Featured Posts

New Blood! ALLERGY, DESPERFECTO, and MODERN LOVE

MRR magazine's "New Blood" section is now a regular feature here on MRR.com! See below ...

Read More

Video of the Week! Distorted: Reflections on Early Sydney Punk

This month's Maximum Rocknroll magazine features an interview with Des Devlin, the filmmaker behind the documentary Distorted: ...

Read More

Record of the Week: CADAVER EM TRANSE LP

Based in São Paulo and featuring members of RAKTA and SPEED KILLS, this is a ...

Read More

Guest Column: Sean Hocking on Genjing Records

Genjing Records: Connecting China's Underground with the World, One 7" at a Time Let's head off ...

Read More

Absurdo at Txoritokieta, August 2014 (photo by Fidel Gutierrez)

Monday Photo Blog: Fidel Gutierrez

Here's some pretty cool photos for the Monday Photo Blog sent over the Atlantic by Fidel Gutierrez. These ...

Read More

Create to Destroy! Blindead Productions


December 10th, 2014 by

CreateToDestroyLogo

Blindead Productions in Sweden has been a serious supporter of punk, and continues to distro the best releases throughout Europe. You may know Krogh from SEX DWARF tours, Distortion Faith zine, his label, or maybe you had a beer with him at the last Varning from Montreal fest. Here is Krogh of Blindead Productions…

What is Blindead Productions? Is it just you who does it?
Yeah, it’s just me. There was a period somewhere around 2002 when we tried to be two people, but it didn’t really work out. Not because we had any problems, it just didn’t last too long. So, with the exception of one year, it’s been me running the show since 1997.

Blindead_infekzioa 7

Blindead Productions is a label dedicated to the music I love — hardcore punk. Vinyl mostly, and some messing around with tapes lately, but the main focus is vinyl. Would be fun to do some sort of book sometime though.

What does “Blindead” mean?
Well, the initial meaning or idea behind it was that we’re already dead, we just don’t know it as the system won’t let us see it. You know, keep us in line, feed the machine, etc., etc. Then it hit me that MISERY has their song “Blindead,” which is an excellent song, and so I rather lie and say it’s an homage to that song. The idea I guess is the same, as the theme of that song isn’t too far off from the idea I had behind the name.

Tell us about Distortion Faith.
This is the zine I do together with Jocke from D-takt & Råpunk. Björn from SMRT Records was also involved in the first five issues but had to leave because of other commitments and lack of time. So far we’ve done six issues and the plan was to have a seventh out in January. That won’t happen because none of us have had the time, but the zine will return sometime this spring, I will make sure of that.

I love doing this zine as I’ve allowed myself not to care too much. Of course I want it to be good, but while in earlier zines I have set up “rules,” I now don’t care if an interview is three questions long or 30, as long as it has at least some content. I promised myself not to do any reviews, but I’ve ended up doing a few anyway and have a few more lined up, but it will not be a recurring thing — done that to death earlier and I pretty much hate it at this point.

Blindead_warcollapse 12

What was ALP tapes? How many different names have you had? Were you a distro or a label first?
ALP Tapes was the very first thing, back in 1997. It started out as something that was supposed to be the label for my band’s demo. The band never recorded anything and I soon realized I’d rather be a label than a musician, so the name stuck for a while and I released ten tapes (nine home copies and one pro printed). Towards the end of ALP Tapes I also had the record label Resist the System, where I released the first CROSSING CHAOS 7” in 2000.

It was when I merged the two that Blindead Productions was born, in 2002. It started out as a label, but very soon became a distro as well — trading tapes and then later on vinyls and some CDs.

Where do you get your records pressed and tapes made? Who do you recommend in Europe?
The Distortion Faith tape was done in England somewhere, Jocke had the contact and I can’t remember. I took care of printing the covers. As for vinyl, I’ve mostly used GZ, but for the WARCOLLAPSE 12” I went with Flight 13 and I will go with them again for the upcoming KRONOFOGDEN LP. I also tried out Mobineko for the HUMAN POWER 7” but I wasn’t very happy with them. Cheap, but not too good. That’s the only place I wouldn’t recommend, other than that I’ve been happy with both GZ and Flight 13.

