Matt Fanale stays active with many projects: Caustic(les), daddybear, DJ Eurotic, and KLACK are a few project names. Not only has he been active in the Madison, Wisconsin electronic music scene, but a pillar of it, releasing the first HaLO compilation in 2003 to showcase local talent. 17 years later, HaLO 2020 was released on a Bandcamp Friday, November 6, 2020. This time, Auxiliary Magazine was around to ask about this compilation, the goals of its release, and the impact of Bandcamp Fridays.
You released the first HaLO compilation in 2003. Tell me about what occurred behind the scenes to get that happening. What was its inspiration and how do you feel it was received at the time?
Matt Fanale : It’s a fantastic time capsule. Alex from Negative Format mastered it, and we had a local replication place make the CDs. I still work with them to this day for most of my physical releases. In terms of reception it went really well. We moved enough copies to not lose money, and we sold them all over the country. The main purpose for the comp was just to get the word out on our cool artists, and it did. If you look at the track list you’ll recognize a good number of the names now.
2020 has been a helluva year. Is that what drove the effort to release this second HaLO compilation now instead of any earlier or later time? What inspires this current release?
MF : We had a fairly dry spell for a while. Part of it was that Inferno closed, but a lot of our scene also just grew up, started families, or moved away. In the last few years though I started noticing some artists popping up. There were also artists that weren’t in Madison that had been around a long time, like Somegirl and Endless Blue, that came around after the first comp and I didn’t even know well, but I knew they were good. Then I started making a list and, hell, this was something doable! It felt like the right time to do it, plus with Bandcamp we could do it relatively cheaply and celebrate the great music we make in this state.
Tell us a bit about the album itself and the musicians appearing on it.
MF : It’s a wide variety of styles, from EBM to synthpop to witch house to trip hop. It’s 18 tracks so I tried to follow the styles throughout the comp so it flows more like a mix CD than anything. Most of the bands I knew already. I’d become friends with Sweat Boys over the last several years as Ben did a fantastic remix of “Bleed You Out” off Man Who Couldn’t Stop. He kinda cold called me and asked for a kit and it’s one of the best remixes off that album. Choke Chain is from the same city, and his EP took off fast and got a lot of international play, too. The Madison area artists are a bulk of the album, like Sensuous Enemy, Bixlee, Klack, Null Device, I.X.XI, Killcrop, and SØLVE (Brant from AAIMON, who is from the area but just moved this year with Nancy). It’s pretty damn great. Then we add in the Milwaukee area folks, as well as Missing in STARS out of Lake Geneva, which is Dan, who I’ve known since his Blind Faith and Envy days forever ago.
By the time of this interview, the Bandcamp Friday release date has come and gone. Did HaLO 2020 enjoy a good day right out of the gate? How great an impact in your opinion do the Bandcamp Friday promotions have on artists who use the platform?
MF : You never know how a compilation will do, but fortunately we did well. Bandcamp Fridays have been such a boon to musicians this year, as people are incredibly generous, and all the artists did a nice job spreading the word. We didn’t announce this, but we’ve donated all the profits to Wisconsin food banks to help folks out. This wasn’t intended to be a big money maker, but we’re helping out our own with it so that adds another level of special to the whole thing for me.