The Infidel Netwerk Interview
SBS: Brother-man! Appreciate you taking some time out of your day to talk to me – it’s been a while! That being said…I’ve known you long enough to know that anytime you’re silent it’s also because you’ve been super-busy; and just because I haven’t heard from you for a while doesn’t mean the rest of the world hasn’t, you’re posting-up all the time at the Infidel Netwerk. Tell the people out there what your site is all about for those that haven’t visited yet and give’em a couple reasons to head over there!
Matt: The Infidel Netwerk is a platform of independent musicians, artists, and freethinkers who look to promote and collaborate their thoughts and creations without the inhibitions of corporate control. Though I can’t speak for every member of the organization, we’re generally anti-Capitalist, anti-Establishment, and we seek to engage our audiences with innovative content that pushes past the regular boundaries of what you would hear on the mainstream. There is no filters, no holdbacks, no censorship, only love. And The Netwerk is free to join, all you gotta do is have the Infidel Netwerk name in the description of your content and you’ll get automatic coverage on all your old and new content on my website. We have an extensive blog archive that contains album reviews, artist interviews, as well as fresh new tracks, albums, and music videos. Also contained on the site are a few other sections including an Artist Encyclopedia of all the Infidel Netwerk artists (which has a full biography for the artists as well as links to all their available releases, music videos, social media content, etc), a Release section which contains a chronological listing of all Infidel Netwerk artists releases, a Services section which offers various things that Infidel Netwerk artists offer (including mixing and mastering, beat creation, video editing, and artwork creation services, amongst other things), and a Video section which contains an embedded playlist of all Infidel Netwerk member’s music videos in reverse chronological order (newest to oldest). So we have a lot of content, and we cover music of pretty much any and all genres. So if you’re into a variety of different things and want fresh, new, and unique content, this is the place to go. Also if you’re a musician, artist, or writer who wants to get their content out there on a website with a decent community, and want an opportunity to get it out there uncensored, we are open to join as long you agree to the basic philosophies of the crew! Just send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we can see if you are the right fit.
SBS: What gets you out of bed in the morning to do all the work you’re doing for the independent music-scene? As one of the few people out there that understands all that goes into what you do and the enormous self-imposed workload that comes with it – what makes it all worthwhile for you to do at all and what are the intangible personal benefits that people wouldn’t realize come with the territory?
Matt: Sometimes I question myself, because I have so much content I could do just by myself (I’ve been involved in over a dozen musical projects over the years, and the activity of the projects I’m involved in are rarely reliant on me, I’m always down to make music). I’ve got hundreds of unreleased tracks and I’m writing new music daily. So sometimes I just think “why don’t I turn The Infidel Netwerk into a self-indulgent promotion network for my stuff”. But then that’s exactly what it would be.
I’m so much more about community and love. And I’ve had some struggles along the way finding people who see things the same way, but in the end the people you do find really make it worth it. The things I’ve done with other people are far different than anything I’d ever do by myself, and I find it goes on to evolve what I do, so there is a bit of a self-indulgent aspect to collaboration. But all in all, it’s a lot more work to get everybody on the same page time wise, concept wise, and financially wise, so struggle on you must if you wanna do it. But I think the struggle is worth it because in the end it’s only together we can work to bring down the tyrannies that are so present in our world.
In the West we live in a very open tyranny where Corporations and Special Interest groups control everything and more and more crush our physical and mental capacities. Wealth is unfortunately a representation of how much we can do in this world, and as the wealth is being transferred more and more to the wealthy, and we are forced more and more to work at jobs we hate, producing things or doing things that most likely destroy the planet we depend on, only to get less and less wages that are worth less and less… it’s a massive scam that ultimately prevents people from actually connecting, creating, and being who they are supposed to be. Only together as a community can we create alternatives. So I think beyond the music, beyond the love of community, there’s also a very political reason for all of this too.
I can’t win in politics because it’s a rigged system, but I can provide an alternative voice, community, and maybe even eventually a system of difference/opposition to the crap that’s going on today. Maybe I can give people some hope that will actually inspire people to rally up and help contribute to this new direction our world needs to go in if we plan to succeed all together here on this planet of limited space and resources. Especially considering looking into space things seem pretty bleak, so I wanna make it work here… together… creating beautiful things. Not go to another planet that’s already dead and try to colonize there. Nope, I’m an Earthling through and through, and as a bunch of crazy little Earthlings we need to band together to do some real good. I know we have it in us, so let’s do it guys!
