The first time I met Mateo was in early 2019, when he was around 16, playing with DEAR-GOD. It was on The Burbs video shoot, or maybe the day before. I pulled up outside some regular old detached home at the end of suburban cul-de-sac in Brampton, Ontario and saw like 30 kids piled in and around a pretty small garage. Hanging out on the driveway, all over. Punks just fucking shit up. I guess they were doing garage shows regularly. It was pretty classic in a lot of ways, but you could also tell that they were doing their own thing and it felt interesting. I was kind of surprised. Maybe in part because Brampton isn’t really a place I associated with this particular counter culture, but either way, it was a captivating scene.
I felt a little jealous, because growing up in the city we never had to make shit work in that way, the action was always at your fingertips. But I guess there’s a certain element of boredom that springs some of the best scenes out of unlikely places.
“Bat House” came to us well over a year later, when DEAR-GOD sent the video. We loved it immediately. A couple of years into working with DG and we started to see this community of young fuckers in Brampton who were also really smart and talented. Thoughtful with the music but also adventurous with it. It had its own feel.
With “Bat House” the music is strong, but the energy is undeniable. Every young person either knows the energy of this record or they wish they did. Actually forget every young person, every person period. We immediately wanted to figure out how to get involved, because it was exactly the kind of energy we wanted to come out the gate with on 444%.
Even the name of the song reminded me conceptually of Oakland “punk houses” of the 90s, or at least the way they were depicted in Screeching Weasel songs. Not that it’s that, but just that idea of a lot of young folks packed around each other, bound by desire to create and be independent. And so it’s also a little bit about community. Doesn’t really matter where or when, or even what the music’s like. What we started to see in Brampton is worth watching.
DoFlame, the various members of OFFLEASH, DEAR-GOD, whoever’s next, they’re just doing their thing for the people around them. Simply figuring it out, no glamour. But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves. The story is just beginning, and frankly it’s not even our place to speak this much on it. Just know there’s more to come. A lot more.
We asked Mateo for a quote about the record: “Bat-House is the song form of the energy I feel from my community,” he wrote. “The result of getting together and having fun making art with your homies.”
And at the end of the day, it’s just a really hard song.