‘Audio’ video: Doc details death of a music venue

Audio-phile: Filmmaker Matt Conboy, a former co-owner of the music venue Death By Audio, will discuss his documentary about its closing at Nitehawk Cinema on Feb. 7.
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There is life after Death By Audio.

More than two years after Williamsburg music hotspot Death By Audio closed its doors, one of its founders will discuss his documentary detailing the last days of the beloved all-ages music venue. Director and club co-owner Matt Conboy says that he started filming “Goodnight Brooklyn: The Story of Death By Audio,” which screens at Nitehawk Cinema on Feb. 7, when he suspected the end was near.

“I could sense that something crazy and potentially interesting might be on the horizon,” Conboy said. “By the summer of 2014, we knew our lease would not be renewed and that [building owner] Vice would ultimately take over our space. I thought there was a chance that things might get nasty.”

His director of photography, Jon Yi, began shooting events at the venue, capturing what turned out to be the last six weeks of its life. The film also includes interviews filmed in its practice space, concert footage, and outtakes and clips from two other documentaries filmed at Death By Audio: “Fuzz” and “You Were Here.” Those movies, filmed in 2007 and 2008, offer an invaluable look at the early days of the venue, said Conboy .

“We were very fortunate that these filmmakers shared their work with us,” he said.

Conboy, who still lives in Williamsburg, is philosophical about the venue’s closure, seeing it as part of the natural flow of the city’s creative life.

“This is a city in constant flux and transition,” he said. “My community of artists and musicians is fairly fractured now. Without places like Death By Audio, Monster Island, and Dead Herring, it’s hard for a ‘scene’ to exist for new ideas. I think the closing of the venue matters to some people and others don’t even know it existed. That’s just how it goes.”

Though the slow march of gentrification means independently owned spaces can be harder to find, Conboy can recommend a handful of venues that are still going strong.

“I like Shea Stadium, Silent Barn, Trans Pecos, Warsaw, Baby’s All Right,” he said. “I’m excited for some of the new things opening in the coming months from our friends at Secret Project Robot and Popgun. There are still people out there trying to build new and interesting homes for creativity.”

“Goodnight Brooklyn: The Story of Death By Audio” screening and discussion at Nitehawk Cinema [136 Metropolitan Ave. between Wythe and Berry streets in Williamsburg, (718) 782–8370,]. Feb. 7 at 7:30 pm. $16.

Posted 12:00 am, February 3, 2017
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