A one man whirlwind of violin and voice, looped and live. Matt Howden has honed his craft with over 1,500 gigs in 30 countries, and 11 Sieben albums under his belt - Has to be seen to be believed.
Sieben return to WIF 2014 with a more direct and uptempo loop style, playing material from his new acclaimed Each Divine Spark album.
Matt Howden is an English violinist that uses his own name for his solo neo-classical work, to separate it from his song-based material, which goes under the name of Sieben. Sieben is the one of the many projects of the musical artist Matt Howden. He has worked as producer, songwriter, session musician, and score composer. He currently lives in Sheffield, UK. Whilst Sieben is his most well known creation, he has been a collaborator with The Raindogs (Portugal), Sol Invictus (UK), Tony Wakeford (UK), L’Orchestra Noir (UK), L’Ame Immortelle (AT), Emilie Autumn (USA), Faith & The Muse (USA), Of The Wand And The Moon (DK), Larsen (IT), Chris Eckman (USA), Spiritual Front (IT), Shock Headed Peters (UK), Hekate (DE), Job Karma (PL), The Mystery School (USA) HaWthorn (UK) and many others. He releases neoclassical music under his own name.
Matt’s main instrument is violin and he is entirely self-taught. The story goes that, at 18, he was given a friend’s grandfather’s violin and then alienated friends and family over a two year period, finally unleashing himself upon an unsuspecting public in the streets of Newark, Lincoln and Grantham. He moved to Sheffield in 1986 and was part of the vibrant music scene in Sheffield playing in The Glass Hammers, Pig64, Yonni, and Stiki.
Sieben exists because of the I-Ching. Matt was given a reading by a friend which told him to make music he wanted to, not the music he thought people would like. This led to Matt throwing himself into a fully solo career, which indulged and channelled his fantasy and passion into violin and voice.
The premise and spirit of Sieben is layers – layers of instrument and voice that hypnotically draws you into a world of emotion. Lyrically, the themes shift and change from album to album, but are linked by the same sense of dissonance – the smooth, superficially melodious voice belies the dark, quick, twisted stories. Intelligent, quirky use of metaphor and archaic language is set against a backdrop of texture rich music.
The central place of the violin and Howden’s unusual way of playing it give’s Sieben a distinct sound which makes comparison difficult. Whilst, Sieben is frequently classified as neofolk, goth & experimental the music, and the man, could be as well described as alternative, indie, beautiful, brilliant, melancholy freak folk…the list goes on.