Create to Destroy! RVA’s Vinyl Conflict


October 29th, 2014 by

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I met Bobby Egger in NYC back when thrash was a big thing on the East Coast especially in NYC, New Brunswick, DC, and Richmond —think 2008/MySpace era. He was living in DC and doing Headcount Records and was friends with NYC thrashers (you know, like “punk is dead/bang your head” maniacs like VERMEFÜG). Bobby wound up moving from DC to Richmond. I’ve kept an eye on him over the years and heard about him taking over the Vinyl Conflict record shop. Brandon and Lauren (the original owners) were great and had a vision, but life happens and their store got passed into Bobby’s good hands. So, have you ever had dreams of opening your own record store or running one? Well, hopefully you’ll get the juicy answers you longed for about being a shop boss, Vinyl Conflict, and a mini-update on Richmond, VA punk!

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Why’d you move from DC?
I initially moved down to Richmond to work for the Independent Label Collective. It was a distributor of vinyl and CDs for punk, metal and indie labels.

Why stay in Richmond, Virginia?
Work was a good start. Affordable living, affordable night life, and it was still quite central as far as being on the East Coast.

You guys still get a lot of bands touring through. Usually Richmond is as far south as anyone will go! How’d you wind up taking over Vinyl Conflict?
I took over the shop in February 2012. I was already an employee of the store at the time, and the previous owners had made the decision to move when they found out they we’re having twins!

Congrats Brandon and Lauren….so what was it like taking over a preexisting store?
It was very much like inheriting the shop — I tried to change as little as possible to keep the same ideals, location, and focus. The previous owners had a very special shop and people loved it for its unique flavor. I was very careful to make sure the shop never lost that charm.

You definitely inherited a gem! How did you change Vinyl Conflict from when you got it until now?
I haven’t made any drastic changes. I have tried to build out more of what we carry within the hardcore/punk/metal realm. Those genres mean a lot of different things to different people. I want to make sure as many people’s interpretations of that are met as possible. I’ve grown the stock a good bit, I am always looking for a stronger social media presence, and I promote as many gigs as I possibly can without losing my mind.

I have made some physical changes to the shop, as far as the layout, with different racks and placement. I had the front windows painted professionally by Sure Hands Signage.

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How do you figure out who to hire?
I’ve been very lucky to have reliable and knowledgeable staff. I’ve had a mix of friends and regular customers, as well as a couple references. However, I will say I’m generally in the shop every single day for some portion of the day (unless I’m out of town).

Do you sell online? Why?
I was against selling online because I did not want our in-store experience to compete with online shoppers. The other difficulty for me was if there is a title that I know I can sell, say, five copies in the store, I don’t know how many I would sell online. I was worried if I got five and sold them online I would disappoint my customers. I also wasn’t prepared to order numbers to keep online stocked.

I do sell online now a bit, because there have been those titles where I ordered five copies, but ended up selling no copies in the store, so I had to figure out a way to move those items. I have a very small Vinyl Conflict web store which has our in-shop titles, shirts, slipmats and some of the stronger titles we ordered in confidence to sell online, however I do not order every title with that in mind. We use Discogs a lot to sell off duplicate and obscure items which may not sell in a physical store.

Is it hard to stay out of the red?
I would love to say no, however it can be difficult during certain points of the year. Richmond is unfortunately extremely college based, even if most people don’t want to admit it. A large portion of the scene is service based, so when the kids go home, hours are cut and tips are in a lower quantity. We have the privilege of getting great shows all year long, so I have a fair amount of traveling shoppers as well as the touring bands coming through. But you really have to prepare for it. Everything’s going to sell eventually, but doing a huge order right before school gets out can really put a bind on things. Over-buying on titles that will be limited in quantity in times like this can hurt too, something that would sell 20 copies during a semester might sell four copies over summer break, but be out of print by the time school is back in session. Finding the balance is not always easy.

Is Richmond, VA, changing a lot?
Yes, I would say it is. The college is rapidly becoming a regular university, while it was originally known mainly for being an art school. Now it’s better known for its basketball team and its growing business school. It will always be a hub for culture, which will keep its music scene thriving. Rent keeps rising and people seem to be moving to more affordable neighborhoods,  opposed to leaving the city. More people interested in music seem to be moving here all the time, so I would just say the city is growing overall.

