Show Your Scars is the production company behind what’s becoming an annual tradition: a one-day heavy metal festival in Southern California featuring jaw-dropping lineups. SDMETAL wanted to get some more eyes on this event, so we reached out to SYS organizer and Repulsion/Expulsion guitarist Matt Olivo…
Q: Hey Matt! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions. You operate Show Your Scars, which is a production company that has begun putting on annual shows at the Regent in DTLA. Can you talk about how that started?
A: It began three years ago as an idea to promote the spectrum of underground metal (national/international) in LA into great venues with some production value to boot. Too many shows were suffering from out-of-way locations, bad sound/lighting systems and spotty attendance. It wasn’t for lack of trying though, just resources. I partnered with Dan Rozenblum who is a veteran metal band booking agent. Each year we bring our respective talents and resources to the table and come up with an event that we think will be fun and good for the LA/SOCAL metal scene as a whole.
Q: I wanted to bring up how strong these concert bills are. Because you’ve been such an avid heavy metal fan and musician for decades, do you find these lineups to be a daunting undertaking or do they come naturally to you?
A: It rarely works that we can book the top of our “want list,” but in this process we end up with a lineup that we could’ve never foreseen would work so well!!! So it’s actually a good thing that the booking process is so chaotic as it allows new ideas spring to life!
Q: From what I understood, 2016’s California Deathfest was advertised as Nuclear Assault’s “Final West Coast Show.” How were you able to convince them to come out for this extremely special LA concert?
A: Indeed! Our offer to Nuclear Assault was really a shot in the dark. We really wanted them and they said “yes.” Playing in LA is always a unique and special experience for bands and audiences. I believe they acknowledged this and choose to jump at the chance.
Q: How far in advance do you begin planning for these?
A: Discussions usually begin in the summer of the previous year and by September or so it’s in full swing. We’re in our third year and it’s currently very close to another sellout. Dan and I do this as a labor of love but for next year we’re talking of moving it up a notch (or two!). We’ll see!
Q: How long do you hope to continue these events and would you consider other towns or venues for future shows?
A: We want to continue doing this forever. Our approach is to build the brand slowly and keep growth proportional to our business plan as oppose to jumping at the first chance to commercialize.
Q: Expulsion is a band you’ve formed with Matt Harvey from Exhumed among other notable metal alumni. Do you plan to take Expulsion on the road for more dates after the festival?
A: We’re trying to work that out. It’s a tough one because of everybody’s schedule but we’re determined.
Q: What have you noticed in the biggest difference playing with Expulsion versus Repulsion?
A: Repulsion keeps playing the same exact set each time which becomes mundane for me personally because I have new music ideas. However, I still have a good time with the fans and very much appreciate our ability to still book choice shows after all these years. With Expulsion I’m way more excited about performing the (new) material. The response for our first album has been great and our first performance at Denver Black Sky went over quite well. I’m really looking forward to performing for the SYS crowd this year. I think they’re going to like what they hear!