Matthew E. White
This gentle, musical polymath saw a way to build something special on the banks of the James River: a community-centered label, based on the old house-band models, the kind that facilitated great art. Matthew E. White founded Spacebomb Records in Richmond, Virginia–his beloved home for the past decade, a historic hub of country, gospel and southern music, well-stocked with talented musicians–on the Aristotelian principle that a group could groove better than the sum of its parts. In this set-up, he can be producer, arranger, musician, A&R man, creative director, leader, facilitator and recording artist. White is a creature of detail, but always keeps one bespectacled eye hip to the bigger picture.
In 2012, Spacebomb unleashed its inaugural work on an unsuspecting public. A true piece of “gentleman’s psychedelia from the new world,” Big Inner by Matthew E. White became a staggering critical success, re-pressed and re-released around the globe. It was validation of the man’s instincts and his belief in the musical vitality of a community. What had been a steady growth of practice, experimentation, ritual and exploration with a group of extraordinary friends and musicians, exploded and White found himself traveling the world, taking the gospel of Richmond, Virginia and the Spacebomb process to every stop along the way.
His vision for Spacebomb is simple. Make the best record, every time. Top shelf. Fresh cut. Professional as hell. The beauty of growing older in a creative community is watching friends become masters of their craft, the family that plays together, stays together. White sips from the witch’s brew of the label-heads’ cup–the determination, sheer force of will required to make something happen–to cajole, encourage, rehearse, converse, persevere, pay attention at the right times, sleep off the wrong ones, ready with an encouraging word or guiding thought, a creature of the bigger picture, keeping one bespectacled eye peeled to the fine details. Matthew E. White. Sock it to others as you would have them sock it to you.
photo by Shawn Brackbill