Match Party is an inspiring, unsigned band that always seem to return to their roots of playing music and jamming together. Their passion for music is evident, and it is proven below where they talk about returning from their hiatus, releasing a spoken piece on their latest EP, their goals for the future, and more.
How did you guys originally come together as a band?
Match Party was founded by Adrian and Steve way back in 1993. After several lineup changes, Shawn joined in 1999 along with mutual friend Aristides Staikos. That three-piece was together for 11 years, then one more lineup played for a couple of years before the band went on hiatus. Early in 2015, Gwen and Shawn had started talking to Adrian about playing some cover songs for fun. In the interim, Steve called Adrian up, looking to jam. Adrian asked if we were all interested in reviving Match Party with Gwen on second guitar. She suggested playing keyboards instead. We hung out a couple of times to discuss what we expected out of it, which led to us wanting to give it a go. The rehearsals started becoming special very quickly.
You guys have said that your greatest strength is that you don’t limit yourself to one genre or sound, which genre are you most comfortable playing?
Fusing all of our influences into cohesive pieces that span genres is challenging and satisfying. Our roots are embedded in punk and new wave, but we tend to write straight rock and roll above all else, while leaving room for experimentation within each style.
Which genre are you not as comfortable with but you still like to play and experiment with?
We don’t think we’re uncomfortable with anything, honestly. We just enjoy anthemic-sounding tunes, songs that sound fun and are fun to play. If we’re getting psyched while performing them, then that will transfer to the audience. We recently purchased some really cool synth instruments that we’re very excited to incorporate into our sound.
You released your EP Grey Fields last February. What were some of your biggest musical influences when creating that record?
The songs themselves have varied stylistic influences. There are elements of The Smiths and The Cure as well as The Who and Led Zeppelin. All of the songs were actually written with Aristides. “I Failed” had even been recorded before, but it became such a favorite of the band with its new sound that we decided to recut it. “Sugarface” and “Moments” gained so much power from the layers of piano and synth. Our bass sound changed, too. It used to be very reminiscent of Peter Hook; now, it’s all overdrive, all the time. This new balance of frequencies is really what influenced the songs that ended up on Grey Fields. We certainly owe a lot to Eddy and Jerry at Hellhound Studios and Mercury Recording Studios in Rahway for the way the EP sounds. Those guys are quite talented and were great to work with.
Your latest release is Holiday EP, what made you want to release something like that?
In 2015, we threw a holiday show with a few of our friends’ bands, and we decided to add a unique holiday cover song to our set list. We’ve always thought that “Christmas Time Is Here” had this haunting underlying melancholy, despite the cheerful lyrics the children are singing. The song organically came together as we arranged it, and it got such a great response at the show that we decided to record it for release the following year.
Jerry at Mercury recorded the drums, but we went back to our close friend, Rich Sarnicola, for production. He also recorded and produced our full-length, We Can Go Where We Wish, in 2005. Rich decorates his tree every year while spinning his copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas by The Vince Guaraldi Trio. His connection to the music made him a perfect fit, and he nailed every aspect of it. The song is a monster. We can’t believe it’s us when we hear it. It inspired us to plan on having an annual holiday release moving forward.
You have a spoken piece entitled “Gravity” on your holiday EP where you talk about some pretty personal things. Was it difficult for you to speak about those personal experiences knowing that so many people would be hearing them?
“Gravity” was originally an instrumental, but then we thought it might be interesting to include some dialogue underneath the music. The first voice you hear isn’t a band member but a friend of ours, Ara Asadurian. We pitched the dialogue idea to quite a few people; several gave it thought, but Ara took it all the way. He wrote and read a letter to his brother, and it completely floored us. In fact, it wound up dictating how the spoken parts would play out. Magically enough, all three stories lined up perfectly with the music without any editing being required. Ara proved to be an immense contribution to this song.
All the pieces you hear are indeed personal, but those memories are important to acknowledge. So many people experience tremendous loss and feel like they have to go through life masking this loss as if it’s shameful or it makes them too vulnerable. As artists, we find it important to share those deeper, darker experiences so that people can find solace in the fact that none of us are alone, that we all have pain, and that we all can learn to live in spite of it. Everything about “Gravity” was outside of our comfort zone. “Christmas Time” was big and bold, so we figured a natural counterpart to the hi-fi should be a lo-fi comedown. Exactly like holiday highs and lows.
Was that the first time you released a spoken piece like that?
Like this specifically, yes. One of the songs from our older album utilized a bit of spoken word during instrumental breaks, but it also had a full set of lyrics.
What kind of feedback have you been receiving on Grey Fields and your Holiday EP?
People have definitely been enjoying the recordings. We are still new to today’s digital music landscape, which is why Grey Fields only came out in that format at first. We were essentially doing a test run, seeing how it all works. Our release show for both CDs went very well this past December. When we posted the stream for the cover song, we were overwhelmed with the positive feedback that we received. The Holiday EP felt like the next step in our progression, and our friends and fans have echoed those sentiments. These are exciting times for us. Both EPs are available to stream or purchase at matchparty.bandcamp.com.
You have released quite a few EPs. Are there any plans for a full-length album, or do you prefer going the EP route instead?
Our goal by the end of our first year together was to release an EP. Aside from holiday-themed EPs, we do plan on getting to work on a full-length, something we can potentially release within the next year or so. We hope it’ll be the type of album that people will want to blast on a road trip. If the fun we have recording it translates through the speakers, then we’ve done something right.
What are some plans that you have for the band in the upcoming months?
Right now, we’re more focused than ever on writing. We have a handful of songs original to this lineup, and while these new songs still cross genres, we seem to be heading toward a specific sound within those parameters. Steve and Gwen have taken on lead vocal duties for a couple of the new pieces. We’ve also been doing stripped-down writing sessions outside of the rehearsal studio, really concentrating on arrangements and melodies. When we bring the songs to rehearsal to try them at full volume, they can only naturally get bigger and really start to shine.
Have we mentioned that these are exciting times for us yet?
For more information on Match Party, go to facebook.com/matchpartyband and matchparty.bandcamp.com.