SBS: Positive or negative Matt – what’s on your mind when it comes to the state of music in the mainstream right now? What about the independent-scene? What needs to change or improve? What’s going in the right direction?
Matt: I have positive and negative things to say. I think that the amount of connectivity we have as artists, and flexibility we have as musicians, is really giving us unparalleled opportunities to create music that is truly boundless in scope. We have unlimited redos, unlimited tracks, unlimited instances of effects and instruments, unlimited everything really if you know how to play your technology right. We can communicate and create with anyone across the world. The power of the software and hardware out there is stuff that techno junkies from the 90s could only dream of as they first got a glimpse of PC Computer based recording and composing technology. This stuff is amazing. And people are regularly innovating new instruments and technology to make it more sophisticated. The fusion between hardware and software is also extremely promising.
However, with the death of the record label, and the rise of the internet, there is more music than ever. Which should be, and to a certain an extent is, a good thing. But due to the ease of making music, a lot of this extensive content isn’t of a very high quality sounding or of an original nature. Some people lack the skills, some people lack the creative spark, and some people lack the ability to get their stuff mixed, whatever the case because of the internet, and dwindling capabilities of the traditional distribution methods, more and more of these artists who would normally be getting sorted out by record labels are now getting all their stuff up everywhere. And unfortunately with this horde of music being pushed out from every angle, the natural limitations of the consumer’s time they will spend searching for new music, as well as the natural chaotic and weblike nature of the internet, it’s can be quite difficult to connect good content with an increasingly apathetic and busy audience… who frankly isn’t pay for music anyways when it can be increasingly streamed, pirated, or ignored in favor of everyone’s increasingly busy lives.
Then of course there’s the fact that artists aren’t making money, and aren’t getting picked up, and there’s a lot of artists who are just frankly skeevy… Between the poor prospects of success and the amount of people willing to backstab you to get that success…the whole experience can put a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths. It can make people become afraid to collaborate, and often rightfully so. However, in my opinion the only way we’re gonna do what the record labels used to do is by working together to make things happen. Record labels succeeding by providing a team for an artist. An artist needs to build their own team, and it can’t all be groupies. You need skilled people. And how do you get skilled people to help you? By helping them too. Where there’s a will there’s a way, where there’s a talent there’s a use. People need to learn to become multi-proficient in a few different things, people need to be open and honest in their business practices, and people need to work together to build teams. Or we will all stay at the bottom forever in obscurity. I understand the need to keep an eye out for skeevy people, and here’s an instant red flag, someone who avoids talking about any contracts or someone who continually delays signing a contract. If a person ain’t willing to set a fair number on everyone’s work, then it’s not worth the headache of trying to work with them. It’s too hard to fight over the money later when someone feels like either success is coming, or worse yet when the success comes. Nobody wants a legal battle… deal with the business before anything gets finished, or even better yet recorded! Get the business done first, then forget about it and get back to the music. Anyone with the level head (which is the people you wanna be working with) will hopefully see it the same way.
SBS: The Infidel Netwerk also hosts an impressive & deep roster of bands & artists kicking all kinds of ass…you’ve got your genres that you specialize in, but you’ve also got the skills & talent required to take-on any kind of style or sound…so in your heart-of-hearts, what kind of music do you truly seek-out to produce? What does an artist/band HAVE to have for you to want to work with the people and/or the music?
Matt: The Infidel Netwerk, and by extension myself, will host and produce bands of any style and caliber, as long as they have an open mind, produce original content, and have no oppositions to the general working philosophy of the collective, which can be found on my website in a manifesto. I’m actually in the middle of writing an expansion to it, which takes the more philosophical content I have presented and translates it into a direct working philosophy for the Netwerk. Take things from the theoretical to the practical in a sense. But yeah, other than that, I’ll work with anybody who shows a genuine passion and interest in their music. If I can tell that they love their music and what they’re doing, and that it’s about the music first and any profits later, that right there will give me an instant desire for connection.
