Matt Malone (born 1988) is an Australian singer/songwriter, radio presenter, and writer born in the goldfields region of country Victoria. He has formed his musical vision out of the blues, country, folk, and gospel traditions of the American, British, and Australian past. His commanding baritone and masterfully crafted songs have been compared to the archetypal Johnny Cash, African-American gospel preachers such as Blind Willie Johnson, poetic folk troubadours including Leonard Cohen, along with tenebrous lyrical princes Nick Cave and Mark Lanegan.
Matt’s new album, ‘For The Term Of My Natural Life’, is without a doubt Malone’s most personal, autobiographical, and accomplished work to date receiving ‘★★★★’ from Backseat Mafia and rave reviews from Rhythms Magazine, Post To Wire, and inclusion in many of the best Australian album lists of 2023.
We asked Matt’s old friend Adam Geoffrey Cole (Trappist Afterland, Arrosa) to interview Malone where they discuss growing up in rural Victoria, American blues / folk / gospel music, Norwegian Black Metal, Aleister Crowley, Catholicism and many other subjects.
Take a read of it, below…
Tell me about growing up in the Australian country town Ballarat.
How do you think living in a smaller town shaped you and influenced you musically?
I grew up in Creswick and moved to Ballarat in my mid-teens.
Creswick was / is a pretty small country town. The main sources of entertainment were shooting guns / hunting, riding bikes, fishing, roaming the bush, playing football and getting up to general mischief.
As early as I can remember, my family went to Church every Sunday. So my first introduction to music was the traditional Catholic hymns at Mass. The Church, the hymns and iconography – stained glass windows, bells and the huge crucifixion beside the altar left an indelible impression on my psyche.
The first popular music I remember hearing was on cassette tapes in the car that my father played from AC/DC, Cold Chisel and The Angels. However a pivotal moment was at my great-grandfather’s farm house. As you walked into his home there were two pictures above the piano – one was Christ (which I knew) and a second photograph of a young man with slicked black hair and a wry smile.
I recall saying to my great-grandfather, “I know that’s God, but whose the other bloke?” in which he replied, “That’s God too son, his name is Elvis Presley.” So I started skipping primary school to watch the midday Elvis movies on TV.
Elvis had a huge formative impact.
My first introduction to “alternative” music was through the older brother of my friend at the end of the street. He used to make mixed cassette tapes of songs off the radio.
He introduced me to the Seattle Grunge scene which was kicking off at the time (The Screaming Trees, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Melvins etc) The Pixies, Sonic Youth, The Breeders along with Nirvana and Metallica who became gateways into the underground alternative and metal scene.
When my family moved to Ballarat – I was firmly entrenched into the idea of becoming a musician.
I started out on bass and played in a few punk / metal bands who covered The Misfits, Nirvana, Metallica, Slayer, Black Sabbath, Pantera, etc. It was my first introduction to the live music scene in Ballarat which was going through a massive shift from the heyday of The Bridge Mall Inn to Karova Lounge. I started to hear Ballarat bands like The Dead Salesmen who had a massive impact (I still revere Hap Hayward’s lyricism to this day) and Damaged who gave me the thirst to investigate heavier bands like Morbid Angel, Deicide and Cannibal Corpse. But it was when I heard Norwegian Black Metal that I finally felt at home. Mayhem, Emperor, Darkthrone and most profoundly Burzum really captured my adolescent imagination. I was obsessed with that scene – the aesthetics, sound, poetry, mythology, everything about it.
I still love it.
But running parallel to my love for extreme metal and the alternative underground was what I was introduced to on late night Rage. I used to religiously watch Saturday night Rage and tape it on VHS tape.
Not too dissimilar to the interaction I had with my great-grandfather with Elvis, I remember one night when Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon hosted Rage and they introduced a song by this guy with slicked black hair called Nick Cave. The song was Deanna with that immortal refrain – “I ain’t down here for your money, I ain’t down here for your love, I’m down here for your soul”. That had me hooked.
