Diamond Age

Diamond Age - March 2013

Diamond Age Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: February 23, 2012
Posting Date: March 4, 2013
Artist Hometown: Dallas, TX
Links: Facebook, Blog
Recorded by: Michael Briggs

Science Clash
The Killing
The Young
ONE: You’re releasing your tape Broken World on March 10th. The tape comprises two EP’s, right?
Matthew: Well, think of it this way. It’s too long. It’s 60 minutes— basically, it was the constraints of the cassette. Like, ‘How long…’— We wanted to put out a cassette, OK? Well, I guess vinyl kind of lends itself to, you know, 45 minutes, if you want it to sound good. 60 minutes…I’m not sure what the different amounts were, but 60 minutes was one of them, and I was like…I’ve got enough to fill it, and I think it sort of…I call it a ‘double-EP’ because it’s sort of book ended on each side, so it’s like— And I know that most people aren’t going to listen to it that way anyway, so it’s like, we’re really in that sort of short-attention-span…No one’s ever going to, at least in my mind, no one’s going to listen to it all the way through. Like, you know, these people that demand like, ‘Buhhhh, I made a “Grand Statement” album! You have to sit through it and fucking, get stoned! Feel it and shit!! Experience!’ I understand that people are probably going to maybe listen to the whole thing a couple of times, maybe find, ‘Oh, I put this one song on my playlist on my phone,’ or something, you know? But the tape is a cool format to tell people that it’s this. It’s not like each side has a name or something, but if you just tell people that it is, like, ‘Yeah, it’s a fucking double-EP,’ then they’re like, ‘Oh. Wow, really?’ Instead of being like, ‘It’s an over-long, 60 minute album.’
DJ: Why do you think it is that people have such a short attention span for music today?
Matthew: Because you can get anything. People just have so much music now, it’s retarded. I mean, I do. I have terabytes of music, shit I’ll never hear, you know? So, you just throw that in the pile. Then, people just pick and choose, or maybe hit random, maybe throw ‘Oh, my new records I got on download from wherever, or my friend’s hard drive,’ and then you just hear it on random. That’s just the way.
DJ: So, just overexposure to technology?
Matthew: I think so.
DJ: People used to listen to long albums before these technologies were available.
Matthew: Yeah. And the weed wasn’t even as good. [Laughs] Damn. I think there are bands that sort of demand that, and it works, and people know. But that’s sort of the thing, and I don’t mean it to sound like you have to tell people what to think, but I mean, there is sort of a thing, like, ‘This is like this kind of thing, so I’m supposed to do this for it,’ you know? So, I’m kind of…I think generally, though, there’s just so much shit flying at you all day long, you know? You get on…people have all that Spotify, all that shit. I don’t really understand that, but we have a hundred million songs, and people probably just hit ‘Random’ or ‘If you like this…’ and just keep playing some shit. I don’t know. Plus, who knows. Maybe not everybody cares about music like I do. [Laughs]
DJ: You can imagine people sitting in their offices tuning out music all day long, ‘listening’ to thousands of songs, and then having no idea which song is which.
Matthew: Yeah. I mean, I guess the radio sort of was that way, but, it’s weird, we’re…in all facets of media, you have your Netflix thing that has like 300 movies, and you’re just sitting there scrolling, like, ‘Oh man, there’s nothing!’ It’s weird, because there’ll be things where you could never find this one…like, there’s all of these Italian movies on there right now. Some old like, Mario Bava movies that are like…that you could get, but they weren’t easily acquired, and now they’re all on Netflix, and so you’re just, you’ve looked for this thing— it’s kind of similar to records. Some records, you’d just die. You had to have this thing, and you’d pay a hundred dollars for it, and now you can just search and in like a minute and a half, you have it. It kind of cheapens it, but it’s like, you can have all that shit. It’s all available. I don’t know, it makes you wonder. It makes you kind of think to a degree, like, what’s the point of even releasing shit, you know? But it’s, you know, I think you kind of have to. I think that people…people pay attention more. If you’re just playing a lot of shit and you don’t have a release, it’s like you’re just some fucking…whatever.
DJ: Some people will just release their music on Bandcamp, but I think, at least from people that I know, that if you don’t also have a physical release, people will take you less seriously.
Matthew: Right, and I think that’s the whole model for Pour Le Corps. It’s like, I think they press like 100 or 200 cassettes, and the idea is that they’re cheap enough that if you bring them to a show, it’s 5 bucks, and they get a download, too. You know, those people might not go to Bandcamp and buy your shit for 5 bucks, but they’ll buy a cassette, and they don’t even have a cassette player! They just put it up on their mantel, like, ‘Oh, look at that tiny artwork! It’s so cool.’ But, you know, that’s the way it is.
DJ: How did you get involved with Pour Le Corps?
Matthew: I had known Shawn, sort of in passing, from years ago. He played in The Theater Fire…one of the guys who plays in eyes, wings [and many other things]…They’re the label, they’re kind of like the flagship band. It’s the guy that runs the label and his girlfriend…she’s not in the band, but…Their guy that plays drums, sings, does some other shit, this guy I’ve known for 10 or 12 years or something, so it’s kind of just like…I played a show. ‘Hey, you wanna play a show?’ ‘Yeah.’ And then they were like, ‘Hey, we’ll put something’— It wasn’t really like, ‘Hey man, let’s meet and have a deal and sit and talk about it,’ you know? It’s like, ‘Yeah, we’d like to put something out.’ I mean, it was kind of crazy that they even…I mean, they’re sort of doing it more on the real than other people, in a way. They actually do a little PR and you know, they work it, they’re working towards something, so, that’s kind of cool. But, yeah, maybe a year and a half ago was the first kind of ‘Yeah, man, we should do something.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, whatever, it’s a tape thing.’ I didn’t even think anything of it, and then over time I started working it together, and not to downplay, but at the time I was like, ‘Well, it’s better than nothing.’ But, actually, I really like the people a lot. It was the first time that I’ve ever put out anything that I didn’t have to do the artwork for, so, that was fucking awesome. She does really— they have kind of a cohesive, like all of the designs, you can tell that it’s the same label. They have a design scheme, because one person does all of the artwork, so it’s kind of a cool…you know, 4AD, all those old labels who did that, but…I don’t know. It’s interesting. We’ll see what happens.
