Matthew Hutchinson is a busy man. Not only has he lived all over the world but he’s a musician, singer, and an actor. Some of his fans from Australia may be familiar with “Our Mountain” – though they’ve since relocated to New York where they’re breaking into the US music scene. Hutchinson did some acting back in Australia and he’s one of the leads in “Hated.”
If you’ve spent any time here, then you know that I love “Hated”. It’s the kind of music film that I really enjoy watching. There’s a lot of talent in this film and Matthew Hutchinson part of that.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Matthew recently.
IMP: How did you get involved in this project?
HUTCHINSON: My band came to New York. We toured through America in 2009 or 2010. I was introduced to a publicist that had this screen play that she was writing and she asked me to read for one of the characters. And later, I got offered the role; it kind of fell into my lap.
IMP: Were you interested in acting?
HUTCHINSON: Well, I mean, I’ve studied drama in Los Angeles and I’ve worked on films and television back in Australia so I’ve done a bit of acting stuff. This was why it was certainly appealing to jump into this because it was a full length feature which had a decent story, small budget but they had some really talented people working on the project. Yeah, it was a definite “yes” from my end.
Acting is something I’ve always sort of done beside music.
IMP: This film is really gritty and honest. Do you think this is an important view of the music industry? Do you think it’s realistic?
HUTCHINSON: Yeah, certainly. I mean, it almost can be a little too realistic – but that’s complimenting the film for its accuracy. It’s extremely realistic and honest and that’s why it connects because it’s a true tale; the true story of what actually happened. Being in the music industry as well, these are conversations that you deal with every day. It’s something everybody in the music industry can relate to and I mean, certainly, the honesty in it really works.
IMP: Your band is becoming much more well-known. Did parts of the film really resonate for you?
HUTCHINSON: Well, we’d done some big things in Australia and then we moved to New York and re-branded everything, like, we changed the band around and we sort of, degutted it. There are similarities but the US market is very different from the Australian market. The Australian market is very small and fickle. You can get all six labels to your show on a Tuesday night whereas in the American industry it’s constantly evolving. It takes a lot more effort than just a few phone calls.
So, at that time when we’d just moved over here – it’s only really now that we’re beginning to have the same conversations that we had in the film. The band in the film is a band that’s on the cusp of blowing up and we’ve just finished our first record. We’re in that position where now we can finally start.
IMP: Was it easy while you were filming to keep your “musical personality” separate from Peter’s?
HUTCHINSON: Yeah, it was almost a big 360. As an actor I didn’t start off being myself on-screen. I really started off trying to be who Peter was and that was the motivation to start doing that character. And then you find that a lot of things do cross-over and a lot of things are very similar but I certainly didn’t start there. I ended up coming back around full-swing. It turned into sort of being me, you know? At the end of the day it’s certainly a musician playing a musician.
IMP: And as an actor – can you ever keep yourself out of it completely.
HUTCHINSON: It’s a really important thing to keep yourself in it as much as possible and then color the spots you feel like coloring. Certainly, with this particular role, it was about bringing as much of myself to it as possible. Because that’s really what’s real at the end of the day. Peter’s the strength behind the band but he’s also the O.C.D. Control freak. He’s an asshole a lot of the time but that’s in order of getting things done.
IMP: It always seems like to “get somewhere” you need a little bit of both. You need someone who’s grounded, you need creativity, fierce energy and maybe you need a little bit of the asshole sometimes. Is that all part of making it?
HUTCHINSON: I certainly think it comes along with making it. It’s a combination, like you said, that you need to actually connect and have something that does find success. You probably have a better chance of winning the lottery because it’s such a fine chemistry and as soon as one of those elements is off it’s out of balance and it just doesn’t work. Especially with any successful band there’s always those really distant contrasts – that creative guy that’s got that desire and push, and that mysterious energy. He’s gonna have a whole other side to him that still is the same energy, just a different look on it, a different take.
It’s a really contrasting sense of emotion. One end of the spectrum and then the other and that’s where the asshole fits in.
IMP: There are some really strong female characters in this film. Has it been your experience that women get treated differently in the music industry?
HUTCHINSON: I don’t think it’s so much women, just more about the role that they’re involved in; like the publicist. The publicist has got a really tricky job because the publicist generally either works for a major label and is on salary (but then even those publicists still do freelance with developing bands) or volunteers. Those developing bands are bands that don’t generally have money so they help them out on a trust level.
The problem is when the band starts to develop some awareness and moderate success, gets offered opportunities – which are great and the publicist, generally, supports them but then the publicist kind of gets pushed out of the picture because it’s either someone else who’s doing it – used to the project, or a new manager who’s got a publicist or a label that has their own publicity.
I don’t think it’s [being] female as such; I think it’s got more to do with the role. It’s sort of, an old school way of thinking but publicists are generally better being female. It’s their job to be “out” there and I think they’re tremendously great at it. It does have a sort of sex appeal to it, you know? And maybe that’s completely sexist [laughs]. I think females do a better job at publicity, based on that fact, yeah, they’re the ones that are, sort of, the ones that are in the situation. It often comes down to bridges being burned. That’s how it happens.
IMP: I’m guessing there’s still a lot of grass-roots support that’s needed for music. The passion and the spirit on one side, the big machinery on the other side – and when they meet you get something like this film.
HUTCHINSON: It’s one of those things, when they meet there’s gonna be people [who] get hurt by it. It’s so tricky because every band is in a position where they need publicity. At the end of the day in the music industry you can release everything on your own. All a label really is, in my opinion, is a PR company. Once you have a publicist you can, essentially, release your music independently and own your masters. It’s only now that publicists are in a position to capitalize on that. They are the key element to any sort of success.