Bleeding Audio


There's no legacy like a tattoo. The permanence of inking your skin for a band is a level of devotion reserved for legends. But for a relatively unknown band, The Matches have an unbelievably high percentage of fans bearing their logo for eternity.


The Matches started their rise by creating the vibrant, all-ages Oakland music scene known as Live Loud Local or "L3". L3 is a place of deep-rooted community, and with this, The Matches help build a safe space for kids to express themselves through music. Through this local scene, they build a massive following and begin to journey outside the Bay Area. After independently producing and releasing their first album, they garner national attention and are sought after by some of the biggest names in the industry, and ultimately sign a deal with Epitaph Records.

Throughout their career, The Matches tour mercilessly across the globe to promote their albums. Despite their playing up to 300 shows per year, they return home virtually penniless. Their two records with Epitaph, while both critically acclaimed, are deemed flops with disappointing sales. While The Matches struggle for financial success, the music industry is dealing with its own upheaval: at the peak of online piracy, songs and albums begin to have little value. After a decade of intense work and sacrifice, The Matches play a farewell show in 2009, and say goodbye to their music and their fans.

With conflicting arrested development and desire for growth, the band members struggle to find their identities outside of the band. Shawn Harris, the lead singer/songwriter, tries to entirely stray from the old identity in his new projects. Each of his subsequent bands see little success compared to the level The Matches reached, and he turns to a minimal nomadic lifestyle in his Airstream trailer to remain artistic. Matt Whalen, drummer, chooses to enter law school and become an advocate for musicians everywhere. Justin San Souci, bassist, falls back on his artistic talents. As a Sr. Artist at a mobile game company, he is positioned to be a stereotypical Silicon Valley success story. Jon Devoto, lead guitarist, continues with music, but is brought to a grinding halt after it's discovered he has a rare nerve disease.

Five years after breaking up, The Matches decide to play a reunion show in celebration of their 10 year anniversary. To their surprise, the fan base explodes and their "single reunion show" turns into a sold-out tour of the United States and Australia. The shows are powered by the energy, the love, and the magic of The Matches' fans, forcing each member to reflect on what success really means for a band in today's music industry.

The film is a portrait of the struggle of having a dream, the suffering of failure, and the sweet surprise of redemption. Throughout every step of the tireless efforts of The Matches we see the true passion of artists and the love of the fans that keep them alive.

Filmmaker Bio(s)

Originally from the wild west of Colorado, Chelsea Christer (director) is now a filmmaker in the big city of San Francisco. She's directed two fiction short films (We're Just Like You & Sierra). Both have screened at multiple festivals domestic to the US and internationally in the UK and Australia. Chelsea has traveled the world producing and directing films for companies like Google, Adobe, HP, and Dolby. These productions have taken her across the US and abroad to major cities like Tokyo, London, Amsterdam, Paris, and Sydney. She is currently a creative producer for Across the Pond, an award winning production agency.

Erin Persley (producer) is an award winning documentary filmmaker and producer. Her films include Empowering the Yard and Living Inside Out, which have screened in over 17 film festivals to sold out crowds covering 11 countries. Empowering the Yard was selected to participate in the illustrious 2009 American Documentary Showcase, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, where it screened at U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Uganda. As a Producer and Documentary Instructor with Actuality Media, she has worked on documentaries in Granada, Nicaragua, Kathmandu, Nepal and Marrakech, Morocco, focused on nonprofits creating innovative and sustainable solutions for their community. When she is not behind the camera, Erin is either teaching at a Bay Area university or producing video content for educational, non-profit, tech and corporate clients including Creativelive, Babbel, Salesforce Foundation, San Francisco Planning Department, and BAVC.

Film Details
  • Country(ies): USA
  • Language(s): English
  • Year: 2017
  • Running time: 85
  • Director(s): Chelsea Christer
  • Producer(s): Erin Persley
  • Cinematographer(s): Patrick Lawler, Phillip Briggs
  • Editor(s): Jen Bradwell
  • With: Shawn Harris, Justin San Souci, Jonathan Devoto, Matt Whalen
  • Website:

FSP 1589