Why is Richmond a cool place for punks to live?
Cheap rent compared to many popular cities with big scenes, tons of shows, many different genre-based scenes with decent draws, affordable food, many vegan and vegetarian spots, and tons of art. It’s small enough to get anywhere on a bike or a five-minute car ride, and it’s surrounded by history and nature. It really has something for everyone, like a larger city, and still has the small town vibe (for better or worse).

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Any good new bands in Richmond?
I dont know how “new” your readers will be looking for — haha! So I’ll just cover as much ground as possible: ASYLUM, CRETINS, BARGE, FIRING SQUAD, PRISONER, SLUGZ, MERCY KILLINGS, OCCULTIST, UNSACRED, CHERRY PITS, CHRISITI and KEVIES HEAVIES will make my list today. Sorry, I’m bad at remembering stuff, I’m sure I’ve left someone out who will be disappointed. It wasn’t on purpose!

What are your favorite releases you are currently selling?
SLUDGE Conduct LP is some Japanese punk intensity. S.H.I. (STRUGGLING HARSH IMMORTALS) — both 7″s, also Japanese, kinda like MINISTRY meets DISCHARGE? New BAD DOCTORS LP for some sick new wave in the vein of DEVO, NEW ORDER and so on. New ASYLUM 7″ out on the shop label! BREAK OUT True Crime 7″. Any weird comps I can turn someone on to…

S.H.I. is the best band! Yeah, MINISTRY-meets-DISCHARGE is good description! So, for all us record nerds, what is the craziest, rarest record to ever come into your store?
ANTIDOTE Thou Shalt Not Kill 7″, URBAN WASTE 7″, POISON IDEA Pick Your King 7″, NEGATIVE APPROACH 7″, RODRIGO D No Fururo LP, AFI All Hallows EP 7″. I always think it’s never gonna get crazier, and then something always turns up. Yo, bring us your stuff — we ain’t afraid!

Are you a record collector?
Absolutely. I started collecting at age 14. I have my hardcore punk collection, a massive DEVO collection, DC go-go collection. I also collect reggae and surf rock. I can’t stop in a record shop with out looking through most of the stock.

What record is top on your trade/wish list?
I wanna fill out my Dischord and Dangerhouse collections. Looking for the RUDIMENTARY PENI 7″s, BIG BOYS Frat Cars 7″, THE FACTION 7″s, MIDDLE CLASS Out of Vogue 7″, CAUSE FOR ALARM 7″ and an assortment of other stuff.

Any last words?
The best way to check out bands isn’t to look for blogs that haven’t been shut down yet — it’s by grabbing a stack of 7″s and taking them to the listening station.

Or by seeing bands live. I still believe punk should exist offline! So, how can we best stay up to date on Vinyl Conflict?
We are all over the interwebs:
www.vinylconflict.com
Facebook: Vinyl Conflict Records
Instragram: Vinylconflict
Tumblr: vinylconflictrva

But the best way to stay up to date is to make a trip to the shop!



Create to Destroy! Sam Lefebvre


October 15th, 2014 by

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MRR started as a radio show but is mostly known as a written publication.  I’m unsure if many of its contributors who write often or periodically consider themselves writers, but I consider Sam Lefebvre a writer.  In addition to MRR, Sam has been published  everywhere from our local papers to major magazines. I wanted to know more about what he does outside of our seemingly insulated world of writings from the underground…

Have you always been a writer?
Sure! I remember entertaining the idea of becoming a writer when I was a kid. Then I lost a spelling bee. The defeat rattles my writerly self-image to this day. I wrote a Russian alcoholic story in fourth grade, a psychosexual analysis of Dr. Strangelove in fifth grade, and a paean to the wind in sixth grade. Somehow, I have yet to exhaust embarrassing writing topics, thus my focus on punk.

