Revival are taking the stage again after three years being benched, and vocalist, Matt Dalberth, is hungry to talk about it. Most musicians who were active at the time will always remember the early 2020s as a stagnant, depressing period of inactivity. Music, particularly hardcore, is in Matt’s blood, so it’s great to see Revival and so many other bands forging ahead to make new, less depressing memories as we all return to the stage together.

Matt is another loud voice in the local hardcore scene I’ve never taken the time to interview, so without further ado, here’s another overdue conversation with someone who’s been active in this community long enough to have a “hot take” on absolutely everything you can imagine.

1. Matt, it’s been three years since the last Revival show. How stoked are you to get back up there, and what are the things you miss the most about tearing it up on stage? What’s the energy typically like at your shows, and do you find that you give a better performance the stronger the crowd energy is?

Its about fuckin’ time, right?! I hate sitting around doing nothing, but the timing unfortunately wasn’t right to get the band going again until a few months ago, but we are back like we haven’t missed a step. Gina is already writing new riffs. I cant wait to play these old songs loud again, to connect with people and friends again, and just have a million laughs with my band. That’s what its all about, having a blast. We tend to have rowdy shows, but its not overly violent, which is great. Fuck that tough guy shit, lets have fun!

2. We’ve been chatting a lot about music and life lately, so I’m super curious about your biggest influences. Talk about the first hardcore bands you ever got into, the ones who first inspired you to pick up a mic and start writing lyrics. Then on the flipside, talk about the bands that are in your opinion, the best hardcore bands in WNY today. Feel free to discuss your favorite current bands in general, but I’m also curious about your thoughts on our local scene’s crop of bands.

The first hardcore bands I ever got into were Sick Of It All and Biohazard, because I saw them in a block of videos together on Headbangers Ball, in 1992. I loved metal and punk rock, but for some reason that NYHC sound came out of nowhere and spoke to me enough to go out and grab the albums, and thus started a life long love affair with hardcore. I started out playing drums at 15 in a punk band because I was never very good, but it was fun to jam, and you didn’t have to be great to play that shit. The only reason I ever ended up singing in bands to begin with, is because my friend brought me with him to an audition, and told them I was gonna be their singer. I had never sang a day in my life before, but he told the band I would be awesome because I was funny. I still have no idea why that has anything to do with being a good heavy music singer, but I loved that first rehearsal and just sort of figured it out along the way, and learned how not to blow my voice out after 3 songs eventually too. So thank you Cory, for dragging me to band practice in 1997, and ruining my life! (laughs)

As far as Western NY hardcore bands that have caught my ear recently- Hard To Know from Rochester just put out a great EP. and Exhibition from Buffalo is killing it. Both highly recommended.

3. Do you have any recurring lyrical themes? When you’re feeling inspired by a song or a riff, where does your mind instantly go?

The quick answer, would be, “angry stuff.” (laughs)

I never know what Im going to write about before I sit down with the instrumental version of a song. I don’t have a notebook of ideas, (I really should though!) but sometimes stuff in the world around us- the ugliness and injustices of things in life, will get me fired up and become a song topic. I miss the more abstract and creative writing side of things, (that a traditional hardcore band doesn’t lend itself as well to as say, some of the more avant-garde metal stuff I have done in the past), but I would love to incorporate that into upcoming Revival songs here and there. There is a fine line between being intriguing and pretentious.

4. When we first discussed this interview, you mentioned that you wanted to get away from talking about music for a little bit. We basically just touched on your favorite records when discussing hardcore bands, but if you want to toss out some top NON HARDCORE records in your collection, I’d love to hear about those. Following those up, give me your TOP 5 MOVIES, and TOP 5 TV SHOWS of all-time. What makes these albums, movies, and shows so special to you?

Top 5 NON hardcore records in no particular order:

5. The Smiths- “The Queen Is Dead” (Lyrics- perfect. Music- perfect. Production- perfect. My first favorite band growing up, and still my favorite guitar player of all time, Johnny Marr.)

4. Weezer- “Blue Album” (Not one bad song. I could care less about anything that came out after this, but if you say you dont like this album, you’re trying too hard.)

3. Nas- Illmatic (The best NY emcee, and my favorite rapper ever. How the fuck was he only NINETEEN when he wrote this?!?!?!?!? Oh, and this is DJ Premiers finest hour too!)

