1. Could you please tell us a bit about the ideals behind this label, how it all started, and what inspired you?
Matinée started in 1997 with a plan to release a series of ace 7” singles, and we continued along that path for the first few years, eventually adding cd singles and albums to the mix as appropriate. At the time I had a serious policy job in Washington, DC and the label was a creative outlet for me. Over the years it took more and more of my time until I left my job to focus on the label and work as a consultant. Since then we moved to California and the label has grown to encompass releases from 32 different artists. In addition to some current indie favorites we have released retrospective CDs from bands near and dear to this website (Razorcuts, Brighter, The Siddeleys, The Visitors, and Remember Fun).
2. If there was one thing that you could change with the music-industry, what would that be?
Base magazine reviews and radio plays on merit of the songs instead of who is spending the most on advertising or plugging. Luckily there are some ace zines and radio stations that do this but it’s a constant battle to get noticed with so many releases any given week. Still, I can generally count five days after sending off promos and expect my mailbox to be full of ad solicitations from magazines.
3. What is your relation to the artists you have released, for example, have you met most of them, how do you choose artwork etc, please feel free to tell us anything you like.
I have met nearly all of the Matinée artists and have become close friends with many. It is much easier to work with somebody once you have met face to face so I make this a priority whenever possible. I am involved with artwork on every Matinée release. There are a few bands that present nearly finished artwork but others give me a blank canvas which is always great fun. Some releases have 10 or more sleeve designs before we finalize our choice. The artwork is almost always collaborative and the delays are mostly mine because I agonize over little details that most people never notice.
4. Finally, your upcoming release is a Brighter compilation due in early September. Do you have any further plans made already, and what are your wishes for the label in the future?
We just released great EPs from Harper Lee and Lovejoy that should be on every hipster’s shopping list already. Next up is the fantastic 20-track Brighter compilation ‘Out To Sea’ you mentioned which includes classics from the Sarah Records catalog along with six previously unreleased songs. Also coming soon is the debut full-length from Seattle’s Math and Physics Club who, in the span of just over a year, have become one of the top selling Matinée artists to date. The new album is a modern masterpiece that deserves to break through to the masses and just might be the best album we’ve ever released. We are also just finalizing negotiations with a brilliant new Matinée band but we’ll keep that a secret for a few more weeks. Check the website in September for more details! Next year is our ten year anniversary too so we’ll try to celebrate accordingly with shows in California and someplace in Europe since most of our bands are still there. It’s time for a proper Matinée festival don’t you think?
My favourite: (motivate shortly please)
song released on Matinée: ‘Train Not Stopping’ by Harper Lee, although ‘Graduation Day’ from Math and Physics Club is a serious challenger and ‘Wallflower’ from the forthcoming Brighter compilation cannot be overlooked.
festival: Greek (generally the best in every town). That’s not what you were looking for I know but…
albums ever: I don’t have much patience for albums to be honest. Give me a good EP or one great song and I’m happy. Some of the greatest songs ever recorded (aside from Matinée releases) include ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ by The Smiths, ‘Obscurity Knocks’ by Trash Can Sinatras, and ‘Happy When It Rains’ by Jesus and Mary Chain, plus undoubtedly something from The Bodines, The House of Love, The Brilliant Corners, The Colourfield, Adorable, James Dean Driving Experience, Orange Juice, Biff Bang Pow!, Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes, The Housemartins, East Village, The Wild Swans, The Jam, Fun Boy Three, The Servants, The Wedding Present… Lots of 80s bands, I know. For contemporary pop I count on Clearlake and The Radio Dept. to keep me happy.