As for my personal preferences as to what I like to produce, I like generally like all music, except really country. But if you wanna track some of my musical history: My first love when I was small kid was like pop and disco music. Soft rock and shit like that. Whatever my parents played, gobbled it up. Melody always stuck in my heart. Helps that piano was the first instrument I ever learned to play, and have continued to play my whole life. I also have always been a huge singer. Big into the choir boy, or soundtracky type stuff. Big well pronounced cleanly sung crooning speaks to my soul. However as I got older, naturally the grooves and rhythm inherent in hip-hop and rap caught my attention. Quickly it became one of my favorite genres, with me and quite a few other youngsters getting heavily into online bootlegged tracks from things like Limewire and Napster and bullshit ike that. To this day, I don’t think I own a physical rap album, I buy all my stuff digital these day. Simultaneously I got exposed to hard rock and metal, though I think it took me a couple years before it sunk it as hard, but it sunk it way harder. I was a bit older then had a bit of money… so I sunk a pretty hefty change in an impressive hard rock and metal CD collection. By the time I hit grade 6 I was getting moodier and bands like Godsmack, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and Rob Zombie were in their prime. Followed shortly were bands like Slipknot and Korn, and then I quickly head smashed my way right into the harder stuff like Black Metal, Death Metal, Sludge, all the good grime. I dwelled in that abyss till about I was 16, and then I got really hardcore into electronic music after my buddy introduced me to Skinny Puppy. After that I started exploring every avenue of electronic music from the more poppier stuff to the weirder and more experimental stuff to the more dancey stuff to the more progressive and psychedelic stuff. Everywhere really no boundaries off limits, as I inherently saw all electronic music as very psychedelic in nature.
And from there I basically said fuck it to trying to focus or consider myself a fan of any particular genre. I sort of listen to shifting playlists of all genres of music… except country… never country. I keep myself focused and inspired by everything. I consider myself pretty egoless, so I can sort of shift and adapt to any musical situation or artistic characteristic. Given enough time to digest and analyze things, I can mold myself to anything and actually find myself getting lost in and enjoying the experience. I love all forms of creative expression truly… express country… ughh… everyones got one hate I guess…
If I was forced to only produce one music for the rest of my life though, it definitely would be experimental industrial music. You can sort of do anything in that, sort of a kind of a cheat genre… but that’s what I’d choose.
SBS: I know you’re working with great people & musicians for the most part when it comes to recording. So theoretically-speaking…just out of sheer curiosity…would it be possible for you to work with people that suck if the music was still really awesome? While it might be obvious to you in terms of what would make you want to work with an artist/band…how do you know you’ll be the right ‘fit’ for them in return? How is the connection established between you and a band you’re producing and how involved do/don’t you become in the sound of the finished product?
Matt: I think in the past I would have been really open to working with more challenging or difficult individuals. However, after having some experiences in the past I think that I would be more hesitant now to do so. The only way I’d help someone who would be considered “more difficult to work with” at this point is if they had a clear vision, a track record of completion of projects (or at least some serious content for me to work with that shows me this character can get their ideas into fruition… if you don’t have past work uploaded somewhere, come to me with some form of demo or a portfolio or something), and if we could work out a clear and signed business contract that deals with all of the possibilities that would come up on the financial end of things. My biggest issue at this point is I don’t wanna put time into something that I’d have difficulties releasing.
I’ve actually recently set up a contract for my artists that states any music that I do work on, whether from a production sense or from a mixing and mastering sense, I have full rights to promote and release it, as much promotion rights as the artist themselves does, as long as that I of course honor the royalty percentages that all of the artists are entitled to. This will means that if for some reason a release that I’ve done work on gets taken down I have the rights to republish it on my own accord. Having contracts I’ve heard can do wonders from saving you from the backlash of “sucky” people.
As for me being the right fit, I generally only personally contact artists that I want to record, mix, master, or collaborate with if they seem to have an artistic vision that parallels to my own in some way. It may not be an obvious parallel to everyone at first, I’ve worked with a pretty diverse crowd, and you’ll see from my music history above that I sort of jump between all sorts of music, so I find parallels everywhere, especially considering I try to be open minded and find something I like about things before I try to find anything I dislike. Always look to see the positive in your reality around you, and you’ll find so many more doors open up to you.
As for my level of hands-on… I think it depends on the artist. Most projects I mix or master have been stuff I’ve directly been involved in some level of collaboration. However, more recently I’ve picked up quite a few hip-hop artists and the situation has been a bit different. One artist I was only doing mixing and mastering for, I would consider that my most casual project out of everything I’ve done regarding my involvement. I made the album sound beefin’, but the beats were pre-purchased by the artist from a variety of producers, and all the lyrics and sound was provided by him. However the other artists are using beats by Infidel Netwerk artists, including some of my beats, so it’s a bit of a different situation there as my sound certainly creeps onto the album in that sense. However regarding mixing on pretty much any project where there’s another artist as the main vocalist, my main focus is on retaining clarity of the artist’s vocal performance, the clarity of the original instrumental, and then I try to find out how to blend them the best way as possible. Once the other artist gets onboard I try to minimize my coloring, and leave all the “coloring” to when I write the music. If an artist like a track and wants to write their lyrics over it, I try not to “remix” the track they originally liked in the first place too much beyond getting their vocals balanced in the mix and the overall clarity and loudness of the track to be pristine.