2. Beach Boys- “Pet Sounds” (Timeless, perfect songs, and it reminds me of growing up on the beach in New Jersey.)

1. Lana Del Rey- “Born to Die” (I love this album. I dont know why, because on paper it makes no sense. Sexy 1940s sounding female vocals over hip hop beats? This album is amazing though. I never get sick of it.)

Top 5 movies in no particular order:

Just see these, and thank me later if you havent. I promise.

5. The Usual Suspects

4. 12 Monkeys

3. Silence Of The Lambs

2. Jacobs Ladder

1. Apocalyptico

Top 5 TV shows in no particular order: (These are pretty much everyone’s favorites, I know, its for a good reason)

5. Breaking Bad

4. Ozark

3. Mare Of Eastown

2. Boardwalk Empire

1. The Sopranos

5. You and Gina have a cool story, as married couples making aggressive music together isn’t something you hear about TOO too often. How did you guys meet, and getting back into Revival stuff, how did you first come to form the band?

I used to tell people we were both runaway kids that had our pictures featured in Soul Asylums, “Runaway Train” music video, and were both later found because of that video. There was a big reunion of all the runaway kids and the families from the music video, and Gina and I met there….. Hey, Its a way more interesting story then, “She was cutting my friends hair at the mall and I went there to meet him.” Real talk though, Gina grew up in a very musical family, and has always played guitar. She wrote a bunch of really great riffs over the years at home, and I said, “I would love to sing on those!” and the rest is history. She has written some of my absolute favorite riffs of any band Ive ever been in, and I am forever jealous of how effortlessly she comes up with great stuff.

6. Talk about the most memorable shows you’ve ever played. These could be local shows or road shows.

I’ve been playing shows in various bands since the mid 90’s. I’ve seen A LOT. I played an outdoor camping type show once, where a kid was murdered after the show, and then put on the train tracks to make it look like an accident. The train never came, and they caught the guy that did it. That’s tragic and crazy…..Ive played a show in Pittsburgh where a 60 year old lady was running the pit and smoking a joint inside. That was amazing. Those two shows are a pretty good juxtaposition of what my show experiences have been.

7. Do you play any instruments?

I poorly play guitar. I will come up with riffs or parts sometimes, and Gina will take what I did and make it better. I can labor over a riff or part for DAYS, and Gina will pick up her guitar and write a whole song in 20 minutes. What an asshole.

8. Plug your first show back! While you’re at it, talk about any other future plans Revival has, anything you’re at liberty to discuss.

May 6th at the Montage in Rochester with our buddies in Invictra. We love playing on metal shows, and we always go over well. I think its because we have a lot of fast parts, and metal heads love to circle pit. Come out and hang! The plan is to work on a new EP and play more shows out of town again.

9. What’s your personal code of ethics, or unwritten book of show etiquette? How do you feel up and coming bands should present themselves when entering into an established music community? What are the dos and don’ts?

Do play music 100% for fun. Don’t try to make your band some contrived product, don’t buy Spotify and IG likes. You can always smell the dis-ingenuousness of bands doing stuff that way. Be genuine. Play the music you want to play, not what you think will get you “signed.” Don’t fall for the, “It will be great exposure!” bit if it only makes sense for the promoter/bar owner/etc, and not your band at all. Man, that’s a lot of don’ts. Oh, and don’t be the band who takes forever setting up/tearing down, or plays too long and fucks up everyone else’s time slot. In my younger days, I may or may not have stormed the stage during a bands set who was playing right before us on some fest, and thrown the kids drum set off the riser as he was still playing them, when his band kept ignoring the sound guy and were still playing 20 minutes over their time slot. Yeah, don’t do that shit!

10. When you think back on all the songs you’ve contributed to as a vocalist, talk about the songs you’re most proud of and why they’re so special.

I would say the song, “My Way Of Saying Goodbye” that I wrote while in 40oz. Failure in the early 2000s, is the one I am probably the most proud of. My mom passed away a few months before I wrote it, and I was having an extremely hard time. Writing the song was cathartic, helped me heal, and to this day I still get messages from people who tell me the song helped them get through their own loss as well. Music is a beautiful thing for stuff like that. I would get so worked up performing it live, I would smash mic stands, cry, and unintentionally hurt myself in the process; chaneling all that hurt into a positive release.

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