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When did your writing mix with music such as doing zines? What zine are you currently working on?
I wrote lyrics in my early teens, notably a conceptual protest opus about Karl Rove for my first band, and started a zine when I was about seventeen. I felt inspired to make a zine because nothing like that was happening in my peer group. The impulse sprang from a void. I worked in a record store, consumed music voraciously, and felt possessed to try to express how songs made me feel and examine them in their cultural context, which is the same thing I do today.

My main zine project is Degenerate (aka Etrenegade/Degenetrenegade/ Appendegenerate), though I prefer to call it a “mag” and tend to think of it as more of a persisting sickness than a “project.” As an ongoing endeavor, making Degenerate is equal parts self-harm, penance, exercise in writing style, and feverish outpour.

How’d you wind up getting involved at MRR and Alternative Tentacles?
I discovered MRR at the Che Café in San Diego, where I’d take the bus to from the suburbs a lot. On visits to the Bay, I’d call MRR HQ and come over to green tape records. Mariam Bastami encouraged me to move and become a shitworker. Before moving, I also went and saw Jesse Luscious play in his then-reunited Gr’ups and interviewed his bandmates. He mentioned that he ran Alternative Tentacles, I stayed in touch, and he offered me an internship once I moved. I haven’t volunteered at AT for years, and only contribute to MRR sporadically nowadays, but those opportunities initially inspired me to move.

How did you start writing for the SF Weekly and East Bay Express?
A friend passed a copy of Degenerate to the music editor at SF Weekly, who got in touch and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing a concert. I started contributing to the East Bay Express to diversify my outlets, where I became the music editor earlier this year, which ended my Hidden Agenda column and contributions at SF Weekly.

How’d you wind up contributing to Wondering Sound, Spin, and Consequence of Sound?
I pitched to national outlets because contributing to the weeklies mostly limited my scope to local music. Amusingly, one opportunity came after I felt like a well-known publication poached some of my reporting and angle on a local artist for their own story. Instead of getting mad, I reached out and pitched.

SamLefebvre_degenposters

How do you feel about bringing the underground to the masses? Do you feel that you’re doing any of the bands you cover a disservice by inviting people who are more mass consumers into the mostly non-corporate DIY world you cover?
What an accusation!

The traditional under/above-ground musical divisions are increasingly flimsy, definitely in the eyes of what music writers decide to pitch. Beyond that, once a recording is released, it’s severed from the artist’s intentions and enters into conversation with the surrounding culture. That’s the case for punk and pop and chip music. I try to engage in that dialog. I write about other genres, but punk is particularly resonant with me on an emotional and physical level, so my coverage skews towards it.

About doing bands a disservice, no. I actually don’t have that much power. Bands disservice themselves by acting foolishly.

As far as the “more mass consumers” bit, I don’t think we should pretend that punks somehow consume less or with more discernment than non-punks. People who just download pop music use a lot less plastic/paper/oil/trees than people whose apartments are full of records.

One of the coolest things about punk, to me, is that it reveres collective, ritualistic activities, like shows. Punk shows can be these amazing environments for celebrating deviance and momentarily subverting the power dynamics that mar the outside world. But a rare balance of venue, people, and sound is needed to make that happen. When punk shows are full of tourists, they’re less likely to tap that potential. I don’t think my writing has invited many tourists into punk shows; regardless, I hope that it has extended conversations instigated by punk to tourists.

These questions have an air of “what we do is secret” ho-hum. Recently, I interviewed a seventy-some-year-old theater organist. He’s played his entire life. He’s never been recorded. He performs with his back to the audience and doesn’t turn around. He’s always the opener. What he does is secret. What punks do is ego-driven and flayed on Tumblr, just like any other niche sort of music. It’s cool that punk retains regional character and homespun scenes despite that, but let’s not be precious.

What zines do you read?
I like some zines because they look great, others because I discover new things, and others because they have provocative ideas. As for recent publications, issues of Distort, Accept the Darkness, Ratcharge, Nuts!, and Make-a-Mess have combined all of those qualities. Honestly, I mostly read magazines lately. While I’ve never been very interested in perzines, I have tremendous respect for writing and self-publishing as a way for people to tell their story in their own words.

