The Matches

Written by Josh Snider

Posted Sep 1, 2005, by Josh Snider.

Featured Artists: The Matches; Genre: Rock;
How did you come up with your band name? You know how you say a word and you say it like a bazillion times. You go cantaloupe, cantaloupe, cantaloupe, cantaloupe, cantaloupe; you kind of forget what it means. That’s kind of what Matches has become, I think it’s just a band name now, it means nothing. It’s not a noun, well; it’s a proper noun.

When, how, and where was your first show? Our first show as The Matches was our CD release show. This album "E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals," out on Epitaph Records now, we put out a year before that. We did two tours of the US, independently booked pizza parlors and whatnot. Then, Lucky Artist Booking picked us up. We went on tour with real big fish that summer, and then signed epitaph.

What was your band name before? We were called "The Locals,” which is why our cd is called "E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals." There was a woman from Chicago, Illinois and she had a band called "The Locals." They stole our name through the forces of modern law; we had to change our name so we were a little spiteful towards her, although she did in fact steal a really terrible band name. So she can have it, but that’s not the point. Everyone needs an enemy. Everyone needs to hate somebody.

What inspires your lyrics? Shawn: I wrote a song to a friend, Dave, who is in a band called "Nowhere", it's kind of about him. I play nogstridomin, and I tell him exactly what is going to happen to him in his life. I write a lot about falling apart, like decomposing. I think that’s what our next album might be called. On our last album, there are a bunch of songs that we wrote when we were 15, 16 years old. It’s when we were all starting a band in our garage. They are, actually, kind of good songs too, those ones are obviously about crawling out of windows after dark, and trying to make out with a girls.

Where was your best show? I’d have to say either…Oakland, California. Yeah, I can’t really dispute that.

What made it the best? Our fans there are ridiculous. We have our show at this place called Music Cat. This place is just full, there’s kids climbing up the walls, and there’s enough sweat in there to quench the thirst of a football team.

What’s your favorite band tour with? "Big D and the Kids Table", #1, those guys freak out live. I don't know if you have ever seen them, but the singer just stops you, the whole set, it feels like he’s talking just to you. It’s awesome. He has some really funny stuff to say. We have a club that we formed on this tour that we call "The Club Club" and we walk around with clubs like a Billy club; I’m the founder of "The Club Club." I like them and I think "Underoath" is probably one of the best live bands on this Warped Tour; their crowd is ridiculous, there’s no other way to put it.

Do you have any advice to starting bands? On the new Real Big Fish record, there’s a song on it called don't start a band, its really funny, and I always laugh. But you should start a band. Take it seriously and whatnot, but a band is for music and music is art. If you start with your art with a plan to sell it, then its not going to be real art. If you love playing music, play music, but if it turns into a job, well lucky you, but don't plan on that from the start. I remember the first band I was in, I was like 12, and I just started to play guitar with a bunch of my friends in jr. high. We had merchandise before we even had a song; we had a name picked out.

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as far as getting to where you are now? Being patient, not that I want things to go any faster. I think that it’s been a perfect development, if anything, I’m really happy with this developing faster than it really should. Everyday, it seems like things could be a little bit better, like you look at the band your friends with, and they are selling a couple more hundred CDs than you. Then, you look at the band who was in the garage, and they were opening for you a year ago and now they are on TRL, where you are still truckin' it, making fans one by one. They’re in Time Square, sometimes its like are we doing the right thing and you second-guess yourself. In the end, I think were doing it right, every day is an obstacle and it's only an obstacle if you really view it as one.

What type of message are you trying to send out to the audience? What are you putting in your music? This kid came up to me about an hour ago; I had to compose myself, that’s why I came over here. I was crying man, this kid came up to me and he was like "you guys are my heroes" and we’re like "thank you man. That’s really cool" and he’s like "no seriously. Just a few years ago I was having trouble in school and flunking out of school and getting into a lot of trouble" but he said his brother was interning at our record label, and he brought home our cd. He started listening to it and started writing poetry and started playing music. He said it really changed his life, and he was so sincere. I was so happy that we actually made a difference. It was one of the most touching things that ever happened to me. I hope were not just on some fight to climb the Billboard charts or something. It’s not what it's all about, it's all about just little moments like that when someone’s like "hey, you really changed my life." That makes it all worthwhile.

What do you do when you’re on the road? I’ve got a design company, so I do merch for a ton of the bands that we’re on tour with. I'm doing a new video; I'm animating our new music video that will be coming out next year. I'm doing the new cover art for "Matchbook Romance," they are a band on our label, on Epitaph. I did a couple other bands’ cover art. There are a lot of bands and everyone needs art, keeping pretty busy between that and keeping my self together on stage.