SBS: Name some names bud…who have you been talking to, producing or listening to lately out there that the people should know about? Who or what has surprised you the most in 2017 so far & why?
Matt: Well right now Abyss the Mighty Void and Bud-Ski, two local Langley Hip-Hop veterans who are actually friends, have joined my crew as my most recent produced bands. I have an album for each artist completed. Actually at the time of writing this I’m only hours away from starting the last recording session for Abyss’s album, and tomorrow I will be doing the last recording session for Bud-Ski’s album. Busy couple of days!
These guys have some serious work ethic that no other artists I’ve worked with have been able to match. These albums will have been recorded in I believe 6 and 4 sessions each. They come in and bang out 2-3 tracks almost every time, and the performances are damn near flawless. Truly these guys make my mixing job that much easier by coming in so well prepared. Also some of the beats on the albums are gonna be ones produced by myself, which these artists are the first hip-hop artists other than myself to use beats I’ve made so this will be interesting to see how it all fits. So far the reaction’s been pretty good from whom I’ve shown, so I’m excited to get it out to you all.
Not produced by me, but damn I wish it was, Modular Reaper Imager is releasing one of the hardest electro-industrial albums I’ve ever heard. Reminiscing back to the mid-era noisey career of Skinny Puppy, but taking a very modern production edge, this isn’t a release any of you rivetheads are gonna wanna miss!
Tunnelmental Experimental Assembly, a genre hopping psychedelic dance-pop trio will be releasing the first full length album since 2013, and there’s been several music videos and singles released, as well as remixes with other artists in promotion of it. Honestly, I’d recommend it to anyone unless you have a particular hate on electronic music. Honestly good catchy music through and through.
Wonder Dark, a Brazilian post-punk and darkwave band are in works for their 4th full length album! For those in fan of the lo-fi sounds of South American darkwave, this will be a treat for you.
LICH, an American Experimental Electro-Industrial & Metal artist is working on his third full length album, a continuation of a series of albums depicting a post-apocalyptic world as envisioned through the eyes of the mysterious LICH character he has created. It’s a very grand epic presentation, and if you’re into harder music it’s worthy of a listen. Not your run of the mill chug away industrial metal, it’s very avant-garde and progressive in song structure and scope. I’d highly recommend it!
I also have new music some of my own projects coming out.
Ultra LHT Voyeur is probably something none of you have ever heard before. A project that is a collaboration between him and myself instrumentally, with him doing all of the vocals, and then me doing all the recording, mixing, and mastering. The music crosses so many different genres it’s hard to explain, but sort of think Indie-Electronica-Trap-Hop or something like that. It’s pretty wild, and every song really has its own character. No two sound the same. And his vocals are very avant-garde, touching on some very mind expanding subjects. We got quite a few singles out, and are working on getting a full length album out by early next month.
Jenova Project, which does a mixture of experimental electronic and vocal pop music, had it’s first single from a new album called iAMgod[e-mbraceSAT-n] which in itself is going to be part of a multi-album storyarch called “The Zevolution Saga”. It’s a way of cleaning house and sort of cohesively releasing the hundreds of tracks I have in my archive that I’ve made over the last 5 or 6 years that have to this point gone unreleased. Expect a lot more music, and hopefully some videos and writings, to be released from this project.
Then I have my hip-hop project, which I describe a bit more below in detail, called M-Fap…
Last but not least I have a collaboration EP that was finished last year but got delayed due to some stupid scheduling issues on my end with LICH. It’s aptly entitled LICH vs Jenova Project and tells the story of a Dystopia Future where robots have taken over earth, and there is an intelligent super AI that is controlling everything. The twist is that the robots start discovering the old human relics of faith and spirituality and it actually causes consciousness to form independent of the main overlord AI in the independent robots, which of course leads to a rebellion. It’s really cool stuff. It’s a first part of series of EPs we plan to release if we can get our scheduling intact, but in the meantime I’m hoping to get the release remastered on my new setup (because I got new speakers and re-arranged my studio better acoustically since it was originally mixed, so I wanna see if I can make it sound that much tighter) and get our first release out to you.
