He’s got to find her! A blazing fire burns in his gut, driving him down the coast on bleak highways in pursuit of his missing reason; his woman. J.J. Carver just lost the one good thing in his world of darkness and contention. The empty void left inside his soul pushes him further on his quest while something sinister haunts every move he makes. Matt Mays presents When the Angels Make Contact.
A soundtrack serves as an audio escort to a film. On a rare occasion you will come across a record that merits an accompanying film. “It all started out as an album,” Mays explained. “I began the record and it started taking on a sort of theme.” The songwriter developed characters and circumstances through his music to the point that his visions took on a breathing life of their own, deserving to be physically portrayed through film. “It’s all about a character who had a really rough upbringing,” Mays recounted. “He has a soft spot for this girl. He falls hard and she was the only person who made him feel anything. Then she was abducted and that started his whole journey.”
Matt Mays has been on a journey of his own since his debut in 2002. His self-titled first effort was nominated for two Juno Awards; New Artist of the Year and Adult Alternative Album of the year, already establishing Mays as a promising artist and up and rising talent. Mays returned in 2005 with El Torpedo, a permanent band entourage, and released his second self-titled album with the group, Matt Mays & El Torpedo. The first single “Cocaine Cowgirl” received heavy airplay and was the #3 most played Canadian song on Rock Radio in 2005 while its video was on high rotation on MuchMusic.
The band commenced touring and opened for accomplished acts like Blue Rodeo and Sam Roberts only to build a faithful fan base and sold-out concert dates of their own. With steady international touring and their success escalating, Matt Mays & El Torpedo received four nominations at the 2006 East Coast Awards. Impressively, the band won three of the four nominations: Group of the Year, Radio Rock Recording of the Year, Album of the Year, and Single of the Year (“Cocaine Cowgirl”).
Mays then extended his talent and contributed to Sam Roberts’ April 2006 release, Chemical City, appearing on the track “Uprising Down Under”. The past year was a loaded one for Matt Mays & El Torpedo and what better, well deserved way to end the year than scoring a spot on Late Night with Conan O’Brien? “That was great! It was surreal!” Mays exclaimed. “We were very nervous. It happened and looking back now, it’s a pretty big deal.”
Carrying on strong into 2007, Mays launched a fresh project, taking a new direction, different than anything he has produced to date: When the Angels Make Contact. The album exudes dark enigmatic imagery and musical diversity. “It’s a bit of everything.” Mays said, describing his new album. “There is some electronic stuff going on, some hip hop and some string instrumentals. I definitely tried to push myself as a songwriter, we all did.” Three fourths of El Torpedo sat this one out, taking a short break, while drummer Tim Baker and an array of different musicians took part in May’s project, including widely acclaimed hip hop artist Buck 65.
Buck lends his vocals on the electric-rock title track and even stars in the film. “I asked Buck if he wanted to be the fortune telling genie and he was just all over it!” Mays recalled. With a cast and crew made up of Mays’ close friends and peers, it was inevitable that Sam Roberts would be spotted as a cameo in the songwriter’s ambitious project.
The role of J.J. Carver, the shady character this whole twisted story spins around, is played by one Mays’ best friends, Justin Huston, though Carver grew from inside Mays himself. “He started out being me. As I developed the characters a little more I wanted J.J. to be more rugged and tougher. He did start out being me, but he transformed a lot.”
When the Angels Make Contact touches on the nature of life and death coming from the depths of Mays’ creativity and imagination. The film itself was shelved, but it was only intended to accompany an already visually haunting album. As the tracks of the album reveal themselves, the listener is drawn into the protagonist’s dark world, blindly following him on his personal journey. It is a reverie oddly unfolding without sight, but twisting through mind and sound.
The Angels make contact on
Thursday, Jan. 18, 2007, 9 p.m. at
Cabaret du Mus