Matt Rider; The Holiday Plan: Thursday 24th June 2004

“Hello”. “Hi Matt, it’s Rm13 here”. “Oh wicked dude!”. And so begins what will turn out to be an eventful conversation, to say the least, between Rm13 and The Holiday Plan’s Matt Rider. They’ve all been in the studio. And has it been a hard day’s work? No. Well, not for two of them. Matt and Blue are upstairs “just kickin’ back drinking some orange juice and listening to One Line Drawing. Keeping it real!”. “Ohhhhhh” laughs Matt- Blue’s playing “Need For Speed Underground”, and apparently he’s doing quite well. Matt recorded his bass part at the start of the week, and since then he’s just been taking it easy. But he “really likes recording anyway, and being in the studio fuckin’ around with sound. And it’s always easy being in the studio anyway ‘cause you just sit down for hours and I listen to music so…”.

Rm13: “What kind of music do you listen to when you’re not playing?”.
“We listen to a lot of like US Indie- Rock, and very chilled music. Gary can dig a lot of Metal as well, but it’s pretty varied. What do you listen to Blue when you’re at home?”. (Blue’s voice is just audible in the background. “These days, Bon Jovi and Michael Jackson”. ) We kinda like to mix it up. I think people are often surprised by the music we listen to because it doesn’t really sound like our band, but you can always find aspects of the kind of music we listen to, in our music. We rock hard! (laughs)”. One of the songs they are recording is very chilled, but “then it goes at it mental at the end. We can’t help just going a bit mental!”.

Speaking of “going a bit mental”, The Holiday Plan are playing The Concrete Jungle Stage at Reading this summer, and they’ve just done Download, as well as finishing their own tour. “With us we’re quite confident with our ability as a band, and I don’t really worry about fuckin’ up so much these days: we’ve been in a band together for quite along time now, we know each other and trust each other. And it’s just more exciting really; like when we played Download I wasn’t really worried at all before we went on stage, I was thinking “yeah let’s go do it!”. When you’re up there you see so many kids just getting in to you and it’s just a great feeling. The other day we did an XFm session and that really scared me because that was live radio, at a gig you can always… (Rm13: “Improvise?”)…. yeah, if you fuck up you say “hey man it’s live music”, but on the radio it’s very clear as well. Do you worry about stuff like big shows these days Blue?”. Blue interjects- “No. Not even Download”. (Blue was ill during Download, his “throat was all fucked”). So huge crowds are not a problem for these guys, even if they’re as sick as dogs, they “get on with it and rock it as hard as we can!”.

The fact that they are passionate about performing makes it a whole lot easier and a lot more fun for them too. Matt loved Download, “really brilliant fun!” he says enthusiastically; “and it was mind blowing going to New Jersey as a band to record”, (his first time in the US); “and just getting to travel about with the bands; and SXSW. Everything we’ve been doing has just been so much fun. It’s hard to pinpoint it! It’s just been the whole 6 months. You have to be professional and get the job done, but when you look back on it you just think “Fuckin’ Hell! That was amazing!” ”.

Rm13: “If you had to pick one band… your dream band to play with, who would it be?”.
“Ohhh... that’s a good one!...there’s a band called Wheat...”. This is where our troubles being. The phone starts to crackle and Matt’s voice flickers on and off. Then the line goes dead. Rm13: “Fuck”. A few minutes later, Matt’s back on line. “Yeah. I’d really love to play with Wheat”. He then turns to ask the others; Gary’s band would be The Get Up Kids. Blue wants to play Mardi Gras. “Who the fuck is Mardi Gras Blue?!”. Blue: “It’s a gay festival man”. (They all break out into fits of laughter). “Blue would love to play a Mardi Gras. I don’t think Mardi Gras really is a gay festival though’s just a lot of gayness goes on there”. That is debatable.

