Who can you trust? Records is a very small independent record label from Germany. Owner gave an interview and we talked about artists, that are on his label. He released some really interesting stuff including Witch, Dzjenghis Khan, Cosmic Dead and the most recent one by La Otracina. Make sure to check it out!
Hi Christian how are you? Your label released some really interesting releases, but before we start talking about that, I would like to know how did it all happen? When and why did you decided to start your own label and what is the main concept behind it, since you are releasing mostly cassettes?
Hi Klemen - I’m doing fine, thanks a lot for your interest in my label activity.
I never really had the intend of starting a record label. If I remember right, it was in the autumn of 2009 when I met the guys of the San Francisco based band Dzjenghis Khan with whose drummer Jesse I was in contact with for quite some time before. After their show was done I thought that putting out a cassette by the Khan would fit their style perfectly and show people what it’s all about in this band. I asked the guys and they gladly agreed to send me an old live recording.
Setting up a label concentrating on raw live recordings and obscure sessions, that was the main idea. Some recordings wouldn’t have made it to a proper release anyway. Be it out of certain quality issues (soundwise) or just because the recordings have faded into obscurity and people did forget about them. The main focus was just raw unpolished purity. For myself it was clear that this purpose cant be enforced with every style of music and I clearly asked a certain number of bands for this project. For my surprise not one single band that I contacted turned down my request for being part of this which was fantastic very surprising as I didn’t have any backcatalogue or “names” to promote my label in any form, so i had to convince people of my idea that has been gladly shared by all of them.
The majority of releases are on cassette. Why is that so?
My first (and only) format of choice to realise what I wanted to do were cassettes, as with this format I wouldn’t have to face any issues, was the kind of music to put out or with the number of copies I want to put out. Furthermore I was able to put out whatever recording the bands sent me and wouldn’t have to do a high-end master or what ever is needed for a release of a “higher” grade.
Facing the nature of most of the forementioned recordings I released on cassette until now I didn’t have to sacrifice anything clearly audible as that is clearly not the point with the presented music, which is clear to me as it is to the musicians. I would also go further to say that we share the love of having a grainy recording on this analogue format with its warm sound.
This format in my eyes is a nice way of presentation and a way to underline a “special” recording that never was meant to be a hi-end recording in any case. With the presented music it’s all about energy and passion.
I'm not sure, but I think your first release happened back in March 2010. Over-Gain Optimal Death's Beheaded Aural Execution album limited to 150 copies on cassette. It's a great way to start the label with this heavy psych power trio from Pasadena, California…
Yeah! To be honest, that band was a total surprise and sort of a lucky find for myself. I was in contact with Shazzula of Aqua Nebula Oscillator (to that date she was still in the band) and she introduced me to OGOD in late 2009. They already had released a self-titled full-length CD on the guitar players own Assommer label and just recorded a live session on the KXLU radio station in Los Angeles in the summer of 2009. We quickly came to the decision that it has to be released on a proper format and after the artwork has been created it became WHO-01 in March of 2010. Having a label from abroad wasn’t a bad decision for the band anyway and I turned a lot of people onto this band which was great because so much people received it as something completely new and sort of an undiscovered musical territory which -in fact- it wasn’t. For followers of the Japanese psych rock and especially the 80’s and 90’s OGOD is some kind of the reincarnation of High Rise or bands like Mainliner and Musica Transonic. That blend of blown-out and in-the-red acid-rock hasn’t been touched by a lot of people from the western countries, which could be the reason for the surprising reactions I received for the cassette release as 99% of the buyers didn’t even know OGOD’s self-titled debut or haven’t even heard of the band before. That’s why I have to say that this (my first release) is the one that sold at the slowest pace of them all. This could be linked to the specific type of music or just the fact that they still haven’t gained the degree of recognition that they truly deserve in the psychedelic rock scene of today even though they did a full US tour as support for Acid Mothers Temple in 2010. Anyway, most of the people who bought a copy of that cassette told me how they were simply blown away by the pure energy these speed freaks break loose! This is a very special one and still on top of my favourite releases!
Many very interesting releases in „psych“ genre followed among them Witch, Dzjenghis Khan, GNOD, Titan, Sylvester Anfang II., White Hills, No Balls, The Cosmic Dead, Hot Lunch's 7“ and your latest is one sided LP by La Otracina. How do you choose your artists?
Well, I spoke to a couple of bands straight with the intend to release some special archival material on cassette, others were nice coincidences in one way or another that happened just out of the blue. I have an all over clear idea of what I want to put out and what not, so mostly I tend to ask the bands directly, but two or three releases actually followed promos I got sent, so I’m not as close-minded as it might seem when I say that I pick the most part of my bands all by myself.
What are some of your future plans? Since your latest release has been on vinyl, will you be releasing more on vinyl in the future?
I’m excited to tell you that I’m going to release Hot Lunch’s debut full-length vinyl this year! Prior to this there will be a 7-inch single as an album teaser with an exclusive track on the b-side, which is at the pressing plant right now. Also out this year will be two more 7-inches by Lecherous Gaze and Aqua Nebula Oscillator. – ANO will release their album number three on Tee Pee Records in June, so keep your eyes open for this!
Of course there will be new cassette releases by some awesome bands. To save this dying format in an accurate way is (and will) always be a part of my labels past, present and future.
My label activity is completely restricted to the free time that I have beside my daily work, so my usual execution time regarding my release schedule and label work is of course affected by this situation. Any furthermore plans will be revealed when it’s about time and rough release dates can be told.
Top want list for your label in the future?
Looking back, up to this point I have worked with some hands-down amazing and one of a kind bands with whose help I realised my ideas without any attempt to change anything or do differently afterwards. I wouldn’t trade some of the opportunities I had with anything else and don’t think I have the right to express any further wishes or wants right now. I guess that’s actually a good thing.
With the releases I’m currently working on I don’t really spend too much thoughts on new projects as with what I’m working on right now I easily have work for the next one and a half years. That doesn’t mean that I’m not constantly speaking with bands about future releases, but the past two years were sometimes kind of a rush with some projects so I started slowing down on the planning side with giving the release process a bit more air to breath.
Can we talk about your personal music taste and what are you currently into?
My field of musical interests is very ambitious. I’m listening to a lot of Jazz from the 50s until today – There’s really too much to name but always on top are the likes of Brötzmann, Dolphy, Coltrane, Max Roach, Alice Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and a lot of different Free Lazz. Sure, there’s a lot of great Krautrock that’s getting regular spins, but Can is my all time favourite band that emerged out of this broad field of very influential german bands. 80s and early 90s punk, post-punk and hardcore is getting extensive play on my turntable as much - or maybe even more often as I listen to rock music at times. On heavy rotation the last weeks were Howlin Rain, Kadavar, The Skull Defekts, Sylvester Anfang II, Lungfish, The Psychic Paramount, Dazzling Killmen, Klang, Fugazi, Miles Davis and a lot of Afro Funk and world music.
Thanks a lot for taking your time! Would you like to send a message to It's Psychedelic Baby readers?
Thanks to you, Klemen! - A pleasure to talk to you!
People interested in further information about Who Can You Trust? Records are welcome to visit my site: whocanyoutrustrec.wordpress.com
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2012
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