It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine

It's Psychedelic Baby is an independent music magazine. We are covering alternative, underground, non-commercial and non-mainstream artists in variety of shapes and genres. Exclusive interviews, reviews and articles. A place where musicians can express themselves. We serve an international readership.

World In Sound Records

World In Sound Records  (Germany)        

This is the first in a series of monthly articles intended to focus on the labels, an integral part in the world of music.  Suggestions and solicitations (for publication) are welcomed as are your comments.
Since 1999  World In Sound (WIS), located in Schwetzingen, Germany, has reissued vinyl and cds in the form of “valuable, rare and obscure cult recordings.”  The label’s focus in on “psychedelic, progressive, hard and heavy blues garage rock” with a stated goal to “form the band’s individual sound in an unfiltered, organic and dynamic way.”  This is accomplished thanks to World In Sound’s dedication and the skills of its incredible sound engineers.  In 2006 WIS began recording and promoting young, ambitious bands with these qualities to an international audience and thus fuse generations of musicians in building a bridge back to the “highly creative and rebellious period (1966 to 1978), a time when music was seen as a demanding form of expression when the musicians ran the music business, and not the producers.”  WIS finds its roots in the “revolutionary sounds of the late 60s, Summer of Love music and the era-defining festival of Woodstock in 1969.”
As referred to in the above paragraph, World In Sound (WIS) consists of two elements, Flashbacks From The Past, devoted to reissues of past gems and releases of previously unreleased albums alike and The Sound Of Today, focused entirely on new releases by contemporary artists.   Flashbacks works in close collaboration with the artist and reissues include not only the music but also historical background information about each band.  Along the way World In Sound has discovered numerous previously unreleased jewels from the 1966 to 1978 period.  Among these gems are Gold, a California (US) band from the late 1960s/early 1970s, featured on two WIS 1 LP+7”  (1CD) releases, “Mission Rock” and “Oregins:  SF 1970” with combined play times of nearly 2 and ½ hours, vastly expanding the band’s discography which had previously consisted of a lone 45 rpm released during the band’s tenure.   Reissues include “Still Looking” the sole LP by Indiana (US) heavy psychedelic rockers, Headstone.  The album is supplemented by six bonus tracks.  This is not to mention the LP/CD “Fred” project which has resulted in three titles being released, telling the intriguing musical saga (1971-1974) of a very talented band from Pennsylvania who never had an album released in the band’s lifetime.   Or the tale of Cleveland’s Dragonwyck, likewise told in three installments.  With releases like these, World In Sound has become an institution in the worldwide collector’s scene.  Other bands of the 60s and 70s on the World In Sound imprint include:  Cold Sun (US), Cosmic Dealer (NL), Mystic Siva (US) to name but a few. 

Then There’s The Sound of Today which completes the “raison d’etre” of World In Sound and works with contemporary bands whose works are “dramatic, vivid, creative, epic, melodic, courageous, experimental, individual, and intense” giving them access to an international audience that the bands would not normally be exposed to.  The global reach of the label is immediately evident.  “Buddha Sentenza” is the 2013 debut s/t LP of a German quintet.  Italian power trio Doctor Cyclops have two releases available from World In Sound.  The Doctor Cyclops albums, “Borgofondo” (2012) and “Oscuropasso” (2014)  the band’s second and third, are both highly recommended.  The band certainly fills the bill as a young, ambitious band and shares many of the characteristics of bands in the 1966-1978 period. 
Thus the musical bridge is built between the vintage rock of bands like Gold balanced by contemporary artists such as Buddha Sentenza.  Evidence, my son, Roman, is half my age, exactly.  In years that is.  When it comes to record labels he and I are usually (quite literally) worlds apart due to the nature of our interests and preferences.  There are few labels that we both follow closely.  World In Sound is one of those chosen few.  Cheers Wolf!
Follow this link to check out the latest news and all the incredible music available at World In Sound:
Article made by Kevin Rathert/2014
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Don Cherry -Brown Rice (1975) review

Don Cherry "Brown Rice" (EMI, 1975)

Don't let the name confuse you, Don Cherry isn't the Canadian hockey loud mouth with a taste for suites so gawdish that it can wreck your eyes from staring at for too long. No this is the avant garde jazz trumpeter Don Cherry. Lets take a little journey through many different ethnic influences on the record, like African tribal music? We got you covered! Like the music of India and various Arabic genres? We got that covered too! The title track includes some pretty scat inspired vocals mixed over some of the most freaky dubbed out free jazz I have heard. Perhaps a few too many hits of acid at a Sun Ra concert? Maybe he saw Miles Davis when he started using distortion on his trumpet? Only four tracks on this album, so its a quick listen but with it being so damn good I would expect multiple listens are in order! A must for fans of Sun Ra and modern contemporaries Forest Swords and Sun Araw. Grip This! Highly Recommended and I am very picky when it comes to jazz!

