Welcoming Matt Page

Since 2011 our friend and resident visualist Matt Page has been delivering all manner of interesting images using his own interpretations of various cinematic and musical source material

There's no secret or shame in acknowledging that Matt's talents as a vj and narrative film maker have definitely added something extra on our dance floors which has caught the eyes of everybody that dances in front of his visual work

With a keen appreciation for the slightly more obscure but none the less accessible Matt has created the perfect visual accompaniment and in the same breathe opened up a new creative chapter for House Of Go Bang in the “live environment” 

Having began working recently on the more intuitive aspect of  AV performance Matt has now joined us as our third crew member. To add some personal flavour and welcome Matt to the fold here are some Q n A’s for anyone that doesn’t know Matt as well as we do. Also we think that it’s a little different to delve a little deeper into the world of a VJ.

Q Matt your profession by trade is in creative teaching at university level. Can you explain how you fell into this and what you would consider a bonus of this to be for you. 

Well I've been working as a film teaching assistant/technician within further and higher education for the last 13 years or so. I sort of fell into it as a stop gap shortly after completing a film degree but got to enjoy the aspect of practically helping others to express themselves. The job gives me enough time to concentrate on my own work too - which is a definite bonus.

Q You’ve provided the visual element at House Of Go Bang for nearly 3 years now all be it remotely until now, however outside of this what else are you working on and where can people view your other visual work.

At the moment I'm working on a music video and writing another short which I'm hoping will go into production later this year. See here www.vimeo.com/pagematt for past and current work.


Q Having spent a big part of your professional career involving yourself with visual creativity what would you say has been the biggest success you have enjoyed to date and also what has been the most challenging aspect of what you do.

Probably the biggest success so far has been the ongoing House Of Go Bang output as it’s constantly moving forward now visually as well as musically. That feels like a definite progression. The first visuals work I started on was with a short lived breakbeat night at (the now defunct) Pressure Point and my output was sketchy to say the least. Probably due to the lack of real-time visuals technology and the fact that I wasn't really sure what I was doing at that point! Even though I've still got a lot to learn I feel as the visuals are becoming more interesting and complex within House Of Go Bang. Some individual successes outside of House Of Go Bang have been providing live visuals for Calabash at Brighton Pride 2012 and Cursor Miner/Phil Hartnoll at Latitude 2014. The most challenging aspect is probably having to be on point for a whole 5-6 hours. Most DJs might play a few hours, have a break then go back on again whereas I'm usually there for the entire night setting up, mixing the visuals live then breaking the kit down at the end. It can be long night sometimes!

Q So you set up your own equipment.

It depends on the venue really. Some venues and installations (especially the bigger ones) may have a permanent projector setup which means I just plug and play but a lot of the time it's a case of scrambling up and down ladders in the dark and sticking everything together with gaffer tape and beer mats! If I'm working in a new venue that hasn't used visuals before I'll usually do a recce beforehand - not all spaces are suitable for projection.

Q Can you explain what equipment you were using when you started and what you are using now, is the creative process the same or are there differences.

When I started projecting live visuals I was using quite similar kit, the only difference now is the ability to mix live and create effects on the fly. At first I was using an old g4 powerbook running the first version of Final Cut Pro. There were a few VJ software programmes available but due to limited laptop power it was really difficult to project anything HD like so I was running a series of pre-mixed clips off final cut through firewire. Not a very speedy or elegant solution - there would be short black gaps in between switching mixes. Now I use a macbook pro that can do pretty much anything instantly. The projectors I started using were MASSIVE - it's easy to forget how cumbersome they were even a few years ago. After a long time they'd get really hot too - I swear I saw smoke coming out of the top of one of them once at about 3am. Nowadays they're much more reliable and portable. This leap in real time mixing ability has totally changed the creative process. I still have to do a lot of prep work but it means that I can have an idea mid-set, mix it and execute it, much like a DJ responding, crate digging and mixing a track in. When I first started that ability to change and formulate ideas wasn't really there.


