Matthew Horvath, or Footy as he is more commonly known, has been involved in Adelaide’s hardcore and punk scene for well over 15 years. One of Footy’s latest and most adventurous projects to date has been opening Clarity Records; a record store and label co-founded with wife Laura, dedicated to providing Adelaide locals with a place to find new music and support local musicians. This interview was an opportunity to discuss Footy’s music, pranks, business venture, sports and personal experience with hardcore and punk.

Interview conducted in March 2014 by Allan Reid. Photos by Ryan Willmott and Mitch Mans.


...I've just had footy training so I'm a little bit sore, but I'm ok.

Have you always played?

No, technically this is my second year. I figured that I love it and I've always enjoyed playing amongst mates so I thought I would give it a go. I started last year and I just had the itch to find out…I was kind of at a point in my life where I needed to do something different that wasn't playing in bands and going to shows. As much as I love that, I just needed something to mix it up a bit and to meet new people.

Well, I'm going to call that the start of the interview...

There we go! It actually sounded like an interview question…

It wasn't for the interview. I was just curious because I've started doing the same thing.

What have you been doing?


Of course!

I've hiked every weekend since new years.

I thought about you on Monday actually. It was a public holiday here in Adelaide and I did a hike up the tallest mountain in Adelaide which is a 4km hike up and 4km and I thought "ah, Allan goes hiking, and I'm doing a hike!" That was it.

I'm running out of options so I'm looking at doing weekend trips to other states to climb mountains.

Well if you are ever in Adelaide and want to hike a mountain with me, I can take you to the hot spots!

I'll definitely add it to the list!

…all of 2 mountains in Adelaide.

I can't recall ever seeing a mountain around Adelaide.

You'd almost not call it a mountain, you'd just call it a hill. A speed bump!


Do you remember your first hardcore or punk show?

I do actually. My first hardcore show after I'd start going to bigger shows when Warped Tour was first coming to Australia and NOFX first started coming to Australia, my first actual hardcore show, was a tour that Trial & Error were involved in putting on. The name of the tour slips me a little bit, but it was an all day thing at Adelaide University. I think it might have been 1999 and playing was Mindsnare, Day of Contempt, Embodiment 12:14, a Japanese hardcore band called Uzumaki, 28 Days and then some local bands like Seraphs Coal, 99 Reasons Why and an American band called Zeke played. They weren't a hardcore band but I liked them. Oh, No Grace too. There were a lot more, it was an all day event. It was awesome!

Do you remember how you found out about it?

Well, the way I found about it was because I saw Seraphs Coal when I went to Warped Tour when they opened. A couple of my mates, being christian hardcore punks knew about them, being a christian punk band, and we already knew about them and had their CDs and demo's. We saw their name on that flyer and saw the other bands as well. A lot of them were bands that we'd heard of but hadn't seen, because we were pretty young at the time and we'd never gone to any hardcore shows. We just knew that hardcore existed in Adelaide in some form. I went into a record store, saw the poster and noticed that they had tickets for sale, and I was so excited that I bought 5 tickets and made all of my mates come along with me. Yeah, it was awesome.

That was probably just before Adelaide had the big boom of bands like I Killed The Prom Queen, Day of Contempt, The Killchoir Project… were they bands that you were fond of? I've always considered you to be more of a punk fan…

Um…they were all bands that I got into. For example, I went to Killchoir's first show and I thought they were awesome. As the years went on I stopped liking them as much but still went to see them. I loved Shot Point Blank, Day of Contempt, Embodiment 12:14 and I started out going to I Killed The Prom Queen shows and the band before that, The Fall Of Troy, I saw their first show. There were definitely bands that I was into. I think back then, hardcore was very exciting and I was discovering all of these bands. It was less accessible and we didn't have the internet or anything like that, and there were no bands to compare local bands to like we have now. They were the only bands that we could go and see and that was exciting, you know? You'd appreciate the bands that you'd get to see instead of picking out their faults or comparing them to overseas bands.

Was there less to compare to because of information being less available?

Yeah that's right. The internet was starting to creep in and hardcore was starting to get pretty big and record stores were starting to stock more of the bigger releases, so you got clued into what was happening around the world, but it definitely wasn't as accessible as what it is today.