Nick introduced me to singer-songwriters like Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Lou Reed and the Australian scene like The Birthday Party, Scientists, Beasts Of Bourbon, The Saints, Laughing Clowns, The Dirty Three, etc. It’s been crazy over the years that I’ve been able to share the stage with some of those guys like Kim Salmon and Hugo Race.
I think a huge turning point for me in my youth was discovering Swans and Michael Gira. I think Swans for me blended the heaviness of the extreme metal I loved and the singer-songwriter poeticism of Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed etc.
I remember first hearing their record Holy Money and it bludgeoning me into a new state of being. I could deeply relate to every word and to the complete aesthetic. I became and still am a huge Swans fan.
They’ll always be essential to me.
So living in a country town in my teens gave me the drive to discover a lot of music and carve my own path amongst the isolation and boredom.
My first introduction to Crowley was through my love for Norwegian Black Metal. I saw the Seal Of Babalon on the first Burzum demo and wanted to find out what it meant.
I was interested in Satanism more broadly at the time and owned a number of LaVey’s works including ‘The Satanic Bible’, ‘The Satanic Rituals’, etc. I joined The Church Of Satan briefly in my late teens but was disappointed when I realized all you got was a membership card and a newsletter haha. Spirituality has always been a huge part of my life and I wanted more than just a token acknowledgement or membership.
So I started taking occultism more seriously and exploring The Order of The Golden Dawn, Madame Blavatsky, Gurdjieff, Zen Buddhism, Jainism, Theosophy, John Dee, Enochian Magick, Ancient Egyptian Magick and inevitably kept coming back to Aleister Crowley. He seemed to be the person who embodied all these different threads that I had been investigating from occultism through to the philosophy of Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Marquis De Sade and the poetry of Rimbaud and Baudelaire.
I started reading ‘Liber AL vel Legis‘ and was enthralled by its message of mystical sex and drug liberation. I went on to read the excellent biography of Crowley called ‘Perdurabo‘ by Richard Kaczynski which convinced me to reach out to the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO.)
I remained in the OTO for a number of years and went to many Gnostic Masses, engaged in the LRP on a daily basis and took part in countless rituals. I found the experience rewarding / liberating coming from a Catholic background.
I think being young and following the dictum – “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law, love is the law, love under will,” can unfortunately give you license to engage in a lot of fucked up activity which led me to heavy alcoholism, severe drug dependency and psychological masochism.
Out of the aftermath of extensive spiritual exploration / heavy drug experimentation I learnt many lessons and had many experiences that will always stay with me – for better or worse. The visions / mystical insights I received under the influence will remain as sources of inspiration / insight about the realms beyond our normal sensory experience.
My engagement with Sex Magick acted as a gateway to overcome a lot of the sexual repression of my Catholic upbringing. I still hold sex as a sacrament and a transcendent / meditative experience.
Crowley was a rebel / revolutionary / spiritual master who had an immense influence from Gerald Gardner (Wicca), L. Ron Hubbard (Scientology), Anton LaVey (The Church Of Satan), Michael Aquino (Temple Of Set)… on into the realms of music, art and culture more broadly.
Unfortunately though you’ve gotta look at the fruits of a tree and Crowley as the prophet / centrepiece of Thelema ended up as a lonely heroin addict in a boarding house in Hastings. That’s a warning I wish I heeded earlier in my tenure as a Thelemite.
My time in the OTO and the influence of Thelema can be heard most predominantly on my first two records ‘S .I. X’ and ‘Hymn Unto Her’ – lyrically and musically.
How has your obsession with American roots, blues and gospel music helped transform you and your band the Holy Spirits?
I have a very eclectic musical palette and count Swans, Leonard Cohen, Maria Callas, Lou Reed, Slayer, Diamanda Galas, Danzig, Burzum, David Eugene Edwards, Throbbing Gristle, John Cage as some of my very varied influences.
I’ve done a heap of different projects over the years from noise / experimental music, spoken word performances, sound collages and ambient compositions. I did a whole series of recordings that sounded like Whitehouse meets Earth which I’ve never released and countless sound collages using various fucked up sounds.