Where are you in Sweden and what is the scene like? Any bands we should keep an eye on?
I live in Arvika, a small town where absolutely nothing happens. It’s very close to the Norwegian border and I guess Oslo is the closest big town, but I’d rather go to Stockholm to hang out and watch bands.

What was your most popular release?
Hmm, I don’t know. The Distortion Faith comp tape sold out extremely fast, but we only did 250 copies of that one. I guess the KRONOFOGDEN 7” went over really well, at least here in Sweden, but also abroad. I guess some others have been pressed in more copies, but also with more labels, so…

Blindead_kronofogden 7

What are your current projects?
I’ve been putting together the cover for the KRONOFOGDEN LP and making sure Lenny’s drawings fit the sleeve template, and the next step is to finish the insert. Got the mastered tracks just the other day and it’s gonna be a fucking great record! Other than that, I’m still trading and selling the latest release, the INFEKZIOA 7″, to as many places as possible.

Why are zines, tapes, labels, and distros important to punk?
Because they’re easy to do? I mean, you can spend a lot of money printing a zine, but you can also find a cheap printer or copy it yourself. If you have the will to do a zine you can. The same goes for tapes — you can pretty much do everything in your own living room, or go more “professional.” It’s up to you. Labels are less important, I guess, as bands can take care of this themselves, but I’m glad people still want me to put out their records. Distros are important to help keep prices at a decent level and a place where lesser-known bands can get their stuff distributed as well. Keeping prices low is getting harder and harder though.

How did you get into punk and what makes you stay?
I guess I got into the softer style of punk through more mainstream channels and early bands for me were DIA PSALMA, ASTA KASK and EBBA GRÖN. With MOB 47, NO SECURITY and SKITSYSTEM I knew I was hooked for life. EBBA GRÖN, MOB 47 and NO SECURITY are still today, 17–18 years later, three of the best bands I know. What really made me stay is that all of a sudden I was involved in the music I loved, not just a fan — that was really powerful for me.

How can we stay up to date on your releases and projects?
The best way is to check out the website at www.blindeadproductions.com, where I keep info up to date. If you want to go through social medias or newsletters or whatever, you’ll find the info on that there as well. There’s also blindeadproductions.bandcamp.com, where you can check out at least ten full releases, and soon we’ll add the full INFEKZIOA 7″ there, plus a few from the upcoming KRONOFOGDEN LP.



Create to Destroy! ABC No Rio


December 3rd, 2014 by

CreateToDestroyLogo

My first punk show ever was at ABC No Rio, a DIY and punk institution in New York City’s Lower East Side. I volunteered and booked ABC No Rio hardcore/punk matinees for a few years. In the process, I got to know Steve Englander as the glue that binds No Rio together and keeps it running as a community comprised of many collectives, like the zine library (with all the first MRRs), punk matinee shows, the darkroom and so on.  Working within a collective is hard enough, but overseeing several while maintaining a building — well, let’s see how he does it and get some insight into running this DIY space that has held true to its beliefs for several decades. To donate to ensure ABC No Rio can keep DIY alive in dark times, please click here! Here is Steve Englander of ABC No Rio…

abcnorio_entry_1980

ABC No Rio front entry, 1980 (photo by Jody Culkin)

What is ABC No Rio?
ABC No Rio is an arts center on New York’s Lower East Side. It was founded by artists with a commitment to political and social engagement, and we try to stay true to those values today. Programming here breaks down pretty much into public events and our facilities and resources. Events include exhibitions of visual art, our Saturday hardcore/punk matinees, our Sunday evening series of free jazz and improv concerts, and readings, performances, screenings and other events. No Rio facilities include a zine library, a darkroom for black-and-white processing and printing, a screenprinting shop and a computer center.