Do you think Adelaide is better now or then? A lot of people that you talk to really excited about Adelaide's current selection of hardcore bands, and there seem to be similarities between Adelaide now, and Adelaide then, with the quality of bands, shared members, etc.

I think back then, the bands that were around had a bit more drive than bands in Adelaide do now. For example, all of those bands, Day Of Contempt, I Killed The Prom Queen and Shot Point Blank, they all toured overseas, and toured Australia constantly, and I think that's one thing that is kind of holding bands back from Adelaide at the moment. They're not really as driven, and they're not putting themselves out there as much as bands did back then, however, I will say that the quality of music coming out Adelaide at the moment is just as good, if not better, than it was back than. That's hard to say that because I loved Day Of Contempt and I loved Shot Point Blank, but I also love The Weight and I love Search & Destroy. It's all really good hardcore to me, and I'm proud to say that those bands are from Adelaide. The difference between the scene's back then and now? It's probably more divided now than what it was back then, but I think that's what's happened to hardcore all around the world because of the different genres of hardcore that are being played these days and there are a lot less mixed bills, where beforehand there were not as many bands, so you'd play with who you could and you'd have 2 or 3 hardcore bands on a bill, a punk band or a metal core band or a screamo band or whatever. For example, I'd go to a show and I'd see Day Of Contempt playing with I Killed The Prom Queen, The Killchoir Project and Truth Corroded or something like that. These days if that happened people would wonder why it's even a show, but that's just what happened back then.

How did Crisis Alert come about?

I have been wanting to do a band like Crisis Alert for a very long time and I've always loved Minor Threat, old DC bands and old Boston bands. I think it was around the start of 2012 and I'd been playing in Stolen Youth for over ten years, and I love Stolen Youth but I wanted to do something else musically, so I sat down with a guitar and decided that I was going to write 10 tracks and how they come out is how they come out, and then I'll get together with a drummer and if the songs sound alright when we jam, I'll look at recording them. If the recording comes out alright, I'll look at assembling a band. All of those things happened and it sort of just fell into place. That was basically the start of it.

Did you think you'd do as much as you've done when you first started the band?

Not at all, because I really just started it…well…one of the inspirations for starting the band was that there was a really peak time in Adelaide hardcore during that period because The Weight were gaining momentum, Search & Destroy were gaining momentum, and there were all of these bands playing together and a lot of kids coming to shows at venues like Animal House, and I wanted to be in a band that could be a part of that and help the hardcore scene grow. At first, all I wanted to do was sing in a band and open shows. I didn't care what show, I just wanted to play with younger hardcore bands and help contribute more to the hardcore community. So basically it started as a band to open shows and then it took off from there. Originally the recording was going to be on 7 inch but I didn't know how much I was going to invest. I was maybe going to press 100 copies with photocopied sleeves. I sent it to Graham from Resist Records just to give him an idea of what I was doing. We're good friends and we talk all of the time and I was hoping that he might chuck us on a show if he had bands coming through town, but a couple of days after I sent it to him, he called me and said he really liked it and wanted to release it. I would never say no to Resist, or anyone else wanting to put out our records and it went on from there. The band has done some stuff since then that I didn't think that we'd do.

You didn't release a demo per se, was that a conscious decision or something that just fell into place?

My original idea with the recording was to press 100 7 inch's and sell them to whoever wants them, and after that make CDR's or MP3's to distribute for free to get the music out there. I don't want to make any money off it as long as the music is out there, that's all that matters. Whether that's a demo or not? I think for me, I don't think a demo was really much of an option for me because I didn't really want to waste any time with just a demo. I wanted to get the ball rolling with getting as much music out there as fast as I could. I've also been through the demo process with other bands so I was less excited about doing a demo than I was about doing a 7 inch, but on the other hand, the recording on the 7 inch is from a jam room and it's totally DIY, we did everything ourself, so I don't know what people's definition of a demo and whether it's just a demo in 7 inch format. It depends how technical you want to get with it.


This might be a strange question, but was there ever talk of Stolen Youth working with Resist?

I guess, in short, no. I had been trying to get the band a label whether it was Resist or another label from around Australia, to release a record of some sort. There was just never really any interest from anyone and that's fair enough. I don't really want people to release records of mine that they're not into. It's definitely been a hard slog for that band. I think a lot of it is because we don't really fit a particular mould. We're not really a punk band per se, and we're not really a hardcore band. We're somewhere in the middle. I think there have always been aspects of that band that get people excited and aspects of that band that put people off, whether it's the style of music or…who knows, but having said that, Graham has helped us out endlessly with putting us on tours or putting us on shows, but there's never been any talk of Stolen Youth releasing anything on Resist.