What music writers do you follow? 
To paraphrase Cranked up Really High, an unjustly ignored book about punk by Stewart Home (who’d maybe prefer to be plagiarized), I tend to reject the list as an organizing principle. I’ll take this opportunity to recommend Fvck the Media, which sort of falls outside both the zine and music writing camps, The Quietus for essays, and Collapse Board, where I look for good contrarian takes on hip bands.

How can we best keep up to date on your writing?
Well, I have articles basically every week in the East Bay Express. My freelancing activity varies, though I have pieces appearing in Wondering Sound pretty consistently, a site I recommend in general. Otherwise, I’ve capitulated to the usual social media platforms.



Create to Destroy! Earhammer Studios


October 1st, 2014 by

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Greg Wilkinson is an integral part of the Bay Area scene, which is fragmented and has its own scenes but is definitely connected. He looks like a wizard and he is easy to spot — you’ll know who he is when you see him. At his Earhammer Studios, Greg records bands from all the facets of the local scene. I thought I’d interview him for Create to Destroy as he recently recorded a band for my label here in Oakland. Here is the Evil Wizard of Rock…

What bands have you been in?
Current bands: BRAINOIL and DEATHGRAVE; and former bands: LAUDANUM, LANA DAGALES, I WILL KILL YOU FUCKER, PHT, CHRONICLES OF LEMUR MUTATION, JOHN THE BAKER AND THE MALNOURISHED NOTHINGS, GRAVES AT SEA (for a short stint), and many others…

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Who has recorded your bands, past and present?
Dan Rathbun, Noah Landis, Kurt Schlegel, Mykee Burnt Ramen, and myself (most recordings I’ve been involved with engineering).

How did you start recording bands?
To make a long story not too unbearably long, in my early teens I had a Magnavox stereo with an instrument jack. I would dub a bass line or something with a mic onto a tape. Then put that cassette into the play side of the tape deck and record that and another layer onto another tape on the recording side. Then switch tapes and add more. Obviously, this sounded pretty much like a wall of crap, but it was enough to pique my interest.

Then, I think it was in ’92, I wound up with a Yamaha 4-track cassette recorder I borrowed from a friend of the family. Soon after, I was hooked and convinced my band at the time (a short-lived band called HOLLOW that did nothing) to purchase a Tascam 4-track. A year later I ended up buying a Tascam 8-track, which I would use to record not only my own bands demos but some friends bands as well (mainly recording in my parents house, friends houses, garages, or whatever we could find).

The machine was used and abused aimlessly recording demos, mainly of bands I was in. This lasted a good grip of years until ’98. At the time, I was in LANA DAGALES, which was a two-piece project. We decided to go to school for recording. We were living in Jackson Street Studios, a defunct rehearsal space in downtown Oakland, at the time and therefore jammed a lot. By this point I was becoming really disenchanted with the limitations of the machine. Accessing better gear would really help LANA DAGALES stay DIY while achieving documentation to our liking. During this time, we tracked demos on the Tascam for EXIT WOUND who was comprised of Jason of STORMCROW and LID TOKER, Rubin of CRUEVO, Jake of BLOWN TO BITS and NEUROTOXICITY and Melony. INSIDIOUS at the time was Jensen of IRON LUNG, Sal of ASUNDER, Jason, Seth of SKAVEN and DESTROY JUDAS and Melony.

In the school, we tracked our second demo, which became our first 7″. In ’99, as an alumni, I was granted access to the school’s facilities and recorded the FLESHIES and BRAINBLOODVOLUME (pre-LAUDANUM). Shortly afterwards the school disappeared, which is a fascinating story in itself. I then began tracking at Burnt Ramen on Mykee’s 1″ Tascam while building up a setup of my own in a painfully slow fashion. Eventually, by the time Earhammer started, there was a decent amount of bands I had the honor of working with.

What was the first band you recorded and where? What equipment was used?
My own band, called GENISORE, I believe was the first actual band I recorded that played shows and made tapes. The aforementioned 4-track and cobbled-together mics of the cheap-to-free variety.

How important is mastering for vinyl?
Extremely!!! Can’t emphasize this enough!

