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Now After Nothing, creating music that reflects emotions | Interview

 Now After Nothing is creating cold soundscapes, blending classic influences with modernized electronic instrumentals.

Now After Nothing is the Atlanta based project, consisting of the frontman, multi-instrumentalist Matt Spatial and Michael Allen on drums. The duo chose to introduce themselves through raging and passionate guitar riffs surrounded by pounding bass and some mad, rhythmic beats. Compelling synth lines come to create a fierce, dark vibe in their first ever single "Sick Fix", released on January 27th, 2023.

On February 24th, Now After Nothing revealed the second single out of their upcoming debut EP. "Fixation Fantasy" which highlights more of the band's broad expanse of musical influences with rock elements, going deeper into the melodic post-punk, and dark emotional sounds. "Fixation Fantasy" is driven by gnarly, distorted bass swathed with sci-fi guitar chords that convey the emotional density of the song’s dark lyrical underbelly, as described by Spatial.

I had the pleasure to talk with the frontman of Now After Nothing, Matt Spatial, and we discussed everything around their amazing two singles already released, his inspirations and influences and the facts that brought Now After Nothing to life. 

ES: Hello Now After Nothing and welcome to ElektroSpank. Before going into details about the music, can you tell us some things about you? Who is Now After Nothing?

Matt Spatial: Hello! Now After Nothing is myself on vocals, guitars/bass guitars, and synths along with Michael Allen on drums. I started this whole project just as an idea to make a solo album with no expectations other than I just wanted to make music again. Prior to Now After Nothing, I had been on a musical hiatus. As more and more of the songs were taking shape and I was becoming increasingly proud of the results, I realized that what my heart really wanted was to put a band together and play live again as well.

ES: I will start with the new single, out on February 24th, "Fixation Fantasy". What "Fixation Fantasy" is about? What is the idea behind it?

Matt: “Fixation Fantasy,” lyrically, is a story of a relationship that starts at ‘bad’ and goes to its worst. Two damaged individuals get together and just spiral out of control from the beginning. But despite the pain the relationship causes, it’s even more painful to end it. You have to hit rock bottom before really seeing it for what it is and finding the will to dig yourself out. I always saw the vocals as telling all three sides of the story.

ES: In "Fixation Fantasy" you’ve broadened your musical influences, even more, creating a low-tempo, depressing melody, with solid guitars. Which would you say, were the main influences for the second single?

Matt: I don’t really think about it much when I’m in the songwriting process. I’m usually more influenced by an emotion from when I write the first riff. In the case of “Fixation Fantasy” it came pretty quickly once I dialed in the distorted bass sound in the opening riff. But it’s only after a song is complete that I can listen to it more objectively and think, “OK, I can hear Bauhaus here… there’s Sonic Youth… that part has a Nine Inch Nails feel…” etc. I think those three bands are pretty apparent in this song with maybe an added touch of Gary Numan as well.

ES: You have chosen a lyrical theme about abusive relationships which fits perfectly with the sound of "Fixation Fantasy". How did you end up with such a concept? Where do you get inspired from?

Matt: Before writing a single word, I knew the lyrical content for the song would inevitably be something that played off the tension of the music itself. I always write lyrics last and I usually just sing some gibberish words while first thinking of the melody. While in this stage of the process, I just happened to blabber out the line “Fixation Fantasy” and the phrase stuck with me. The whole concept of the song came pretty instantaneously after that and I was able to think back on toxic relationships among friends, some toxic elements of my own past relationships, and my education in the field of mental health where I became more tuned in to the aftermath of these types of toxic relationships.

ES: Almost a month ago you released the debut single of Now After Nothing, "Sick Fix", introducing the band to the world. What feedback did you get on "Sick Fix" so far?

Matt: The feedback on “Sick Fix” has been amazing! I was really touched by how many people took notice of the band and the positive feedback we received on the song. As a completely brand-new entity, I didn’t have any expectations of being able to reach a lot of listeners coming out of the gate, but we had a good amount of interest and positive reviews from press (including our exclusive premiere with you fine people at ElektroSpank), which helped us reach many more listeners than we certainly could have otherwise.

ES: "Sick Fix" is a beautiful blend of electronics and punk elements, giving a unique form to modern dark wave. It is also a combination of different sounds from Bauhaus to Sonic Youth. Can you tell us some things about "Sick Fix"?

Matt: Thank you! Sick Fix was a lot of fun to write and record. Musically the song came together really quickly, which is a rare but wonderful thing when it happens. The main bass line in the verse was something that had been sitting on a hard drive for years and years. When starting this project, I was opening up old sessions looking for song ideas to resurrect and that bass line was the only thing in this particular session file, but I instantly connected to it. I grabbed a guitar and went to work. As soon as I added the first intro guitars over the bass line, I felt like I was really on to something. By the day’s end, the music for the song was done start to finish.

ES: Why did you choose to introduce Now After Nothing with "Sick Fix"?

Matt: It was one of the first songs that I wrote for the band and working on it really ignited a spark in me to see this whole project come to fruition. The idea of writing a solo album from scratch felt really daunting at first but as soon as this song came together in just that one single day, it was exactly the psychological boost I needed and a reminder that I could do this again. Because of this personal connection to it and the energy of the song, it just felt like a good way to introduce the band.