How does it resemble its old self in 2014?
Personally, I would say not at all, but that one’s really tough to answer as there have been many successive generations of people that have passed through ABC No Rio. I guess it depends on whose version of the old ABC No Rio you mean.

What is ABC No Rio primarily used for now?
I don’t really think there is a primary use now. In the past there was what I’d call “signature” events that sort of defined ABC No Rio. From its founding to the mid-’80s it was visual art; from the mid- to late-’80s it was performance art; after that, spoken word and performance poetry and anti-folk; in the early- to mid-’90s on it was punk and hardcore; in the mid-’90s it was more political and street protest oriented, and tied to the squatters movement on the Lower East Side.

For the past fifteen years or so though, I don’t think you can say there is any signature activity that defines ABC No Rio. Nowadays it is different things to different people. It’s one thing to some kid coming to a punk show who’s just started a band, and something different to a retired public school teacher coming to a poetry reading. It’s one thing to an activist banging out posters or t-shirts in the print shop, and something else to a European traveler visiting the zine library. It’s one thing to a musician who’s been regularly coming to COMA for years, and obviously something else to some bar-hopper who stumbles into an art opening.

Is it considered a “community” space?  And for what community?  I understand the LES resembles itself but little these days…
Some people do consider ABC No Rio to be a community center, and sometimes we do refer to ourselves that way. But now I don’t think “community” is limited to the geographic area in which we are positioned. I think it’s more about a community of shared values and commitments and ideals. Anyone can use our facilities and attend events here, and even propose events. But we still hold on to this idea of being politically and socially engaged, and tend to attract people that feel that’s important.

You’re right, the Lower East Side has changed so much in the past 30 years. We think the neighborhood has changed much more than ABC No Rio has! When ABC No Rio was founded, many of the people doing things here and coming to events here lived on the Lower East Side or in the East Village. That isn’t the case anymore. People are coming from all the boroughs, even from all over the greater metro area, like Long Island and New Jersey. We serve the City as a whole, and not just our neighborhood.

New mural by Dasic Fernandez, 2014 (photo by ABC No Rio)

New mural by Dasic Fernandez, 2014 (photo by ABC No Rio)

Is ABC No Rio 100% volunteer run?
Yes, a collective of volunteers runs all ABC No Rio projects and programs. I don’t know if any other institution that operates in a similar way on as large a scale and scope.

What is your capacity at ABC No Rio?
I am the one sole full-time salaried staffer. My title is director, but in practice it’s a lot more like traffic cop! Ultimately, my job is to make sure the volunteer collective members have what they need for their projects. I oversee ABC No Rio administrative matters and I’m our point-person for dealing with the City. I also report and make recommendations to both the No Rio Board of Directors and the collective, prepare financial statements and proposed budgets, and present updates on program development, fundraising and the project to build our new facility.

How did the punk/hardcore shows start on Saturdays?  Was it a reaction to the sometimes violent and often sexist/homophobic Sunday matinees at CBGB?
Yes, the Matinee at No Rio did begin as a response to the violence at the CB’s matinees. The idea was to create a welcoming space in the scene for young people of color, young women, and gay and lesbian youth. However, the early days of the matinee probably deserve an interview of its own, and there are better people than me who can talk about that!

Why is punk important at ABC No Rio?
The ethic of DIY is a defining feature of ABC No Rio. I think that’s why the Matinee originally found a home at No Rio, and then the commitment of the punk collective to working in that way continued to impact No Rio over the following decades. Sort of a powerful feedback loop. Also, there’s always been a sense of community among the volunteers working on the Matinee, a sense of being part of something. People do come and go, but it seems that sense of community stays.

Read the rest of this entry »



Create to Destroy! KnitPUNX


November 26th, 2014 by

CreateToDestroyLogo

I found Breeann Schauffler of Kansas City, MO, on Instagram. She caught my eye similar to the Addicted to Chaos shop due to that classic punk style, so I ordered a fancy all-black silk-mohair blend 3/4-sleeve ’77 sweater off her…and then I thought, what the hell? Why not Create to Destroy her and bring her magical ’77 sweaters to the punk masses!

