■ One half of Bros, 51, on how he’s been saving lives in lockdown, that documentary and why he’s now ready to come home
How have you handled lockdown in Las Vegas?
I’ve been extraordinarily busy. I’ve been raising funds for NHS carers with my single If I Ain’t Got You and contributing as much as I can. You can only do so much from this far away but I spoke to a lot of the nurses and doctors over Instagram live as well. I just made a decision that rather than going inward, which I’d normally do — when I’m not working I’m quite reclusive — I wanted to focus my energy outward so I could help.
You did Instagram live every night for weeks!
Yes, I’m just doing Sunday night lives now. But I called over 300 people in total for them and recorded over 150 hours. One night we had 22,000 people online. A lot of people messaged me saying they felt lonely or afraid and I thought, I’ve been in front of the British public two-thirds of my life, and sometimes a familiar face can provide comfort. It was a really transformative experience and either hilarious or heartbreaking. I helped one woman who was suicidal.
It’s been quite transformative since your documentary Bros: After The Screaming Stops…
Maybe it was more transformative for you in the UK because you didn’t know me as a human being before, you didn’t know my mind. Sure, there are soundbites in there, but there is also dialogue either side — we’re much more cerebral than that. I think it did humanise us, which was a relief because people got to see we’re not just these little 5ft 3in dolls from Bros, we’re 6ft 2in men who’ve navigated every single environment you could be put in. It’s allowed me to connect with the British public too, and I want to come home with all my heart and soul now.
Were you shocked by the response it got? It won a Bafta!
The response has been incredible. We had the industry screening in Hollywood. At the end there was absolute silence, and Luke and I looked at each other and said, ‘Wow, that was powerful,’ and then there was an eruption of applause and a standing ovation. It was very emotional. We’d also just watched some very painful moments for the first time, like seeing my mother on the big screen and some of the stuff between my brother and I. The last time I was in the UK in December I was getting some bangers and mash, and this Londoner came up and shed a few tears and said, ‘I know exactly how you feel, I lost my dad.’ And he grabbed my face, gave me a kiss on the cheek and walked off. People have a real ease with me and that movie has definitely amplified that.
Are you better brothers now?
We are a nightmare in some ways because we fight but we’re each other’s number one ally. I know without question that I need him and I think he’d say the same. That movie is the tip of the iceberg of what we’ve experienced but we’re survivors and we’ve prevailed.
There have been periods when you’ve been separated for a long time…
We didn’t speak to each other for three years once — that was hard. And after mum died we didn’t speak for two years. We took it out on each other. But when you watch the film it’s a very real emotion and we didn’t know how much pain either of us was in. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I pride myself on being strong but I also believe grief is very important to acknowledge. It can change the shape of you — we need to speak about it more. I might have a great day but then something will happen and I’ll burst into tears. There’s no shame in that.
Do you have lots of celeb pals?
Jason Statham is one of my dear friends and one of the good guys — he’s been to see my Vegas show four times with his dad, who loves a good old sing song. And people like Keith Lemon. He’s funny and always entertaining people but has a very good heart. The most humble person I think I’ve ever met is Ronnie Wood. I don’t know him well but whenever I’ve met him he’s been so kind. I really respect him all round.
What’s next? You’d like your own chat show, wouldn’t you?
I’d like to be on TV, and Keith Lemon and I are putting some ideas for a show together. I’d also like to have my own radio show and I’m working on a musical of the iconic Upstairs Downstairs with the producer Cody Lassen. I’ve been working on it for two-and-a-half years and written 44 songs and worked on the story with my writing partner, Stephen Endelmen. I’m working on my new solo record and Bros were meant to be doing more this year but we’re hopefully doing some pretty remarkable things next year with another documentary around it.
It seems like you might be back in the UK before you know it!
I want to come home. Luke wants to go to the Caribbean, while I’m a city person. I want to get my suit and brogues on and he wants to put his feet in the sand. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be spending a lot of time out there with him!
■ Matt’s single, If I Aint Got You, is now on the usual music streaming platforms