Q You've displayed your visual work at various festivals all around the world, can you give us some background on this. 

That's the other side to my film work. Even though I much prefer and enjoy creating live visuals my background is as a narrative film maker and I continue to make short films independently. My films have been shown in festivals around the US, UK and Europe, which has been a great experience, especially meeting film makers from other countries and cultures - it really informs my work. One of the reasons I began to gravitate towards live visuals work is due the change in the culture of short film over the last 6-7 years. Short films have now become an online medium to an extent, which is great for reaching out to a wider number of viewers but I've always been more interested in screening work in front of a live audience. I made a piece for Cinecity (The Brighton Film Festival) in 2009 which was essentially a 24 minute 'mixtape' of the road movie genre with a live score by Tim Brickell and that was such a rewarding project it spurred me on to explore further 'live' film making opportunities.

Q Becoming the VJ for House Of Go Bang has definitely added an extra dimension to what is being  offered as part of the here and now delivery but when and where were you first aware of music and visuals combining within the dance experience and what if anything did this make you decide upon.

I didn't properly catch up with dance music until about 1994. At that time there seemed to be a focus on big outdoor (paid) events, Megadog parties etc. with huge lighting rigs/computer visuals and as a film maker I always thought that was quite an exciting and different use of the medium. Then I started getting into the whole free party scene in London and Brighton and noticed visuals by their absence. There were these amazing, huge spaces to work with but I suppose the difficulty of sourcing expensive computers and projectors put a lot of potential VJs off working within that scene.
Now visuals are everywhere. If you go to any big electronic event chances are they'll be a visual element to it in some respect and it's also sort of expected by the audience. Visuals are going through a creative resurgence at the moment and that's really exciting.

Q You not only provided the technical aspect associated with vjing you also have a major hand in deciding the visual output and source material. Can you explain what influences you have used and why you made those choices that end up as part of the “live experience”

Rather than just projecting trippy graphics I try to create themes within House Of Go Bang and weave some sort of loose narrative throughout what we do together in the live environment. For example, mixing clips from Paris Is Burning (1990 documentary detailing the New York 'ball culture' scene) or Hitchcock films over the course of the gig. It doesn't really matter if the audience don't realise that, I think it just creates a cohesiveness and visual style. I don't expect anyone to actively watch 5 hours of visuals but it's a definite addition to the gig when you look up you occasionally to see these images working in time with the music.

Q You’ve sourced some fairly widespread and interesting material within the visual element ranging from specific genres of film made by well known yet underground film makers  to documentary film covering the evolution of modern day dance music from a fairly “out there perspective”.  Can you explain some of these sources and the reasons why you’ve made the choice to combine the slightly more obscure cinematic element in your House Of Go Bang work.

I much prefer trying to create a cohesive narrative throughout the night. It keeps it interesting for me and the audience I think. Although I do use a lot of graphics and abstract imagery in my visuals I find it a bit cold at times. I prefer to use something familiar that's been twisted or cut into a different context - could be Teletubbies or clips from Dario Argento's films, or both together. I love the way that by combining these disparate images you can create something very strange or shed a different light on it, sometimes completely by accident.


Q Has being a part of the House Of Go Bang team working together side by side in conjunction with the music helped you with the intuitive part of being creative. 

It's been amazing working up behind the decks. It makes a real difference to being able to judge the flow of the set and actually see the audience! Working on stage gives makes me feel more closely involved and gives an insight into how all three of us work together too, which is a vital part of what makes everything such good fun I think. 

Q Finally, if someone was to offer you a visuals deal where your work could be shared via say a download facility would you welcome this or would you want to keep everything within the “live arena”

I think I'd rather keep it live. As soon as these clips or mixes are viewed outside of the context of a club or event minus the music they lose something in translation.

Many thanks Matt

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