ES: Both "Fixation Fantasy" and "Sick Fix" are dealing with human relationships. Are relationships the main concept behind Now After Nothing? How important are the relationships and their quality to you?

Matt: It would seem like that, wouldn’t it? Ha! The lyrical theme of these songs and them being the first two singles was completely coincidental. I do write about relationships a good bit, but it’s not the only topic I dive into with my lyrics. Some of the upcoming singles deal with broader themes such as religion, social injustice/inequality, as well as little fictional stories around the topics of drug abuse and sex. For me as an individual, and again with some educational background in mental health, I do often think of things from a relational standpoint though, whether it’s a relationship with another person or a relationship we have more conceptually with some of these other themes. We do some of the things we do in life because of our personal relationship with sex or with drugs or with religion, etc. Healthy or not – for better or worse.

ES: Despite the resemblance in the lyrical theme "Fixation Fantasy" and "Sick Fix" have main differences music-wise. "Sick Fix" brings a raw dark punk power on one hand and "Fixation Fantasy" hides this intense melancholy in its lines, on the other. Can you tell us what led you in these "different" soundscapes?

Matt: Whenever I write a song, it usually starts with an emotion I’m feeling and I then try to create a soundscape that reflects or conveys that emotion. Although I have an emotion in mind, the lyrics may or may not always follow the concept or storyline of what drove that emotion in the first place – it just depends on whether or not that emotional soundscape stays intact or if it takes a left turn into some other emotion, which does happen sometimes. Other times, I might just have a guitar or a bass in my hands, riffing around, and something comes out of me that just brings up a certain feeling. When this is the case, I think of some narrative that fits the emotion of that soundscape, whether is from personal experience or something fictional.

With all of that said, however, yes, “Sick Fix” is a little more angst-y whereas “Fixation Fantasy” is a little more tortured, but (hypothetically speaking) that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be about the same relationship. I think we all have felt multiple emotions about a singular situation over time and sometimes we go back and forth in these different emotional stages so having such diverse soundscapes around a similar theme also feels pretty natural to me.

ES: What were the main facts that drew you into that ghostly sound and music? When was that point that you decided that you had that need and will to write again and formed Now After Nothing?

Matt: The sound of the band is something that’s always been in me since I first started writing my own songs. It’s a sound and style that is just inherently who I am as a songwriter. As a drummer in my teens, I ended up in a band of much older guys that turned me on to Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, Sonic Youth, etc. and as time went on and I gravitated away from drums and more toward playing bass and guitar and subsequently writing my own songs, it’s just the where I naturally found myself sonically - it was never something I had to think about or try to do.

As far as making Now After Nothing a reality, I always knew I had more music inside of me, there was just a stack of personal things happening in my life for a while and I was also dealing with burn out from just years and years of doing the band-thing, literally non-stop, since that first band back in my teens. As more time passed without an outlet for music though, I suddenly realized how lost and detached from my true identity that I was feeling. It became paralyzing to not have that creative outlet back and rather than let depression take over and wither away into a shell of my true self, I very consciously decided that I was not going to let that happen.

ES: There are some great people behind the two singles released so far. Would you like to say some words about them?

Matt: Some really amazing people indeed! I’ve been working with Carl Glanville for mixing, whose credits include U2, Joan Jett, and many others. Because I had recorded it myself, I had initially thought to mix it myself but thankfully I came to my senses – ha! When contacting a few people, I could tell instantly from our email exchanges that Carl really understood where I was coming and sure enough his mixes have been just incredible! I’ve already hired him for the remaining singles coming out later in the year.

I don’t really consider myself a guitarist as much as a ‘bassist who can play some guitar.’ While I played all of the guitars on “Fixation Fantasy,” a song like “Sick Fix” really called for someone more skilled than myself to play what the song needed, especially in those lead parts that play through the ending. Mark Gemini Thwaite (Peter Murphy, Gary Numan, The Mission UK) was someone that I had seen play in Peter Murphy’s solo band multiple times and I always loved his playing style and approach. Lucky for me he was available and, just as I had suspected, he really nailed the vibe for “Sick Fix.” The final mix has a blend of both of our guitars but the better parts are all MGT – ha! I actually had him track two songs for me and the second one will be coming out later in the year.

ES: After the release of "Fixation Fantasy", which are the next steps for the band?

Matt: More singles, an EP later in the year, and live shows!

ES: What is your vision for Now After Nothing? What are you longing for and what will the future bring?

Matt: The vision is just to create more and more music and to bring these songs to the stage. I didn’t really go into this project with any expectations but now that it’s here I really am itching to play live again and hope to share some stages with other bands of the genre as soon and as much as possible.

ES: I want to thank you for this conversation and wish you all the best for the future. Closing this chat, would you like to say something to our readers and the listeners?

Matt: Thank you for the questions! I think I would just send out a huge ‘Thank You’ to everyone who has read an article/review, listened to the music, and just generally supported us so far in any way big or small. All of it is very much appreciated!







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