Name: Brock Mathers.
You were born and bred in Forster and currently live on the Central Coast. What did you love about growing up in the area?
Yeah, that’s right. I was born in Cape Hawke Hospital, Forster, way back in 1976. Memories of growing up in Forster travel with me every day, and I think the best thing about growing up in Forster without doubt was the freedom. My mates and I would jump on our pushbikes, ride all around town, whether it be for a surf at one of the beaches, a hamburger and chips at the Fairways takeaway shop, or heading down to the lake for a fish and a swim. I now get to share parts of these memories with my own children when we come home for holidays. They love it!
You started out as a footballer and have played in both Australia and the States. Tell us a little bit about that.
Rugby League was a big part of life growing up in Forster. I played all my junior league with the Forster Tuncurry Hawks. At 17, I moved down to Penrith and played with the Panthers for a couple of years. Rugby League was definitely my main focus as a career at this stage. Finishing there, I moved to the Gold Coast and played almost 10 years for Runaway Bay with my brother Jon and was lucky enough to win a few premierships.
Towards the end of my League career, brother Ben (or Bundy as he is known in these parts) and I decided to move to the USA and finish our careers with a bit of fun in the States. We played for the Connecticut Wildcats and also appeared in a couple of international games for the USA Tomahawks.
You eventually swapped the footy boots for the open road and worked in some remote communities.It takes a lot of guts to do a big career swap; how did that time after football shape you as you moved towards your music career?
I completed an apprenticeship as a tiler with my brother Tod and always worked in the building game. After returning from the States, I was offered work in outback NSW working in the small communities renovating bathrooms etc. Along with the experiences I gained while playing football and travelling, working in these areas with all different types of people and situations makes you appreciate a lot of different things life can throw, and I realised that something as simple as singing a song for someone around a campfire can really put a smile on a face. I have met some amazing people and gained a lot of friendships out west. The bush and people in it are a big big part of my music and my life.
Your Country Music career began as a young 17-year-old camping on a river at Barrington Tops. What was it about that trip that inspired you?
Brother Ben played League for Gloucester at one stage, and on a few occasions I tagged along on some camping trips with some of his mates. The first trip I went on was something I’ll never forget. I’d always had a love for music, but never realised until that trip how pure and honest Country Music can be. Murray Bowden (from The Bowden Brothers) was on that trip.
All we had was the river, a campfire and a few beers. I remember listening to Muz sing (without a guitar) all night long, and the whole camp would join in at different parts they knew. The passion and feeling behind this guy and his voice inspired me and still does to this day. We are great mates and still have those campfire sing-alongs whenever possible!
Why Country Music?
I love all kinds of music and appreciate the effort and talent that goes into making any song come to life. But Country Music for me is the best way that I, personally, can tell a story about something I have experienced, or a way for me to tell a story that hopefully people can relate to and understand.
I love the sound, I love the stories and I really enjoy all the different characters Country Music shows, both in artists and the real life characters out there in the bush.
You’ve recently released an album called The Year. What was the inspiration for this album?
The Year basically came about as a personal project. It is a collection of songs I have written over the years about different experiences I have been through and also some of my thoughts of what certain things in life may feel like. The inspiration for The Year is without doubt my two children, Bayden and Rani. We have been through a lot together, and I wanted to make something special for them to keep and take with them through life and be able to share with their own families one day.
I really didn’t want to get to an age and say to myself, “Gee, I wish I had of done that when I was younger”. So I hope it will be a gift from me that they can be proud of.
Who is your hero? I wouldn’t say I have one specific hero. A hero to me, or a person I respect, is someone I look up to and admire. I think it could be anyone I see achieve a goal or achieve something that they never thought would be possible … someone who puts all their faith and trust into what they love and care about and makes the most out of whatever challenge they face. Someone who, maybe, has been dealt some rough cards but continues to be positive and live life the best way they can.
What would be your advice to young musicians in the area? From my experience, I would say set goals of what you want to achieve, when and why you want it. I think that is important. Believe in what you do, trust yourself, and it is there for you if you put in the effort and passion needed to help bring your music to life. Enjoy the music; that’s why we do it!
What are your favourite words to live by?
Keep on truckin! Ha ha … Na … I don’t know, really! I guess … be happy, smile and laugh. And if you’re not happy, then find a way to be happy!