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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

A Conversation With Graven (Matty McKechnie

Douglas McLean chats with Ontario-based Graven who has released a brand new album, 'Simple Complex' for his latest Sound Cafe Podcast, 'Backstage'.

You can listen to the entire interview and music HERE

Graven (Matty McKechnie) is a Nepean (now part of Ottawa), Ontario, Canada-born indie folk musician and songwriter who used to make bedroom rap cassettes in his teens under the name “Man Of Steel”. With 14 major musical releases in the world since 2000, Graven can get equal-parts heavy and passionate or quiet and sonorous.

He received notable critical acclaim for his album “Years” (2020) which was produced by Jim Bryson (multi-album song-maker, past collaborator with The Tragically Hip, and co-producer of Kathleen Edwards award winning album “Total Freedom” alongside Kacey Musgraves’ producer Ian Fitchuk). Graven’s songs have been called ‘thunderous’ and ‘warm’ in the same breath, and his varied musical influences make for a wild set of sonics and open-hearted lyricism that still stay rooted in his honest signature sound.

His 15th album “Simple Complex” came out February 25th 2022 and was recorded at Fang Studios in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The album was mixed by JUNO and multi ECMA winner Joel Plaskett with sonic assistance from Charles Austin (engineer, songwriter in The Super Friendz). It was important for Graven to record the new album with Charles in Nova Scotia, as he was an inspirational figure in his early music career and recorded Graven’s first full length release in Halifax in 2001.

Graven has shared stages with Steve Poltz, Kathryn Calder (The New Pornographers), Slow Leaves, Megan Nash (2019 JUNO nominee), Al Tuck, and has also shared festival stages with The Dave Matthews Band, Norah Jones, Larkin Poe, The Roots, The Foo Fighters, Beck and many more.

Coming in with a loud fuzzy bang for Graven’s 15th release, it's "Simple Complex". This album constitutes a musical map of Matty’s mind for the past few years and all of the major traumas and changes he’s been through on a roughshod soul-rebuilding journey towards self-love. This record also represents the idea that so many things are seemingly simple but very complex in nature, and the power-packed 8 songs speak to those themes:

Relationships, Self-Love, Music, The Past, Letting Go, Accepting Pain, Stepping Into Who You Are, and Death and Memory. It's sonically wilder than anything Graven has done, and that was largely due to Charles Austin running wild on every track and playing several instruments (bass, lead guitars, slide, omnichord and more). Kevin Corbett also added multiple sonic layers (pedal steel, electric guitar, bass) as did Jeff Gay (piano, synth) and the beat and foundation builder Jordan Murphy (drums, percussion).

The songs are also geared towards Graven’s musical heroes in their composition and style as the album documents a lot of his life. It was mixed by Joel Plaskett (who even added a guitar solo on the song “Exploded”) and recorded in his very own Fang Studios in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia over 6 days.


Simple Complex




Music Magic

You can listen to the entire interview and music HERE



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