I used to live in Highgate, so after thinking about this a lot, London has to be the city I love the most, with New York a close second. Between Highgate and Hampstead – with the greenery and that East Village feel – along with its close proximity to Camden and Holland Park, there is no more inspiring a place. Even the cemeteries are extraordinary, and genuinely places you could relax in. I mean, Karl Marx is buried up there in the Highgate cemetery.
It feeds into my music. My song ‘Butterflies’ off the new album is about this setting, because it’s close to my heart. Basically, the lyrics are about a girl whom I was once in a relationship with, and the time we went walking around those beautiful green areas, where there are so many butterflies. On that specific day, we went from Hampstead Lane to Waterloo Park, so we could see and hear the bells at St. Pauls’. You can do that on a good day.
Those are the simple things I am fond of, because they help you build a real connection with a city. It can be felt anywhere, in any city, and often it stands out because of how you were feeling at that particular time. It just so happens for me that a place such as Highgate was the perfect place to be at that moment, which makes me so fond of it. That’s life though, innit? River Matthews plays the Ruby Sessions, Dublin (November 14); Fred Zeppelins, Cork (15); Roisin Dubh, Galway (16); and Whelan’s, Dublin (17).