What is your full name?
My full name is Charles Matthew Lee Conradi. I have four names due to a disagreement with my parents. I go by Matt. I didn’t know my real name was Charles until they did roll call one day in kindergarten.
Do you have any aliases?
I do not. Like I said, I go by Matt. I wasn’t cool enough to have nicknames and aliases.
If you had an alias what might it be?
Well if I took LSD with some friends and we all wore black overcoats and slim shades while listening to 90’s electronic music and we got to pick our names, I would say something technical like “Laser” or “Scanman” or “Beam”.
What bands are you actively involved with?
I do play bass in a band called Strugglebear. The guitar player that plays in that band is the bass player for Shadow People. Our former bass player in Shadow People had left in 2019 so Paul filled in for him and it’s kind of been a mutual thing since. I care about his band just as much as he does Shadow People.
What was the first instrument that you played?
First instrument I ever played was a guitar I found in the trash. The neck was detached and broke. I superglued it together, put strings back on it and tried to learn. It didn’t last long but I longed for it for sure even at seven years old.
Tell me about one of your first musical memories?
So I have a brother that is seven years older than me and in the mid 90’s, I caught wind of bands like Smashing Pumpkins. I remember being six years old and trying to scream as much as Billy Corgan was. I’d lock the door and dance and scream while my brother was on the other side of the door listening, laughing his ass off.
So I had this STRONG interest and I knew what I wanted to be that young.
What was the name of the first band you were in?
Lol as fucking dumb as this answer is going to be, it was called “Mojo”. I think I was 15? We smoked a bunch of weed and watched powerpuff girls and got the idea from the villian? At that time, I was still discovering scales and I was heavy into The Doors and Hendrix so it just sounded like JamBand bullshit but all that gave me growth as a guitar player.
Tell me about the genesis of Shadow People.
It all mended into something that wasn’t supposed to happen. There’s elements that make the band that were put together by fate.
It all started in 2013 where I started writing quieter songs but with screamy vocals. I had been through a couple drummers that didn’t like the soft but weirdly intense riffs on acoustic. To them, it just didn’t fit. But something that didn’t fit together, I thought did and still do.
I met Percy Bergeron in 2014. I smashed my acoustic in a fit of rage(an ex girlfriend threatened to smash It in an argument so I snatched it from her and did it myself so she couldn’t take pride in destroying something I loved).
So I was forced to buy a guitar with barely any money. I came across an old Japanese guitar and it made fucked up noises and I incorporated that into the band.
After that, the band was never the same. It evolved into a sludgecore band from an angry acoustic band.
So I consider that fate. None of that was supposed to happen. It just did.
The equipment I used has either been given OR made its way to me for very cheap to where I had no choice but to buy it.
What inspired the name Shadow People?
Meth. Lots of Methamphetamine! Shadow People is a
terminology for drug induced psychosis due to speed.
When you speed after a few days, you see weird figures because of sleep deprivation. Basically your body is trying to shut the fuck down and your mind is trying to kill itself so you hallucinate. When I came up with the name, I was in severe depression, in and out of hospitals and seeing “shadow people” frequently.
I definitely LIVED this name.
How long did it take you to write and record Batom Rouge/Washing In Soap Opera?
About a solid year from 2019. Washing In Soap Opera was recorded as extras for Batom Rouge but the writing was so different that we released them separately. When the pandemic happened, we released ‘WISO’ to keep the momentum going during the pandemic.
When our label picked us up, we combined the two.
If you could insert yourself into any one band what band would it be and why?
You’re basically asking me whose music would I rather live.
So the question is...why would I do that when I live Shadow People’s music?
Why would I live someone else’s stories?
That just seems like a fuckin falsehood. Most of these songs are autobiographical. So I breathe these fucking songs.
Why would I breathe someone else’s?
Have you ever heard a song and immediately wished you had written it? If so… What was the song and artist?
This is the SAME answer I gave to the previous question. I don’t know how else to say it. With all due respect, this is stuff you would ask a cover band.
Do you have any non-metal musical inspirations?
Most of them if not ALL are NON METAL. I’m down with anything that puts out emotion. I’d rather listen to Madonna than some generic metal or punk fuck boy same song and dance bullshit to inspire me.
