The Overtones are heading back to Cardiff on Sept 2nd with a show at St David's Hall. The five piece band have been wowing audiences singing do-wop 50's style pop classics for the last decade and their show at St David's promises to be a showstopper featuring songs from their last five albums. We caught up with Timmy Matley to talk about the bands rise to stardom and his proud Welsh roots!
W&W: Hi Timmy, so is it true you were all painters and decorators?
Timmy: Haha.. Yes! We were singers first and foremost, we were working in bars and restaurants, I was working in TGI Fridays in Covent Garden so we set up the painting and decorating business so we could spend time together and rehearse and get some cash together, it just made sense.
W&W: It paid the way..
Timmy: Yeah, it let us pay for studio time and so on, it's expensive living in London. We was really passionate about what we do and it helped us get to our dream job which is singing in the band. It sounds a bit of a fairytale but we worked really hard.
W&W: So lots of open mic back in the day?
Timmy: Yes lots of open mic, it's kind of where you learn your craft. There are so many acts from that time which are doing really well now like Ed Sheeran and Jessie J. I remember them on the scene doing open mic and there's so many fantastic acts out there that don't get signed so we are extremely grateful.
W&W: Tell us about your brush with The X Factor..
Timmy: We actually got quite far on the X Factor a few years back. Just a few months before we got discovered we made the final 50 in X Factor then got dropped just before judges houses. It was devastating at the time but we stuck together and was literally 4 months later when we got overheard singing and got a record contract. We bumped into Louis Walsh backstage at This Morning not long after and he told us he was telling Simon we was the boys that got away! But X Factor was an experience and it taught us a lot and made us appreciate what we wanted to do and write our own songs.
W&W: You have a great fan base.
Timmy: We do, we like to think of our shows as an event and I can't tell you how nice it is to look out into the crowd and see our fans up dancing and having a great time. Sometimes I look out and it reminds me of the dancehall days. We like to create a great fun atmosphere.
W&W: And speaking of the show, your playing St David's Hall this September and have some great Welsh support acts.
Timmy: We do! We have a great singer Jay James who appeared on X Factor supporting us, he's great and incredibly talented and also a fantastic guy from Swansea Carl Morgan so there's a Welsh feel to the show. The Welsh crowd are always so friendly and warm. Really looking forward to playing St David's Hall. Amazing venue too.
W&W: And you have Welsh connections..
Timmy: Yes, I do. I'm from County Cork in Ireland but my dad and my dads side of the family are all from Wales. Whenever I come back to Cardiff I claim it as my hometown gig when I'm in the UK.
W&W: And the band, your all from... Well everywhere really!
Timmy: Yes that's right, you got Lachie he's from Australia, Darren he's from Essex, you got Mike he's from Bristol, Mark is from Manchester and then there's me from County Cork Ireland. People are always surprised when they interview us live, they try to pick up the accents.
W&W: So where did you all meet?
Timmy: We met in London, we was all auditioning for other bands and we was like 'Shall we just form our own'. So we just got on the open mic nights and started singing together and enjoying what we do.
W&W: So when your on tour is it all work an no play?
Timmy: Well this tour there's not back to back shows, so if we don't have a gig the following day we may just venture out and have a few drinks after the show. We don't have a gig after the Cardiff show so I'm looking forward to seeing what Cardiff has to offer.
W&W: You should go do karaoke in one of the bars!!
Timmy: That would be brilliant, we could go and do a few Frankie Valli numbers.
W&W: I'm sure you would go down a storm! So what are the plans for the next year?
Timmy: We got the Christmas tour in December, we will be in Bristol so hoping the Welsh fans can make it there. Then back in the studio next year for a new album.
W&W: And write some of your own songs?
Timmy: Yes, we wrote two on our Christmas album and it was so lovely to be able to sing your own songs and see an audience respond to them really positively.
W&W: So what's been the highlight of your career so far?
Timmy: For me it would have to be playing my hometown, going back to Cork and having all my family and friends there was really special, a moment I'll never forget. I've been away for 17yrs so it was great to go back and see neighbours and friends who I hadn't seen for years and to feel the pride they felt for me was really special. Also playing at the Queens jubilee. Gary Barlow asked us to warm up the crowd just before Robbie Williams and we got invited to go back to the Palace after the show and we got to chat to Prince William. It was so funny cause he was saying how sorry he was that granny couldn't be there, she had to check the dogs they get scared of fireworks and loud bangs.
W&W: Haha.. How mad, did you stop to think when you was at the palace just a few years before you was playing open mic nights in the pubs just up the road?
Timmy: Yes surreal moment. I had sweaty palms and nervous and thinking what am I gonna talk about and then Prince William starts talking about granny and corgis and I'm thinking is this really happening!
W&W: Great story for the grandkids I'm sure!
Timmy: Haha yeah, a great memory.
The Overtones play St David's Hall Sept 2nd with support from Jay James plus others.
They will be back on tour in December with their Christmas Show and nearest show will be Bristol.