I feel the same. It drives me nuts when things don’t get mastered properly — it sounds like garbage! What advice would you give to someone wanting to start recording their own bands or bands in general?
The awesome news is getting a decent recording setup requires less space and sounds way better than it did in the early ’90s (or even the early ’00s) in the base level market. As the old adage goes, “Just get out there and do it!”  Never forget that learning is mostly discovered through failure. Your first recording will most likely be like your first guitar riff. Somewhere between horrible and passabl,e but in no way a waste of time and effort. It’s a building block. Don’t be disappointed if it isn’t a masterpiece. If the recording comes out bad, you will have at least learned something to apply to make a better run the next round. Too many young engineers believe too strongly in post-production, which is dangerous. Crap in will usually turn into crap out. So if it doesn’t sound right before pushing record, there won’t be too much you can do to improve the sound. The best result you can hope for is, “Well, at least it’s not as crappy as before!”

What’s the best way to sound proof a room and get the acoustics right? Does this matter?
It does matter a lot, but there are books about this subject as it is a very complicated issue to tackle. Budget (tuning a room can run thousands and thousands of dollars), available square footage, proper tools, and knowledge are all factors that can get really expensive, especially when done properly. On the slightly affordable side, YouTube has tons of lessons on building diffusers that work pretty well, for DIY communities to help control reflections in your room. Soundproofing requires mass of different materials and space (like building a wall inside a wall is a common example and more high end places even get into suspending rooms). Read the rest of this entry »



Create to Destroy! Vespera’s Falafel


September 24th, 2014 by

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Eiji is an old friend from the Japanese punk band DSB. He currently plays in VESPERA and STEALWING. He had a vegan falafel food stall, but now he has a vegan restaurant in Tokyo called Vespera’s Falafel. He did it all in the name of punk and DIY. Radical (vegan) punks never die!

What is it like being vegan in Japan?
You can be a good chef or farmer soon. DIY is the best way to survive with being a vegan here.

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Are there a lot Japanese punks vegan?
Absolutely no.

Why did you become vegan?
To be honest, without reason. Just imitate the style of my friends who visited me in Tokyo 2003. Then I found reasoning in it. I’m not a vegan perfectly, trying to be though.

One does not have to be perfect to make a difference. What advice do you have to other punks who want to become vegan?
Have fun. Don’t think too much!

How hard was it to open a restaurant?
It was not enough, even though I worked for it from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. I wished I could’ve had 48 hours a day. I played the rolls of a cleaner, a painter, a plasterer, a carpenter, a carrier, a buyer, a designer, a manager and finally a chef….while keeping up with two bands!

What are your most popular dishes?
Falafel hamburger and teriyaki soy chicken brown rice mixed with YAMAIMO potato mouse.

Why did you open a restaurant?
Punk rock is leading me.

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Where did the name “Vespera” come from?
Esperanto language. I’m serving borderless hybrid world cuisine. Esperanto language name is match with that style. Starting with “V” came from the film V For Vendetta, also “veganism.”

Does Tokyo have other vegan restaurants?
Yes! More than it used to.

What bands are you in now?
VESPERA, which started before the restaurant Vespera, and STEALWING, with members from DSB, KRIEGSHOG, CROW and ABIGAIL.

Any good new bands in Tokyo?
STEALWING.

How can we get in touch with you?
vegvespera.wordpress.comVESPERA’s Falafel is on Twitter (@KalaHenji) and Facebook. German language can be understood well.

If you want more on this restaurant, a recent Australian visitor did a neat piece on his blog here.

Arigato, Eiji!
ARIGATO.



Create to Destroy! Remote Outposts


September 3rd, 2014 by

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Greg Harvester is a punk I met at the MRR HQ when I first moved to SF. I had no idea he did a tape blog or what he describes as “a barely functioning record label” until I saw an ad he’s put in Mothers News, a rag out of Providence, RI. So, I thought after Robert Collins’ Terimal Escape tape blog interview why not cover another MRR shitworker and keep the tape blog love going? Here is Greg Harvester (who you may know from NEON PISS) talking about Remote Outposts for Create to Destroy!

