One theme that has run rampant throughout our Blogger Spotlight series thus far has been the seemingly endless variety of side projects within the industry each writer maintains. Be it working a full and/or part time job outside of their site, running a record label, working freelance, playing in a band, or something else entirely, bloggers tend to be immersed in the culture they write about. Today’s writer is no different in that aspect, but they way it all came to be is a story entirely his own.
Matt Darcy is the founder and editor for Nerfarious Realm, a metal, hardcore, and extreme music themed publication that has also dabbled in booking and live event production. Since 2006, Darcy and the contributors that help keep Nefarious Realm up to date have been setting the pace for independent heavy music bloggers with news and features while simultaneously covering a wide array of unsigned talent from around the globe. By welcoming all things heavy with an open mind, Nefarious Realm has become a staple of the music community, both regionally and abroad, which in itself a sort of small wonder. They even have a record label, Threshold Of Pain, which launched earlier this year with hopes of becoming the next boutique vinyl outlet.
As you read through Matt’s story and the life of Nefarious Realm, keep in mind that everything the site has accomplished, including all the bands helped through booking and coverage, resulted from one music fan chasing their desire to share their interest with others. Now that Nefarious has a full team of contributors, each with their own ideas for the next evolution of the site, it seems the future is brighter than ever.
H: For those unaware, please state your name, the site you work for, and your role at said site:
MD: I’m Matt Darcy and I am the founder, boss, editor, webmaster, everything at Nefarious Realm.
H: Let’s start at the beginning. When did you first fall in love with music (be album specific, if possible)?
MD: It was seeing Metallica’s video on MTV (back when the M was for music) for “The Memory Remains,” since then I was hooked. Within months I had all of their previous albums leading up to ‘Reload.’
H: Usually we move from that question to something related to how you first started writing about music, but your site/company is a bit different than the normal publication. In addition to the site, which has news, features, and reviews, you’ve also put on a number of live productions throughout New England. How did you first get started working in music, and where did the idea for Nefarious develop?
MD: It initially started in 2006, I was really big on customizing Myspace layouts and looked into getting my own website. I met a few bands around that time and offered to promote them on the website, which looked awful. The website was pretty dormant like that until around 2007 when I presented my first show then started hosting concerts on a steady basis in 2009. It was booking that initially started it all. I would use the website to better promote the shows and the bands.
H: Where did the inspiration for the name Nefarious Realm productions come from?
MD: If I recall, I happened to think “nefarious” was an awesome word in my early teens that was and still is a word not very much used. It’s a synonym for “sinister” or “wicked.” And “realm” is a “place”, so it’s a wicked place for music.
H: We mentioned your live productions above, but you actually don’t do as much booking as you did in previous years. What inspired you to change your focus towards journalism and the site?
MD: I never intended to become a promoter in the area, I really wanted to be more of a media source, it just happened that way. I was actually laid off from my day job in late 2011 and that’s when I decided to fully transition the website and to make it into something bigger, something more sustainable, something better. I had all the time to put into it at that point, and it was not having the time to develop the website that was holding me back. So it kind of worked out. hahaha.
H: There is a growing number of sites competing in the metal news realm. What does Nefarious offer that sets your efforts apart from the rest?
MD: Nefarious Realm does not post silly gossip, rumors, or tabloid stories, not saying anything is wrong with that, but I want to offer details, insights, thoughts, and content that’s more worth while, while entertaining. Also we look to post about bands, labels, and other topics that don’t get coverage as much. While just about everyone posts about the big names, a lot do not mention smaller or lesser known acts that many enjoy. Throughout the years, and especially coming from a mainstream background, there are literally worlds of music out there waiting to be discovered and heard. One thing that you can always find on what we post is tour dates included on almost every post and more complete details about a release and how to get it.
H: The rise of social media has given more people a voice on an international level than ever before and has lead many to argue that there is less/no need for professional critics. You do reviews on your site, but have a number of additional features as well. Where do you stand on the need for critics in modern times?
MD: People will always look to a professional source for approval for music, especially since we usually get our hands on it first. So if you want to read about the first thoughts, you need to look for what the established sources and critics are saying. I don’t exactly agree with the less/no need part. With literally everyone able to post their opinion on some form of medium, I think more people are getting flooded with, “this sucks” or “this is killer,” with no actual backing explanation, therefore looking to the pros for insight.
H: One of the most talked about features on your site in recent memory is the ‘The Number Of The Compilation,’ a 666-track compilation you have been working on since early 2013. Can you tell us a bit about the project, your guidelines for submissions, and how far along you are in terms of getting it to your readers?
MD: Aside from being a news source, we want to help bands and labels get heard, and as I said there’s a worlds of music out there, taking 666 songs from bands and labels all over the globe and putting them into the hands of people for free will bring people to the forefront of discovering new good music. In regards to guidelines, simply a good recording is all, plus supplying a few bits of general info. Of course not all bands create good music, never mind get a good recording of it so every bit of music is listened to before being accepted. Complete details can be found on the website (http://nefariousrealm.com/homenew/?p=5484). The compilation is about half way complete. The queue of bands to go through is a couple hundred as well, plus more labels keep hopping on board. As far as I researched, it’s the biggest compilation of it’s size and caliber.
H: Speaking of showcasing new talent, you have worked with countless unsigned bands over the years. Where do you go to find new music?
MD: Making friends in various bands and other figures always have referrals, relationships are a strong part in this industry. I’m also lucky to be in an area that has a thriving scene. A lot of the bands around here know each other and work together, so in a short time, you’ll end up seeing/meeting that band you keep hearing about. I do browse Bandcamp a lot as well, I’ve found a few gems simply bopping from band to band, of which I have featured and still listen to on a regular basis.
H: Let’s say the artists want to come to you. What advice would you offer a band hoping to stand out from the countless others vying for coverage?
MD: Stop sending emails, even more so posting on social media walls, “Check this out.” Google “how to form a press release” look at news websites and study the content that’s provided. That is what you should be contacting sources with. Give the outlet everything needed to make a post. “This is totally br00tal, check the vid” is not going to cut it. Being a band with their shit together while creating good music helps.
H: When it comes to receiving music for review and feature consideration, which services do you prefer and why?
MD: I despise getting stuff from website services that every time I click on the website, I get a popup and need to hunt for the correct link to click that is not an advertisement. Haulix is great because it’s not only neat, but provides access to current available catalogs and makes obtaining new releases very easy.
H: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
MD: The elitism and the arrogance. Taste in music varies person to person and honestly who cares if a given person doesn’t like this or doesn’t like that. Matters if YOU like it. The constant hating on Youtube videos and the comments sections on several websites is appalling. Just think what would happen if all these people spent that moment saying something positive or constructive, or even spreading the word of a band you like instead of bashing a band you don’t.
H: You write a lot about having big plans for the future. Before we let you go, can you tell us a bit about what Nefarious has planned for the remainder of 2013?
MD: Moving forward, we are looking into creating more unique features and articles. Also, we have additional none-website/digital projects in motion. Threshold of Pain Records which is a specialty vinyl-only record label has already started. As well we are looking to do several limited posters with renowned artists. We may even be throwing a show again soon. There’s a couple other things too we want to do, but don’t have the time to actually get to at this time