Singer scraps plans for movie, releases its soundtrack



chris smith photo


Matt Mays, who’s just released his second solo CD When The Angels Make Contact, will join The Tragically Hip, Sarah Harmer, Sam Roberts and others for Holiday Jam: An Evening of Acoustic Music, a benefit for the Sick Kids foundation, on Wednesday at the Phoenix.


It has all the makings of a great road movie.

The plot: A heartbroken drifter goes searching for his lost love riding a motorcycle he picked up from a dead man. The themes: A personal and existentialist journey whereby the protagonist chases after a certain something which winds up being found within himself. The cast: The film’s visionary, East Coast rocker Matt Mays, plus a bunch of his Halifax-area music mates, film director Drew Lightfoot, rapper Buck 65 and, displaying his finest Australian accent, Montrealer Sam Roberts.

The title: … When The Angels Make Contact. Due in theatres? At this stage, probably never.

"Financially, I had to throw in the towel because we ran out of money," Mays says. "We were shooting in Halifax for about a month or so in the summer. And I have a lot of friends who were filmies there, so people were pulling a lot of strings to help out with this film. That’s why it was so affordable to make — at first.

"But when it came down to the whole transfer process, it got really pricey. Editing is also expensive. So that’s when I decided to concentrate on the soundtrack part of the film. At least it was something I knew how to do."

And Mays, 27, certainly has had much success on the recording side — multiple East Coast Music Award wins for Mays and his backing band El Torpedo’s 2005 self-titled disc, and Juno nods for his 2002 self-titled solo debut.

Mays and Lightfoot — who also directs some of Mays’ videos — did make use of the film shoots to cull together a "trailer" and music video for the new album’s title cut. Over some out-there atmospherics, chugging Beck-fuelled electronica, Buck 65’s raspy raps and dark, ethereal rock guitar, the whole thing — not to mention the rest of the Angels album — is quite the departure from the roots rock of his work with El Torpedo.

Though right now, Mays is operating in two different modes: In the U.S., he’s been touring with El Torpedo plugging the self-titled group effort now out stateside; while in Canada — at least starting in January — Mays, El Torpedo drummer Tim Jim Baker and other assorted friends will be plugging Angels.

"For me, I need to try different things and push myself in different directions," an unfazed Mays says. "I love all kinds of music — and life’s too short to just stick to one kind."