Non-metal song that you'd like to do a cover of.
By the time we find a cover to play and do it an entirely different way than it was played, we would write more songs and that’s more precious to us than playing someone else’s. It’s a waste of time compared to what we can create. If my fingers all broke off tomorrow, would I be happy that I played covers? Fuck no.
What band have you played with that has really impressed you with their live show?
There was an old band we played with in our infancy and it was a two piece drums and fuzz bass screamo band called The Clad. It was just a band that everyone needed. They impressed the shit out of me everytime. The drummer had a headset so he could scream his ass off and the bass player screamed while playing cool ass bass chords.
Do you have a favorite venue to play at?
I currently LIVE in a venue in Baton Rouge called 524. It’s obviously not open to the public but yeah it’s my favorite to play at. It’s an auto mechanic shop turned venue. A fuckin hole in the wall with band stickers and spray paint. That looks like I feel. It’s a manifestation.
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
No sex. No food. Quiet time. I usually have a relaxing playlist. Sonic Youth, Elliott Smith. I don’t like to do anything or fuck with anyone before a show. I don’t wanna talk or anything to raise my heart rate. I want to rest because I know that later on, I’m going to put myself through emotional, mental and physical pain.
Is there any higher praise than having your band name written in fecal matter?
There really isn’t. You might think it’s funny, sure...but I think someone loved our band enough to do that. They didn’t fake it and use hornel chili, they didn’t just talk about it....they fuckin did it! Because they wanted ME TO KNOW that they love our band.
What advice would you give young musicians that are just starting out in the music business?
Do everything yourself. Make your own money. Be wary of people trying to take advantage of you. For years, I’ve met and worked with people that have fucked me or my band over and it’s a sad sight. You wanna make sure that never happens? Do everything yourself.
What is an absolute band killer?
Whatever it is you’re not willing to sacrifice. Relationships, drugs, whatever it is...if you’re not willing to put it after your band, IT WILL BE KILLED.
Music has been there for me before anyone or anything. The least I can do is be there for it.
What’s the longest time you’ve gone without bathing?
I’m really not sure. I guess three days? I know when I was doing drugs, getting high and then taking a shower was always an adventure. I never really liked to stink. My clothes may not always be clean but I like to smell good. I know metal heads and crust punks are suppose to stink but I think that’s just a fuckin stereotype.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
A lot of people don’t know or understand this but I take laxatives everyday. I have been for years. I know it’s a disorder but it hasn’t caused health issues yet. It stems from wanting to be slim and shitty self image issues.
What are two things that people need to know about Louisiana?
That this place is America’s asshole. Crime, poverty, substance abuse and racism are bigger problems than any other state in America. No one gives a fuck about Louisiana.
It’s a shit hole. Fuck this place.
However....being an artist has a lot to do with the places you grow up. The more discouraging a place is, the better creativity.
Is the Fistful of DOOM show in the top 10 of your favorite music podcasts?
I don’t listen to podcasts. I support podcasts, sure but I don’t personally listen to podcasts. It’s just not my thing. Can’t really get Into it. It’s an ADD thing maybe?
You’re driving cross-country and you can only listen to one album the whole time. What album will it be?
Mellon Collie. As much as that would suck, it’s a double disk so if we’re talking about a fuckin 16hr drive, I could rotate the two for a while until I get sick of it.
You are writing a book about your life thus far. What is the title of that book?
Memoirs of a Moron
Describe Percy Bergeron in fifteen words or less.
My boyfriend <3
What is your favorite song by Britney Spears?
I’m assuming that's supposed to be a silly question. Because “I’m a metalhead”, in reality I think you’d be surprised by what I listen to. I’ll say this , I see more originality in some pop artist that I do in most of the “doom” genre.
Acid Bath or Crowbar (if you had to choose)?
I’d go with Acid Bath. Crowbar is amazing but I feel like AB had more changes so it catches my attention. Both of those bands are beautiful though.
Massive thanks to Matt for taking the time to answer my queries. I appreciate it. Be sure to check out Shadow People’s combo EP Batom Rouge/Washing In Soap Opera available now digitally and on cd courtesy of Forbidden Place Records!
~El Pedo Caliente (aka Uncle Jameson from the Fistful of DOOM show)