I used to do a lot of improvisational shows with a friend of mine that was a kinda stylistic blend between my rhythmic and heavy guitar playing and his more ambient and tender approach. So, I’ve been on a lot of musical tangents in my life.
A lot of it is recorded to cassette tapes unsafely stored in a garage haha. Maybe I should go through and put some of it out one day…
But once I started to deeply explore American blues / country / gospel music there was a radical shift in my focus. A big part of it was the absolute authenticity.
When you listen to teenagers from middle America sing about suffering, oppression or being depressed and you hear blues or gospel singers like Blind Willie Johnson, Skip James or Reverend Gary Davis sing about the same subject – there’s a vast chasm of emotional / existential gravity not present in the former.
My first introduction to blues / country / gospel music was through Nick Cave. I would often listen to interviews with him in my mid-late teens and he’d be throwing around names or referencing different musicians. He turned me onto the classics like Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and John Lee Hooker which led me onto Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and onwards from there.
I think Elvis was a real gateway into gospel music like Mahalia Jackson, The Blackwood Brothers, JD Sumner, Ralph Stanley, Bill Monroe and the whole bluegrass crossover. Over the years, I’ve collected a sizable amount of gospel on vinyl, really obscure stuff like Blind Joe Taggart and Washington Phillips.
Early American music is always what I go back to for inspiration or guidance. Those old songs / performers have taught me not only how to be a singer / songwriter but have contributed to how I live as a person. One line from John Lee Hooker can inspire an entire song or a line from Blind Willie Johnson can give me a deeper insight into my spiritual life.
If you have a thorough knowledge of blues / country / gospel music you’ll notice lyrical or musical homages. It’s my way of keeping the tradition and stories alive.
If you listen to my music the spirit of some of the artists comes through in a conscious / subconscious way. Perhaps even more so when I perform. I’ve been told I’m like a possessed preacher speaking in tongues stomping out an apocalyptic sermon on stage. I think maybe that comes from channelling the spirit of artists like Blind Willie Johnson, Reverend Gary Davis or Brother Claude Ely.
Live performance really is an opportunity for me to exorcize my demons on stage and channel a lot of my intensity into the music. I think if I didn’t have that opportunity – the demons would eat me alive.
Tell me about your relationship with the Catholic Church and her teachings.
How much does she influence you in your daily life, work and musical output?
As a small boy I used to walk to the Church and sit under the lifesize crucifix of Christ with the blood pouring from his wounds and simply stare at this suffering figure. There was something about the combination of the sacred and the violent that dug deep into my psyche.
I think when you absorb those stories / theology / imagery at a young age it’ll inevitably leave an enduring impression on your life.
I abandoned The Church for many years and was vehemently opposed to her teachings. Hence why I became an occultist / Thelemite. In retrospect I can see that was a young man rebelling against what he perceived to be the restrictions of his youth. When I left the OTO and was in the hellish depths of overcoming severe drug dependency, I had a mystical experience that was a life changing / spiritual turning point that raised me up from suicide and despair.
My coming back to the faith of my childhood has been a gradual process that has taken a number of years. But now I go to mass, confession, pray and have found my authentic self in relationship with The Church and Christ. We aren’t islands living truly independently from one another.
I think you can only truly find yourself through your love with another – be that a person or ultimately through God. The Church and her teachings / rituals is a deeply ordered way for me to build and sustain a healthy relationship with God and the Absolute. One of the things about the OTO I enjoyed was the ritual / ceremonial magick side of the experience. And that’s an aspect of The Church I really gravitate to – the mystical, ritualistic, metaphysical side of it all, for example, the fact that you can go to your street corner, walk into a Church, experience Mass and see / consume the literal Body and Blood of Christ – it’s pretty strange and inspiring.
In a way it feels more controversial / rebellious identifying as an Irish Catholic than being in the OTO these days. Since there is so much stigma and hatred directed at The Church.
