Sade’s new concert DVD Bring Me Home Live 2011 shows a side of the British soul singer we’ve rarely seen, promises guitarist Stuart Matthewman, founding member of the group. Matthewman spoke with ESSENCE.com on the band’s $31 million-dollar grossing 2011 tour, being welcomed back by supportive fans after a 10-year hiatus, and shared four things we didn’t know about one of our favorite “it Brit,” Sade.
ESSENCE.com: Sade, the group, is notoriously private. Will we see anything in this DVD that will give us a glimpse of your dynamics?
STUART MATTHEWMAN: Absolutely. There’s a whole little documentary of Sade’s life under the stage during a concert, which people have never seen before. You definitely get a view of Sade that you’ve never seen before. There’s one of the band underneath the stage doing all the quick changes. From the front it looks very sleek and very expensive theatrical – just very big and grand. And under the stage it’s more like a school play. Everyone’s running around and bumping into each and trying to get changed.
ESSENCE.com: When you look back on the tour, how would you describe the experience?
MATTHEWMAN: Well, we hadn’t played in like ten years. We did the concert with no idea of what to expect from the audience. We did the whole show on a very flat stage—there’s no equipment on the stage at the beginning of the show and Sade kind of comes up to what we call “the magic staircase” to the middle of the stage. And the audience just went insane. That carried on throughout the whole world whenever she came out. It filled my eyes up sometimes to hear the roars and feel the love coming from the audience. It was amazing.
ESSENCE.com: What was it like reuniting after not playing together for so long?
MATTHEWMAN: If we were together all the time, we probably wouldn’t have lasted as long as we did. We’re all really good friends. We all have very similar sense of humor where no one takes themselves too seriously. When we play in rehearsal or something, there’s no musical director, it’s whoever is paying attention most of the time that takes charge. Sade has no “yes” people around her. Everyone is very honest with each other. If something doesn’t look right or sound right, we say it immediately. Whether it’s a pair of sneakers you’re wearing or a performance, we’ll kind of tease each other relentlessly. We fell right back into this as soon as we get back together. We’re in contact though… we’re in the modern age.
ESSENCE.com: Does that mean you guys are friends on Facebook? Do you tweet each other?
MATTHEWMAN: [Laughs] We don’t Facebook together. I’m on Facebook, but I don’t do band stuff. We’re always talking on the phone because there’s always something going on. You can very well tweet Sade, but you’re not going to get replies for about a week. Sade works on Nigerian time, so you’ll call her up and she’ll call you back like a week later.
ESSENCE.com: Can you tell us a few things we don’t know about Sade the group, Sade the person…
MATTHEWMAN: [Laughs] The first thing is timing for Sade. When we hadn’t done a tour in ten years, or maybe we finished a tour a couple years later, and she won’t realize that it was like a year ago. She’ll think it was like a month ago. Also, she loves gardening. When she gets into her garden, it’s like time stops. You can be with her, and she’ll say, “I’m just going to stop in the garden. I’m going to be ten minutes,” and she’ll be gone for hours and hours and come back and not realize that she’s been gone for hours. Number three: Sade loves horses. I think people would have gotten that from a couple of her videos like “Solider of Love” and “Never As Good As the First Time.” She absolutely loves horses. [Laughs] I think one of the reasons we got to play in South America on this tour was because Sade just really wanted to ride horses.
Lastly, the band has very similar taste in music. We love reggae music. We love very simple R&B music like Al Green or Curtis Mayfield. We love music that’s not about showing off. It’s just about sounding good together as a band. When you listen to reggae music, you’re not particularly thinking about how amazing the guitar player is, it’s just cool. Sade also loves hip hop, absolutely loves it. We’ll be out in the studio and she’ll be like, “Oh I want to hear this track.” We have big speakers and she’ll play a song really loud. She likes that. Paul [Spencer Denman, the bass player] likes punk music. It all comes out in the music somehow.
ESSENCE.com: Is there talk of another album yet?
MATTHEWMAN: Yes, there was talk. As soon as we finished the last album, we were like, “Yeah.” We can’t leave that for another ten years or we’re not going to be able to get up the stairs to get on the stage. We just really enjoyed this tour. We’ve had fun on tours before, but this time, it was such camaraderie between the band, Sade and all the crew. We all just had so much fun together.
Sade’s new concert DVD Bring Me Home Live is available on iTunes.