Review made by Matt Yablonski/2014
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Gunslingers interview with GR

Mat-Ant-GR (left to right, 2008)

Born of madness, the self-appointed guardians of chaos, Gunslingers are a band as comfortable in the mind-bending psychedelic noise, feedback and distortion that they create as they are in the supple rhythms of a tasty riff, lurching and exploding forward into an unknown darkness.  Noise rock is a pretty heavily growing genre right now, but there aren’t many people capable of rendering musical madness in the fashion that Gunslingers are.  For a decade or more GR and his rowdy band of massacre rock deviant inquisitors have been cooking up their sinister brew of distortion dosed noise and psychosis, undeniably catchy rhythms lurking like a Punji pit in the dense sounds of the distorted guitar twanging and crackling in the underbelly of a monstrous rhythm section comprised of drums that sound like a harras of horses on the loose, and a bass player who’s got the sonic skills to scramble your brain like an egg in a frying pan from the grooves of an LP.  Their latest, and possibly most unhinged and tasty, musical offering is 2013’s Massacre-Rock Deviant Inquisitors, a single-sided slab of sickness comprised of two tracks taking the listener further down the rabbit hole that their earlier albums, No More Invention and Manifest Zero both for the awesome World In Sound Records opened, Massacre-Rock Deviant Inquisitors proves that while it may have been a little while since we last heard from them, Gunslingers aren’t coming up short when it comes to showing that they still have a lot left to do and say.  Lead guitarist GR has been around on the killer French psych scene for a long while now and seems to be a lot of the brains, blood and brawn behind the Gunslingers and with several solo albums and other projects going on simultaneously, I am absolutely stoked that he was able to take time out of his extremely busy schedule to fill our lucky readers in on the details about Gunslingers balls-to-the-walls psychedelic sonic attack.  Beware dangerous riffs lurk ahead though, so watch your hands and feet, and enjoy the ride!  I present the massacre rock deviant inquisitors themselves, I give you Gunslingers…

Can you talk a little bit about how Gunslingers came to be?  How did you all meet and when was that?  What led to the formation of Gunslingers?

This was around 2003/2004 that we all met up. Though being firstly involved in our respective bands of that time, we then went on a more appropriately conducive level to “joining forces & conceiving together”.
Antoine, who came to be afterwards Gunslingers’ drummer, joined me on a band I had just founded… some agitated free-form only 4-piece indulged in frontal automatic execution; but it only lasted about one year— the band suffered from weird decimation as one member went pretty over the edge on his saxophone mouthpiece, being taken very-psychically-captive by self-mutilating dreadful feedback… and while another member opened a bar to relieve his wistful bladder.
So Antoine & I survived this and found ourselves in the position of founding a new band in 2005. We were thus firstly a guitar/voice, drums duo, started to work around some material I had previously primed for guitar solo and then made it evolve together for the purpose of the band.
I remember first show was offered to us whereas we only had 3 songs but which were more chiefly 3 improvised sessions around 3 infinitely extensive hysterico-saturnine themes; the concert turned to be a real catharsis exercise that led us to play twice the same set in a row, the second one being the re-improvised re-visitation of the first one though… so much so that nobody could identify that this was the same songs’ other hand, so was it all about “mise en abyme” that we had chosen the alias name of Vathek specially for the occasion (after William Beckford’s roman noir whose both of us were regular admirers, like all Great roman noir authors in general that we were massively reading: Maturin, M. G. Lewis, Brockden Brown, Walpole, Hoffmann etc etc).
Then Matthieu, with whom we also had figured about founding a new band all together, joined us as the bassist a couple of weeks later— that’s the way the path finally opened for Gunslingers’ lineup…

Who all is in Gunslingers?

Until now it’s been: GR (Guitar/vocals), Antoine Hadjioannou (Drums), Matthieu Canaguier (Bass).

What does the name Gunslingers mean or refer to?  Who came up with it and how did you go about choosing it?

