Editor's note: See our Kyle Long-penned cover story on Ron Matelic here.
Matelic on Matelic: Scott talks about his dad, Ron
Does underground music credibility run in the Matelic family's DNA? If Ron Matlelic's son Scott is any indication, the answer is definitely yes. Scott Matelic is a highly respected hip-hop producer and DJ who first came to national prominence making beats for Anticon Records' MCs Sage Francis and Sole. His 2004 debut LP Primitive Pessimist scored a Japanese release and landed a spot in NUVO's Best 100 Hoosier LPs list.
As a DJ, Scott is known locally for his work at the much-loved but currently retired Let Go! parties at the Lockerbie Pub. These days you'll find Scott spinning at gigs across the five boroughs of his current home New York City.
NUVO: Do you remember if there was a particular moment when you became aware of the importance of your dad's music?
Scott Matelic: I always knew his music was cool. I could say to friends at school, "My dad's in a band" and feel cool about it. But the earliest memory I have outside of my friends' parents knowing about his bands was when he bought a Goldmine Record Collectors' Price Guide and he showed it to Anonymous/Sir Winston drummer John Medvescek. I remember John being shocked. I can't recall the exact price listing, but I knew there was something significant about the Anonymous LP because its dollar value was higher than a Jimi Hendrix record for example. I also remember record dealers calling the house in search of the album and my dad was sending out sealed copies.
NUVO: As a producer you are known for your sampling esoteric music. Have you ever sampled your dad's music?
Scott Matelic: I'm not even sure if he's aware but I did sample vocals from a song my dad wrote for a friend of his named Jim Spencer. It's one of those things where I was too embarrassed to play it for him. It was taken out of its original context and presented in a different light. I was in my early 20s at the time and making very melodramatic music. So it's a bit over the top. Aside from that example I think his body of work is too sacred to touch. His songs are great on their own.
NUVO: Are you a fan of your dad's music? Any particular songs you really like?
Scott Matelic: I'm totally a fan and I try to spread the word because I feel it's up to par or better than a lot of stuff from the same time period. The Anonymous album lives in my top five albums of all time. One of my favorite moments on the album is the second verse on "Up To You" where my dad sings to my mom about my sister and their transition into parenthood. I feel extremely lucky because this is a moment from and about my family that's cemented in time.
Another favorite is the Sir Winston and The Commons' song "Not The Spirit Of India." The vocal harmonies and fuzzed out guitar solo are indicative of the early psychedelic era, and I'm a big fan of the psychedelic genre. It's executed well and is perhaps my favorite Sir Winston song.
Irvington Vinyl's Rick Wilkerson talks reissuing Anonymous' Inside the Shadow:
I still remember the first time I heard the Anonymous LP. Delicate yet powerful male/female harmony vocals and ringing Rickenbacker guitar leapt off the turntable, but it was the hook-laden songs that kept me coming back for more. This record was way too good to remain a secret.
Fortunately we had a plan to reissue important Indiana records. OR Records, the label that Stan Denski and I operated in the late 1990s, located band leader Ron Matelic. In 1996 we issued a limited pressing of Inside the Shadow. They didn't last long, because by this time the record was highly sought by collectors and originals were scarce and expensive.
While we had been disappointed to learn that the master tapes had been lost following the untimely passing of Matelic's close friend and producer Jim Spencer, there was some unexpected good news: a second, unreleased demo was sitting on a shelf waiting to be discovered.
Anonymous — so named because they never played live and flew completely under the radar despite Matelic's history with the beloved Indianapolis garage band Sir Winston and the Commons — had become J. Rider following a personnel shift. This band did play in clubs and recorded new songs, but the recordings (in the same vein as Inside the Shadow but a tad rockier) lay unreleased for two decades following the disintegration of J. Rider. We released a limited vinyl pressing of J. Rider's No Longer Anonymous in 1997 and like its predecessor was out of print quickly. A CD combining Anonymous and J. Rider was subsequently released.
We took heart that Ron began recording again around this time, and I still have a CD-R of his excellent demos, some of which recently emerged as CD bonus tracks on J. Rider's recent re-release via the West Coast label Machu Picchu Records.
Had the OR label not folded in the early 2000s, I'd like to think we'd still be the label home of Anonymous and J. Rider. The good news is that Machu Picchu has made this music available again, and that's what really matters.
— Rick Wilkerson