You can find info on all these artists at my site on the artist encyclopedia.
SBS: If I’m not mistaken…new M-Fap video for “Sexual Energy” just hit the internet not too long ago as well. People like you and I end up talking about other people’s music day-in & day-out…and even though we’re always happy to do it, generally speaking I know my own music tends to come last on my list of things to-do and I’m sure you’re in the same boat by now. But M-Fap…for those that don’t know…is YOUR project…YOUR music…so truly brother, forget about the rest of the world for one solitary moment here will ya? Tell us about the music of M-Fap and what it means to you & what’s coming up next? *cough *cough…shameless promotions of the upcoming record absolutely acceptable here…
Matt: M-Fap is an experimental pseudo-satire hip-hop act which I do in partnership with my buddy Bubba Gummzes. It’s very thematic in nature, with everything being extremely tongue in buttcheek. We have two music videos including “Sexual Energy”, and a strange promotional video as well, with singles available for download for each of these songs. They are part of a 9 track album that we have done called Palace Of Fap, which tells the story of the Grand Fap, a man with many faces and personalities who gets himself into strange and amusing situations that often defy social expectations, or even reality. Half the beats for the album are done by myself and the other half are done by my buddy Bubba. Every track is gonna have a music video, shot and edited by Mr. Gummzes, and we are actually shooting the next music video for the project this weekend. Looking forward to getting that out to you as well! I actually have as well, a second 9 track album already recorded and finished that sort of acts as a quasi-sequel to Palace of Fap, it’s completely produced by myself and takes things in a much darker direction… and then of course I’m already working on recording a third album with my buddy Bubba Gummzes doing most if not all of the beats for that one. It’s gonna be busy times trying to get all this released in between all my other stuff, but I do this full time so I think I can do it with the right time management. Oh, I also have a release of 10 tracks which combines two previous EPs already released on my Bandcamp. It combines two previous EPs I released under the project. All the music is free download, so check it out: https://m-fap.bandcamp.com/
SBS: I just realized that we’ve probably known each other for about seven years or so now eh? You wanna give the people the history or should I? Feel free to tell the story of how we met from your own perspective man…it’s kind of a bizarre story isn’t it? Looking back on it all now to who we were, or who we were trying to be, versus who we’ve become…I think we got lucky in many ways. Hard work counts for a ton too for sure…but ultimately, lucky we’ve been able to pursue something we love doing rather than toiling for the man at some meaningless j-o-b don’t you think? Fuck I hated the corporate me…I’m sure you couldn’t have been much of a fan of that guy either…but we did end up spending a ton of time working directly together, and I suppose if it wasn’t for that shitty job, I wouldn’t even know ya. Worth the ride for sure…I had no idea then that I’d become who I am now…all the same for you I suppose? What’s the full-story Matt?
Matt: Many of the greatest meetings have come from the strangest occurrences. Ours no less. Washing laundry. Industrial scale. Oh boy, and was it one of the wackiest jobs I’ve ever worked. Just prior I was doing the machine work at Dead Frog Brewery, and their machinery was a bit junky and wacked, so I felt I was ready for anything. Well… apparently not for constantly failing (if I’m correct?) german industrial scale semi-automated industrial scale washer and dryer system that looked like they were from the 60s and no longer had parts made for them cause the company went bust. CINTAS, was an interesting place. One of the prior guys to me had actually died as well, so as a result the company had to make all these god awful safety restrictions which made my already difficult job that much harder to do. So I got this job when my kid was still a baby, and I was really trying to get myself and my family ahead doing something that made some decent money. And Jeremy was at the time, very much prior to Sleeping Bag Studios, working as a manager there. He dealt with me quite a bit, very patient man who sort of mentored me the whole time, giving me a pep talk or two while I was there to help me keep my head in the game.
One conversation in particular really resonated with me where it was suggested in more or less terms that I take a “mystical retreat to get to know myself”… which I ended up doing, and let’s just say I got to know myself. So thank you for that friend, much of that process of “getting to know myself” helped inspire the thoughts, creativity, and self-awareness that has allowed me to do what I do now. Kudos to you man!