I’ve had this great opportunity to spend so much time with Nuns, Monks and Priests over the past few years and have seen / experienced all the good spiritual / charitable work they do. I don’t agree with everything The Church has done but I feel like it’s such an integral part of who I am – to live in denial of that reality is living in denial of my own deepest self.
From a musical / artistic perspective, I enjoyed Nick Cave’s recent book ‘Faith, Hope & Carnage‘ where he openly talks about his relationship with his faith / religion and the recent speech by Shane MacGowan’s partner Victoria at his funeral where she spoke about his relationship to Holy Communion throughout his life.
I’ve also enjoyed reading interviews with Tom Araya from Slayer who has spoken openly about going to Church and his commitment to Catholicism.
I read an interview recently with Martin Scorsese where he said – “my way has been, and is, Catholicism. After many years of thinking about other things, dabbling here and there, I am most comfortable as a Catholic.” I can relate to all that.
As a text The Bible is like a musical drone beneath my lyric writing, particularly the stranger parts of the text like The Book Of Revelation and the Apocalypse, The Second Coming Of Christ, The Great Beast and The Coming Judgement.
Tell me about your experiences within the Melbourne music scene.
Do you find it to be a vibrant and supportive scene?
If so, in what ways is it positive and in your opinion, how could it improve.
I think Melbourne has an amazing scene. There are so many great musicians around like Klavier Krieger and ZOJ and venues like The Merri Creek Tavern who are really supportive.
Any day of the week you can hop on a tram and check out someone you haven’t seen before. So in that way it’s kinda cool. Personally, I find the scene generally supportive of what I do. All the album launch shows were really well attended and the audiences were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the performances / the record.
Like anything though I think things could improve. I’m a Music Victoria judge so I see a broad spectrum of the music industry from the deep underground to the more mainstream. There are so many great musicians out there who do beautiful work and don’t get any recognition or support. As a judge I try to shed a light on some of the darker or overlooked corners of the scene, not often to much impact or success, but you’ve just gotta keep trying.
You have had your own radio show in Ballarat for over a decade now.
Please tell us of your experiences doing it – favourite interviews etc.
Yep, it’s called Hell Or High Water, on every Tuesday night from 8-10PM.
I’ve almost clocked up 550 shows which is pretty crazy. It’s been a good outlet to support many local musicians / artists and also play a lot of music that I like. I cover almost every genre over a year of programming (or even sometimes in one show) from metal, classical, jazz, punk, blues, country, folk, gospel, etc. I’ve interviewed countless local artists over the years including Jack Ladder, Ron Peno, Adalita and many international acts too.
I think the interview I’ll always look fondly back on was having a chat with Curt Kirkwood (The Meat Puppets) for two hours. We spoke in depth about Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, the Unplugged show, Mark Lanegan, SST Records and everything in between. He was such a gracious and generous guy.
Gotta love The Meat Puppets – one of the great bands.
How has literature influenced your music?
Who are your favorite authors and what books do you return to?
Literature and literary history is a massive influence on my work. I’m basically a bibliophile, I live in a house of books.
I make the majority of my living selling Antiquarian books to collectors overseas. So as you can imagine I have a shitload of books.
As for my music, there’s many literary layers in the lyrics of my songs. Throughout my albums there are references to Dante, Rimbaud, Blake, Crowley, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, The Bible… just to name a few.
My new record ‘For The Term Of My Natural Life’ is taken from the 19th century Australian classic by Marcus Clarke about a young man sent to the brutal penal colonies of Tasmania for a crime he didn’t do. Once again like with early blues / country / gospel music it’s my way of keeping the tradition alive.
My favorite novelist is Dostoevsky – his work changed my life and continues to inform the deepest parts of me.
My favorite poet would perhaps be Arthur Rimbaud – I have a line from his work tattooed on my arm. Rimbaud’s philosophy of the Poet as seer was The Gospel to me as a young aspiring writer:
“The Poet makes himself a seer by a long, gigantic and rational derangement of all the senses. All forms of love, suffering, and madness. He searches himself.
He exhausts all poisons in himself and keeps only their quintessence. Unspeakable torture where he needs all his faith, all his super-human strength, where he becomes among all men the great patient, the great criminal, the one accursed.”
