviously we were over the moon to be sharing the same stage with Troy, Mikey & Dean. We printed that poster. Doesn’t really need a reason why… hahaha

Do you ever listen to your own music?
Nah not really. Only when hearing it on the radio. High fives around the car…. HAHAHAHA

What music do you listen to?
Typically on our tour drives we have the usual. QOTSA, BRMC, Kasabian, Radiohead, EODM. But there’s nothing that gets us all stupid than “Gay Bar” by Electric Six. “I WANT TO SPEND ALL YOUR MONEY!!!” HAHAHAHA

What do you plan on doing once your EP is out?
Tour, tour, tour. We are doing an Australian wide tour from the end of July to October. It’s gonna be insane! Then…………. studio.

Check out the Owls website to find out more!

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