Matt and Justin Powers of Fringe Media on Pot Zombies and Local Punk
Justin and Matthew Powers, center with cans in hand.
Matthew Powers (who plays with local punk outfit The Street Arabs) and his brother Justin run a DIY in Dallas called Fringe Media Events. They're the ones, ahem, responsible for the locally filmed Troma movie Pot Zombies, its harrowing sequel and a new local punk fest they debuted last summer called This Will Kill You. Also nearing release from the guys behind Fringe Media is a new documentary on local punk called Everything Is A-OK.
Fringe Media combines my two ideal creatives: local music and local film. How many years have you been at it now?
Matt: Well, before 2000, Justin booked shows in Arkansas. Even the Flaming Lips, fresh off their appearence on 90210. That was at a DIY space he ran called Center of the World in Fort Smith. The local police shut it down and wrote Justin a ticket for a something like "conspiracy to overthrow the government."
No shit! Really ...
Matt: No shit. Of course, it didn't stick, but it was pretty funny. A few years ago I ran into Michael Ivins at A&R Records and I brought up that old show. He totally remembered the place and asked about the conspiracy charges.
Justin: I started Fringe Media in 2000 with friend and local artist Scott Krakowski when we started a small indie film/music fest at a warehouse on Exposition in Fair Park. Fringe Media became the production company to produce Troma's POT ZOMBIES and continued to book and promote live shows and film events. A couple years ago we decided to start working on booking shows together and started Fringe Media Events. We booked the calender and co-ran Queen City Hall together for a short run and just decided to keep going. It works out great as we sub for the each other if we're out of town for whatever. What's funny is I guess we look a little alike because people will start a conversation with me on Friday and night and end it with Justin on Saturday night. We just go with it, as we usually know what's going on.
Much like it's getting cheaper for local music to get recorded, it seems to be getting cheaper to make a film. True?
Justin: Yes. Technology is making it affordable for anyone to make a film or record music. If there was something to make people less lazy imagine the possibilities!
Matt: Not sure what you're calling cheap!! Says the broke musician.
Some would say digital recordings are not the same thing as music done on tape. Is it the same for film opposed to digital video? Is there an esoteric quality there that digital misses?
Justin: I have never shot on film and I'm pretty sure i never will. Of course, I think there is a cool quality to stuff shot on film, but with some knowledge and work you can make digital video look just as beautiful or better. You just have to take the time to learn how. We live in a time where anyone can learn anything just by taking the time of doing research and teaching yourself by DOING it.
Tell us about some of the local creations Fringe has been involved in: local music and local film, but most significantly, any combination of the two.
Justin: One creation is our new music festival: THIS WILL KILL YOU. It features a wide variety of punk genres on two stages at one bar. The first year was a great success for the festival, although no one actually died in its freshman year. But we do plan to make this an annual event at least until it actually kills you ... or someone you love.
And on the video side?
Justin: Another project in production now is the Dallas punk rock documentary EVERYTHING IS A-OK. We've been shooting interviews for most of this year and are hoping to have the movie wrapped around the beginning of the new year with a spring release, a local premiere and an afterparty concert featuring Dallas punk bands from every generation.
Matt: We also started THIS WILL KILL YOU Fest this past August and hope for that to be an annual event. Last year was at the Wits End and we had a blast. Huge lineup. If we could pull it off, we would love to add films and poets to the fest in the future.
How far back does your history go in DFW music/film? Fond memories? Alternately, memories of rather dark or crazy moments?
Justin: Growing up in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in the '90s and booking punk shows I booked a lot of Dallas bands, so when I moved to Dallas, I continued to book shows at at places like Spider Babies, Bar of Soap, Red Blood Club, etc. Later i ended up managing the Red Blood Club in Deep Ellum like 2007-2008.There was a stabbing at the club during a Citizen Fish show. Four people were stabbed and that incident ended up starting the demise of the club.
Matt: I've been playing in bands around Dallas since about 2004. Used to be in a country band called SaddleTramp and we would play at Bar of Soap and around. The band before last was with the Bipolar Express. Now play with the Street Arabs. One of my favorite shows I've ever booked was the Sons of Hercules and The Mullens at Sons of Herman Hall. Great bands, great venue! Oh, and at the end of the Queen City Music Hall run I kinda flipped out on a band for breaking a glass window while on stage. I turned off their P.A., turned on the lights and told them to go back to Oklahoma.
So, you've got a punk fest and local punk documentary cooking; anything else on the horizon that's more in the development stages? How about projects you'd love to do if you could get the backing?
Justin: We have a few films in development. After the Dallas punk doc is done we will be shooting a comedy/horror monster movie called IT CAME FROM THE TOILET, a movie we wrote originally to shoot at the Red Blood Club. We also have a film in post called HOSTILITY HOTEL, starring Duane Peters. We shot a couple years ago and have a new editor working on it now finally. And we are just now starting to develop the most anticipated film of all time ... POT ZOMBIES 3: THE MUSICAL!