Well it refers to nothing but what suddenly crossed my mind and which my tongue betrayed with the approval of everybody—, a classic name for an obscure outsider band reclaiming the content of “the classic”. We shot the so known generic content down and put ourselves as the new fuckin’ thing behind it…You will recall that the full name in its complete extension is Gunslingers (Massacre-Rock Deviant Inquisitors). Most people may half-name it for practical utility (myself included) and it’s fine but as large as the name is it should be meant to fit into aesthetics requirements.
M.R.D.I came to my mind as an extension (subliminal yet heavy) not too long after Gunslingers, and is pure surrealistic wit of a gesticulation; but it’s like a sign of sympathy and a recognition, yeah man, for the listeners’ taste when not abused by prejudice-mongers or STEREOtypes. Being the plaything of one’s own untamed feelings is much more honorable a thing.

NB: That’s too remarkable not to be mentioned that almost all distributors handling our records do mess up our full name with its extension; some even stipulated the issue was big enough since our band name couldn’t fit in the space allocated on their website… and well, I then naturally (& sarcastically!) suggested these guys to close their business. And if we got to appear on a flyer (for a show or whatever) we were very possibly told that the paper couldn’t expand to our complete legible name etc.
So to speak, I’ve now reached the point where I figure our name just means “that does not fit with”.

There’s a lot of things that I love about music but describing and labeling it.  How would you describe Gunslingers’ sound to our readers who might not have heard you before?

Melmoth’s laugh in extensible spatialization depending upon your more-or-less-critical situation. So they’ve got to know who is Melmoth.

Where did you grow up?  How would you describe the local music scene there?  Did it have much of an approach on you growing up?

I grew up in Grenoble, our metaphorical San Pedro Ville. For sure the local music scene certainly had an approach on my curiosity above all, having been a kid who unceasingly enjoyed going & seeing tons of concerts; and even after seeing a bad show always going to another one, like if you desperately expected that a miracle of taste would happen next; then the stock pile (& spirit) is known and your patience is tried as generations come & go (locals, eat your fucking babies!).— It’s made me well informed of the stuff I’ve had nothing to do with. Once moving beyond curiosity, you find absolutely no interest at all in the matter. Though mediocrity is a fine argument per se which largely enlightens he who recognizes it as such and does not desire it.  But the deal is freeing yourself of the things that are a headache to you and simultaneously building up your own musical taste & identity regardless of any geographical point; detours are often necessary in our quest.

Where are you located at these days?  Do you feel like Gunslingers was heavily impacted by the local music scene where you’re at now?  Do you think you could have done and been what you have and are anywhere or did the local scene play a large part in sculpting the sound and ideology of the band?

I actually still live in San Pedro Ville, Antoine & Matthieu moved to Paris. — Gunslingers has never been needed to feel concerned about the nauseous package the local scene has had to transfer (before & now and wherever we might live in France). Also, local promoters & venues feed the ones (99%) who best maintain their taste market’s hierarchies; a very tiny chance is given to the unexpected. Gunslingers played not much more than 3 gigs in France since 2008. So, what do you think?

How would you describe the local scene where you’re at?  Are you very involved in local music scene?  Do you book or attend a lot of shows?

I see, you want to know more about local stuff: FLATTERY FOR & BY VOLUNTARY IGNORANTS’ RESTRAINT IMAGINATION. Isn’t that good? 
I would willingly extend that description on a national scale, and specifically concerning everything associated with Rock music & its sub-genres in France. Besides, I’ve nevertheless thought before that I would try help some friends of mine involved in foreign bands to perform here, but I suppose time ran out on me more than I’ve suspected.

Can you talk a little bit about what Gunslingers’ songwriting process is like?  Does someone come to the rest of the band with a pretty finished idea or riff to compose and work out with the rest of you or is it more of a cohesive jam that you all distill into a song over a process of playing with the rest of the band?

Gunslingers is above all essentially a collective involved in exploration; improvisation has always been our chief thing, we’ve been improvising since we were kids; so we’ve found in improvisation an end in itself like from improvisation was also drawn lots of the substance for composition. There is no rule like absolute formula really, but each time an appropriate operating mode that best follows the suggestions of the imagination, or of just a sudden impulse. Songwriting starts from anywhere & nowhere, from anything to nothingness. — Then a running is automatically & intuitively suggested to the band by just keeping the least sound material explored more deeply, and the further it goes into exploration the higher it is for the mind which dares to venture. Our Massacre-Rock Deviant Inquisitors LP is total free-form and nothing was pre-worked before.
And on the other hand, a lot of the stuff we strictly composed wasn’t initiated by improvisation… and for sure a lot was worked out around the guitar whose parts were either built up separately on my side before or directly in the rehearsal space with & under everybody’s creative Eye. But I think we’ve also known the importance of focusing all together on one single instrument so we could find how to express our common intention, as far as we’ve never really considered each member like an isolated entity creating alone independently of the others. We could spend much time on conceiving together a sequence of notes for guitar or bass, one rhythm, on just expressing one tension or a feeling; we’ve never intended to mark off too much a central point in songwriting, and I believe this has given us more freedom in the expression, individually like as a whole.

