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Interview: Concord Dawn - 'The Last Hurrah' Nationwide Tour

Interview: Concord Dawn - 'The Last Hurrah' Nationwide Tour

Interview by Liam K. Swiggs / C.C. / Tuesday 14th November, 2023 11:48AM

Founded by Matt Harvey and Evan Short in 1999, Concord Dawn have taken Aotearoa drum and bass to the world with such standout classics as Uprising (2003), Chaos By Design (2006), and their pioneering 2000 self-titled debut. Helmed by Harvey solo from 2009 onwards, Concord Dawn are concluding their legendary run with a triple date victory lap of the motu, bringing their The Last Hurrah Tour to Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch — then returning to the super city for 95bFM's Save The b fundraising extravaganza (full details HERE). Proudly repping our next generation of local electronic club talent, Liam K. Swiggs of Canterbury's The Big Fresh Collective asked Harvey the burning questions ahead of Concord Dawn's momentous final shows, starting this Thursday at Hide...

Concord Dawn - The Last Hurrah

Thursday 16th November - Hide, Christchurch 
Friday 8th December - The Mothership, Auckland
Saturday 9th December - Meow, Wellington*

Auckland and Christchurch tickets available HERE via UTR
*Wellington tickets HERE

Liam K. Swiggs: Firstly addressing the elephant in the room my G — as you gear up for your recently announced retirement, can you let us know what inspired this decision, and what do you hope to explore or accomplish in this next stage of life?

Matt Harvey: This has been a transition for a while now but I have been focusing on management of artists, Shapeshifter, Kora , Nick Dow and Flaxxies. And two young lads, Arthur and Lewis.

I want to try to do the best job possible at whatever I do, and I simply haven't had that time for Concord Dawn as well as everything else recently.

Plus I kind of feel like I did what I set out to do and there aren't any new challenges there, and I am all about new experiences. I always wanted to travel around the world, and Concord Dawn allowed me to do that.

So looking back at your incredible career, which has influenced a whole lot of people in NZ electronic music to pursue something similar including myself and many others, what's the one moment that stands out as the most surreal or unexpected?

The India tour was amazing. I did 4 shows there a few years ago, and I have been super keen to get back ever since. Such an amazing and diverse country and could spend a lifetime getting to know it.

A tricky one early up in the piece here — if you could honestly give your younger self advice when you were just starting out, what would it be?

Don't try and do everything yourself. You will end up tired.

I feel like so much has changed in the past 20 years; watching 'Don’t Tell Me' on the Coca Cola Countdown 2003 feels like a distant fever dream. What’s it been like observing the many changes and evolutions of the NZ electronic music scene and just like you know the entire music scene and the way we consume music in general? How do you think it has changed since you first stepped into it, and what aspects do you miss or appreciate the most from the early days?

Well I think a lot of it is pretty cheesy now, which is because I am old — that's when you know it's time to step away. [laughs]

It's become a lot more corporate now in New Zealand, and less like a subculture, and while there was a period where local artists were really supported in the drum and bass scene, now it feels like promoters are moving away from that. Which is a shame!

Surely you've played in some of the most diverse settings and festivals around the world as far as an NZ electronic artist goes. What's one some of the craziest shit you’ve experienced while performing the world over? (And it can’t be performing to a packed room of dero bogans down in sweaty old Christchurch).

Turning up to Vladivostok and meeting Yuri, who I had met five years before in Beat Merchants (Auckland record shop) buying 'Morning Light'. He said “one day I will bring you to Vladivostok” and I was like “sure mate, nice one, good on ya” and had a typically long winded yarn with him and signed an autograph not expecting much. Was a sick party and went back there again too.

Also, once in Ekaterinburg, the club caught on fire, and we had to evacuate. But there are loads of memories, and listening back to some of these tracks brings back many for me — I hope it does for the listeners, too.

It's been quite a range of experiences, from the Wellington Jazz Festival to Ultra Miami to little club shows in tiny towns, and every show has been special for one reason or another.

Looking ahead to your final shows with Christchurch, Wellington & Auckland dates planned with the knockout blow coming for Save The b 95bFM fundraiser on the 20th of December at the Auckland Town Hall — what can punters expect from these performances? Any frothy surprises or special moments planned?

Nothing too surprising, want to roll it out like always really — a mix of Concord Dawn tracks old and new, alongside some music I love that provokes an emotional response or makes you wiggle.

Evan will be there for the bFM show, he lands that morning and he will play some of the set b2b with me. His solo stuff is named 'Killjoy', and Shihad is playing Churn, so that's cute — they were a massive influence on our high school band.

Also cute is that Nick Buckton, who was in me and Evan's intermediate school band will be there with Voom, and my old mates The Rock n' Roll Machine are playing, so it's a perfect last show really.

Plus, we love the B and wouldn't have done half the things we did without their support back at the start of the journey, and it's amazing to see so many artists donate their time to show their love to the station too.

As you step away from the stage and the studio, what message would you like to convey to your fans and supporters who have been with you on this journey?

I might not be stepping away from the studio. Have got too many rare and flash toys and fun widgets and whatnot, and make techno every now and then these days… just for fun, though I did a few house releases when I lived in Vienna under a different name.

In terms of a message I would like to send a massive boh and big up to all the supporters and fans over the years, it has been a wonderful 25 or so years and something I will remember fondly for the rest of my life and throughout the next chapters.

I have tried to have a good yarn with as many of them as possible over the years, and I have met thousands of great people from all walks of life all over the world, which has been a real blessing.

Last question and it’s a deep one mate. If there's one thing you want people to remember about Concord Dawn, what would it be?

That Matt was always slightly better looking than Evan, and that being nice to people can pay off in the long run.

On behalf of an entire younger generation of NZ electronic artists — firstly I’d love to congratulate you on a fucking ripper of a career that will go down in history as one of the all time greats, and secondly I’d like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for inspiring and paving the way for the rest of us!

Thanks so much!


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