What do you do about the corporate aspect of business and stuff? We signed to Epitaph; they are awesome. It's a lot more like a family feel than getting lost on some record label. There is a corporate aspect. We’re on a tour that has like a bazillion sponsors, the Vans Warped Tour. I think all and all, it is more of the individuals, whether they are working for Vans, in a band, or whether they work for Samsung or whatever, all of the individuals supercede the corporations that they work under, therefore the tour becomes like a huge family.

How many tours have you been on? We've been touring for like 3 years, pretty much non-stop. I would say we play a good 200 shows a year.

What’s the most bizarre encounter you have had with another band? The people who have the best bands are always the weirdest people.

How about with a fan? One girl, was confessing her undying love to our band, and I have the moller hat that I have been wearing for the past year or so, and she’s like "Can I just wear your hat?" I'm usually stingy about my hat but I was like, ok, you can wear it, just at the end of the show, I’ll just come find you or whatever. Five minutes later, I'm looking around and this girl is just gone. So I go running down the street in Pennsylvania. There’s a MacDonald's down the street that I know a bunch of kids go after the show, and she’s not in there. I do find some girls that I recognized from hanging out with her earlier, and I'm like, "hey, where did your friend go?” They’re like, "what friend?" I'm like, “the one who took my hat.” Then they say, "Oh, she had to go home." So I grabbed one of their cell phones and I just started running with it. I knew her name so I flipped down the cell phone until I found her name, and I called her up. She said hello and I'm said, "you took my hat, your going to get it!" Then she said "oh my gosh! I didn’t know you were going to call me." I said, "you stole my hat, you’re cursed forever. You know this right?" She said, "I didn’t mean to. My friends had to go home." I was like "Yeah, you could have found me." She was like "I feel so bad, you are my favorite band. I just wanted your hat." So I’m like "Ok, here’s what you’re gonna do. You’re going to get in the car. You’re gonna come back here, and you’re gonna bring my hat, then we will make up and everything will be cool." Then she said, "I can’t." And I’m like "Why?" She’s like, "I’m at home." So I said, "Get in your car." Then she said, "I’m fourteen." So I’m like ggrrr. So I got her address and I got a guy who was at the show. He had a friend self-administer a Matches tattoo on his shoulder, so it looked all scribbled and everything. So I’m like alright, this guy will give me a ride. So he gives me a ride to this girl’s house. On the way, I tell her, "Alright, I’m pretty mad at you because I have to drive all the way to your house." And she’s like, "don’t wake up my mom, ok?" And I’m still pretty mad but I’m like, "ok, if you want to be friends again, here’s what you’re gonna do. As a peace offering, you’re gonna make me and my friend here, with the matches tattoo, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, maybe a soft drink, some chips, a fruit roll up or something, and put them in some brown bags, and write our names on them. And we will show up, you will give us our lunches, and I’ll forgive you." And she’s like "Ok, anything." So we get there and she gives us our lunches in our little brown bags. So we got there and I got my hat back.

So how long were you in studio for your last album? Our studio is in our basement. We recorded it for about a year. We restarted it like three times. We didn't have a record company or anything or anybody. We have two friends that we went to high school that were just getting programs for their computers. They were like, "Hey, we could try to record you." One of them is now working for Eric Valentine, he’s a main engineer; his name is Matt Ranozavitch. He is about to start working on the new Taking Back Sunday record. The other guy is Mike Green, and he’s recording stuff with Yellowcard, and he’s working with all these artists that are way bigger than us. So there you have it, from the basement to Los Angeles. They are way bigger than, way more popular than us.

What’s it like being on tour with your band? Do you guys get on each other’s nerves? What’s it like being stuck on a tour bus? Yeah, we get on each other’s nerves. I’m not gonna lie. I think I get on Matt’s nerves the most. John gets on all of our nerves; he’s our guitar player. He’s got really big hair, and we find his little hairs everywhere. It’s pretty gross. We’re like John! He also picks his nose when he’s driving, and so he gets his buggers all over the wheel. Not that I don’t pick my nose, but I usually use a Kleenex, you know what I mean? I try to be considerate. At least I wipe it on the wheel when nobody’s looking.

What has been your worst show? Perhaps, our worse show, we opened for The Casualties in San Francisco. While they are a cool band there is not a single member of their audience that is also a member of our audience, and vice versa. So, we didn’t go over that well. We went our pretty horribly actually. We are like punk rock for wussies and they are punk rock for people who beat up the people who listen to punk rock for wussies. There you have it.

Have you had any conflicts or disputes with any of the bands? E. Von Dahls and the Locals.



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