Alas, the job did not work… even my skills could keep that place from falling apart and on my watch some machinery ended up going completely kaput… which I couldn’t provide adequate description of exactly what went down, or how it could have been dealt with better, which led to my dismissal. Oh well, all things for better for I am here where I am today because I am not doing laundry!
Interestingly enough, me and Jer bumped heads again when I looked up his band Balls Deep In Your Stepmom (a name I could never forget) and then reached out to him to see what he was up to those days. I ended up going out to his place a couple of times to get some advice on how to take The Infidel Netwerk to the next level, and once again Jer you really helped give me some solid ideas which helped me build the foundations of what I’m doing today. We can just go on and say it, I’m your protege of sorts! So again kudos and thank you for doing everything you do man.
SBS: There were points during the first five years of SBS where I did end up going back to work to part-time jobs to make sure the site itself would still exist. Hated them all, but did them in an effort to get by. Each time it happened…or even points where I’d consider going back again for whatever reason, always felt like it was accompanied by a feeling of danger that I’d get sucked back into the corporate world again or working a meaningless 9-5 job somewhere rather than doing what I love to do. From your own experience Matt…how do you go about protecting your own existence at The Infidel Netwerk? Obviously we get that the music-business comes & goes…but it also takes an enormous amount of care & confidence to continue down a path where the main motivation comes from within, know what I mean? It can be tough when it’s all up to you alone, pass or fail…no matter what job, passion or pursuit it may be…give us some insight into what a day in the life of Matt is like and all that goes into running The Infidel Netwerk.
Matt: Infidel Netwerk sort of offers a couple different components. I do recording, mixing, and mastering services. Recordings are planned usually 3-7 days in advance, and are done during the morning and early afternoon hours, or in the later evening hours. Most of my recordings take place at night, and I do a lot of mixing and mastering during the day. If I’m on schedule for my mixing and mastering services for other artists, I will then accordingly attempt to fit in recording, mixing, and/or mastering times for my own personal projects.
There is also some new hip-hop artists locally that I’ve picked up to record albums to be released under The Infidel Netwerk (Abyss the Mighty Void and Bud-Ski, I mentioned in above question), and they quite like the instrumentals I’ve been creating, so I’ve started making hip-hop beats for them as well. And it looks like this will expand to be a more frequent thing, as more and more artists are liking my beats and are considering working with the Netwerk.
And then if I wasn’t already enough bouncing between lots of creative tasks I also do videography myself as well. The first Matt & Colin music was edited by myself, and the Big M.I.C. I did all the videography for. My buddy Mr. Gummzes does all the video editing nowadays, and he’s way better at it, so that’s one less task on my plate. However, I’m usually there for all of the videography days, either playing a role in the video, helping set the video up, or doing some videography myself. I like to make myself useful so these videos can be made on as little budget as possible! But yeah, Gummzes does all the endless hours of editing on the computer, if I had to that I think it would be impossible to balance all my tasks. Thank you Bubba!
On top of my creative duties there is also my website duties. I update my blog with all the newest singles, videos, albums, etc from the artists I produce of course. And then of course there is also a relatively diverse group of people that I promote across the world, that I don’t produce for, but whom share a similar musical philosophical attitude. Whenever one of the artists has new content come out I always do a post on my blog which contains a description and/or review of the content as well as an embedded stream of the content in question for easy previewing, plus of course links back to all of the artist’s major websites and social media profiles. I always try to keep the hype up for The Infidel Netwerk by not only having constant content, but also by giving these underground artists a home where they can have frequent coverage.
Also, when I have time (you’d be surprised how much time I manage to fit myself…) I send messages to other artists that I find interesting and ask them to do interviews (both text based for people farther away or video based if they are local), or occasionally when an artist will offer me a promotional copy of their release I’ll write a review for it as well. These things are all sort of “random events” and happen as connections are made. However I really enjoy taking the time as doing reviews and interviews as they are a great opportunity to make awesome new professional contacts as well as bring new audiences to the site. Also many of the artists I’ve done interviews or reviews for have gone on to become Infidel artists which is pretty cool to!