Who are you and where are your from?
Breeann Schauffler from Kansas City! I’m 29 yrs old, married, and with a crazy 2 1/2 year old.

Knitpunx_1

Why are you a punk?
The only answer I can give without sounding completely cliché, is that it’s just the only way I know how to be. I got into punk because a friend’s sister introduced me to bands like the Exploited, Chaos UK, Op Ivy and Rancid when I was in the 5th grade. I just thought it was the most bad ass shit I’d ever heard. So I continued to listen to punk until I was in middle school. Then I went through a period where I wanted to be cool or something and tried to hang out with the popular kids. Found out real quick that sucked and that I didn’t fit in at all, so I went back to punk when I was about 15. Started going to shows at the El Torreon in KC and met all my best friends that I still have today. Punk music has always just made me feel like I can be who I want to be, do what I wanna do, and not give a fuck what anyone else thinks about me.

Why have you stayed punk?
I’ve stayed punk because I whole heartedly believe that if you can say “you used to be, then you never were.” Punks have a bad rep for being drunk losers who never do anything with their lives, and I guess that’s true for some, but I never thought that for a second about myself. After I graduated college, there was a period of time where I thought I had to grow up and be a responsible adult. I got some shitty corporate job where I literally worked in a cubicle and I wasn’t allowed to look the way I wanted to anymore. I had to be that douchey salesman type person at work. This may be dumb, but I felt like a real part of me had died. I stopped going to shows, never left the house and then it’s like I woke up one day and said fuck this. I had my son and got a new job where it didn’t matter what I looked like, and realized that being punk is what makes me feel like me. It’s who I am and who I’ll always be.

Knitpunx_X

Any good bands where you are that we should know about?
Well, first and foremost, I gotta give a shout-out to my super supportive husband and his band, The Donner Diaries. Then there’s my good friends in No Master and Braindead. I also really like a band from Lawrence, KS, the Josh Berwanger band. They’re a rock ‘n’ roll type band and I think it’s pretty clear from my Instagram that I’m way into rock n’ roll and power pop personally.

Why are mohair sweaters punk?
Haha, I don’t know. I guess because Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren said so! It’s just one of those things that every punk has. A mohair sweater, leather jacket, and skinny jeans, haha.

What is your sweater labeled called?
It’s called KnitPUNX. I tried to do a little play on words, ya know, street punx, crust punx, hardcore punx, and then KNITPUNX.

How did you get into ’77-style knitting?
I got into knitting out of sheer boredom. Like I said, I have a 2 year old. So about a year ago (seriously, just one year) he finally started to go to bed at a normal time and I had all this time on my hands. I couldn’t go to shows as much as I wanted, and sitting on my couch drinking beer and playing video games got pretty old. I just decided one day, I’m going to knit myself a scarf. The very first idea I had in my head was that I wanted a Giuda scarf. So I was literally like, ok… Step 1…learn to knit. Step 2…put words on it. Step 3…make a sweater, because , well, I wanted a mohair sweater — haha!

What ’77 styles inspire you today?
I don’t know, honestly. Most of the stuff that I make is just band scarves, which transformed into band sweaters. So, I honestly don’t see very many people sportin’ Discharge sweaters.

Knitpunx_Discharge

How’d you learn to knit?
YouTube. It’s a wonderful thing. I’ve tried to learn a few times in the past but I never really put much time or dedication into it until after I had my son. So, I bought some basic shitty yarn from Walmart and some knitting needles and just watched videos over and over again until I figured it out. Like I said, I had a goal in mind from the very beginning, I wanted to make band scarves. So, once I figured it out I just kept practicing and practicing until I got to where I am now.

What was the first sweater you knitted?
A disaster. Seriously. I think the first actual thing I could call a sweater was a blue and black striped sweater that was too short, too wide, and had a sweet ’80s shoulder hang to it. Everything before that fit like a parachute.

