Why do you live in London?
I moved to Camden to pursue music when I was 18 – I’d saved up some money buying vinyl collections from strange men on Gumtree and then reselling them online. It was slow and miserable at first living in Camden, but I discovered a lot of music I loved in South London and met people like Alex Burey, which really changed my experience of living here. I started making music with people like Alex and Hugo White and met a lotta good people in and out of music. All thanks to big bad London.

What are your go-to places to eat and drink?
Hmm. It’s very predictable but I love the Wetherspoons in Camberwell called ‘Fox on the Hill’. It’s definitely one of the best drinking holes in London, despite the unsettling propaganda in their newsletters. I don’t eat out a lot but there’s a top-drawer falafel place in Camberwell called Falafel & Shawarma which I’ll go to every so often. I’ll sometimes get a falafel wrap from there and sit in Camberwell Green, reflecting on my hang-ups – as singer songwriters often do.

Summer’s finally about to happen, how much does that affect your time in London?
A lot. I actually want to leave my house and do things. It also allows for a lot park-time reflecting.

What’s a good way to spend a single day here?
Writing a song Scott Walker would be proud of by midday, going to something good at the Barbican then seeing a few bands at The Windmill. That’s the golden day there.

Do you have any favourite outdoor spaces?
Camberwell Green as I mentioned, but also Burgess Park is one of the best. I don’t get there too often but the outside area at Barbican is one of the best seating areas round in my humble opinion.

What’s South London got that North hasn’t?
I’d say space, mainly. There’s a feeling that you’re outside of the city but you still have the feeling of being surrounded and close to so many different kinds of experiences. I’d also say I’m a lot more inspired by the kinds of bands I discover around here. With the big exception of Sorry, who are North London’s gem.

What’s the worst thing about London?
The big empty houses all over the place, and the rising rent that is slowly pushing culture and people who don’t earn seven-figure wages further and further out. I feel as if there will and has to be some kind of serious change if it’s going to survive as the hub of culture that it has been.

Do you have any favourite venues?
Yes, The Windmill in Brixton most definitely. I’ve discovered countless bands that I’d write home about there. And not to get spiritual and corny, but the welcoming feeling it gives off as a place is special. I’ve also played a few shows at Rye Wax in Peckham before which is a great venue – the right amount of intimate.

Does living here influence the music you write?
Yes, without a doubt, it’s where I’ve discovered music that’s changed me and people that have changed me. I wouldn’t have written a lot of the songs on my record without this place – I’d be a lot worse off without this big bad city.

Matt Maltese – Bad Contestant
June 8, 2018 – Atlantic Records
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