Self (sometimes written sElf or SeLF) is an American alternative pop/rock band from Murfreesboro, Tennessee and is largely the creative vision of writer, singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Matt Mahaffey.
Though it is not considered a solo project, Matt Mahaffey is the primary performer of all instrumentation and vocals on studio albums. The other members contribute occasional parts on albums and participate in live performances. The band currently consists of Chris James (keyboards, piano, samplers, guitar, backing vocals), Mac Burrus (bass guitar, keyboards, horns, backing vocals), and Jason Rawlings (Drums). Past members include Matt's brother, Mike Mahaffey (lead guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Timm Nobles (bass guitar). Mahaffey cites Electric Light Orchestra, Prince, and Pixies as some of his biggest musical influences.
Self began with founders Matt and Mike Mahaffey recording songs in their childhood home in the early 90s, following brief forays with other groups. The band's debut album, Subliminal Plastic Motives, was released in 1995 on the Spongebath Records, a label the Mahaffeys helped found. During this early period, the band featured Matt on vocals and guitar, Mike on lead guitar, Tim Nobles on bass, Chris James on keyboards and samplers, and Jason Rawlings on drums.
The album was followed in 1996 by The Half-Baked Serenade, an album released exclusively through a mail order catalog, and in 1997, an album released for free via the Internet called Feels Like Breakin' Shit. Around this time, bassist Timm Nobles was replaced by Mac Burrus, formerly of Murfreesboro rock band The Plain. Nobles, along with local songwriter Rick Perry and electronic producer Otis Brown, would start Rigger, an electronic project.
A Self EP titled Brunch (1998) and the album Breakfast with Girls (1999) were co-released by the Spongebath and DreamWorks labels. Back at Spongebath, Self released Gizmodgery in 2000, an album created entirely with children's toy instruments. That same year, Self released two more free Internet-only albums, Self Goes Shopping and Selfafornia. In 2005, Self again released an album for free on the Internet. Porno, Mint & Grime consists of demos recorded during the 2001-2004 sessions for the unreleased album Ornament and Crime.
In addition to these releases, Self contributed to several tribute albums, covering "Shame" on the Depeche Mode tribute album For the Masses" in 1998 and "Ana Ng," for the They Might Be Giants tribute album Hello Radio: The Songs of They Might Be Giants, released July 2006.
An album entitled Ornament and Crime was completed in 2004 and was set to become the band's fifth commercial release. When Universal Music Group acquired DreamWorks Records, the band's label at the time, the album was shelved indefinitely. A few songs from Ornament and Crime have been featured on the band's MySpace, but there is still no projected release date.
A DVD has also been completed, but due to legal reasons, remains unreleased. The performance includes a cover of AC/DC's hit song "Back in Black," which has not yet been approved. Several videos of songs from the DVD, including the "Back in Black" cover, have been posted online on Mahaffey's MySpace and YouTube profiles.
Side Projects and Super Fake Nice (2005-present):
New music and live performances since the release of Porno, Mint & Grime have been sporadic. Lead guitarist Mike Mahaffey died in May 2005, and his role in the band has yet to be filled, though the remaining members played a show in his honor on October 9, 2005. They have performed since as a full band and Matt Mahaffey has appeared as Self in solo performances. Despite this, members of the band have been working primarily on other projects. Rawlings played drums in a group called Suburban Tragedy, and Mahaffey also formed a new band, Wired All Wrong, with former God Lives Underwater member Jeff Turzo. Wired All Wrong released their first album, Break Out The Battle Tapes on September 12, 2006. Additionally, Matt has worked as a producer and performer for other artists including Beck and Hellogoodbye and as a composer for children's TV shows including Ni Hao, Kai-Lan.
On January 13, 2007 Mahaffey announced on his MySpace blog that a new Self album, tentatively titled Super Fake Nice, was in the works. In late 2008, several new tracks appeared on his MySpace. On May 19, 2010, Self released the single "Could You Love Me Now?" for digital download. In July 2011, work on a new studio album was said to be progressing, and Mahaffey stated that he was considering Kickstarter as a means of funding the project. On 30 November 2011, Self made available the track "Looks and Money" for digital download. Matt Mahaffey officially announced the production of the new Self album on 15 December 2011.
As of 2012, Mahaffey has permanently returned to the Nashville area. Self played a sold-out reunion show in Nashville on December 29, 2012 at Exit/In with Fluid Ounces guitarist Brian Rogers filled Mike Mahaffey's guitar slot. A new compilation of Self music was also released via the internet in 2012, hyping up fans for a soon-to-be-released new album, and the band continued to play shows including