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Concord Dawn – Matt Harvey

Interview by Dave Borgioli-Jones

Devin Townsend Project

CONCORD DAWN had much to celebrate in 2019 including a new EP 1999, the restoration of their orignal line-up, and last but not least their 20th anniversary. If you were lucky enough to catch them on tour last year good on you. NZRock didn’t, but we’re making up for it with a roadie to Coroglen for the Anniversary Weekend Rave Reunion. We caught up with Matt Harvey before the show…

I was in a secondhand store in Auckland a couple of months ago and saw this giant poster advertising literally the same lineup at the Coroglen, so this truly is a reunion. What are stand out memories of your past shows there?

Probably the main one would be stage diving and landing on my head… But was always a good vibe at all the shows there….something about being out of town I reckon.

You’ve reunited with Evan Short again bringing the original line-up back into play. Who brought up the idea to work together again and what’s it like creating music a decade after going your separate ways?

We both discussed it a while back when I was visiting him in Rarotonga. Was surprisingly natural making music again, and we have stayed in contact over the years and been talking about music the whole time pretty much so it wasn’t too much of a shock

Both of you have backgrounds in rock and metal and Evan has played for other bands like COBRA KHAN and SUBTRACT. Has any of that translated into ideas for the new music you’re making in CONCORD DAWN?

Not really to be honest. There’s an influence there but I think we have both been pretty good at keeping projects separate.

You and Evan co-wrote the latest CONCORD DAWN release ‘1999’. (I’ll just throw in that ‘Fenris’ is a fave track of mine currently). Is there any chance of an album on the horizon?

Unlikely but you never know. I am pretty busy with work and Evan is pretty busy with study. Have been working on a new thing very slowly over summer.

What was the response like playing again last year? You did shows in Raglan etc.

It was great, and honestly it really blew us both away. Really enjoyed playing those tunes again. I went to Europe and did a few shows too, and felt similar vibes there as well.

There are two songs on STICKY FILTH’s album Stainless (‘Nadia’ and ‘Mother’) that are CONCORD DAWN remixes. What’s the story behind those? I remember Craig saying they were super keen to get them on there.

There was a mutual friend and we were keen and so were the STICKY FILTH guys so away we went really! Something a bit different

I have a theory that musicians with a background in rock/metal tend to write high impact music down the track no matter what genre they’re working in. e.g. CONCORD DAWN… e.g. BASSNECTAR played in death metal bands.. E.g. Justin Broadrick’s electronic exploration vs what he did with NAPALM DEATH. Do you think that’s a thing?

It could be I guess. Neither of us have ever listened to metal exclusively though. There are some pretty mellow Concord Dawn tunes too!

What freedom does writing in the electronic music space give you artistically that other genres cannot? In contrast, I heard that RNZ interview you did where you mention that having some boundaries can actually benefit music as well?

You never run out of strings or fingers which is great. But there are considerations around sonics and structure that kind of need to be adhered to.

What is a CONCORD DAWN song that absolutely nails what you were trying to express with music?

If we had ever nailed it we would have stopped I reckon. So safe to say we have never really got it 100% right haha!

Have you been working on any other projects outside of CONCORD DAWN and if not, do you have any desire to do so?

I muck about with a bit of techno for fun and Evan does all sorts of noodles.

CONCORD DAWN has taken you all over the world. What are the biggest opportunities that this band has given you that you may not have experienced otherwise.

The travel I guess. Got to see most of the world before I turned 40 which was nice. Still need to get round Africa and South America but the Northern hemisphere is pretty well covered now

I was listening to ‘Raining Blood’ on YouTube and I saw a comment about Renegade Hardware pressing your demo track by mistake. That stuff doesn’t happen when everything’s on Spotify these days, but as a collector I’m sure it’d be a dream to have the mis-pressed version. Do you think the digital platform has taken some of the magic out of owning a physical copy of music?

Well you cant believe anything you read on the internet… I would totally agree that something has been lost now that people don’t own physical copies of things though.

When asked to sum up CONCORD DAWN’s music you’ve described it as “Deep, dark, heavy, beautiful, anger.” That’s so metal! When you started out was that something less conventional or “safe” for the dnb scene? Did you ever have labels asking you to dial it back?

No labels ever asked us to dial it back no! Drum and bass is always looking at the next thing and progressing, which is why it has survived this long I suppose.

Where to from here with CONCORD DAWN? What are your hopes and dreams for 2020 and beyond?

will chip away at some tunes together this year and see what happens I guess. Its nice not having any real plans or goals and just making tunes when we have time without too much weight on them… its almost kind of fun in fact!

Any other words?

Thanks for the interview! catch you on the weekend