The Farewell, Matt McDermott Interview
The third Altered States is tonight. And if you aren’t hip to this party, you betta get with it. It’s one of my favorites, and it only happens once a year. What used to occur in the now defunct, but oh so revered Helter Shelter has relocated to the bad ass space that is Chinatown Inn, which you’ll recognize from Humanaut’s highly regarded Halloween parties. Past Altered States alumni include Blondes and Protect-U, as well as locals TM Eye, Expensive Shit and Gangwish. We had a chance to ask Altered States organizer Matt McDermott (alongside Tom Cox) a few questions, since he is leaving his home in the Pgh for the greener pastures of LA. This guy has a lot of history here, and he surely will be missed in this scene. So sit back and read up as we reminisce on what this fantastic fella has accomplished during his time here in the Pgh.
Kymbo Slice: Can you tell us about some of the events in Pittsburgh that you’ve been involved with through the years?
Matt McDermott: I have had the pleasure of being involved in everything from poorly attended experimental shows to working on the VIA festival and VIA presents events. Bands started hitting me up for shows years ago and I’ve gotten better at it as time goes on. If an act can have one of their best shows in Pittsburgh, I think it’s good for everyone.
KS: This is the third Altered States – what inspired this series and are there plans on continuing it since you will be leaving us?
MM: I had a house party at the place I’ve been living in Squirrel Hill to celebrate the release of a 12″ record and see a friend off to NY. Bands and deejays played. It was a special night. Tom Cox (Pittsburgh Track Authority) was in the house and approached me stating that he wanted to expand the feel of this event to a larger (but still underground) venue with pro sound. At the same time, I feel like there is a burgeoning underground of young musicians making heady, deep sounds from a more DIY perspective. We tend to focus on these live acts, crack deejays, and what we see as some of the freshest acts in PGH. Blondes and Future Times crew (AS I and II) worked out amazing as performers and people for the first two events – I can only imagine the same will be true for Innergaze and Marcellus Pittman. Aurora Halal (Innergaze) has a party in NYC called Mutual Dreaming, and I think we see things in a similar way. Absolute pleasure to establish this connection. We hope to bring this party back at some point, there’s so many acts (local and national) that we want to work with. The party is about using a raw, unexpected space to bring vital live acts and deejays together in a way that feels more unique than a typical club experience.
KS: Tell us more about the bands you’ve played in. What will happen to your band now that you’re leaving?
MM: I played in a band called Harangue for many years – it was the band I learned to play pop music in and we finally got a bit of love after we broke up. I am still extremely close with everyone involved. The past few years things have kind of opened up. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to collaborate with people. I feel like everyone in a certain scene is playing with everyone, and it’s a good, productive feeling. Sam Pace, Caulen Kress and I recorded an LP as Gangwish that is out on Ulja Factory in the spring. Sam is such a respected drummer, it’s been an honor to play with him. He is also a force of nature who will continue this project solo or with whatever collaborators he sees fit. Had a good time playing with the homie Mike Kasunic and friends in Tusk Lord for a bit, but Mike is focusing on Slices, Pay the Rent and something called “Napkin Boy tapes” right now. Also, had the pleasure of playing in a rock group Passengers (now disbanded), and doing some ongoing collaborations with Nicerec. Big things are coming from all these people, but it remains to be seen if collaboration continues from the west coast as I’m not the most production savvy person. Excited for new things and to focus on some of my own jams.
KS: I believe you’re moving to LA – What inspired that?
MM: My girlfriend got transferred through her job. I went to check it out in August and feel that the city is a pretty fertile creative playing field right now. Pittsburgh is home, but trying something new might get more difficult as time goes on.
KS: What will you miss most about Pgh?
MM: My friends, food, parties, Gooski’s, cheap rent, Squirrel Hill, record stores. I moved to Pittsburgh in 2001 for school without knowing a soul. The generosity and kindness that people have shown to me (and that I’ve hopefully been able to pass on) is stunning. Pittsburgh is changing fairly rapidly, things are possible today that were not possible three years ago. Can’t wait to see what happens.
We need more great people like him in the Pgh. Join us as we bid farewell during tonight’s last hoorah, which is sure to go down as one of the best parties of the year! Set times below:
Stage 1 (2nd Floor)
Nicerec – 9-10
Newtronn – 10-11:30
Pay the Rent 11:30 – 12:15
Expensive Shit – 12:15 – 1:15
Ed Um – 1:15 – 2:15
Stage 2 (3rd Floor)
Spoilers – 9-10:30
Gangwish – 10:30 – 11:15
Innergaze – 11:15 – 12:15
Pittsburgh Track Authority – 12:15 – 1:15
Marcellus Pittman – 1:15 – end