What would you say has been your favourite experience so far with Crisis Alert?

I’d probably say…my favourite experience…it'd be one of a couple of things. Our first national tour for the 7 inch was pretty exciting. There were the four of us and only me and Tom, who plays guitar, had toured together previously. We had never toured with Shannon and Shaun had never toured at all.

Didn't Shaun lose his glasses?

Yeah, he lost his glasses in Byron Bay when we went midnight swimming. That was pretty funny, but not so fun for him. Touring in a new environment with new people and music that's new to us all, and all of the personalities working really well was pretty exciting. They weren't the biggest shows, but that's not the point of the band. The point of the band is to play music. On the other end of the scale, we did a bit of a mini tour with Frenzal Rhomb and played to a lot bigger crowds. Although we're a lot different stylistically, it was a lot of fun hanging out with those guys and playing as hard as we could each night to some surprised faces.

How do you and Tom know each other?

Me and Tom, we got to know each other from an early age through going to shows. Actually, Laura, lived in an area called Blackwood where Tom lived and a majority of Stolen Youth lived and went to school, so she knew those guys from living in that area and she actually introduced me to them. I was going to Stolen Youth shows at the time that I joined the band. Before I joined the band, I was hanging out with Tom heaps and getting to know those guys, and I grew closer to Tom through the years through playing in the band and we've been best mates since.

I ask because you're at the point where you nearly finish each other's sentences, like twins that look nothing alike.

We've got a name for ourselves, it's "Team Scheme". When Team Scheme are on fire, there's no stopping us.


What would say is the best prank you guys have ever pulled?

Oh man…there's just too much. I don't think I can really think of one off the top of my head that really…you know…we've just done so many things that it's hard to pick one. The most recent prank was when I was on tour with Starvation and I'd planned with Tom for him and his work mates to call Moose and tell him that there were some brake pad issues with the hire car, so they were pretending to be from Europcar, and they were telling Moose that they shouldn't have dispatched the vehicle and he was going to have to change it over when he got to Melbourne. We pretended that they'd phoned ahead to the Melbourne branch and pretended that the only cars that the Melbourne branch had were way too small or way too big. It was such an elaborate prank that went for hours on the drive between Adelaide and Melbourne. Eventually it came out that it was a prank and everyone was mind blown that we'd orchestrated this prank that went for half the drive to Melbourne. There's a lot of thought that goes into our pranks sometimes.

I think the first time I was exposed to your pranks was when you stayed at my house and I asked for your number, and you both had memorised it and yelled the number at me in a split second, it was scary. That would've taken practice. That's when I realised that you guys are evil.

Evil in a lovely way!

Evil in the best way. How did Clarity Records start?

Before opening in 2010, it had been an idea of mine and Laura's for a number of years. I remember, quite specifically, a conversation that I had with Laura while walking down King Street in Newtown about opening a record store. I think it was the first Propaghandi tour so it might've been 2008? Well not the first, but the first they'd done in years, but anyway. I think it was 2008 and we were just walking around and I said "I'm tired of the state of record stores in Adelaide, I'm tired with what I'm doing in my life and I feel like I need to do something new". At that time I was working in another record store but it was on the verge of closing and just being involved in that environment and the closure of a record store is super depressing and it's not the happiest place to be. You're getting hounded by customers everyday. "Where's my order?" "Why don't you have any stock on the shelves?" How do you tell a customer that you can't afford to make orders? The last thing I wanted to do was go and work for the man again because I'd spent nearly 8 years working at Foodland supermarkets so I wasn't going to do that and I wasn't going to study. Basically it was around the start of 2010 and I'd been working on a business plan for quite a while and there was a spot that came up, and I'd always envisioned that I'd one day open a record store in this spot. We applied for it and we were successful. I'd been saving up as well getting a little bit of help from my mum to start it up financially. It just went from there. It was really a roll of the dice. We signed a 3 year lease and thought "well, there goes the next 3 years of our life. If it's successful than we can keep it going, if it's not successful at least we know we gave it our best go" and we were determined to do it, so we made it happen. The best decision I've made in my life, I reckon. Wait, second best decision.

