Photo by Sarah Schwepker.
Plenty of people pride themselves on having a distinctive musical taste, but it is rare for someone to capitalize off of it in the way that Raleigh native Matt Dunn has. Dunn has been a host of “Damaged Goods”, a radio program for Little Raleigh Radio for several months now, but his latest endeavor hopes to bring the Triangle’s rapidly growing local music movement to the forefront.
Dunn and longtime friend Aaron Timmins have been the hosts of “Damaged Goods” since February. The two were given the opportunity to interview a wide array of bands ranging from various local talents to even the legendary punk band Death. Dunn also creates playlists for the show unique to his diverse musical appetite. “As far as music goes, I really like to document the current stuff going on,” Dunn said. “Classics are great, but I’m sick of hearing people say music isn’t good anymore because that’s not true. You just have to put in the effort to find it. You have to dig a little.”
Since Little Raleigh Radio currently does not have an FCC license that allows it to air on FM radio, all programming is currently only available online. With competition from popular online streaming agents such as Spotify and Pandora, Dunn finds it necessary to provide audiences with a more personalized radio experience by being the man in between the music and the audience. He claims that his program separates itself from such agents due to the fact that it provides more representation of more unknown artists. “There are a lot of bands who are really good, but unfortunately it’s just them and their friends who know about them, and those are the bands I like to share with my listeners,” said Dunn.
It was his friendship with Brenna Leath, the vocalist of the Raleigh-based band the Hell No, through which Matt was presented the opportunity to take on a brand new hosting gig. Leath brought Dunn’s name into a conversation with the creative director of Twin Maples Media, Konrad Arnold, who was in the midst of creating a new web series, titled “The Setlist”, which was in need of a host. After a series of meetings, Arnold decided that Dunn was the right person to be the face of the project. “I was shocked my name was even mentioned to be a host of a TV show,” Dunn said. “I was doing the radio show because I think it’s fun, so the whole thing is a bit surreal.”
“The Setlist”, like Dunn’s radio program, focuses on exposing local artists to the public through a mass media platform. Each episode of the weekly web series features a live performance from a band followed by a short interview to provide some background about the origin and inspiration of each live act. Each episode aims to last no more than ten minutes in order to compete with the vacillating attention span of those raised in the Internet age. “I want the show to eventually be used as a tool for people to seek out music and learn a little bit about the bands they are finding,” Dunn said. Shooting for the pilot episode took place at the Pour House Music Hall and is ironically set to feature the Hell No as its first guest.
Though Dunn’s radio background gave him the experience of talking for an audience, he is prepped to face the challenges presented in crossing over into a new medium. “When you have a camera on you, it’s completely different,” Dunn said. “You have to actually look like you know what you’re doing, which I’ve been working on getting used to.” While all this seems to point at Dunn accepting more potential hosting opportunities, he has no grand vision of doing so though he is not opposed to it. Dunn fully intends to continue to document his own adventure through “Damaged Goods” while “The Setlist” is still in its early stages.
“The Setlist” is set to premiere on TriangleLife.tv, a locally-focused online TV network, sometime around mid-December, though the exact date remains tentative. In the meantime, Dunn’s radio broadcast “Damaged Goods” can be streamed every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Little Raleigh Radio website.