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A Dirty Dozen with NOW AFTER NOTHING – January 2023

| 27 January 2023 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Today darkwave duo Now After Nothing release their dynamic debut single “Sick Fix” as frontman Matt Spatial and drummer Michael Allen unveil their new project. The track, mixed by Carl Glanville (U2, Joan Jett) and mastered by John Davis (Placebo, JAMC, Suede) features pounding bass and rhythmic opening beats that nod to the band’s Sonic Youth and Bauhaus influences. Subsequently, the nuanced electronic and punk elements round out Now After Nothing’s distinct, modern take on darkwave. Atlanta-based darkwave act Now After Nothing is bringing classic influences and modernized electronic instrumentals to the present-day crowd. Frontman and multi-instrumentalist Matt Spatial brings masterful expertise to the expansive project and it’s evident in the dynamic collection of tracks that cover a vast selection of genres from punk to industrial and new wave. The influences from Bauhaus, The Cure, My Bloody Valentine, and Sonic Youth shine as he seamlessly enmeshes the best parts of those artists into a new iteration of seductive, introspective, and mesmerizing goth tracks for the next generation. Spatial intricately weaves social, political, and personal narratives within the instrumentals to add depth and darkness that resonates with lost and misunderstood souls.” We get the duo to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

“Sick Fix” is actually the debut single for Now After Nothing (out on Jan 27) and marks my official return to music after a bit of a hiatus.  I’m especially excited about this song as there actually are quite a few bits of ear candy – lots of little bleeps, blurps, bells and whistles.  It’s definitely one to listen to with headphones.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been into music whether it was dressing up like KISS for Halloween or pretending my tennis racket was a guitar.  When I was eight years old though, I spent the summer with my Aunt and Uncle in New Jersey and an older cousin took me to my first concert – Cheap Trick.  Between that and spending the rest of that summer glue to videos on MTV, I was pretty much hooked.  After that, I scratched and saved every penny I could until I got my first drum set at twelve.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I think it was more about a particular time in my life.  I joined my first real, gigging band when I was eighteen (and all my band mates were much older than I).  They turned me on to bands like Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, and Sonic Youth and that was it!  Between the albums In The Flat Field, Floodland, and Daydream Nation, my musical tastes were forever solidified.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

This answer changes every time I’ve been asked but for now… In the context of Now After Nothing, it would be incredible to have someone like Adrian Belew record some guitar parts! His approach and playing style is just incredible. If it were in the context of some imaginary new band, it would be Louise Post and Nina Gordon from Veruca Salt.  Their vocal harmonies are just gorgeous and their songwriting is always catchy, which everyone knows from their big singles.  What does it for me though is their deeper cuts that are really moody and edgy without being overworked or contrived. Just listen to the song “Earthcrosser”!

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

I’m a bit of an introvert, so I’m pretty content to just get into a TV series, movie, or book.  Oftentimes though, I’m still occupied with something music related whether it’s reading or watching videos about studio gear, listening to a favorite band, etc.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I never know how to answer this question so I rely on what others have written or have told me.  The best (or at least the most entertaining) descriptions always come from drunk people after a show and it’s usually something like “Gary Numan on acid” or more simply “…Ghostly…”  The most flattering description I ever heard was early on in my songwriting days when my friend’s sister asked if she could make a copy of an instrumental demo I played for her because, “it would be perfect music for sex.”  Come to think of it, that particular song has never been released with any of my previous bands, so maybe I’ll have to dust it off for the future Now After Nothing EP. On the other end of the spectrum, I had a girlfriend once tell me she thought a song I had been working on sounded like some NuMetal band.  This made me cringe as I was never really a fan of NuMetal.  Coincidentally that relationship ended shortly after that comment… or maybe not so coincidentally.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Michael is part Swiss and has spent a lot of time in Switzerland so I would probably want him to be the one cooking – maybe a traditional Swiss fondue!  I’d definitely be the one to grab a cocktail and pull out the guitar.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I actually don’t get too starstruck, but I was pretty excited the first time I met Love and Rockets.  They just walked right on in to a house/studio I had been hanging out at in New Orleans and it was like, “oh… did that just happen?”  I didn’t meet him or anything, but I was truly starstruck seeing Paul McCartney perform live about ten years ago.  I actually got a little teary-eyed during the first song.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

For me the best part is just self-expression and having an outlet to be creative.  Prior to Now After Nothing, I was without a band for too long and it definitely impacted my mental health.   If, for whatever reason, I wasn’t able to keep writing or playing music my dream job would be Producer or Mix Engineer.  I had a phenomenal experience many moons ago at The Recording Workshop in Chillicothe, Ohio and learned a ton – not even just as an audio engineer but it also helped shaped my approach to producing and songwriting.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Good question… I love to talk about the studio process so maybe something like “How did you create that crazy-ass sound on…” whatever song. The only question that I get tired of is “How would you describe your music?” – ha!  In all fairness, it’s probably the one of the most valid questions a songwriter/musician can be asked but, as I stated in this very question above, I never know how to answer it and usually end up blabbering with anecdotes about how drunk people describe my sound… as I did in this very question above 😉

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

There’s not really a single moment I can think of as any kind of significant misstep… I do wish I had sooner found what I needed to find within myself to start Now After Nothing, which was basically just the “fuck it” attitude that allowed me to branch out of my comfort zone as a bassist/backing vocalist.  I always wrote the music but never stepped out into playing more guitar and singing lead as I’m doing now… or even expanding my role in the studio where I am recording everything myself now.  I’ve really loved getting back into engineer mode and spending more time exploring gear and dialing in sounds.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I would have loved to have even been just a fly on the wall when My Bloody Valentine recorded Loveless.  The sounds they got on that record?! Just amazing!  But as with most all of these questions, I can’t pick just one answer so my other choice would 100% be Jellyfish’s Spilt Milk.  A true masterpiece of song and production.  Layers and layers of melody, counter-melody, and harmonies… endless ear candy… this album really blew me away the first time I heard it and has every time since. Two very different albums but both forever changed how I would come to think about crafting a song around a mood and the endless possibilities of sonic imagery.

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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