Metal Origins – an investigation into the very essence of what makes us metal… This time around we talk to Aussie guitarist Matt Wilcock, who many of you will know from his stints with names like Abramelin, The Antichrist Imperium, Akercocke and perennial Sentinel Daily faves Werewolves among others but today comes to us as resident axe God of metal/rock sensations Shotgun Mistress, who have a new album coming out very soon…
Welcome back to Sentinel Daily, and the next in our latest round of Metal Origins chats! Mr Wilcock – let’s get amongst the questions… Iron Maiden, Metallica and Slipknot are commonly referenced these days as ‘gateway’ metal bands, but who would you say yours were, and what album or songs really got your knees trembling initially? “As un-original as it may be, it was Maiden and Metallica. I was already listening to Guns n’Roses, Mötley Crüe et cetera… but once I heard the opening guitar of Number of the Beast and The Four Horsemen it was like a switch got flicked in my head and that was it, I was set on a life path from then on”.
Was it ‘love at first hear’ for you and heavy metal? Or did it take a while to insinuate itself into your very being? “It was instant!”
Were you considered odd amongst your peer group for liking metal or were you part of a group all starting your musical journey at the same time? “There was always at least me and a friend or two that were into metal. Everyone else probably thought I was odd, but fuck them!”
How easy was it for you to find out about metal where you lived? I’m old, and English, so for me there was Kerrang! Magazine and one national radio show a week – Was it similar for you? “When I was young there were a couple of older kids that knew a fair bit about different bands so I heard all sorts of stuff through them. Along with that there was a magazine called Hot Metal which I think has resurfaced in some online capacity? I also remember being really young and staying up late to listen to a late night metal show on the radio. Where there’s a will there’s a way”.
There is indeed! How long after first falling in love with the music did it take you to get to a live show? Local bands count, especially if you can remember a bit about the show! “I can’t really remember my first local show that I went to, However the first show that I do remember was Pantera in ’94 I think? After that was Slayer and then Cannibal Corpse. I’m pretty happy to have been to see those three bands before I was eighteen”.
Was there anything you listened to back then that you now look back on say ‘what was I thinking?’ “Not really, there’s bands that I’ve sort of grown out of listening to maybe; When I was a child I listened to Hysteria by Def Leppard, nowadays I quite like their first couple of albums but can’t stand Hysteria“.
It’s the other way around for me – I hated Hysteria when it came out but love it now! Would the young junior headbanger version of you be surprised to find out that you ended up in some rather splendid bands of your own? Did you immediately want to make the transition from listener to practitioner or did that take a little while? “Well I started playing guitar not long after hearing Maiden and Metallica. I don’t know how much I thought about playing in bands or making albums back then though, it was a long time ago. But now it’s ingrained in my person, I couldn’t not play shows and make albums”.
Part of the attraction of rock n’roll, particularly in pre-internet days, was the mystique that surrounded bands and their ‘lifestyles’ – Do you think that mystique is gone in 2024? And if so, is that a good thing? “I think it’s good and bad, maybe it’s also a part of my youth, but certain musicians were enigmas or had that real air of “mystique” around them. To a young kid that’s all pretty magical and makes the whole album/concert experience pretty special. Now, though, you can look on Instagram and see what your “heroes” are having for lunch, or see how much of a geo-political scientist they are on twitter. When in reality all that you should give a fuck about is the music they make. Saying that, the flipside is that if the internet is “Used correctly” you can make acquaintance with people you look up to, and other musically like-minded people which is quite incredible”.
Can you name five albums that have stayed with you ever since those formative years? “They ain’t all from the beginning, but these are still important to this day: Guns n’Roses – Appetite for Destruction, Iron Maiden – Powerslave, Pantera – Cowboys from Hell, Cannibal Corpse – Tomb of the Mutilated and Marduk – Panzer Division Marduk“.
A pretty solid quintet! And now here’s your chance to tell us a bit about your upcoming new album with Shotgun Mistress, Kings of the Revolution – what will readers of Sentinel Daily love about it? “Well, they gonna love it because it’s a killer blend of rock and metal, its full of awesome riffs, it sounds crushing and is bound to be album of the year, and if you wanna buy CD or Vinyl direct from us then go to the usual social media sites and help us out!”
Thanks for taking part!
The new Shotgun Mistress album, Kings of the Revolution, releases on June 14th!