Lastly, something I’m just starting to get into the workings off more is merchandise, live shows, and limited run physical releases for music. This is gonna take some financial investment, which finances are tight right now as so much of this work is just setting the bedding for the empire I’m attempting to build, but with some budgeting efficiency, a little money coming from projects, and some financial investment from the players at hand I think it’s gonna happen. I’ve also recently discovered print-to-demand companies that will let you set up custom stores, and that’s a total game changer. You can already get M-Fap merchandise through Redbubble, and I’m planning on getting much more merchandise from other Infidel Netwerk artists in the near future. Obviously the profit is much smaller on print to demand, but if I can make some money there then I can fuel it into getting more bulk product at a cheaper price at a later date. Take things step by step. Interestingly enough, as the steps get taken I can see a whole other potential project being here as far as merchandising potential goes with the Infidel Netwerk artists since so many of them are active visual artists as well as musicians. I could honestly see Infidel Netwerk designing and selling clothing that is so cool looking, and so popular, that it becomes independent of the music that inspired it. But we shall see… I dream big, and I wanna tackle from a lot of different angles. To do that I’m gonna need to gather a team of people that see the same vision. Hopefully people see the potential as big as I do!
Overall, one of my biggest struggles has been to get all of these tasks organized into a semi-consistent time schedule (if that’s even possible). Since I’m sort of a mastermind behind a lot of different tasks and projects, including the site management itself, I think it’s becoming more imperative than ever then I get that side of things figured out, and possibly starting delegating some of the tasks to other people. Once again, endless thanks to Bubba Gummzes. I wouldn’t be doing half as good with my M-Fap project without him, there’d be no Big M.I.C. music video, and there would also be none of the many music videos which are coming to a YouTube in a very near future. Having the right minds in the right places helping you along your journey totally makes the wildest of differences then doing everything yourself. It’s great to be able to do everything, but it’s not practical to actually be doing everything.
SBS: Does it get easier over time? Does it get more difficult? As the whole project has progressed for you…what’s changed along the way and how have you adapted to make whatever changes necessary to establish The Infidel Netwerk as a viable entity that will last? What challenges did you face in the first years of running it & how did you get past them? What challenges do you face now and what’s the next step in the evolution of The Infidel Netwerk – or is it all right where you want it to be right now? How do you define success Matt – what are the metrics you personally use to measure that or philosophies that you subscribe to…you know what I mean…I think…
Matt: Has it gotten easier over time? Yes and no. I think during the beginning things were fun and easy. The whole thing wasn’t so much a responsibility so much as commitment, a commitment to a series of projects that I wanted to be part of. It wasn’t until other people stopped being able to make those commitments, for life factors beyond their control so no hard feelings or anything, and that I was left with this body of work that I had difficulties doing anything with, that I sort of decided to take things more seriously. Originally I was just trying to get a bunch of friends I knew all together in network so we could all record together, play together, get names together. When my friends stopped being able to participate as much I had to decide do I want to continue doing what I’m doing a just focus on my stuff? Or do I stop The Infidel Netwerk and completely and re-tool brands to just be my own name or project? Or do I maybe become more professional and try to establish myself as a more wider-reaching entity. Well, we all know what ended up happening, and it sort of forced me to think more realistically about what I wanted.
How was I gonna make daily posts without having people in my studio daily? I worked out a bunch of strategies as I’ve described in other questions. And it’s been a steady battle for me to figure out a formula that works, and to be consistent with myself in getting the material finished and posted up on the interwebs. Not gonna lie, I don’t really enjoy the web design aspect of stuff. If I could get someone else do the website and promotion stuff, someone that I could trust and who had a good voice, I’d let them start taking over at least some of the duties overnight. It’d allow me to focus so much more on creating original content which is my drive and focus. However, in the light of having more writers, content providers, or web developer types, I’d rather keep the name going myself.
So I will say that’s the biggest challenge I face: balancing original content with managing the promotional aspect of things. Something that I’m actually gonna be trying to tackle is getting greater communication and forewarning from Infidel Netwerk artists about when they’re gonna release stuff, so I can organize my schedule a bit better. I think ultimately one of my biggest curveballs is coming home to want to do some recording, only to spend the night doing posts. I’d much rather get the posts done ahead of time, so I can have my head in the game for writing during writing time, and my head in the game for recording during recording time. They really are completely different mindsets and emotions that I channel to do my best, and timing will help me do my best and do it efficiently.
The other major challenge has been protecting my intellectual property. Though I have all the multi-tracks, and pretty solid proof of my continual promotion and distribution of the content for most of my releases, there has been in the past artists whom have either cut of communication with me leaving band accounts inaccessible to me or projects half-finished and no explicit permission to release them on my own terms. That sort of stuff wastes my time, and I’m gonna be implementing contracts to protect my time investment by guaranteeing me promotional rights to any content that I work on, and the rights to finish any products that don’t get completed after a. I think it’s pretty simple cause the same contract will guarantee the artists their royalty rights as well as promotional rights of their own, so it’s a win-win situation really.
