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Interview with Matt Richley

Interview with Matt Richley

By Mathew Reames on April 22, 2015

All About Worship's, Mathew Reames, interviews Matt Richley on his new EP, recording, and writing songs for the church.

MATHEW REAMES: Matt, let me begin by taking a second to say thank you for being willing to talk with us. It is always a delight to get to discuss worship leading and songwriting with someone who is faithful working with the church and writing for the body. I’d love for our readers to get to know you if they don’t already. Take a minute to introduce yourself to the All About Worship community.

MATT RICHLEY: Hey! It’s a pleasure to speak with you. Well yeah I’m Matt, married with 3 kids. I’m a full time traffic cop as well as a worship leader and songwriter. I’m originally from High Wycombe, England but have lived in Wales for as long as I can remember. I’ve been interested in music since I was 5 or 6 years old and became a Christian at the age of 15, which was really where the songwriting journey started.

MATHEW: Now, I heard a pretty amazing anecdote about how you came to own your current guitar. I really loved this testimony. Would you mind sharing that story with us? I think it will really encourage some of our fellow worship leaders.

MATT: Sure, I’d love to! In 2010, my wife and I relocated to Gaithersburg, Maryland where I did an internship in music and worship with Bob Kauflin. It was during this time that we met musicians, Dee and Lynn Jones. They were so hospitable, encouraging and kind to us and on one particular afternoon whilst at their house, Lynn said she wanted me to try her Taylor acoustic guitar.

Being a novice on the guitar, I couldn’t identify what I loved about this particular guitar, I just knew it sounded great! Lynn kept asking me, “Do you like it?” After about the third or fourth time of asking, and me trying to explain what I liked about it, she said, “It’s yours!”

Lynn told me that she believed God wanted to use me with a guitar in my hand but she didn’t think I had a very good guitar! She believed God was calling her to give away her precious and her most expensive possession. To say I was blown away would be an understatement.

Every time I open the guitar case and see the guitar and smell the wood, I’m reminded of Lynn and the grace of God in her life as well as God’s kindness to me through her. I am so grateful!

MATHEW: Ok, now you recently finished work on an EP entitled, Awakening. Would you mind telling us a little bit about the EP? Also, since it is your debut EP, perhaps you could share some about the process of making an EP?

So the EP consists of 6 tracks, which individually reflect aspects of my walk with God over the last year or so.

My heart is to write songs that the gathered church can sing, so my intention was for the tracks to be fresh but congregational and I really hope I’ve achieved that.

The songs themselves are all original works and I’m grateful to have a few co-writes on there with Nick Herbert & Luke Hellebronth (Worship Central).

I think at the start of the project, I had underestimated the level of work that was involved in the making of an EP and I’m really grateful for my producer, Sam Cox, and my publishers, Integrity Music, who have been instrumental in guiding me through the whole process.

The EP really benefitted from having some superb, creative musicians; Jonny Bird (guitars), Tim Cooke (drums), Henry Marsden (bass) & Sam Cox (keys). Whilst I provided the songs, these guys brought them to life under the watchful eyes of Sam and Luke Fellingham (engineer).

I think what was so exciting was seeing the record come together more and more each day as we layered instruments and sounds. By the end of it all, my initial expectations were completely blown out of the water with what was produced.

MATHEW: That is excellent. I have heard the album myself and love the musical diversity of it. I especially enjoyed the tracks “Let Your Fire” and “Your Mercy.” What were some of the major influences that helped you create this EP? This doesn’t just have to be musical, it can be scripture, sermons, books, anything.

MATT: Ultimately, my biggest influence is the living Word of God. Scriptures such as, Ephesians 5:14 and 1:7-9 have really been stand out to me throughout this process.

Because my writing is geared towards the gathered church, I’m influenced by what is going on in the church, whether it be the teaching or what people are experiencing in everyday life. I try to capture in song what I read, hear, learn, see and experience. Regardless, I always want my lyrics to be rich and theologically sound.  

In terms of these songs in particular, each one has it's own story or thought process behind it from my own life. I have had many conversations over the last year which have caused me to consider why I think what I think. It's been difficult at times but certainly worthwhile as I've been returning to God's word and seeking His truth and wisdom.

In addition, something that really motivates me to write is that writing songs for the church helps gives people a voice.  For instance, in those moments of deep sorrow when you can’t remember a fitting scripture or applicable sermon, very often you can remember a song, and a great truth served with a fitting melody can really serve someone in that moment. Songs have a remarkable way of connecting truth and emotion. Writing songs for the church is a privilege and honor and I want to be thoughtful, faithful, diligent and accountable in what I write so to best serve.

MATHEW: I think some of these songs from your EP are great and are worth singing in the local church. Do you have a website where people can go find out more about your music and perhaps find resources to help worship leaders integrate these songs into their congregational worship? 

MATT: Absolutely, my website is mattrichley.com where you can purchase the CD and download charts. You can also get in touch with me directly through the website. The album can also be downloaded online from iTunes, etc. I’m hoping to put some videos up in the near future too, so stay posted for those.

MATHEW: As a worship leader and a songwriter. What advice do you have for the local church worship leaders who will be reading this?

MATT: Follow Christ and be a servant!

In terms of songwriting, I would suggest writing from where you’re at and for your local church first. Seek to serve those who God has placed you alongside.

If and when you decide to record, work hard on your songs especially in the re-writing process. It’s so easy to hide behind good productions, but seriously, don’t settle for mediocre melodies and cliché lyrics, but make every word count. It’ll be worth it! By way of example, I'm always amazed at the song, "In Christ Alone," the simplicity but effectiveness of the melody (of the 4 melodic phrases in each verse, 3 of the phrases are identical!) and then the lyrics are just so well written and crafted. I'd be happy to have just written one of those verses!!

MATHEW: Ok Matt, I want to once again thank you for taking the time to share with us today. Before we go, is there anything else you want to say to our readers?

MATT: Well if you’ve read this far, thanks for your time and please do get in touch if you’d like to. I would love to serve you if I can in anyway. I'd also love you to check out the EP and if you like the songs then please use them and pass them on!

Disclosure: The iTunes widget above is a part of an affiliate program. If you purchase the album through the widget, a small percentage of the sale will benefit All About Worship.

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Mathew Reames

Mathew Reames

Mathew is a missionary and a worship leader serving the global body of Christ through worship training, biblical teaching, and evangelism. He resides in Lawrence, KS and Serves at Eagle Rock Church when not on the mission field.