Jon Devoto and Dylan Rowe of The Matches
The Matches (Shawn Harris on vocals and guitar, Matt Whalen on drums, Jon Devoto on guitar and Dylan Rowe on bass) have had quite a year. Their third album, A Band in Hope, was released at the beginning of the year, and the band toured in support of the 2008 AP Tour with All Time Low and The Rocket Summer.
Things took a bit of a turn in July when bassist Justin San Souci announced his departure from the band. The Matches reached out to the music community and asked people to send in audition tapes for the open slot. In the end, the band decided on Dylan Rowe, whom they had met in the past.
The band has announced that they are currently demo-ing songs for their latest album that will likely be released sometime in 2009. Will we hear more like Decomposer? Will we hear more like A Band in Hope? Or will the band continue their ever evolving sound and give their fans something completely different?
TWRY Staffer Vicky sat down with Jon and Dylan to ask them all about it on their recent tour stop with Bayside in Foxboro, MA.
Interviewed by: Vicky Zeamer | December 2008
What are your feelings thus far about the current tour you are on? What are some new and exciting things that have been happening, if any?
Jon: I’ve actually been enjoying this tour a lot. I hadn’t heard a whole lot of Bayside’s music, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. They are a very awesome band, cool guys. It’s been pretty cold for the past couple of days, but I’ve been dealing with it in my own ways. I do a lot of jumping jacks to keep my blood moving.
We can’t ignore the fact that The Matches recently took in a new bassist, how is that working out?
Jon: He actually just walked by a couple of minutes ago, and awkwardly looked at you like “who’s that who’s talking to Jon?”
Can he join the interview?
Jon: Yeah, let me go and get him.
Alright Jon, do you want to answer the question as if Dylan wasn’t here?
Jon: Dylan is really terrible, and we’re about to fire him. No- Dylan’s awesome. We’ve known him for a very long time since we met him in Nashville like six years ago. He booked us a couple of local shows and we’ve stayed in close contact ever since.
Dylan: Very close contact. (Puts his arm around Jon’s shoulder)
Did that give him a definite edge in the audition process?
Jon: Yes, actually we tried out two other people, but when the idea of Dylan came up he was already in the band before we auditioned him.
Dylan, for you, were there any preconceived notions about what touring with a band much bigger than your former local band would be like?
Dylan: It’s a little different doing bigger tours, no a lot different. You know you’re guaranteed to play in front of people every night, or pretty much every night. It’s pretty much the same deal. It’s cool being able to afford a hotel every night. But no, it isn’t that much different.
How was the process of reviewing the audition tapes?
Jon: It was actually kind of funny, not HA HA funny, but like a couple of the videos that people emailed us of them youtubing. Them playing bass had a totally different feel of the songs than Justin would have ever played those same songs. Sort of like “Okay, that sounds like a Blink-182 song if you play it that way. Weird.”
Mentioned on Shawn’s blog, he mentioned that the British police would not allow you to officially release the Yankees in a Chip Shop saying, “I’m told that the “clip” Yankee in a Chip Shop contains footage of us “engaged in violating British law” and that our rights of dissemination are in question.” How did you feel at the moment that you received the okay from the Brits about the Yankees video?
Jon: There was a lot of drama surrounding that video as well as late night phone calls. We were all so, so happy when it could be officially released. We drank a lot of champagne, had a big party. It was a big relief because we put a lot of effort into that thing. It was suppose to come out, and then it might not because the British cops are jerks. But on the other hand, we didn’t have any releases signed, so we screwed up on our part. It is great to finally have that video out.
You spend a decent chunk of time out of the country. I know for a fact that there have been more shows in Australia this year than in Boston. What are some things or places that stand out in your memory that you love about being out of the country? And Dylan, this was your first tour out of the country with The Matches.
Dylan: Ha-ha, well… I did karaoke to Iris by the Goo-Goo Dolls with Jon one night.
Jon: Oh god… Dylan can legally drink alcohol in Australia, so drunken karaoke tended to be a fun thing for us in Australia.
Dylan: I believe there is video footage of it, but the guy who filmed it told me he wouldn’t let anyone see it, not even us. Oh and I got crapped on by a koala, too. That wasn’t my highlight, but more like an experience.
Jon: *laughing* that was my highlight! That is a great story in itself; I don’t have anything to add to that.
Oh come on! You must have some more stories, Jon.
Jon: There was this one time in Japan where this bartender was under the impression that I was a famous Canadian singer. He kept on giving me drinks to the point where it was getting ridiculous. I was like, “Dude, I’m fine!” but he kept on pouring them and I didn’t want them, but he made me drink them because I was a famous Canadian singer, apparently. Oh, and then a koala crapped on Dylan.
Shawn Live – Photo by Vicky
What books are you currently reading? Are they books that you would suggest?
Dylan: I’ve went on a temporary hiatus from books because I’m so addicted to lost, I can’t really function. I just watch it 24/7. It’s pretty great.
I’ve only seen that show once, and it gave me the creeps.
Dylan: That’s why I love it so much!
