Matthew Somers, musician, I Heart Hiroshima

I love that I can walk from my house to one of the best galleries in the world. I have seen so many great things at GOMA...

I Heart Hiroshima has been one of Brisbane’s most beloved bands since first linking up in 2005. After a string of well-received albums and EPs – as well as a few big tours and festival slots – the trio parted ways to pursue other projects. In mid-2016, word spread like wildfire that the local heroes and reunited and were already working on new music. In December of last year that hard work paid dividends with Spillin’ the Light – I heart hiroshima’s newest release since album The Rip in 2009. It hasn’t taken long for the band to get back into the swing of things, with appearances at BIGSOUND 2016 as well as an EP tour in the works for January 2017, I Heart Hiroshima is reminding us all what it was that charmed our ears originally. I Heart Hiroshima will be performing as part of the GOMA Turns 10 Summer Festival musical line-up alongside Brisbane icons Regurgitator, The Grates and Jeremy Neale. We caught up with guitarist Matthew Somers to talk about the band’s new music, what he loves about GOMA and what we can expect from the band this year.

We were thrilled to hear that I Heart Hiroshima was putting together new music last year after each member spent some time doing their own things. What sort of shenanigans have you been up to in the years since we heard from you all last?
We all took different directions when we went on hiatus. Sullivan went to Berlin to do many great solo and collaborative things, Cam started another band Martyr Privates and I did some solo stuff and just generally relaxed a lot! We all ended up back together somehow.

We’ve been digging your new EP – Spillin’ the Light – since it dropped in early December. How long had you been working on these tracks before you decided they were good enough for your comeback?
Thanks! There were a couple of songs that basically sparked it. I’d been writing much too feverishly and realised that I was writing for I heart hiroshima. That plus Sullivan’s triumphant return just all came together. 

What sort of subject material did you draw upon when penning these new tunes?
Much more real subject material than we have in the past. Still quite ridiculous though! Indifference, technology and relationships. 

How would you say the band has evolved sonically between this EP and The Rip in 2009?
There’s been a huge change to the way we approach playing, mostly due to the other projects we’ve all worked on. We take a lot more care about our sound these days!

You’ve all worked on different projects during I Heart Hiroshima’s hiatus – did working in new spaces and in different genres affect how you operated once the band got back together?
Absolutely! I did kind of accidentally answer this already but I feel like the fact that we all did wildly different things both helped us to get some stuff out of our systems and also to grow as musicians.

You are set to perform on the stacked line-up for the GOMA Turns 10 Summer Festival. What do you love the most about GOMA and what it does for the local creative community?
I love that I can walk from my house to one of the best galleries in the world. I have seen so many great things at GOMA.

I Heart Hiroshima has been active in the music scene since 2005 – in the past decade how would you say Brisbane’s creative scene as changed?
One of the biggest factors in Brisbane’s music scene has been the various laws. The best part though is that there are so many great young bands doing great things these days. The venues are always changing as well which keeps things interesting, for better or worse.

Have you got any more new music in the works that we might hear during your set at GOMA?
Yes! We have to try not to play all the new not-quite-finished songs but we are too damn excited about them.

Have you got any resolutions you are keen to act upon this year?
Write more! Play more! Record more! Release more!

I Heart Hiroshima will be playing at the GOMA Turns 10 Summer Festival on Saturday January 21 alongside the likes of Jeremy Neale, The Grates and Cub Sport. The show is free and open to all ages. Check out the rest of the Summer Festival happenings here.


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