Where do you get your materials?
All over. I eventually graduated to a knitting machine (which is the biggest pain in my ass, I hate that thing) but it helps me make more accurate band logos and I have to buy specific yarn for that. I buy the mohair yarn off a website online and then sometimes I’ll go to local yarn shops, but they’re usually pretty pricey. So, I try to find good deals online to keep costs low for customers.

Knitpunx_A2C

What custom orders have you gotten?
I would say my work is probably 90% custom orders. That happened by accident. I seriously thought I was going to get maybe one order a month, but once people saw that I was making custom stuff, I got a little overwhelmed with orders at first haha. But the first custom order was from a shop called Addicted to Chaos. They make really awesome repro seditionaries’ t-shirts and we decided to do a trade. The sweater that they ordered had their logo on it and a skull that they have on their metal pins, and that thing was completely hand knit which took forever. After that, the custom orders started and just never stopped. I do have ideas of my own, but I just haven’t had time to execute them, haha.

Any tips for punks who want to start making their own?
Be patient. Knitting is hard and frustrating and kind of a money pit when you first start to learn. When you’re learning and fuck up on something that you’re making, you basically have to start over until you figured out what you did wrong. And that gets kinda expensive, especially when your yarn ends up in a big knotted mess at your feet. But keep at it!

How can we order from you?
Right now, the only way to order is by emailing me at knitpunx {at} hotmail(.)com. I’m working on getting a website set up through Big Cartel, but I wanted to make things to actually have for sale on it and that just hasn’t happened yet! Someday I’ll have a website but until then, e-mail me.

Any last words?
Thanks so much for doing this interview with me, probably the coolest thing I’ll ever do in my life!



Create to Destroy! Not Dead Yet Fest


November 12th, 2014 by

CreateToDestroyLogo

After all of you had fun at a Varning from Montreal this past weekend, there is another Canadian punk fest very soon after called Not Dead Yet Fest, from November 20th to November 23rd. It is in Toronto and is a revival of Fucked Up Weekend that used to happen in the early 2000s.

Greg — not to start off with a hard question, but I think this needs to be addressed. At ABC No Rio we had shows every Saturday at 3pm for years (and for years, I mean decades!). Sometimes other bookers would book shows at 3pm nearby somewhere else in the Lower East Side. I always felt like that really took away from scene unity and effected our draw — it meant that we had to pay bands less and shows were less crowded. That said, A Varning from Montreal has been happening for almost a decade around the first weekend of November. Your fest is on its fourth year. I know you know about Varning occuring basically the same time frame (Canada — big country, small scene) so why then book your fest in November?

NDY base

Hard questions are good questions! I am absolutely well familiar with Varning. A band I am in has played it previously and I have always had fun going to see shows at Katacombes over the years. That said, to understand why Not Dead Yet is around the same time of year is to understand its history. Prior to Not Dead Yet, Fucked Up Weekend existed in Toronto. Those formed around an annual Fucked Up Halloween show that first happened in 2004. Anyways, from the first Fucked Up Halloween show, to the first weekend to the last one, I always really enjoyed the energy it brought to the city and the hardcore punk community here. Over time, after helping out a bunch, I eventually got involved with booking the bands for the last Fucked Up Weekend in 2009 — a year when DSB played both Fucked Up Weekend and Varning. In 2010, they decided to not do it anymore. In 2011, after deciding we missed having that event in 2010, Not Dead Yet began. So, strangely, it’s got a history that stretches back over ten years and really means a lot to us. We’re not stuck to one weekend in the fall either. This year we moved it back in November just to make sure FORWARD could play.

With all that said, over the past few years, there’s been a number of people who have visited both festivals from abroad, which I think is really, really cool. We love and support Varning and Katacombes and think that anyone that can attend, should! I’ll be in the UK this year for Static Shock Weekend, but am seriously bummed to be missing LOS MONJO!

I think Varning will be moved earlier in the year next year to make it more affordable for punks to go to both — most people can’t afford to take off work twice in one month. Why bring back this tradition of Toronto mid-fall fest again in 2011?
Essentially because 2010 sucked in Toronto without one!