What would be the first?

Marrying Laura.

Thought so! Has it been smooth sailing since opening the store? I ask because I think a lot of people have this idea that opening a record store is a case of chilling out and listening to records all day...

To be honest, I don't know if "smooth sailing" is the right term, but so far, and I'm not trying to down play anything, it's been relatively easy because we've worked pretty damn hard to make sure that it's been that way. It's a case of always working hard and it is really stressful at times managing all of the money that you have to deal with, paying for orders and paying rent, but we've never been late with any payments and we always try to make it as easy as we can for ourselves without stressing too much…and that's certainly not being relaxed on the whole business side of things. We're always working hard, but because of that it has been smooth sailing, if you know what I mean. We've never run into any issues or anything like that. The biggest issue that we've had was our window getting smashed one night by some drunk idiot and we had to get that fixed. Other than that, it's been a pretty good ride so far. When we started up the shop, we didn't have much money and we managed with the money that we had. The majority of our shop and the fixtures and everything were all second hand. I looked at some pictures the other day from when the shop first opened, and our stock was so low because that's all the money we had and we had to start small, and the way that we've built it up, it's always been at a manageable level. It's not like we tried to start off huge and get ourselves into debt straight off the bat. It's always been at a manageable level.


In regards to the label side of things, when did you decide to start releasing records?

This kind of relates back to the question before. When we started the shop the idea was to MAYBE do some releases if the right thing came up. We want to help the local scene, and it's also a good way to spread the Clarity word. Basically the Stolen Youth album was recorded and I was shopping it around and no one was interested, and it got to the point where we would have to release it ourselves. I put the idea to the guys of doing it on Clarity if I could get the right distribution deal. I contacted Shock Records and they were keen to distro our releases and I that was a huge positive for me wanting to do the label because they've got such a wide network of distribution into shops Australia wide. I decided to release the Stolen Youth record and from there I figured that I'd done one so I might as well do another.

You've mostly released Adelaide based bands, is that correct?

Yeah and I only want to release Adelaide bands as well.

I was about to ask if it was intentional, or partially because they are the people you are surrounded by?

It is intentional, and you're right, it is because of the people I'm surrounded by. The bands I want to release are the bands that I'm going to see every weekend, bands that I'm excited about, bands that I'm friends with…just having those factors makes me want to keep it local and keep it low key…

It's almost an early Dischord Records approach…

Dischord has been a very influential part of my life and I definitely try to take a leaf out of their book. That's nothing against bands interstate or people interstate. There are so many bands and people that I love interstate and overseas as well, but you know, there are labels in other states that are doing good things in their cities and they can look after bands that need help in their cities and I'll do the same here in Adelaide. One of the things that I did say to myself when I started the label was that I don't intend it to be…that's not what Clarity is. It's a shop first, and we release records from time to time.

Do you ever think that there'll be a point in your life where you won't be involved in hardcore or punk?

Um…I think I'll always be involved. At what level? I'm not 100% sure, but as long as I've got the shop, I will be involved a great deal. As long as I'm playing in bands I will also be involved and I don't see myself ever not playing in bands. I think the only reason that I would slow down would be when Laura and I start having a family, but that's not to say that will stop me going to shows or playing in bands, but family comes first.


Have you ever reached a point where you felt like walking away from it all, or is it something that you've always needed?

I've never felt like walking away. My friendships are cool and they still revolve around hardcore and punk. It's what I do and it's what I know, so it's just a big part of me and everything that I'm involved in is related to the hardcore scene somehow so I think if I was just to cut all ties and walk away I don't think that I would have too much left.

Lastly, what's next in line for you?

Footy - Quite a bit. There's always something on the cards. Clarity Records is working towards Record Store Day in April. That's the mecca of days for record stores around the world so that's the main thing on our minds at the moment. We have nothing locked in, in terms of releases, but we are talking to a couple of bands and trying to get the ball rolling in regards to possibly putting out records. Bands wise, Crisis Alert have just done a full tour so we will probably wind down a little bit and just play shows here and there, Starvation have just done a lot of touring so we will just do shows when they pop up and Stolen Youth, well, believe it or not, writing for a new album. Footy season is about to start so I've got to get fit!

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