On the third of September my big brother Matt, better known to many as Shaggy, passed away after a brave 19 month battle with glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer.
Until the day he died, he was a member of our band Phantom Isle and lived for being creative.
Matt was, is and always will be my biggest hero, my role model and inspiration. He looked after me, made me laugh and guided me through every day, even when he was terminally ill.
I speak for everyone who knew him when I say he was like a warm, cuddly giant who you could always turn to in hard times, a beautiful and gentle human being.
Playing lead guitar and vocals, Matt joined The Narcoleptics in 2003 at the age of 15, who went from haphazardly attempting Queen covers to becoming one of Northampton’s most loved and celebrated indie bands, playing the local circuit as well as touring in the Czech Republic.
Matt and his bandmates played a sold-out farewell show with He Sold Space at The Racehorse.
In 2008, Musclemobile was the first band me and Matt played in together and it was great to finally do this. Matt had a really wacky and playful sense of humour and we even wrote a song about the Cookie Monster.
His hilarious cover of It Wasn’t Me by the rapper Shaggy made him a YouTube sensation with over 2.8 million views.
In 2010 Matt helped me launch my solo act and played bass in my live band.
It was this band that would go on to become Phantom Isle. Matt came up with the name, inspired by his favourite video game Ridge Racer Type 4.
Matt wrote and rehearsed tirelessly with Sam, Josh and I up to our launch in 2017. Matt moved to London and encouraged me and Sam to do the same.
Even when Matt became ill in February 2018, he continued writing, playing and creating with Phantom Isle until the end of his life.
He was a one of a kind and I miss him every day, but his life and his music will be remembered forever.
Thank you for everything Matt. Matt’s funeral service is on Thursday, September 19, at 1.30pm, All Saints Church, George Row, Northampton. Smart and colourful dress code.
- Pete Marchant