MATT GRESHAM borrows from an iconic image of the 60s anti-Vietnam war protests to push the message of peace in the video accompanying his latest song Survive on Love.
In Bernie Boston’s 1967 Pulitzer-nominated photo Flower Power, a turtle-necked bloke slots carnations into the barrel of solders of the 503rd Military Police Battalion in front of the Pentagon.
In Gresham’s video the young man has become a chic peace-loving chick, whose flower turns a bunch of threatening, jackbooted riot police into happy chappies.
Released weeks before Donald Trump became US president and sparked protests over his anti-Muslim immigration bans, the 28-year-old musician’s style is soft blues and roots with a hard edged message, including references to the election.
With the rise of the right wing sweeping the world it’s an “anthemic and universal” message, says Gresham.
“Material wants are clouding the vision of our core needs,” Gresham says.
“It’s a time where the power of love is often at odds with the love of power.”
At home, the Rockingham-raised Gresham wowed audiences at the likes of the West Coast Blues and Roots and Nannup Music Festival, and was a favourite on The X Factor before going AWOL because he was losing control of the music he wanted to perform.
Performing in the US at South By South West festival of film, interactive media, and music, he came to the attention of a German recording company and relocated to Berlin when he was offered a recording contract.
“I have been doing a new album and it’s gone really well,” he says, back in Australia for a national tour.
Living in Europe highlighted Australia’s vocal, binge drinking culture, Gresham says.
“In European pubs people stop and listen [to the music].”
The X Factor was a steep learning curve for the then 21 year old, who received raves from judges.
“It taught me a lot about work ethic. In Sydney they work hard.
“Here in WA you can get lazy and do regular gigs and chill.”
After seven months in Germany he’s back home to unleash new material in a stripped back acoustic performance at Mojos.
“[One] of the best venues in Australia.”
You can catch Matt Gresham Sunday February 12. Tix at mojosbar.com.au
by JENNY D’ANGER