For me I don’t believe in success. I only believe in endless progress. We as entities are continually being chased by entropy. There is sink or swim, there is no stagnation. Stagnation is just the denial of decay. I plan to keep pushing forward, expanding until I create something so big it explodes and creates black holes and rips this planet apart. Or so big that is liberates the planet. But for some reason my mind always jumps to the former before the latter… oh well. Long story short, success for me will be staying alive to continue to do what I’m doing now in ever improved fashion. I’d consider myself to be quite spiritually successful right now. I’m doing what I love every day, with people that believe in me. I’m with the mother of my child, and my family has unified morals and loves each other and their community. And we seem to get a whole lotta love back from our community. The only things we could have more of us probably food, and maybe opportunities to attend social gatherings, so for that sense I really would like some financial reward from all this sweat and toil at some point. Let the dragon out his den already?! I won’t burn anyone I promise. I just wanna rave like the rest of you folk. But yeah, other than a bit of need for more social activity, I got pretty much everything I want. Love, creativity, health, and despite wanting to get out a lot of friends come to me so I get social activity. Matt’s pretty damn happy despite any setbacks or negativity reality or people try to throw at me.
SBS: In our professions, we tend to end up giving advice to people all the time about what to listen to. Or when we’re dealing with bands/artists direct, often we’re giving advice to people on their music, sound, style etc. Quite often…there’s one piece of the puzzle that we never actually get to address all that often – which is the listeners out there. If you have any advice for people on ‘how’ to actually listen to music and really take it all in differently than they might be experiencing it now – what would that be? What could a person do on their own that might lead them to discover a new genre or style of music they wouldn’t think they’d like and come out as a new fan – any recommendations?
Matt: Keep an open mind. Re-listen to bands you thought you didn’t like. Don’t write of a genre just because someone shows you a bunch of bands from it you don’t like. I know metalheads who hate each other’s taste of music… same thing with rappers… country artists even. One person’s representation of a style, and the medium through which they convey it to you, doesn’t always accurately represent an entire style or feel. I thought I hated Led Zeppelin. But then I just realized I didn’t wanna be around a bunch of drooling fanboys jerking off over the amazing sound through their tiny little portable amp they drag around and plug their ipod into. That leads to my next point, think about what you’re listening on. Most earbuds you pick up in the store suck. And most computer speakers suck. And don’t get me started on the quality of speakers on people’s phones. None of these count for quality listening experiences. Especially when you’re already getting things that are compressed (Which means loss of audio quality) so that they can be on sites like YouTube or SoundCloud. Even the process of making something into an Mp3 (which is the most common form which people listen to music these days) squishes the audio and reduces the clarity and brightness of the music. There are benefits to buying CDs or even better Vinyls, the clarity and audio quality will be higher. And there is a benefit to having a decent pair of speakers or headphones to listen on. The combination of quality audio, decent playback system, and an open mind can bring you a long way in the listening experience.
SBS: Alright brother…you know I could talk to you for forever but I know we both got more music to listen to & things to get to…so I’ll wrap this up for now and say an extremely huge thank-you to you for your time my friend. I also want to say a massive thank-you to you as well for being a continual inspiration to me personally…watching you grow The Infidel Netwerk has been an honor and a privilege & I think the world of all you’re doing for independent music & musicians out there. They appreciate it…I know they do…and so do I – so thank-you brother.
Enough mush! You’re familiar enough with what I do and how I do it all…you know what’s coming here – the SBS ‘open-floor’ – say anything else you’d like to dude, it’s all yours from here. Cheers!
Matt: Thanks so much for having me on. I’m so busy giving other people a platform for their voice, I forget to get my own voice out there on other people’s platforms. Thank you for reaching out to me, thank you for being a great friend over the years, and thank you for helping usher in this experience you say is an inspiration in itself. It’s great when forces can co-inspire each other. Personally that’s what The Infidel Netwerk is all about, is just about finding mutual appreciation in each other’s art, and helping each other get our voices out there. I’m really glad other people are doing the same thing. And if I could encourage all readers who have a vision inside them to go out and let their voice and actions be free, follow it, pursue it, make it happen, and if you follow through despite adversary and opposition you will make something great. The potential rests in all of us. Connect, create, love, and liberate! Peace out!
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