Jon: It’s the only show I watch besides Weeds. Lost and Weeds. Oh and the Discovery Channel, but that’s not a show, it’s a channel. Books are good; I read a lot of political science, philosophy, quantum mechanics books.
Quantum mechanics books are great. Have you ever read Black Bodies and Quantum Cats?
Jon: I have actually. Have you read Brian Greene, not his most popular one, his other book? I can’t remember the name of it… whatever. It’s all about string theory. I love string theory.
Do you have any memories of hearing songs when you were really little or any other specific memories of music that made a mark on you? Did your parents have an influence on you musically?
Jon: My mom is a guitar player and use to play in a band and everything back in the day. I just remember her always playing Leaving on a Jet Plane for me. She bought me a guitar for my fourth birthday. I saw her playing it all the time [and thought] “It’s so easy. You just move your hand.” I got it for my birthday and I thought again, “it’s not working like my mom plays it.” So, I put it under my bed, and picked it up a few years after that.
Dylan: Sort of the similar story [as Jon’s.] My dad is musician also, and my uncles, my grandfathers, always around music growing up. My dad had a studio in California, so I remember being really young, about 4 or 5 years old, being around all these sessions with Eddie Money and people like that. I grew up in a really musical environment definitely shaped me to be a musician.
Jon: When I was about 8 years old I had this really oversized shoe horn. It was probably about, 3 feet long. I use to stand in front of my mirror and play guitar with it for hours on end; it was so much fun. It didn’t have strings on it, because it was a shoe horn, but it was like air guitar.
The band has frequently mentioned their support of Obama; where were you guys when you witnessed him dominating the election? How did you feel after?
Dylan: We were in Fort Lauderdale. We were leaving our show, listening to the radio in the car, listening to his speech on NPR. It was a great night; very positive.
Jon: I was very amazed votes were actually counted. I had lost so much hope in America, our voting system and our entire “democratic arrangement.” It’s pretty exciting that things might get kind of good for a bit.
Dylan Live – Photo by Vicky
Did you hear about all the things he’s having his people do already?
Jon: Yeah! He’s already going through all of the executive orders. It’s so great looking in the newspaper and seeing political news that excites me. For the past 8 years I’ve looked in the newspaper and have gotten a stomach ache and wanted to throw up and leave the country. Biden isn’t so bad either, I love Joe Biden. He’s such a badass!
This year, the band did not have a HelL3 Halloween show; how do you manage to maintain a sense of home while constantly touring? Do you feel like your sense of home has been refocusing throughout your time on the road?
Jon: For me, my sense of home is wherever the fuck I happen to be. Mostly it’s in the van, but this table right here (a small two person table in a hallway backstage with nothing but a book and Jon’s water bottle on it,) has been my home for the past 3.5 hours. I had my lunch here, read, and listened to music here. Yeah, home, no.
Dylan: I have no home, literally. I had a place in Oakland before we left for tour, and now I don’t.
Jon: He’s going to live in a trailer park when the tour ends.
You should buy the band a big family Victorian dream house and just swing outside on the trees.
Jon: I’d love to.
Dylan: We should be the like the Family Robinsons and have tree houses with complicated walkways.
Jon: I never had a tree house…
May be too soon to ask, but an artist is always working. What are some future plans for the band in terms of recording, touring, etc?
Jon: Right after this tour we are taking a week off and then recording demos for our next record. We’ve been writing a lot, and we’ll be writing a lot more at home too. So you can expect new music from us in the future.
Ah, that means no New England dates in the near future. We’ve been deprived of The Matches! How about a special MA show on the Boston Tea Party anniversary?
Dylan: As long as we can play on a ship…
Oh yeah, on the ship where they do the reenactments.
Jon: That’s pretty cool; I’d actually like to be there. If you pay for our plane tickets, we’ll be there.
Jon Live – Photo by Vicky
There was talk last time I spoke with you guys about putting the hand animated video for Little Maggots and other projects onto a DVD. Any word on that DVD?
Jon: Once it’s ready, it’ll be put out. There is not a scheduled release date, I can say that much.
Is there solid work being put into it? Or is it more “it’ll be done whenever it is done?”
Jon: It is kind of in between both of what you just said.
What is a song that you’d like to ‘redeem,’ or bring to the light, that you feel has slipped under the flood? A song that you felt never received the praise it deserved? Not one of yours, but another artist?
Jon: Well, that’s what makes a song special, if it’s just yours.
Dylan: What if you love an album that everyone hates? Does that count?
Like A Band in Hope?
Dylan: Oh your one of those people.
Jon: What side are you on? Ha-ha.
I’m just fooling around.
Dylan: I wouldn’t say everyone hates it, but The Killers’ “Sam’s Town.” Critically, it didn’t get the best reviews, but people dogged it.
Jon: I thought it was a huge record. All my friends loved it.
Dylan: My friends like it too, but a lot of people I talked too hated it. They believed it just wasn’t The Killers.
Jon: Origin of Symmetry by Muse, at least I thought, was one of their best records. A lot of their newer fans were not as into it, I guess. I like their new stuff, though. That’s a bad answer, I’m sorry. I’m not worthy.
Any final words?
Dylan: San Dimas High School Football Rules!
Jon: I need a shower.