Helders performing with Arctic Monkeys in 2012
7 May 1986
(m. 2016; separated 2019)
Matthew Helders (born 7 May 1986) is an English drummer, vocalist and songwriter. He is best known as a founding member of the indie rock band Arctic Monkeys, with whom he has recorded six studio albums.
Helders has said that he ended up playing drums as "that was the only thing left. When we started the band none of us played anything. We just put it together. They all had guitars and I bought a drum kit after a bit." However, Helders has mentioned the influence rap music has had on the band, saying "We were rap fans at school more than now ... it still influences us in some ways; like for me, it's the drummin'. The groove element, like foon-keh music." In addition, Helders cites seeing Queens of the Stone Age as the biggest influence on his development as a drummer, saying "the one thing that changed me the most was seeing Queens of the Stone Age live at a festival ... as soon as they came off I was like - 'Fuck, I need to start hitting harder.'" Helders also explained the band's insistence on singing in their native Sheffield accent, saying, "when you talk between the songs at a gig and you're speakin' English in our normal accent, it seems a bit strange when you burst into song like you're from California or something ... it looks a bit daft."
In a similar fashion to other members of the band, Helders has remained true to his hometown roots, suggesting that seeing places all over the world makes him more appreciative of Sheffield, which still provides the basis for the band's lyrics. "And all around you, there's still plenty of things to write about. Touring lets you see a lot of places that you realise you wouldn't want to live in ... and when you come home, it's pretty easy to slip into your old ways, to all the places you've always gone." Helders also points out that despite the fame of the band, he can still avoid being mobbed in the street - "If we all go out together at night clubbing, it's difficult, but alone you don't get recognised much."
The most comprehensive backing vocalist of the group, his vocals have been featured on many of the band's songs. He often sings in response to or in harmony with lead singer Alex Turner, and sings lead vocals on "D Is for Dangerous", "Brick by Brick", and "I.D.S.T.", as well as on parts of "You Probably Couldn't See for the Lights but You Were Staring Straight at Me", "Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?" and "Teddy Picker". Also, during two shows of the North American leg of the band's Humbug Tour, he sang an interpretation of Wham!'s "Last Christmas" during an encore performance of "Fluorescent Adolescent". Before a live performance of "Brick by Brick", Turner introduced Helders as "That young man over there on the drumkit, Mr. Matthew J. Helders the third everyone! As if he hasn't done enough for you all already, he's gonna sing this next tune."
Helders prefers playing the drums wearing a comfortable pair of 'joggers' instead of jeans "due to movement and sweat." Helders says "You don't want to sweat in your jeans and wear them the next day. Some people will call that rock and roll. I just call it unhygienic."
In 2008, Helders remixed "T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S", the Hives's fourth single from The Black and White Album, and "Skin Divers", Duran Duran's second single from Red Carpet massacre. He played a few TV shows with We Are Scientists in the UK as well as remixing their second single "Chick Lit" as a B-side for the vinyl release. He is featured on Toddla T's album Skanky Skanky. He remixed "Again & Again" for Roots Manuva, which gained airplay from Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1.
In August 2008, it was announced that Helders would compile the latest release in the LateNightTales DJ mix CD series. The set, entitled Late Night Tales: Matt Helders, was released on 27 October 2008 and included a spoken work track performed and written by bandmate Alex Turner.
In 2018, Helders produced for Milburn frontman Joe Carnall on his new project, released under the moniker Good Cop Bad Cop, with an eponymous album being released on the 29th March 2019, and a tour following, although Helders himself wasn't present at any of the gigs.
Helders released his own clothing line, consisting of a jacket, a zip hood and three T-shirts. The garments went on sale in May 2007 with sales accompanied by a CD featuring an Arctic Monkeys remix by Helders and Supremebeing designer Skuff. One pound from each sale was to go to the Arthur Rank Hospice.
Helders dated model Breana McDow from 2011. The couple became engaged in 2013 and married in 2016. In 2015, the couple had a daughter, Amelia Darling Helders. Helders lives in Los Angeles. In early 2019, he filed for divorce.