We might be getting ahead of ourselves, but with these last few days of rain, we can’t help but long for summer when every day is 75 and sunny, and every weekend is packed with crazy antics at our pool parties. For that, we have Matt Goldman to thank. The multi-talented Matt – at once a graphic designer, artist and big boss at MFG Productions - has been a long time member of The Standard’s extended family, and who better to tell his story but the one and only. Matt took a moment out of his busy (understatement of the decade) schedule to fill us in.
The Standard: How long has Swimming With Sharks been going on and how did it get started?
Matt Goldman: Swimming with Sharks is going into its 5th year. It got started when my friend James Outlaw asked me if I wanted to do something with The Standard. He had a relationship with the director of talent at the time and I had just started a party… he was a fan and frequent DJ of and we came up with the idea of doing a fun VS. theme.
You have a few other consistent nights going in LA – do all of your parties usually share the same vibe?
I think that most of our parties share the same vibe even though they vary greatly in musical style. We always try to run a democratic party that isn’t about a tough door but rather about paying attention to our RSVP process, entry procedure, etc. That way we can make sure that anyone can come in exchange for an ability to also let them know when it’s harder or easier to do so. Our primary focus is making people happy; creating an event where the band is as stoked to be in the room as the fans are.
What’s makes a good party?
Carefully curating the visual and audio experience through a space, making sure that groups of friends want to come so people will know people there, and making sure that it’s easy to navigate to the things they want or need are the basics of a good party. From there it’s up to your taste, the kind of people you want to be around, etc., and it’s all pretty subjective.
Do you have a favorite DJ? Are there people you consistently work with?
My favorite DJs change all the time but there are definitely people I’ve worked with consistently throughout the years. I feel like we have a large stable of friends and friends of friends and we all do each other’s parties because we know the quality and intention is there, even if sometimes the people aren’t. ;-)
Tell us about one of your favorite moments at The Standard.
My favorite moment that happens throughout each season is the moment in the day (usually around 3 or 4) when there is a really talented DJ on the decks being taken for granted, a pool full of people splashing, yelling, and maybe playing chicken, and a dance floor full of friends dancing with drinks in their hands. The more people I know at the party, the more I feel like it was successful because the end of the day, we throw Swimming with Sharks for our friends and want to be surrounded by them.
What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened at Swimming With Sharks?
There were a couple of “friends of Burning Man” who came for two years straight. I’ll let you look through the photos to see if you can spot them… look for capes.
Who has better parties, LA or NY?
They both have great parties but we have better weather so…..
As well as being a promoter, you also do a lot of graphic design work – do these two go hand in hand?
For me they’re inseparable. I’m a graphic designer first and promoter second and I think it has influenced how I do the job greatly. The aesthetics and the quality of promotion have always been important to me. I worked at creative agencies for many years before I started in event production and promotion. I think it’s important to approach any creative endeavor with a perspective and being a designer is mine. For example, if you REALLY want to be a filmmaker and the only experiences you have your entire life are all revolving around and designed to lead to filmmaking, your films are probably going to be pretty boring and only appealing to filmmakers, if that.
You have a very distinct aesthetic – how would you describe it?
Illustrative when I’m inspired, collagey when I’m being a bit lazy, and self-conscious always…
You’ve worked with a wide range of people on the design side – what’s been one of your favorite recent projects?
I was super excited to create a video for an installation series that is going to travel around the US. I also recently did the Deerhoof album art that included a fold-out poster that contained the CD in the center and a mixtape design for Diplo’s recent collaboration with Greensleeve.
What are you looking forward to this summer (besides Swimming With Sharks, of course)?
I’m looking forward to Coachella, the beach, and traveling to Spain for Primavera festival!