The Holiday Plan have been together for about 4 years, but its goes way back to when Matt and Blue were as thick as thieves, and were in a band, and wrote songs together. They met at a “weekend music work shop” and got together through a mutual “love of vocal harmonies and DJing”. Blue then went on to meet Daniel and Gary, (who were doing a BTEC in Popular Music) at the City and Islington College. Matt would go along to the recitals, and (as one of the guys points out) got told off by their teacher. “They were playing a song, and at the end their teacher was like “It’s not a Punkarena! (He breaks off… “I just thought it was fucking hilarious! What the fuck is a Punkarena?!”) Matthew, if you can’t control yourself then you can wait outside!”. And I was like, “I’m really sorry Miss”. They were good days man!”. But when they were younger, they didn’t have the time, (they could only afford to rehearse once a week), not the dough to form a serious band. And they spent years playing one or two gigs, practising and writing. Matt reckons this was in a way, a good thing, because they had time to develop as a band.

But for Matt, he knew he wanted to be in a band way before then. “I got a keyboard when I was six, for Christmas, and I fucking loved that! (You can here the rest of the band laughing in the back ground) I took it to my Grandad’s and put a demo of “Jingle Bells” on, and claimed I was playing it. But I don’t think he fell for it!”(More laughter). He got into guitar at the age of ten, when his mother bought him his first one from a jumble sale, and although he wasn’t really into music at the time, he took lessons at school; but could only play “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” because there were only a few strings on the guitar.

Rm13: “What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?”.
“I’d probably be a Lunch Time Assistant at a primary school. (Rm13 is stunned…there’s never been anyone else who’s said that!)That’s the other job I’d like to do, ‘cause I think I’d be really good at it…I’d like to sort out fights, and sort out kids and their problems. You know. I think it’s coming late with me… I’m very good with children, (laughs). And I think it’d be a piece of piss as well! You only have to work 3 hours a day! Other than packin’ up after lunch. If it all goes tits up and I have to get a job again, then... Lunch Time Assistant it is then!” Well. At least it’s reassuring that our children and our future rests in the hands of people like Matt…hmmm…..

Rm13: “We heard that you like getting free stuff…”
“I love getting free stuff! One of the really…” Then the phone begins to go again. (Rm13 trashes the equipment. Contact is regained, and Matt’s still talking). “…Levi’s gave us some clothes and a top each; that was cracking! Basically anytime we go to any place, we go and see if they’ve got any stuff. And I think if you don’t ask, you don’t get. So I always ask!”. But the best free thing the ever got was getting to go Leeds festival as part of a road crew. They arrived late after their notorious Kerrang! Awards escapade. (At this point mad fumbling can be heard as Matt takes over Gary’s “Pro- Evolution” soccer game). And the conversation stops. The line has gone dead, and Rm13 are just about ready to shoot the phone manufacturers. “Matt! If you can still hear us, we’ll call you back!”

A few frantic calls later… “HELLO?!” “Hello”; and Rm13 is being told about all the various toys that are currently having a fight on one of Matt’s shelves. And it’s not a bad selection- it ranges from the “Power Rangers” to “Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles”, all facing each other in one huge showdown. And the Line is dying…dying…and it’s back again! IT’S ACTUALLY BACK! Matt has been jabbering away in the mean time. “…its not just any old nonsense, it’s gotta be the right stuff”.

Matt’s decided that if he were a superhero he would be “Mystery Man”, and would wear a mask with a question mark on it. He would have the power of mind bullets, flight and the ability to read peoples minds. Rm13 could do with some bullets now. The line has gone dead again.

“Mwahhhahahaha!”. A crazed being laughs evilly and a robotic voices springs into action. “At the tone please record your message. When you are finished please hang up”. This time it takes a while to get back to Matt. But it is finally managed through a lot of luck, swearing and violence......a lot of violence.

He spends the next few minutes devising his superhero symbol. “A question mark, in a circle with a lighting bolt going through the middle. That projects a bit of power! The question mark signifies confusion leading to fear. The circle is like a target… “You’re next!”, and the light bolt means it’s all over; it’ll only strike once”. Lightning only strikes once, and its unlucky when it does… much like a certain phone call.

It’s struck.

Beep. Beep. “Oh I think I’m running out of battery!”. And so ends a half tale of Superpowers, free gear, Mardi Gras and Punkarenas.