After a decade of lying unfinished in the Matches’ archives, the video for “Little Maggots” premieres today, exclusively with Alternative Press.
It all started a little over 10 years ago when the Matches frontman Shawn Harris was having a moment with some crows in a Warped Tour parking lot. That was the impetus for much of the imagery on the band’s 2006 release, Decomposer. Harris decided to create an animated video using that imagery, but a packed touring schedule meant the video fell by the wayside.
Fans were left wondering what had become of the “Little Maggots” video. Now, 10 years later, Harris has finished the video.
Harris spoke to AP about the full story behind the crow imagery, why the video was never finished, why he decided to finish it now and the possibility of a new Matches album. Check out what he had to say and the finished video below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!
How did the idea for the video originally come about? When was it actually started?
The imagery of the video was tied into the lyrics from a few songs on Decomposer. I was writing for the first time while on tour in 2004/05, and I remember lying on my back in a Warped Tour parking lot, trying to find a little Zen before the barrage of noise began for the day, and I had a synchronistic moment with the flock of crows on the wire above me. We were all just kind of staring at one another, acknowledging that we very well could have ended up in opposite bodies. That summer, I found dead birds in my path daily, and found it so odd that I started taking pictures of them. I’d show my band mates— “Look! I saw another one!” They weren’t super impressed, but they did end up liking the songs I wrote from the birds’ perspective. “Little Maggots” was one of those songs, and the video just kind of meanders through my interest in the cycle of life after death, and all of the little crawly things that get their energy and life from your lack thereof—it’s kind of comforting at the same time it’s nasty and sad. I was fairly concerned with the possible imminence of my own death. I was also nightly dreaming of fiery auto wrecks at the time, which is especially disconcerting when you do most of your sleeping in the back of a moving vehicle. So I think the album, and then the video was me working through my fears and putting a kind of cute face on the name death so that I could look it in the face and eventually be it’s friend.
“I got on a plane to the UK, and the video—which I’d of course told our label and fans all about—fell by the wayside.”
Why didn't you finished it then?
We did close to 300 shows a year for a few years in a row around that time, so we weren’t home much, but there was a rare month off, and I thought we could animate a video in that time. When I was in kindergarten, I wrote a letter to Roy Disney telling him I wanted to apply for a job as an animator, so I’ve always been interested in seeing my drawings move. Roy, or his assistant probably, actually wrote me back, and told me to send my resume in 10 years. But suffice it to say, a month was not enough time. I got on a plane to the UK, and the video—which I’d of course told our label and fans all about—fell by the wayside.
What made you decide to come back now and “finish” it?
I like how you put “finish” in quotes. A very precise punctuation move. Well, Justin [San Souci, bassist] recently salvaged a box of old hard drives and we stumbled upon all of the “Little Maggots” art, and there was quite a bit—I was originally thinking of doing a Ken Burns style animatic of the storyboards, because with the decade anniversary Decomposer shows approaching in Australia in May, and the states in June, we thought it’d be great to at least tie a little bow around the broken neck of that project. So first I was putting the storyboard together, and then I was saying, “Well I have a much better image of these crows than this little pencil drawing,” so I was Photoshopping the models I’d made a decade ago into the storyboard, and then eventually, I was saying “Fuck it! I’m finishing this damn video!” And then I got to the point in the video that we hadn’t made any clay models for, or done any of the drawings, and again, I said “Fuck it!” and unpainted myself from the corner in a manner that actually allowed me to finish the video. It would’ve been just too fateful to miss the deadline on this video again—I had to make sure it would see the light of day!
“Honestly, nothing I ever make is appealing to my followers because it is perfect or impeccably done— that’s just not what we do. I think they like the intimacy of exposed flaws…”
Is this how you imagined the video to turn out?
No. But I like it better, at least conceptually. I think about the video as a medium, and where and why the video is being viewed. A lot has changed in a decade. Whereas the original goal would’ve been to get it played on cable— MTV or Fuse—now it is of course going to be watched on your phone, or come up on your Facebook feed… It’s a more conversational and casual ingestion taking place, so it makes sense to break the fourth wall and talk about the project within the project, from my face 10 years ago, but with my 30-odd-year-old voice.
How do you think fans will react to the—let's call it a change in direction?
Honestly, nothing I ever make is appealing to my followers because it is perfect or impeccably done— that’s just not what we do. I think they like the intimacy of exposed flaws and that one brow is high while the other is low. Also, most of our fans are creatives themselves, and I think there’s always been a conversation happening between them and our music. I just saw on my Gmail that there is now a “mic drop” button as big as the send button. That’s not really conducive to a conversation though, is it? So yeah, instead of making the perfect little island of a video, I’m happy leaving some loose ends for our fans to pick up and play with—and anyway, I’m just happy to be able to make good on my decade-old promises of sharing this!
One last thing: Any chance we can expect a new Matches album? (Please?)
Crazier things have happened: For example, the “Little Maggots” video premieres!
Tickets for the Matches 10-year anniversary tour for Decomposer are available here.
The Matches Decomposer 10 Year Anniversary:
May 27 Melbourne, Australia Max Watt’s
May 28 Brisbane, Australia The Brightside
May 29 Sydney, Australia Oxford Art Factory
June 4 Chicago, IL Metro
June 10 Los Angeles, CA Teragram Ballroom
June 11 Los Angeles, CA Teragram Ballroom
June 17 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade
June 18 New York, NY Irving Plaza