Music has always been one of the few constants in Anthony’s life. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, into a military family, and spent most of his formative years living on a base in Italy. One of his best friends was from New York City. Whenever this friend went home, he brought back tapes of NYC radio, especially hip hop legend DJ Red Alert who inspired Anthony to start deejaying.
“We had one store on the base that sold records and I’d go there every day,” Anthony confesses. “I knew when they’d get the new shipments in; they would get one copy of everything and I’d make sure that was my record. So when it came to school dances, I had all the music.”
Once he started spinning at house parties on the base, record collecting evolved from a hobby into a calling. If he liked a sample that was used on a hip hop record, Anthony would spend hours tracking down the original record. This led him deeper into music history and the exploration of different genres and sounds.
After he turned 15, Anthony’s family moved again and again. He attended four different high schools, and being the new kid every year made him somewhat isolated. As a teen, Anthony spent a lot of time alone listening to music and drawing. After graduating from high school, he headed to the Academy of Art in San Francisco. But he found San Francisco to be more Silicon Valley than counterculture. Marriage to a woman (now an ex-wife) from Evansville, Ind., eventually led Anthony to Louisville, where he found the nurturing culture that was missing in the Golden Gate City.
“You can be a starving artist in Louisville; in San Francisco, you’ll just starve,” Anthony asserts. “To survive in San Francisco you have to get a job, and art sort of becomes a hobby. I knew I could live here very minimally and live off my art. All of it is my art: the radio shows, the deejaying, the record store and my actual painting.”
Matt Anthony’s Record Shop opened in June 2012. It’s located in the Tim Faulkner Building, a new arts complex and gallery at 943 Franklin St., near Washington Street in Butchertown. Anthony had always wanted to own a record store, as it is a natural extension of his work as a deejay and radio host. Opening the store gave him another reason to talk about records and to network with bands, and he already knew where to get the merchandise he needed at a decent price.
“When people walk into Matt’s store they might recognize all the fixtures from ear X-tacy,” says former store owner Timmons. “He bought quite a bit of it from me. He’s got a real niche situation, which is how ear X-tacy was started. He’s got cheap rent and his mom is working for him. There will never be a store like ear X-tacy with the music industry the way it is now. But it is good to see Matt is carrying on the spirit.”