Our latest mix and interview comes from a long time friend of ours who we’ve been dying to get on the Mantissa series for a while. Slack Alice co-founder and Plaque founder Matt Light joins us for a delve into his journey so far.
Matt, a huge thanks for joining us! So to kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got into music and how you got to where you are now musically?
It isn’t quite the start, but I was quite lucky to nab a job in my local record shop whilst still at school. This kind of instigated more serious record buying. Like many other people I know, as I grew older it seemed imperative that I moved to Bristol as it was a bit difficult to catch a lot of music in the back woods.
You started Slack Alice with a few friends, and from the outside it seems to have gone from strength to strength! I have always regretted not making it down to one yet. What was the ethos behind Slack Alice and how do you see it progressing?
Hmmm perhaps its not too contrived, but it began with me and dear friend Max Kelan (Bad Tracking, Salac) chancing upon the Surrey Vaults (R.I.P). Now residents Anina and Nadoone organise the events with us as well. We’d ran other nights together in the past and the place had this incredibly special quality to it that I think we’d been looking for but until then nothing quite filled that space. The anything-goes policy there (not just musically, but also the skateboarding inside and sometimes on the bar) thanks to Ben the manager at the time, plus the group of people organising events/working/drinking there was so unique that we knew it was ideal for what we had in mind. The Vaults tragically closed a little while back, but Slack Alice has continued. I’d like to think we’ve brought a bit of that place on with us or at least try to as we’ve carried on, but it really was an exciting time for everyone involved – without getting too sentimental that is!
Considering the strong Bristol contingent in previous guests at Slack Alice, is their a conscious aim with who you book to build on the ethos Bristol has made for itself?
I’m probably not the best spokesperson for Bristol etc. But with Slack Alice, there certainly has been an ongoing theme of us trying to get some of our musical heroes down particularly from that industrial/post-punk kind of world and associated genres, as these were the kinds of records we were playing when we started the night. In the past we’ve been really fortunate to have had Steve Mallinder (Cabaret Voltaire), Test Department, Mick Harris (Napalm Death, Scorn, Fret) amongst others. But the amount of friends from Bristol who are not only big fans of those guys, but also have plenty of ammunition to perfectly accompany these artists has meant we’ve never really struggled to think of people to have down to play alongside (October, Ossia, Giant Swan, Kahn are some of the Bristolians who’ve kindly played for us more than once). Likewise, when the nights are less orientated around a more historic musical hero, we’ve had a great deal of amazing contributions and performances from plenty of other local acts and further afield. We recently had T.W.I.N.S from Atlanta and French-Bristol duo Fever 103 perform live for us (both really were exceptional). But there’s been loads of people who’ve massively contributed over the years, understood what we are going for and I’m certainly really appreciative of that!
What are the plans for Slack Alice in the near future?
Nothing is cemented at the moment, but there’s always ideas. You may or may not be aware but it’s a really weird time for venues in Bristol, particular mid-sized ones which is creating a bit of an uncertain atmosphere. But we are definitely hopeful to carry on as we are despite more challenging times.
You have also recently started the label Plaque, with some brilliant music from EMPLOYEE so far. How did you come about to creating Plaque and what was your process to bring it to light?
Glad you like it man! I’ve been running Plaque as a night for a while here and a label seemed a logical progression. I was really looking for something that seemed appropriate as an opening release and when I first heard some of the tracks which ended up on EMPLOYEE’s ‘Temple Of Glendor’ I knew that was exactly it. A fun project to work on. Avoiding getting too deep or reflective, the universe it inhabits fills a sonic void for me, even though there’s a lot of stuff that touches upon it or comes close, it’s not quite like that one. It’s definitely worth checking out all the other stuff that EMPLOYEE and the TAX FREE crew from Berlin make as it’s all really special. I just had them over to Bristol last weekend to play, was an absolute pleasure – loads of great music from all the crew!
What’s in line for Plaque in the near future?
Excited to say we’ve just released our second full release from Portland, Oregon’s Best Available Technology – ‘Broken Teeth & Dog Hair’. He’s been a good friend of Plaque for a fair while and come over to play on multiple occasions. Like the EMPLOYEE release, putting the record together was quite a personal and semi-collaborative process of bouncing track lists back and forth, comparing ideas etc. Eventually we settled on a double release (Cassette & Digital Album). He’s visiting at the end of this month and we are doing Brighton (The Rose Hill – 27th Nov), London (Rye Wax – 30th Nov), Bristol (The Exchange – 2nd Dec) dates with Cold Light, another Bristol label (go check them). Always stoked as I’ve been a huge fan of Kev’s music for a long time.
Are there any artists you’re really digging at the moment and why?
Obviously every Avon Terror Corps affiliate has to be mentioned – Bad Tracking, Salac (get the new tape!), Kinlaw & Franco, Jackson Veil Panther, Harrga, Withdrawn & Birthmark, MisterSpoon, Relapse – to name a few. Comp’s are free so please cop them from the Bandcamp page.
What’s on the horizon for you in the near future?
Hopefully being able to carry on with this. There’s a fair few releases in the pipeline, but probably shouldn’t commit to release dates etc just yet – so keep an eye on the page if your interested. I already mentioned Plaque dates with Cold Light and Best Available Technology coming up at the end of this month. Then, start of December I’ll be with Avon Terror Corps doing a showcase in Budapest, plus theres a Noods radio takeover 1st of the month with Young Echo. Also got FUMU (Youth, Manchester) playing at Cosies for Plaque in collab with the Schwet boys (also purveyors of great events) in Bristol, January 24th – come through if your in the West.
You’ve put a mix together for us, can you walk us through what you’re thoughts were behind it and any key tracks you’d like to outline to us?
Maybe a bit haphazard, but is sort of a brief summary of more recent stuff I’ve been listening to/playing. Double Krikor & FUMU in there too! Hope it makes sense and hope you can enjoy.
Thanks again Matt!
Much love, thanks for having me!