Greg in Iceland

Greg in Iceland

What are your ties to the East Coast? How do you know all these rad people like FUNERAL CONE?
I guess it’s mostly from traveling a lot throughout the years. Besides going to NYC, I never really paid too much attention to New England for the longest time. A really good friend of mine, Mike Leslie, is from Worcester, MA, and I started making my way there to hang out with him. Over time, I just kept going back and I’ve fallen in love with the whole region. There’s so many great people and bands, such as CLEANSING WAVE, SKIMASK, THE TERRIBLES and all of those Boston bands that people always talk about (rightfully so). Plus, I just love the season of fall and if I could spend every fall there, I could die happy.

How’d you wind up in San Francisco?
I originally moved here in 2002 from Chattanooga, Tennessee, where I was living on a dilapidated houseboat. My time there had kind of run its course and I was ready for a change. My good friends in SF were starting a band called ALLERGIC TO BULLSHIT and they needed a drummer, so I decided to move out. The bass player, Cinque, and the singer, Ivy, were in town so I hopped in a van with them and a bunch of other maniacs and drove across the country with no money at all. I lived in a van on Alabama Street and at Mission Records (RIP) during that time. I left in 2003 to travel and do other stuff, but was drawn back here in 2008 and haven’t really wanted to leave since. I’m a fairly transient person, but this is the only place that has felt like home in years.

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How’d you wind up at MRR?
I hung out at the compound a lot in 2002 because I didn’t really have other places to go that were free. I did a lot of shitwork, like filing records, taking out the trash, doing the radio show, etc…. I did some book reviews, but they didn’t let me write record reviews because I told them that I hated all music, which was maybe true at that time. When I came back in 2008, I just showed up and insisted on being a part of the magazine again, because I want to be actively participating in print media…especially in a capacity that is so anti-corporate…for the most part…as anti-corporate as things can be in 2014.

Is the name “Remote Outposts” a reference to anything?
Yes. When I was first starting the blog, I didn’t think of a name until the last minute. At the time, I was obsessed with the idea of living in Antarctica (still am) and I loved this 1985 article from the Wall Street Journal about people losing their fucking shit while working there. The first line says, “It is Saturday night at one of the world’s most remote outposts…” I liked the sound of that. I liked that the title didn’t tie things down to any certain genre of punk or to anything at all, really. I guess that’s it.

Looks like you’ve been doing this since 2011. How has your “blog” changed since then?
I started the whole thing primarily to catalog and archive virtually unknown punk bands from the Southeast US, because that’s where I’m from…Alabama, to be exact. I think that, in my experience, some of the best punk has come from Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, Arkansas and Georgia. Mississippi too, but not South Carolina. I wanted to provide the back story and sounds of a whole scene of bands who may have only put out one tape and may have only made 20 copies of that tape. I think those bands are the best shit, and I realized that I’m not alone in that thought. I wish that the majority of the blog wasn’t just my perspective or my experience, but that’s just how it happened. I try to get other people to write for it as well, but people are slow or flaky or just not interested and that’s fine. Over time, I archived most of the southern punk tapes that I wanted to, but I still have hundreds of other tapes. I think the only way it’s really changed is that I spend a little more time on the writing because I don’t want it to be like, “Hey, here’s a band from Gnawbone, Indiana,” and not provide context. I realized that people actually read it, so I try to make it interesting. Also, I decided recently to stop posting any bands who use crowd-sourcing in any capacity.

Has Remote Outposts always had a presence on Facebook ?
Not always. I’m not even sure why I started the FB page, but I realized that people pay attention to it. Its only purpose is to tell people there’s a new post, but they could just as easily sign up for an email alert and get it that way. Or just bookmark the blog. I try to update it pretty often. Whatever works.

RemoteOutposts_SpawnSacs_DrillerKillers_tape

Why do you do it?
I think a lot of these bands are important. I looked at some music blogs before I started this and they didn’t provide a lot of context. It would just be a link to a download. I want to know the backgrounds. Where do the bands come from? How do they get by? Have they ever had to sell plasma to get gas money? Did they almost die from heat exhaustion while having to breastfeed their kids in a tour van in Mexico? Have they ever killed anyone? Were any of them placed in youth detention centers when they were growing up for trying to burn down their school? Besides that, a lot of music blogs I saw mostly covered metal or hardcore, which is great, but I wanted to also see the more melodic or noisy or arty or fucked up side of music being represented in some small capacity. Besides that, it’s fun. When it’s not fun I’ll stop.

