Fareham disco-funk duo Ivy Eye's headline debut is a sell-out but you can catch them at Victorious Festival

A quick glance at Ivy Eye’s logo, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that they were a death-metal band.

Saturday, 6th August 2022, 10:42 am

And that’s just the way the disco-funk duo of Matty Benham and Rory Sheppard like it.

Way back in the mists of time, the pair met at Fareham College ‘when we were both very much into heavy metal,’ says Matty.

But a teacher introduced them to George Benson’s landmark soul/jazz album Breezin’, and the two of them bonded over as Matty puts it, a ‘mutual love’ for the long-player.

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    And that logo? ‘We love disco music, but it is a nod back to our roots. We love the idea of juxtaposition. We love the idea of people seeing our logo and not expecting us to sound like that, but also the idea of hearing us on the radio and then not expecting us to have that visual side to it. With disco, it's very easy to fall into cliche and we don't want to do that.’

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    The two had lost touch, but during lockdown Rory dropped Matty a call. They quickly rekindled the friendship and decided to start making music together.

    Initially, thanks to the pandemic, most of the work was done online, but the drive to create something and start a band came very quickly.

    Ivy Eye, Fareham-based disco duo Matty Benham and Rory Sheppard

    ‘We record everything at home – we could write and record straight away,’ says Matty. ‘Obviously over time we found our sound a bit more, but it was pretty much straight away that we were writing songs.

    ‘Now we can get together more, I have a home studio – I use the term “studio” very loosely – so Rory comes over and about once a week we can get in the same room together.

    ‘We spent so long writing songs over lockdown that we've got a back catalogue of 50-plus songs – songs we're very proud of. There's not many in there that we'd call throwaway.’

    As to what comes next, in terms of releases, Matty says: ‘Whether we go with an album or an EP, we're not sure, but there's definitely going to be a lot more music coming from us.’

    They’ve released four singles so far, the latest being On My Mind – check out the old-school videogame-inspired video for it.

    ‘It was such a random vibe,’ says Matty of the video, ‘but we're both geeks at heart and we've grown up on videogames, and always wanted to be in one basically, and I think this is as close as we're going to get!

    ‘I would love to tell you there's some kind of reference in the song, but there wasn't – we just wanted to be in a videogame and that was pretty much it.

    ‘We found a guy on [online freelance marketplace] Fiverr - he's from Mexico – Alberto Lopez, a really nice guy and he smashed it out of the park.

    ‘We didn't know what to expect, and what you see is pretty much the first draft, and we thought it was great.’

    But with the focus now on their live show, they play their headline debut gig at The Edge of The Wedge in Southsea on August 6, which was already has sold out.

    ‘We've played two gigs so far – at The Loft for a neu waves night. That was our first show, and the response was unbelievable, we weren’t expecting anything like that. The place was packed and I think our sound does suit the live vibe. Although it's only the two of us we've got a full band live with sax and keys and it lends itself to the live environment.

    ‘Then we played a show in Heartbreakers in Southampton – again the place sort of erupted which was really nice.

    ‘Off the basis of two shows we're getting the vibe that our live shows can go off a bit!’ he laughs.

    Check wedgewood-rooms.co.uk for returns for tonight’s gig.

    They will also be playing in The People’s Lounge at Victorious Festival on the Saturday.