When Death by Audio opened in March 2007 on an otherwise deserted block of South 2nd Street, the Williamsburg music scene was a different beast. (So was the neighborhood.) Condos have risen, Williamsburg now rivals the Lower East Side as a music destination, and Death by Audio is neighbor to high end sushi, Italian and tapas restaurants (and a movie theater), but the space — an outgrowth of the guitar effects pedal company run by A Place to Bury Strangers Oliver Ackermann — remains a vital all-ages venue for indie, punk and metal. With Death by Audio’s 5th Anniversary Party this Saturday (featuring Grooms, Neckbeard Telecaster, Tim Harrington and more), we talked to DBA duo Matt Conboy and Edan Wilber about the changes in the neighborhood over the last five years, some of the venue’s highlights, and the impossibility of keeping the bathrooms clean.
Please explain what you do at Death by Audio
Matt Conboy: Um, I help make things work at Death By Audio.
Edan Wilber: I’m more of the day-to-day… I do most all the booking and run all the shows to a certain extent. The tedium.
When I heard it was the fifth anniversary, I thought it had been longer. There were shows there before it was called Death by Audio, right?
MC: Part of our warehouse is a recording studio and the effects pedals workshop. When that was getting built out there were random parties to help finance their construction. That was 2006, 2005?
EW: That’s when there was still roof access right?
I seem to remember going there during CMJ 2005, some show that was supposed to be a roof party. Dirty on Purpose and Vaz?
MC: I think Vietnam also played? I wasn’t at that show. I knew some of the guys but I didnít actually go over there till 2006.
At what point were you involved?
MC: In 2007 with three other people, I leased half the warehouse space and that’s when we started doing shows, to help pay for building materials.
Do you remember who played that first show?
MC: Totally. It was March 31. There were seven bands. Growing and Thrones.
EW: Child Abuse, Vaz. And Mick Barr, maybe one other? We did front room, back room, before anything was really set up. Raw space.
MC: We didnít know what we were doing, but I already knew Todd P. It kind of happened accidentally. The show was originally supposed to be at The Woodser but they didn’t want to do it for some reason…
EW: A good reason. It was a huge fucking show. I worked the door, actually. It was soon after I’d become friends with Todd and they needed somebody. So, I was there, I just not in any administrative capacity.
MC: Nobody was. Though as we started, through the first year and a half or so, I had another partner, this guy Jason Amos, who now lives in LA I think. He was instrumental in helping running everything, getting it off the ground.