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Rest In Peace Matt Stackswell

Earlier this month I got a text from the homie DJ Day late at night… a little too late. Thinking the time difference from West coast to East coast could have been a factor it was only upon opening the text that I would learn the unfortunate news. Matt Stackswell had passed away. Having only met him a hand full of times, it was through the internet that I personally kept up with him but knew of his ties with the rest of my DJ family, Soulstrut, and of course Turntable Lab. Knowing I couldn’t do the justice of a proper remembrance, Doc Delay got at me with this very touching letter. Rest in Peace Stackswell, you will be missed.

I sit here on this gorgeous day next to a beautiful lake, surrounded by friends who play tennis and wake surf, yet I feel a pounding guilt. While I worried about whether to eat lobster or perfectly grilled pork loin, my friend Matthew Brenner lost his life.

Matt Stackswell

I met Matt 5 years ago when he walked into an east village record shop where I worked. He recognized from my handwriting that I was a (former) graffiti writer. He asked for my Nom de plume, and I reluctantly replied, “Delay.”

Matt’s bright blue eyes lit up, and he said,”ohhhh that’s yoooouu!” One of a small handful of people that would even care, Matt followed up with a barrage of questions that referenced a life I left behind a decade earlier. A couple days later Matt emailed me photos of pieces I couldn’t even remember doing.

Matt’s enthusiasm for art and music was something I once shared. Watching him light up when going through photos or records reminded me of myself before I found out how insignificant I was. His interest was a monument to what I had given up.

As the years passed I developed a friendship with Matt that extended beyond our common interests. He would seek my advice on things ranging from career to technology -relationships to cuisine. It was flattering that Matt would turn to me for guidance, and I always tried my best to oblige.

I saw Matt struggle with his lack of work options in DC and encouraged him to pursue something more long term. I suppose it came as no surprise that he would leave Washington for the big apple like I had 10 years earlier

Much like Matt, when I decided to move to New York, I left behind a great girl that loved me. I told him that was something I regretted, and I know his relationship with lily was the hardest thing for him to leave behind.

His metamorphosis was unshakable. I remember that momentum and saw it take root in him. He moved north with a new determination and new goals.

As Matt settled into New York I would see him less and less frequently. I expected that, and wanted that for him. I wanted him to thrive like he should and chase any and all of his aspirations. Even with both of our hectic schedules, Matt managed to see if I wanted to meet for a beer at least once a month, and I always knew when I saw him I’d be greeted with a bright smile and genuine interest in what transpired since we last spoke.

Sometimes the enthusiasm wore on me and I sneared at it as if it were a petty quality. My cynicism was a badge I wore to represent my experience. Little did I know that Matt’s unapologetic interest would be the thing I most admired when he was gone. A charming and contagious joy there is not enough of in this world.

– Doc Delay

  • Neil Whiting

    Super beautiful eulogy right there Tom!

    Miss you like a brother Matt “Stackswell” Brenner… you are gone in the physical but will forever have a place in my heart. Condolences to Franci Brenner aka Mama Stacks.

  • Chris Collins

    Hey this was great, moving enough to make me chime in. I was also very close to Matt in the graffiti world, and you described perfectly what it was like being friends with him. His relentless enthusiasm and positivity was definitely annoying to me at times- and now all I can think about is how cynical and sad it was that I was sometimes annoyed by his relentlessly positive outlook.

  • Patrick Malloy

    Great eulogy Doc Delay. Thanks for sharing.