Here’s some of my fave authors / works that left a lasting impression:
Fyodor Dostoevsky – ‘Crime & Punishment’ / ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ / ‘Notes From Underground’ / ‘The Idiot’
Flannery O’Connor – ‘Complete Short Stories’
William Faulkner – ‘Light In August’
Fr. Walter Cizcek – ‘God In Russia’
Alexander Soltzhenitsyn – ‘Gulag Archipelago’
Mark Lanegan – ‘Sing Backwards & Weep’
Johnny Cash – ‘Autobiography’
Thomas Merton – ‘Seeds Of Contemplation’
St. Therese Of Lisieux – ‘Story Of A Soul’
Nikos Kazantzakis – ‘The Last Temptation Of Christ’
Arthur Rimbaud – ‘A Season In Hell / Illuminations’
Charles Baudelaire – ‘Paris Spleen’
Enid Starkie – ‘Arthur Rimbaud’
James Joyce – ‘Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man’
Marlon Brando – ‘Songs My Mother Taught Me’
Soren Kierkegaard – ‘Fear And Trembling’
Friedrich Nietzsche – ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’
Jean Genet – ‘Prisoner Of Love’
Lou Reed – ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’
Shusaku Endo – ‘Silence’
Marquis De Sade – ‘120 Days Of Sodom’
St. Teresa Of Avila – ‘The Interior Castle’
Antonin Artaud – ‘Theatre Of Cruelty’
Nikolas Schreck – ‘The Manson File’
Aleister Crowley – ‘The Book Of Lies’
Aiwass – ‘Liber AL vel Legis’
St. Augustine – ‘Confessions’
Lautreamont – ‘Maldoror’
Louis Ferdinand Celine – ‘Journey To The End Of The Night’
Ron Hansen – ‘The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford’
There’s a line from Dostoevsky’s ‘Crime & Punishment’ where the young prostitute Sonya says to the murderer Raskolnikov, “Accept suffering and achieve atonement through it – that’s what you must do.”
What are your favorite albums or albums that have had a lasting impact?
That’s such a huge question since so many artists / records have moved me in my life.
If you asked me what I thought was the greatest record ever without labouring on the subject, my gut always says ‘Songs Of Leonard Cohen‘ (1967). For me it encapsulates everything an album can be – the voice, arrangements, cover, aesthetic, sound, production and above all the songs.
It has all the elements perfectly in place.
So aside from Leonard it’s really hard to even do a top ten so here’s a bunch below in no particular order:
Leonard Cohen – ‘Songs Of Leonard Cohen’ / ‘Songs Of Love And Hate’
Swans – ‘Holy Money’ / ‘White Light’ / ‘Soundtracks For The Blind’
Charles Manson – ‘LIE’
Lou Reed – ‘Berlin’ / ‘Metal Machine Music’
Hildegard Von Bingen – ‘Complete Recordings’
The Velvet Underground – ‘White Light / White Heat’
The Doors – ‘Live In New York’
16 Horsepower – ‘Sackcloth n’ Ashes’
Burzum – ‘Hvis Lyset Tar Oss’
Slayer – ‘Reign In Blood’ / ‘Seasons In The Abyss’
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – ‘Tender Prey’ / ‘The Boatman’s Call’
Diamanda Galas – ‘Plague Mass’
Blind Willie Johnson – ‘The Complete Blind Willie Johnson’
John Lee Hooker – ‘Don’t Turn Me From Your Door’
Danzig – ‘Lucifuge’ / ‘How The Gods Kill’
Samhain – ‘November Coming Fire’
Emma Ruth Rundle – ‘Darkhorses’
Townes Van Zandt – ‘Live At The Old Quarter’
Tom Waits – ‘Blue Valentine’
Pogues – ‘Rum, Sodomy And The Lash’
Tammy Wynette – ‘Another Lonely Song’
Glenn Gould – ‘Goldberg Variations’
Nina Simone – ‘Nina Simone And Piano’
Mark Lanegan – ‘Whiskey For The Holy Ghost’
Bernard Herrmann – ‘Taxi Driver’
Muddy Waters – ‘The Folk Singer’
PJ Harvey – ‘To Bring You My Love’
Death In June – ‘But, What Ends When The Symbols Shatter?’
