Scene Point Blank:What are your expectations for this year's MACRoCk, as this is the first time it's completely student run and away from the University?
Matt Leech: Well, MACRoCk has always been student run from my understanding, it's just not university funded. I'm personally really excited that MACRoCk has scaled down in size. When I first started coming to the conference six years ago, I did my best to go see a bunch of bands I'd never heard before. I wanted to be blown out of the water by some random band from God knows where. Although it's wonderful MACRoCk received so much attention, and had the budget to bring big acts, I think a lot of people lost sight of the surprise in the conference. This year a good bit of the bands are fairly unrecognized, which is what I really enjoy. And as always, I'm always really excited to have old and new friends from different towns come back to Harrisonburg for a while.
Scene Point Blank:What bands are you looking forward to seeing this year?
Matt Leech: I'm really excited to see Maps & Atlases this year. They were supposed to play at our house a year and a half ago and couldn't make it. I'm really glad that Mock Orange can come to town, too. They've been around for a long time and I've never gotten the chance to see them. Order and Eat Forever are always a blast, and I'm excited to see Anathallo use a deck of cards and a trashcan for drums. How do they make that sound good?
Scene Point Blank:What are you looking forward to besides the music at MACRoCk?
Matt Leech: I have a table at the label expo this year (matthuel12.etsy.com) with Tom Dean of Order (http://www.myspace.com/orderorder - playing Saturday), so I'm looking forward to being stuck behind a table for five hours so I can't go to all the other tables and spend way too much money. There's always a ridiculous selection of records. I'm mainly looking forward to having all of my friends back in town again. Things ebb and flow as far as the music community is concerned here in Harrisonburg, but for one weekend a year everyone's brought back together for a two-day party. That's what I'm most excited for.
Scene Point Blank:As a student of JMU as well as someone that plays in local Harrisonburg bands, what are your thoughts on Harrisonburg's independent/punk scene?
Matt Leech: College town music communities are constantly fluctuating. Nobody plans on being here for more than a couple years, and I think that seriously hurts the element of dedication and willingness to make things happen. When things are so temporary, it's difficult to put as much work into your surroundings. I get down when I think of Harrisonburg's music community now compared to the years when I arrived here, but I know in a year it could all change. I think there are some really solid bands in the area, and some people that work really hard to make events happen. People here are just spoiled by how cheap everything is, and how often things happen, so playing and booking here gets frustrating when it seems others don't care enough to pay three dollars to come to a show, or refuse to come to a venue in which they can't drink.
Scene Point Blank:American Tourist is kind of an on again/off again band, doing small tours and playing locally. What can we expect from the band in the future?
Matt Leech: American Tourist has always been thought of as a collective. We've been a band of six or seven people, and I've also performed by myself. People come and go. It really serves as a musical reflection of the things that happen to all of us involved. I guess we're guilty of doing surges of shows and taking a while off, but it gets difficult when we're all in other active bands. We've got a few local shows coming up, one being MACRoCk, and another with Murder by Death April 11th. We're planning on doing a weekend or two in the Virginia and North Carolina area in the coming couple of months, and there's a European tour in the works for July and maybe the beginning of August. Hopefully a full-length will follow the European tour, as well. Marty and I had a blast on our past couple week tour, I think we'd really like to go north again soon.