Cornell & Carr’s COVID creativity

By Bec Gracie

Cornell & Carr have not let a global pandemic dampen their creativity and there’s new music on the way, following on from their debut album, We Go Way Back.

Before COVID-19 shut down the touring scene, the Golden Guitar finalists were slated to tour with Adam Brand, and had taken on management with Ian “Dicko” Dickson with major plans for the year, but Matt Cornell’s music plans were put on hold when Adam Brand had to take most of the year off for vocal surgery and rest.

“At that point, it was ‘what are we going to do now?’ because Cornell & Carr had the whole year put aside and then the whole world found out about this thing called Corona Virus,” he said.

“No one knew how serious it was going to be and I’d already lost other gigs with my Sydney 80s cruise and various other shows right there and then – they were gone.”

Matt, like other artists, spent time comprehending what this situation meant for his income and career plans in 2020.

“Being an independent artist, I’m always brainstorming with myself about where I could play and booking gigs and when it first hit, I didn’t know how to compute things until I was talking to Natalie Gauci and she said something that resonated with me. She said, ‘you’ve just got to surrender to this and you’ll be okay’ and it was like the weight of the world had been lifted.

“I had to stop living the way I lived, looking for work, promoting, thinking of ideas on how to promote shows and I just accepted it, then I was able to approach it with a completely different mindset.”

Photo: Tania Smith

Duo partner, Mike Carr, reiterated this, as he had Cornell & Carr touring plans, as well as a tour with Adam Harvey locked in and was compering all of CMC Rocks this year, but surrendered to the situation and his ARIA Award winning alter ego Buddy Goode embraced comedy to deal with it to help himself and keep his social media followers smiling in those initial dark days.

“I did my last gig on March 14 and it’s been a long time since I had this much time off, so it was a case of what do you do?” he said.

“For the first couple of weeks I was creating Wuhan Wuhan The Musical.”

Check out Buddy Goode on Facebook if you haven’t yet caught this musical masterpiece.

Mike said he just had to adapt and spent a lot of time in his studio creating music.

“For the first month, I was creating things to make people laugh,” he said.

“I had to do it, because you have to be able to take the piss out of a serious situation. I thought, ‘how far can I go with this?’

“I did the Rockdown one, then I got away from Wuhan Wuhan the Musical, then I found this old Elvis song, and Bossanova sounds like Corona and it’s up to something like 200,000 views. That was fun to put together because I had to write the song and match the music up, then there was the Westside Story one.

“I then started to get annoyed with the situation, so I wrote that Michael Buble song, which was reflective of how I felt that day. But, the main thing with Buddy Goode is just trying to make people laugh – he has always been my outlet – and he says a lot of things that I wouldn’t say.”

Matt also knew there were so many people from so many industries hurting, so chose not to push his music, and, instead, connect with his audience through his cooking and brighten their lives with new kitchen creations.

“For the first time, I really wanted to share, on social media, my love of food and posted a lot of instructional videos. I wanted to show people how to make certain dishes, and I got such a good reaction from it.”

The passionate home cook got involved in hospitality in the UK in the late 1990s, and he threw himself into helping himself and others through his creations in the kitchen.

Supporters sent Matt messages about the differences his cooking videos were making to their home meals and lives, in general, which led him to do his first live cookalong on Facebook.

“People were really engaged in watching me cook a particular dish and then I encouraged people to send me photos after, so I had a lot of people cook a long with me,” he said.

“I had people who had never cooked a proper meal before messaging me, and I felt like I was putting something out there other than music.

“For me, when I’m home on my own, I love to cook and cooking actually keeps me company and by sharing that on social media, it was entertaining for me, and I was hoping people were finding it entertaining as well.”

Presenting and photographing his culinary delights was another way Matt was able to channel his creativity into something other than music and, also related to his cooking, he spent time revitalizing his herb garden.

Supporters will soon be able to enjoy more musical mastery from Cornell & Carr, though, as they have been in the studio in Brisbane and will release their next single before the end of the year, and Matt is planning his birthday cruise on the Brisbane River for November 21, with hopes it will be able to go ahead.

Mike said the lockdown had changed their songwriting direction.

“In hindsight, I started writing songs I probably wouldn’t have written if I hadn’t been forced to take that break, and the new Cornell and Carr songs are a path we wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t for COVID 19,” he said.

“We had time to reflect on where we were going in life, how old we were, and where we were going with our careers.

“As Cornell & Carr, we decided we were going to write some great songs, record them and try to get them out to the world and we can still do that without the pressure of having to go on tour.”

This will be the duo’s first release under producer Stuart Stuart and with manager, Dicko.

“The most important thing is it’s about getting your music out to the world and we will always be able to do that because of the new technology and these platforms to get our music out there,” Mike said.

Expect new music, taking the duo in a new direction, in the coming months.

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