David Allan Coe – ‘Penitentiary Blues’
Waylon Jennings – ‘Honky Tonk Heroes’
Rowland S Howard – ‘Pop Crimes’
Boyd Rice – ‘Music, Misanthropy & Martinis’
Maria Callas – ‘Ses Recitals (54-69)’
Johnny Cash – ‘American Recordings’ / ‘Sun Recordings’
Skip James – ‘Complete 1931 Sessions’
Rose Tattoo – ‘Assault And Battery’ / ‘Scarred For Life’
Judee Sill – ‘Live In London’
Hank Williams – ‘Luke The Drifter’
Throbbing Gristle – ‘Live: Volume 1 (‘76-’78)’
Mayhem – ‘De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas’
Morbid Angel – ‘Covenant’
Elvis Presley – ‘Sun Recordings / 70’s Masters’
Bruce Springsteen – ‘Nebraska’
Reverend Gary Davis – ‘Harlem Street Singer’
Bob Dylan – ‘Blood On The Tracks’ / ‘Time Out Of Mind’ / ‘Shot Of Love’
Acid Bath – ‘When The Kite String Pops’
I wanted to ask you about film too cause the video for your song, For The Term Of My Natural Life, is really great.
What are some of your favourite films, directors and actors?
The film clip For The Term Of My Natural Life was filmed around Ballarat during the pandemic in a single day with John Flores – a really talented cinematographer. I had the idea to photograph and scout out a few locations with my partner Zoi Liakis in the stop / start of the pandemic lockdowns and it came together beautifully.
Once again there are homages to early blues / country / folk music with the scene at the train station that I wanted to look a bit like the Jimmie Rodgers clips of him singing Waiting For A Train back in the 1930’s. I was really happy with the scenes we did in the basement of an abandoned meat factory. The ceiling was caving in and they still had all these rusted troughs and meathooks around. I think those scenes came out really well.
I’m looking forward to doing some more film in the future. Not just music videos but more narrative based stuff. I’ve mucked around with various things over the years on VHS tape but like the cassettes of noise / experimental music it’s all in a box somewhere in a garage degrading away.
In regards to fave films / directors / actors there’s so many. If I had to choose one film I’d probably say ‘Taxi Driver‘. It’s the film I’ve kept returning to throughout my life since I first saw it on late night TV when I was an early teen. Like ‘Songs Of Leonard Cohen’ (1968) I think it’s pitch perfect – the aesthetic, Scorsese’s directing / camerawork, Paul Schrader’s script / screenplay, De Niro’s acting, Herrmann’s soundtrack, everything about it.
I reckon Scorsese, Lars Von Trier and Pier Paolo Pasolini are whose work I keep coming back to.
As for actors / actresses I have a profound love for Marlon Brando. He has had an immeasurable impact on me on a variety of levels.
I collect photographs of actresses from the Golden Hollywood Era – Marilyn Monroe, Eva Marie Saint, Tippi Hedren, Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot… I used to have a massive crush on Catherine Deneuve. Many years ago, I wrote her an embarrassing letter and she kindly sent me a note back with some signed photographs.
As for modern day actresses I really love Mia Goth. I’ll watch anything with her in it. She’s phenomenal.
I also wrote to her recently and she sent me a signed photograph which is really cool.
