What Maryland Deathfest is Like for First Timers…And How MDF THE MOVIE came to be.

Okay, so a couple of years ago I stumbled upon MDF in a google search.  As I’ve mentioned before, I am a relative ‘new comer’ to metal.  I didn’t grow up with it, I didn’t worship it in high school and I never went to metal shows or got all underground or anything until like 1998.  I’m a firm believer that there are two types of music: good and bad…eventually i came to the metalz, so I don’t know, some might question my credibility, and maybe I’m a bit insecure about it but whatever.  I love music and I love heavy shit.  I played bass in Fuck the Facts for 15 secs if that’s worth anything.  Probably not.  So that’s what it is.

In 2007 my first film ‘Axis of Eden the Feature Film’ came out.  It was a massive achievement for me; not only was it produced on less than a shoe-string (I think it maybe cost $1000 to make) but half-way through the production I lost access to all the equipment I was using. (I used to teach at Fanshawe College in London and I got fired or ‘let go’ which I see as a huge compliment bcuz that place is fucking crazy!!!  It also didn’t help that I refused to pay for parking and informed the parking office that I was on a fixed income and moving to Australia so please could I not pay to park.) Anyway, I somehow overcame and six months later the film was in the can.  Fast-forward to October 2007, a month before I was about to leave to go on tour with Today is the Day to project the film behind them as they played, and I randomly googled ‘Today is the Day’ (I often scour the net for any mention of any projects I am related to.  I am a HUGE egomaniac and extremely paranoid about what people say about me!) and ended up at Maryland Deathfest’s website.

When I first discovered MDF I thought it was a joke.  How could Brutal Truth, Napalm Death, Pig Destroyer, Asphyx, Wolves in the Throne Room, Sigh, Birdlflesh, Venomous Conept, Mayem, Flesh Parade, Atheist, Bolt Thrower etc., etc., etc., etc all be playing the same fest?  (At the time Today is the Day were scheduled to play, they later bowed out.)  I don’t know, that shit blew me away – it was like a fest featuring my CD collection, you know?  I quickly, without really thinking about what was involved or what it would cost or any of the rights or logistics, fired off an email to the info@marylanddeathfest.com or whatever the email address was.

The day before I was set to leave to tour with TDITD I got an email back from Ryan Taylor – one half of the team that makes the fest happen every year. “Hi Dave.  We are interested in making this film happen, let’s talk. Ryan.”  In what I came to learn was Ryan’s trademark short and sweet demeanor came the answer I was looking for.  A few weeks later, on the night of the Presidential election (Obama vs what’s-his-name) I met Ryan face-to-face at the Sonar in Baltimore.  Triac opened for Today is the Day and Ryan and all the Misery Index dudes (minus Sparky) came down to check out the show and hang out with TDITD’s touring drummer Julien Granger.  Ryan and I chatted briefly, then after the show we all drove back to Ryan’s place – through the streets of cheering and dancing Americans.  We all crashed at Ryan’s that night – one the comfiest floors I had slept on all tour – then got up the next morning and headed for NYC.

Ryan was and is a totally chill dude.  One of those people who I bet doesn’t yell or get really mad that often, but when he does…I wouldn’t want to be there if it happened.  Anyway, that brief moment of hospitality – also extended by Misery Index’s drummer Adam – sort of gave me a glimpse into the world of MDF: everything is chill, down-to-earth and waaaay normal.  Ryan and his MDF partner Evan are like the most normal and nicest guys ever…so meeting and hanging with Ryan in Baltimore was sort of like a litmus test and sort of put my mind at ease.  These guys are cool and chill as fuck so yeah I can enter into a partnership with these total strangers and feel comfortable.  That kind of thing is really important when you’re making a movie because you don’t want any surprises when it’s showtime.  That’s really the birth of the film.  All the work that came between then and now and that is still going on. I’ll get to that another day.


Maryland Deathfest is like Disney World or the Olympics or Carnivale but for fans of underground metal.  Attending the fest last year was seriously the best experience of my life short of meeting my wife and the birth of my two kids.  That shit is off the fucking hook for realz.  Everyone is chill.  I didn’t experience any negativity the whole festival and despite some of the snarky message boarders, people were really supportive of the movie and what we were doing.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but I’m always on the lookout for the next band to get into or record/cd/digital download to add to my collection.  I used to have a list in my wallet so I wouldn’t get sidetracked when I went into record shops.  And, as I said, getting into metal a bit later in life means that a lot of sweet shit is either out of print or unavailable.  I’m such a junkie that from 1999 until the first time I went to MDF (2009 – ten years exactly!) I had reoccurring dreams where I ‘d find a totally rad record store that had anything and everything I’d ever wanted.  I always wanted these dreams to last forever so I could savor the moment and go slowly, bin by bin, row by row, stack by stack, checking out the best music money could buy.  These dreams were so bitter-sweet because seriously, it was like waking up from my own personal nirvana.  So close, yet so far.  My wife and I used to have this agreement that when she finished med-school she’d fly me out to Amoeba or some shit and let me drop a few thousand on records.  Well, we don’t have that agreement any more and I don’t have those dreams anymore because I discovered the place I’d been dreaming about all those years: MDF.  I swear to god.  It hit me the first afternoon.  Wandering around the merch areas and vendors with limitless sweet shit available: MDF was the place that basically had anything to offer that I wanted…it provided me with such a sense of personal fulfillment and happiness rivaled only by a hug from one of my daughters or a fat bag of White Widow.  And that was all before any band had even hit the stage.  I knew then and there that I had made the right decision to make a film about MDF.  If you like underground metal – if that shit is your life – then MDF is your Mecca and you owe it to yourself to get there at least once in your life.

And if you can’t get there – well – buy my movie!!!


One Response to “What Maryland Deathfest is Like for First Timers…And How MDF THE MOVIE came to be.”

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