By Matt Korvette and Jo Livingstone.
Jo Livingstone: Good morning readers, because it’ll be daytime before this gets to you. Hey Matt, how are you?
Matt Korvette: Hey Jo! I’m well, had a lovely Mother’s Day visit with my parents and I’m full of lemon tart at the moment. The weather’s beautiful too. What’d you wanna chat about?
J: Well—the day we admit the existence of our secret project has come. Let’s start basic. Stopgap denizens are involuntarily aware of me already. But who are you?
M: I’m Matt Korvette. I sing in a band called Pissed Jeans, and try to stay creatively active by writing a lil’ music website called Yellow Green Red. I’m also a pro-wrestling manager, but I’m not sure going into that will make this more or less illuminating. Let’s just say I’m a music enthusiast first and foremost—love to hear it, love to make it, love to just be around it, really. And somewhere in there, we found each other!
J: That we did. We have a mutual friend, my former colleague and your neighbor Nikil, and at some point at a work event in New York our paths crossed. I was so happy to find out that you are not only a great singer of songs but also a really splendid writer. And now we are a whole different thing, The Dolorous Stroke! The point of this post is to tell readers that we exist and have a small record of the same name. You live in Philadelphia and I live in Brooklyn, meaning that this has been a correspondence project, which was pandemic-engineered but also sort of relates to the music. Does that make sense?
M: Yes, I think so. I can’t quite recall if we got started prior to Covid . . . probably not? I think you revealed to me your secret musical abilities and I admitted my lack thereof and we decided to work on some stuff, without even really throwing out any sonic references about to guide us, which has been fun. It’s also a little scary in a good way, working with someone new and kind of sensing what works for both of us. It’s a little freaky how well it’s gone thus far! I’d say that it’s been delightful to see how things have already evolved, what sorta sounds have stuck out that we’ve made from the very start through recently.
J: So delightful. I think I sent you a project I had worked on. I was then and still am really interested in environmental sound, how we live in these universes of sound that are available to record at any time, in any place. That’s a pompous way of saying just regular noise, I guess. For some reason it is so fun to me to tape a space at near-random and then rummage in it with my headphones on to see what I’ve caught. Like going through a pebble collection after a beach trip. Somebody just texted me to say that we should make sure to explain “how you arrived at the weird sound you have.” I think both being people who are interested in sending other people little sound clips is probably a key factor. I don’t know if you agree.
M: I’m not entirely sure how we arrived at our sound, certainly not by any conscious decision ahead of time, which makes it exciting. No roadmap! I think we both gravitate towards rough, confounding sounds, stuff that came from one place but sounds like somewhere else, and it’s fun to try to shape that into something novel and worthy of spending time listening to. We started doing this purely for the joy of it, which is a fantastic place to start, and while I don’t think we are unprecedented or wholly unique in what we’re doing, it feels really good to me. It passes my gut test! Plus, you’ve got those sick riffs that you must’ve been holding clenched inside of you for who knows how long. Mostly I’m just thankful you’re able to let ‘em loose.
J: “Rough, confounding sounds” feels right. Lol I didn’t even know those riffs were in there, I feel like they were waiting.
At this point in a post we would usually gesture to musical influences and make a last-ditch effort to indicate our general relevance. Fortunately we don’t have to do any of those things. Maybe you could tip our readers a little something about Philly pro-wrestling? It’s all so mysterious.
M: I guess my approach, once I kind of figured out how to contribute to these songs, was to imagine what Philip Corner would do with YouTube access, but he’s wonderfully still alive so maybe I could just email him and ask! Though really, this project seems to benefit from a “what if” thought process, rather than any sort of factual confirmation of anything. I can’t rightly say I know exactly what you’ve done in The Dolorous Stroke, and I love that magic.
J: Where words fail, sick riffs begin.