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  • Writer's pictureEryk The Strange

Interview with Vudu:DJ from DARQ Salem

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

I met Matt yearsssss ago in a now defunct shop down in Salem Mass at an art show opening party. Thought he would be a fun interview, and a good way to get some insight on another aspect of the scene.

Q: For the people reading this, tell us who you are and what you do.

A:I'm Matt Richard, also known as Vudu:DJ, the creator of DARQ, Salem's goth/industrial/dark music night, Salem, Massachusetts

Q: What's the most memorable event you've ever worked?

A : Most memorable event I've ever worked? It's hard to single out just one. I've had quite a spectrum of roles and performance opportunities in many unique projects and places, so many have equally vibrant memories.

Q: Tell me about DARQ. Where did the name spelling originate? How difficult was it to get up and going? Etc.

A: DARQ has 2 roots. In the year 2000, I held my first event in Salem, I called it the 'Darque Gathering.' It was a 1-off event that was a significant learning experience. My friend and I put it together, had a miscue or two, but all that attended seemed to have fun. It was pre-social media, so mainly just the Salem crew came out. Years later 2006-07, I inherited a club night, and after it ran its' course, some of the prominent Boston folks asked me what I was going to do for my next project. With them instilling confidence, I figured I'd take all the connections I made and fill a niche in my city, Salem. Having worked in the public in Salem, and seeing tourists coming to visit and wanting something to do at night, I created the concept online to whet interest, then found a venue, and bought a basic sound system on craigslist. It was kind of a no-brainer what to call it, and keeping it short-and-simple, I dropped the 'ue' from 'Darque' and went with 'DARQ.' And thus, in 2008, I created and started DARQ in Salem, Ma.

Q: When was the first time a piece of music really had an impact on you?

A: A piece of music that really had an impact' would be NIN's 'Wish'- I remember the video coming on MTV as my parents and I were about to decorate the Christmas tree, and the visceral sounds paired with the dark, raucous visuals had me entranced. That was the direction I was looking for in life, it was the metal/hair metal lover's next step in musical progression.

Q: Do you have any guilty pleasure bands?

A: Not really 'guilty.' The personal library of music is rife with significant history covering good times and bad. Anything not of our favorite DJ genre(s) can be explained with a story. Whether it's classic rock, timeless pop, zydeco, classic R&B, or classical, there's so many options, I don't feel any guilt about revealing particular ones. It all depends on the mood I'm in, or want to be in.

Q: How did you become a DJ?

A: In 1995, one of my college buddies was working at our college radio show as the programming manager and suggested I do a show 'for my music' to fill the schedule. So I did. NIN, Thrill Kill Kult, Lords of Acid, basically everyone and their friends that were on The Crow soundtrack, etc. Toss some techno/electronica in there, etc. I called my show the Digital Dungeon, and I went by DJ VuDu. (years later, when I became more promoter than DJ, I changed the moniker to Vudu:DJ, and stayed with that) I emailed production companies for promos, although most of what I played was off industrial/goth compilations I got at Newbury Comics when home on school break. Any promos the other radio DJs didn't know what to do with ended up in my collection bin. Post-college was my hiatus because I had no idea how to crack the ManRay roster. The hiatus lasted until I saw someone looking for DJs on Myspace, and answered the post. The rest is history.

Q: What struggles are you facing right now that affect your ability to DJ, if any?

A: I don't think I have any 'real' struggles that affect me. I'm in it as a hobby, not as a lifestyle to seek popularity. My work schedule dictates my rare availability. I do some guest gigs here-and-there, but my focus, (black-out dates), is at home, DARQ. I guess a 'struggle' would be the ever-expanding pool of music. I try to run a balance of old, really old, to new, to 'what was that?!?' I try to keep the attendees happy with the familiar, and also introduce them to their future-familiar.

Q: What is one song that's always on my playlist?

A: Such a hard question.....maybe 'O Fortuna' by Apotheosis. It's probably one of the most epic 'safety & zenith' tracks. It can create a dancefloor and peak a dancefloor. And it sounds awesome really loud in headphones... ;) It's 30 years old and still killing it.

Q: What was your first introduction to the goth scene?

A: My 'introduction' to the goth scene? There was the celluloid portrayal, like The Hunger, or the 'Wish' video, or The Crow. Then there's the physical experience was my first fetish club in NYC, and then rolling into ManRay, and a few nights in L.A. A young 19/20 yr old with wide eyes and open ears... I think I was 22 when I first made it to ManRay, and was finally immersed in what I was looking for. Mind you, my college was in Vermont, and devoid of a culture like that.

Q: Have technical issues ever caused you a major problem at an event?

A: I've been lucky enough not to have had technical issues. I use CD's (so a scratch may be a scratch) and also usually have my iPod with me as a back-up. I've seen turntables crap out, and laptops crash or do updates mid-set. With my 2 CD players and an iPod, I'm prepared with a contingency.

Q: If something happened and you had to live in any other area, where would you want to go?

A: Where would I relocate to? If money wasn't an option, probably Prague.

Q: Favorite snack when you're on the go?

A: Goldfish crackers or oyster crackers.

Q: If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you have?

A: Barbecue

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