INTERVIEW: The Matches

Published on theMusic.com.au, Jan 2015

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REIGNITE THE SCENE

Breakfast remains the most important meal of the day, with The Matches’ reunion sparking over a morning catch-up. Frontman Shawn Harris discusses the band’s (potential) future with Daniel Cribb.

Tucked away in a slick, new airbus trailer, The Matches frontman Shawn Harris sits, strumming on a guitar and penning lyrics for a new song. As of late, his work seems to be drawn more frequently towards his punk roots, after five years delving in other projects and genres, most recently with his other band, Fortress Social Club. “I haven’t decided yet,” Harris says on the song’s final direction. “I just write, and if it sounds like an old garage recording that Animals would do, then I do it with Fortress. If it sounds like a shitty punk band, I’ll find something else to do with it,” he jokes.

A lot has changed for Harris and the rest of the crew, with half the band moving out of the San Francisco Bay Area, and all members drifting away from their punk roots to some extent. There was plenty to talk about at a breakfast catch-up last year, including the licensing rights to band’s debut record, E. Von Dahl Killed The Locals, coming back to them after their ten-year contact with Epitaph end. “We thought it’d be cool to put it out on vinyl. I’ve started collecting vinyl, and thought it’d be a cool way to commemorate our first record, because we never pressed it on vinyl back then.”

One show at a 350 capacity venue in the Bay Area in November with the band’s original line-up playing the record in full to support the vinyl release quickly turned into four sold-out gigs, and follow up shows in New York, LA, Chicago, and Australia. “It was crazy to see all these people that were fans of band when they were in their teens and figuring out who they were going to be. There was basically bankers and school teachers crowd surfing, and it was so rad to have a drink with all these people and see where life has taken them… I felt like I was amongst so many friends and it was incredible.”

Things snowballed quickly, and with the scene reignited and fans worldwide yeaning for more material, could we see The Matches return to a full-time act? “The plan was just to do that one show, but this has already turned into much more. The response was so incredible at these shows that we’ve played so far, I mean it really feels like there’s something there… and I will say that, in America, The Matches were always a black sheep sort of outsider band. We did a bunch of Warped Tours and we toured with a bunch of bands that were popular and bigger than our band, but we never really fit on any bill with anyone. The only scene surrounding us was one that we were part of making, and everyone that was part of that, and it’s so clear that they feel this crazy ownership over this thing that we built together. I’m really stoked to be a part of the niche that felt so formative and creative in the scene of community. It was so strong. We didn’t have hits, you know; we had an almost cult of people following us, which is a neat thing. I still feel really connected to that after doing these shows, so anything is a possibility.”

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