Has Toronto had punk/hardcore fests in the past?
Yup, Toronto used to have a New Years Eve festivals in the 90s, then after that the Fucked Up Weekend festivals. While the NYE ones were a bit before my time, the Fucked Up Weekends were awesome.

NotDeadYet_1

How is the Toronto scene supportive of your fest?
Incredibly so. From all cross-sections of the scene, a lot of folks come out and support. When the festival is going on, we’ve got a ton of people helping out to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Do you have a lot of local bands playing?
There’s at least one local band playing every show. CAREER SUICIDE, HASSLER, ABSOLUT, VCR, HIRED GOONS, BLACK BARON, FARANG, WILD SIDE and more. Unfortunately, there are too many great local bands in the city these days — a lot who couldn’t play but who you’ll surely see next year: ANTI VIBES, TRIAGE, SPORE, TRUE. All are awesome!

How do you pay the bands coming from far away? Do you have to help with plane tickets for the bigger acts?
All of the bands get paid directly based on ticket sales. We also let them check out some shows free of cost. There are no sponsors whatsoever. In some cases, we absolutely need to help cover plane tickets. We do our best to make sure that the bands that are coming have little to no cost coming to play.

How early do you start planning for next years fest?
Truthfully, we’ve already started thinking about next year! It ends up taking a lot of planning and effort throughout the year to make it happen.

Do you flyer or do you just promote on the internet?
Flyers are mandatory. We do our best to cover the city even more than we usually do for shows year round. This year, we had our friends Ben and Tara at Gorilla Graphics, a punk-run printing company in Hamilton do lithograph prints of the poster this year and they turned out killer! We’ve also worked with artists locally and abroad to create unique flyers for each show. Flyering is the only way to expose new people to the fest and punk in general! Punk art is such an important part of the scene, it’d be a crime to not have any.

NotDeadYet_3

I agree. Do you feed bands and help them find places to stay?
We do our best to find bands places to stay. No one has been without a place, or ever will be! Food, with so many bands and so many shows, is a bit harder. We do work with local, vegan, punk-run businesses like Hot Beans and Through Being Cool to give bands and festival attendees a discount though.

Why do you feel fests are important? Do you think it contributes to international punk unity?
While I do think fests do contribute to international punk unity, most importantly I find Not Dead Yet gives younger kids in the scene a touchstone. It’s something that they can look forward to all year long. That’s easily the most important things to us. Toronto has a young, vibrant and diverse punk scene right now and we only want to make it better. It is a lot of fun to have friends from all over the world come together though!

That’s really cool when it seems like a long of punks are aging and scenes are getting older — I’m glad to hear Toronto has the youth! How many people do you think will come this year? What was the turnout like last year?
Honestly, it’s a very hard thing to predict. Last year, almost every show was over capacity. We hope we can replicate that this year. I think it’s safe to say hundreds of people travel from all over for it.

What can we expect this year?
A bunch of wicked hardcore and punk shows! Personally, I think FORWARD and MARKED MEN are gonna steal the show, but there is no shortage of wicked bands. I’m excited.

Do you have after-shows?
Yup — the after shows are some of the biggest and craziest shows of the festival. We’ve held them every year at a space called Soybomb, Toronto’s longest-running DIY spot. Jay is a remarkable human being, and the after-shows couldn’t be what they are without him and the rest of the folks at Soybomb.

How can we get tickets?
Folks can purchase tickets online at notdeadyet.bigcartel.com. If you’re in Toronto, you can scoop tickets at Rotate This, the record store with the best used selection in the city!

How can we best stay up to date?
All updates get posted at notdeadyettoronto.tumblr.com. Easiest way to get the info!

Any last words?
Support punk and support punks!



Create to Destroy! RVA’s Vinyl Conflict


October 29th, 2014 by

CreateToDestroyLogo

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!

VinylConflict3

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.

VinylConflict1

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).

VinylConflict2

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!