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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."