Here’s a bunch of films that I often return to:
Martin Scorsese – ‘Taxi Driver’ / ‘Raging Bull’ / ‘Bringing Out The Dead’ / ‘Silence’
Pier Paolo Pasolini – ‘The Gospel According To St Matthew’ / ‘Salo’
Lars Von Trier – ‘Breaking The Waves’ / ‘Dancer In The Dark’ / ‘Antichrist’ / ‘Nymphomaniac’
Andrei Tarkovsky – ‘Andrei Rublev’
William Friedkin – ‘The Exorcist’
Alfred Hitchcock – ‘Marnie’ / ‘Psycho’
Elia Kazan – ‘On The Waterfront’
Robert Bresson – ‘Pickpocket’ / ‘Diary Of A Country Priest’
Andrew Domink – ‘Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford’ / ‘Chopper’
John McNaughton – ‘Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer’
Pascal Laugier – ‘Martyrs’
Todd Browning – ‘Freaks’
Luis Bunuel – ‘Belle De Jour’
Akira Kurosawa – ‘Throne Of Blood’
Roman Polanski – ‘Repulsion’
Francis Ford Coppola – ‘Apocalypse Now’ / ‘Godfather’
Carl Theodor Dreyer – ‘The Passion Of Joan Of Arc’ / ‘Day Of Wrath’
Charles Laughton – ‘The Night Of The Hunter’
Robert Eggers – ‘The Witch’
Michael Haneke – ‘The Piano Teacher’
Francois Truffaut – ‘400 Blows’
David Lynch – ‘Eraserhead’ / ‘Blue Velvet’
Emeric Pressburger – ‘The Red Shoes’
Nikolas Schreck – ‘Charles Manson Superstar’
Please tell us all about your newly established record label – VRS Records.
What are your plans for the label? And why did you set it up?
VRS Records was born out of the necessity to release my work in the way I wanted to. I’ve often been told by many people that due to my radio show and eclectic taste that I’d probably be good at running a label. So amongst the plethora of my various projects I thought I’d give it a crack.
VRS is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase that exorcists would chant in the Middle Ages during demonic possession – ‘vade retro satana’. As I mentioned earlier in reference to live performance I do view music / art as a way to sublimate and channel those inner demons that we all possess.
I’ve had a long standing admiration for various independent labels like Michael Gira’s Young God Records or my friend Zac Winterwood’s label East Cape Calling. So I’ve kind of seen those models as helpful in trying to get some focus and trajectory about how I’d like to run VRS.
When I was asking around for someone to put out my latest LP – ‘For The Term Of My Natural Life’, there were a number of labels interested who were unfortunately struggling financially after the pandemic. I really wanted to put this album on vinyl and no one I spoke to could afford it. So that was the kick in the arse I needed to get VRS up and running.
At the moment, it’s very low key with only my album on the roster. But, I’m hoping to eventually put out other artists.
Ultimately, it all comes down to my very limited financial situation since its so expensive to do physical formats particularly vinyl. My ideal would be to be able to put something out and recoup costs enough to be able to put out the next thing. Just some basic sustainability.
Since I don’t differentiate between genres in my taste, I probably won’t with the label. I imagine country artists along with noise / black metal musicians sharing the roster. The only yardstick would be if the work is good or something different, unique or special.
VRS will be a slow burn, but I enjoy having long term projects to keep chipping away at over many years. So I’ll look to get more infrastructure in place over the next 12 months and hopefully there’ll be some progress by this time next year.
In 2023 I put out the LP – ‘For The Term Of My Natural Life’ on VRS Records. The record has been extremely well received and it’s been heartwarming to get so many great reviews after all the toil and trouble.
I’m looking to put out a live record soon from one of the album launches with my band The Holy Spirits. It sounds killer.
I have a heap of projects lined up including a book and another record. I’m looking forward to the future and working with a new recording engineer, new musicians, new artforms and new concepts.
It’s going to be great to hopefully be more prolific and put out more varied work.
Best way to get in touch?
You can send me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org
No worries, thanks for the opportunity.
- Matt Malone – Bandcamp
- Matt Malone – Instagram
- Matt Malone – Facebook
- Matt Malone – YouTube
- Matt Malone – Discogs Entry
- Matt Malone – Email: email@example.com
- Matt Malone’s Radio Show ‘Hell or High Water’ – Stream Online
- Matt Malone’s Radio Show ‘Hell or High Water’ – Facebook
All images supplied by Matt or sourced online.