How do you do it?
I’ve always said, “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing,” and I mean that. There was a cord at my house that I plugged into my stereo which allowed me to digitize stuff. I don’t know what that cord is called. I’m not trying to be elusive. I really just don’t know. My house got a free scanner on Craigslist and I use that to scan any art that comes with the tapes. I use Audacity and iTunes to make the MP3s and then host it on whatever file hosting service works, which has been a real learning experience that I don’t want to discuss publicly.

Have you made new friends doing this?
Yeah, I meet people while traveling who like it, which is very encouraging. I haven’t, like, met my best friend in the world or anything, but most of the interactions that have come from this have been really positive.

Where do you get your tapes? Do you get a lot from reviewing demos for MRR?
I already had a fairly huge collection because I just don’t throw things away. I still have mix tapes from my teenage years and a VOMIT SPOTS tape that I originally got in 1989. I also hold onto tapes that I review for MRR, but only ones that either blow me away or have a few indispensable songs on them. Some people have given me their collection to sift through rather than trashing them. Some bands mail me their tape because they like the blog, which is amazing to me. I always buy tapes from touring bands that I like. I’ve found a few of ‘em on the street and in free boxes.

RemoteOutposts_PTC_tape

Not so much hardcore?
I fucking love hardcore. There’s a misconception that I’m not a fan of hardcore because I rarely cover it on the blog, but that’s just not true. I grew up on it and it’s still close to my heart. Also, the few times that I have posted hardcore on the blog, no one pays attention to it. BRAIN KILLER demo? No one cared. QUESTION? Nope. HARUM SCARUM? IRON LUNG? THE KNOCKABOUTS (Alabama’s first hardcore band!)? STOCKHOLM SYNDROME? Fuck it. Great fucking bands but I don’t think people read my blog for hardcore, because there are many other places on the internet that have that genre covered. Terminal Escape and Music Not Noize are much better outlets for that kind of stuff than me. Coincidentally, those are the only two music blogs I look at.

What is your punk forte, I mean like…what sub-genre of punk or genres do you mostly focus on?
I wanna just say “PUNK,” but the punk world has split off into so many sub-genres that I can’t (don’t want to) keep track anymore. Before I found punk, I stumbled into the world of performance art which was such a freak zone in 1980s Alabama. Because of that, I gravitate towards bands who are in true freak zones, whether they are arty, melodic, hardcore, drone-y, fucked up noise or whatever. That being said, I also love ultra-precise, no-fucking-around pop stuff like the MARKED MEN. I don’t care about grindcore. Is that an answer?

Zines?
I don’t even know what’s out there anymore. I like Asswipe, Cometbus, Spare Change and Absolutely Zippo, but honestly I’ve read Harper’s and journals more than zines in the last couple of years. I sometimes do a zine called Rice Harvester and another one called Disunderstood, which is just a journal of me writing down what I think hardcore bands are singing about at shows.

Tour stories?
So many. Two come to mind. Once, our van broke down in the South, so we left it at a mechanic with our roadie and just hitchhiked to our next show after sleeping on the ground in a gravel parking lot. The show sucked but we didn’t have to cancel it. Another time, I was in Jonquiere, Quebec, and the entire audience was on PCP. Our bass player quit mid-show because it was so fucked up, but we finished without her. At the end, the guitarist was passed out, dead to the world, and I had to carry him out like a little baby. On my way to the van, I had to dodge a dude who was crying and bashing himself in the head with a hammer, as well as a woman who was trying to make out with me. Oh, and in Budapest, Hungary, the audience ripped the pick guard and the bridge off of two of our guitars and then got upset when we couldn’t play any more. I’m afraid that I have stories like these for days.

That sounds very Quebec. Any last words?
Thank you. Look at the blog or don’t. Stay punk or don’t.

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