Contributor’s Note:  Recently, Richard of Madness To Creation conversed with Matty of Secret Nudist Friends on their recent EP entitled “I Don’t Like It”, along with mental health awareness and playing music during the Covid-19 pandemic.  “I Don’t Like It” is out now via Bandcamp and goodhowareyou Records.  Secret Nudist Friends are a psych/garage/power pop band out of Philadelphia.  Fans can find Secret Nudist Friends at the following locations:

Richard:  Hi Matty, I’m listening to the new singles for I Don’t Like It now and I’m excited for the full release.  I’ve been a distant fan since the Susan EP, a great home-recorded psych album, did you change production methods for this next LP at all?

Matty: We have recorded in a few different locations with different personnel, but this new album, for the most part, is a return to the basement of Tralfamadore in South Philly that gave the world Susan and a lot of our other recordings. We did however record the drums and most of the bass at Pleasure Mountain Audio in West Philly, run by our dear friend Patrick Bayer.  Missy co-produced these first tracks and much of the upcoming album with me, and really shaped how things came together.  I am still fairly new to recording and mostly self taught, but I’m definitely trying to push myself on this record. I was very inspired by how our previous release “Business Man” turned out!

Richard:  You release all your music through goodhowareyou records, besides all being Philadelphia residents do you think the artists on your label share any other defining features? A similar ethos or sound?

Matty:  I think the principal shared value of goodhowareyou is community. We have all contributed and grown thanks to DIY and a shared sense of responsibility and love for each other. We also definitely have a substantial LGBTQ and non-male presence. Ans yes, the genres are diverse, yet somehow still always seem to work on the same bill!

Richard:  Outside might be the most apt track for these times, what was your original motivation for that song?

Matty: Mental health is one of the dominant themes of the album. “Outside” specifically is about anxiety and the simultaneous fear of the world around you and fear of your own mind. All four of us have battled with mental health and this band has been a big outlet in both our own healing and having conversations with others.  I think the depression and anxiety that so many of us are feeling during this current time is unfortunately very in line with the mood of this track. And the new secondary significance of the lyrics is a bit unnerving.

Richard:  How much has making music and staying digitally active in the music community during the pandemic positively affect your mental health?

Matty: I have to say that it has been hard to be on the internet. It is no substitute for the amazing interactions that we were so lucky to have in the before times. Interacting online has definitely been hard, but we are definitely grateful to not feel completely cut off. Making music has really changed. A lot of what we used to feel has slipped away. In some ways making music feels both more sincerely joyful and more discouraging than ever before.

Richard:  Your music is fun, dancy, but there’s a strong tone and message behind your songs. If someone listens to I Don’t like it what are some messages you would want them to take away from the experience?

Matty:  As I got into earlier, this album is largely about mental health. It explores depression, borderline personality disorder, anxiety, gender dysphoria, body dysmorphia, and the list goes on. It’s odd, yet fitting, writing an energetic song that you can bounce around to, that is simultaneously about fearing your own existence! There are also a lot of purely euphoric and manic moments on this record that hopefully encourage people to see the immense and endless beauty and love that exists in this world. Ultimately, the record is heavy but optimistic!

Richard:  Who are you speaking to in the titular track I Don’t LIke it? What can creatives do to combat hate and prejudice?

Matty:  If I’m correct, Bee (Deb) came up with “I Don’t Like It!” soon after their first tour with the band. We meet a lot of beautiful people on the road, and most of them exceed our expectations of human kindness, but as a bunch of philly queers, we also can’t help but feel the other side of humanity. We are tired of it! There is no reason to tear each other down! Why comment on each other and pick and prod and attack each other when we can celebrate the diversity and beauty of each individual’s unique expression in this world!

Richard:  We’ve seen a lot less releases this year, are there any other bands, local or afar that released anything that really spoke to you? Are there any sounds contemporary or otherwise that inspired you on I don’t Like It?

Matty: I really love the new Ghost Funk Orchestra record An Ode to Escapism. It’s a really beautiful and complex album from some of our friends in New York.  I think this album has little tastes of The B-52s paired with some Oh Sees and everything in between and beyond. I think people are gonna be surprised by how many places this record ends up going. I’m maybe most excited for some of the more 60s psych moments on this record.

Richard:  Are you playing any live streams to promote the release? Do you have a release date yet? Are there any specific goals you want to achieve with his release?

Matty: The album should be out this spring but no date yet planned. Honestly, a lot is going to depend on the state of the world. We are really excited to put this on vinyl, and we really look forward to having that physical record in our hands! Our biggest hope is that people like it, and that it brings people some real joy and makes their bodies and minds feel something!

And there you have it!  Check out Secret Nudist Friends via Spotify below!

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