TWO: Having been involved in North Texas music for quite some time, what do you think about the music scene today? Where do you think it’s headed?
Matthew: I think that there’s always this…I moved to Denton in ’96, so I kind of saw the end of the space-rock and the end of the fucking…whatever, Brutal Juice, heavier bands, ‘post-grunge’ or whatever the fuck you want to call it, and then going into even some of the stuff that I had played in, where it was like, maybe a little bit of that post-rock shit that was going on, or space rock. So, it fluctuates. It goes in waves. I feel like Denton has always been this place where everybody says is like Hands Across America, everybody loves everybody, but it’s so small and such a bubble that there’s a weird thing, like ‘Man, this guy!’ It’s kind of fucked. It should be…And there was little periods where…The one thing about Denton is that you can meet all of the people in all of the bands, and be friends with the people that are in the different kinds of bands, and that’s cool, and people will support you to a degree, but then, it’s a different story when you talk about who goes to support that shit here. There’s no…I mean, I don’t know. I think that it’s in an upswing, just generally this area. I think that there’s potential, always, but I’ve seen some interesting bands, kind of younger bands and…I wonder how I could play with their crowd. [Laughs] Or, I wonder how I can get on their shows. There’s a definite thing— I had to leave here because I felt too old to be in Denton. You get to a certain point and you’re just like, ‘Fuck. There’s no girls here that are going to date me, because I’m fucking creepy now…I could go to Dan’s and talk about the old days, going touring or something, with old people.’
DJ: You can talk about country music.
Matthew: Yeah, or I could still go to Rubber Gloves and slowly die, and just keep dying, you know what I mean? So then I moved to Austin and I didn’t even play music. It was kind of like…I mean, I tried a little bit, but it was just kind of…I did other shit. But, I think it’s a good time for things in that it’s generally…There are little pockets of things that happen, of course the— I only went to that place once, but the House of Tinnitus. All the little house show things that come in an upswing, and it’s like a thing. More people will go to a house show here than anything else, because no one has money here because there’s no economy in this town for shit— I mean, I guess there’s more strip malls and shit here now, but, you know what I mean? But, it’s the same as it ever was, dude. I’ve been coming back around here for so long. I have some friends who never left here. My friend Peter’s been living here for almost 20 years. People love it because there’s a thing about it, and I think that there are more things that are getting it out into the world, but it’s such a weird world within itself that there’s kind of infighting for no reason. I feel like there’s never been a label that really fucking did it. Like, Athens had a few things that made it more…I mean, because Denton has some bands that are, whatever, indie-world popular, but there’s not like…I don’t know the right way to describe it. There’s just not a definitive thing. Things almost happen, but then…and that’s what I said, it goes in waves. You have just dismal periods of shit and nothing going on, where you can just drink yourself to sleep every day, depressed.
THREE: Do you have any plans for the future of Diamond Age?
Matthew: Uh, shit, you know…I’ll see how far this little pressing, putting out this little cassette…it’s probably not going very far. But, that’s fine. I’ve been in the thing where you fucking live the dream and you’re going to like, ‘We’re going to tour and blahblah!’ You can just beat yourself to death with that shit, so…I would like to do some things, but smarter than before, because I’m fucking old. So, it’s like, I don’t know, man, I have a few friends that I can probably book some things with, but as far as— I mean, I know you have to, but there’s no point in doing it when you’re that small. If you’re that small, and you don’t have a network or a style or a thing that’s going to really…like, I think you can be a fucking certain style of music, and just pick up, and the kids will support it. You can just email some people, and that’s a cool, grassroots thing. I mean, it’s kind of always been that way, though. The hardcore scene was always like that shit, but, I’ve been in too many situations in past where I’ve tried it, and you just lose your ass, and so the only way I really tour is to calculate it and do it in a different way. But, then again, you kind of have to do some of that shit if you’re still kind of living the dream a little bit. Go one place and come back, you know? So, I’ve been talking to some people. I have a few things tentative for SXSW, like day show things, and I’m playing the 35 Denton thing. I mean, there was a weird period where I kind of stopped getting— That’s another thing about here. You go in waves where people are just like, ‘Hey, we want YOU on this show!’ and you can overbook yourself, because you’re like, ‘I’ll just say yes all the time!’ And then, all of the sudden, you just don’t hear shit from anybody, you know? I’m kind of coming out of that. I mean, I didn’t care, because it was like running into a wall. Just doing the same, just playing the show and it being like, ‘Yeah, man, you’re playing last on a Tuesday!’ and you’re like, ‘Why?’ So everybody can leave kind of shit, you know? I have enough things in the works. I want to do another, put something together. I don’t know if it’ll be another cassette thing, who knows. Just keep doing something, because it’s really like, at this point, it’s kind of for me. It would be dumb for to say that I don’t— because everybody who is a creative person to a degree wants to fucking show the world your little thing that you do, but ultimately, I don’t know. I don’t have any delusions, maybe, like I used to. [Laughs] But, I think that you can always try and just get better.
– Interview and transcription by Dale Jones.