Do you all enjoy recording?  I know most musicians can really appreciate the end result of all that recording, but getting into the studio and actually laying that stuff down…  It can be a real pain to say the least.  How is it for you all recording?

I’ll tell you what man, nothing can properly be called “ended” or “achieved” without the full acceptance of the whole you in relation with the object. And it obviously starts from ‘laying that shit down’. The studio stuff has to be set up by ME in most cases for there’s a great chance that nobody else will do it for US, but I’m not likely to dislike the first step towards “the Great what’s it”! Then, what I can say is Gunslingers’ music deals with lots of contradictory feelings, which is exhausting to experience only cause the involvement stimulus is absolutely high (while recording or not). All Gunslingers’ studio material was recorded live (with no audience), that means all of us playing all together in the same time, so I suppose we’ve always been directly concerning the pure performance. I consider a certain ecstatic pleasure as being always inherent to the performance very energy; thus, recording a performance (and if you’re not sucked by a recording process that dominates your creative energy) should always be equally ecstatic, — it’s capturing the climax of our own visceral & spiritual journey and giving the most consistent indication on the soul that it carries out through the ecstasy felt. No matter the number of times it has to be repeated before you can say “this is the one”; the good take is just the one that will appear to you as the highest combination of everything at the best time from the moment the record button was pushed. To me the supposed pain that might occur through repeated versions or interpretations (if several are needed), is more likely to be felt as an evolution through mere degrees of transportation, of elevation…until it reaches the highest and which is the achieved goal.

Let’s take some time to talk about your back catalog.  In 2008 you released your debut album No More Invention on the World InSound label.  What are your memories of recording that first album?  Was it a pleasurable, fun experience for you?  Where was it recorded at?  When was it recorded?  Who recorded them?  What kind of equipment was used?

No More Invention was recorded (& mixed) in 2007 at “Le Ciel” (“the Sky”) in San Pedro Ville and in 3 days. It was a phenomenally intense experience. Sebastien Norman is the guy (the coolest guy) who offered us to record it and he made it so brilliantly, he exactly captured the way we sounded like, proceeded with open instinct & radicalism, just like if the recorded stuff was our perfect sonic mirror. I think he also entered our psychology greatly, and with hindsight. He used an 8-track tape (VHS) recorder…you know magnetic tapes are clearly not to displease me…

Two years later in 2010 you followed up No More Invention with Manifesto Zero also on World In Sound.  Was the recording very similar to the recording of your earlier album?  When and where was it recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?

I myself recorded & mixed Manifesto Zero in November 2009. The recorder was different but the process the same, a live recording with no audience. We adjusted the sound recording so it could meet the requirements of the new music we were playing. The sound treatment must evolve with the music you play, as much as there is no certitude to guarantee you that what once worked will work the same in a different creation context. Moreover, it clearly wasn’t specially our aim to do a similar album to No More Invention, neither in the form nor in the sound. Every Gunslingers’ record is conceived as a stand-alone piece of work, and that’s what a few inconsistent grey heads haven’t understood with us, cause their expectations never go beyond what’s already known & experienced. Also, there was no way that we’d afford to pay for a studio since we were able to do it better by ourselves; and knowing the recording method we had in mind was perfectly attuned to our conception & aesthetics, and offered us many advantages: a great autonomy in recording it the way we wanted in our own rehearsal studio, for free and at all times of day & night, and in the very heart of the work in progress. Then we used my dusty analog 4-track tape recorder, a machine I’ve had been using massively since 1999 and which I used on all the albums I was involved into, that means everything if I except NMI.

How did you originally get hooked up with World In Sound?  How’s your relationship with them?  Do you plan to continue working with them for future releases or have you moved on at this point?

Around 2007 I was acquainted with the reissues ‘World In Sound’ was putting up and I enjoyed some a lot. I found particularly remarkable the fact that this label was chiefly running for obscurities from the 60s/70s; a very few albums from contemporary bands (and of less interest to my opinion) were released but this seemed to be more occasional, that means the label’s true aesthetics was lying much more in the reissues from the past. This was essentially the reason for me to send them NMI, whose title is addressed to a certain Time in question. I believe being a contemporary band does not exclusively mean living in your Time, a certain level of abstraction must be reached by the disobedience towards the codes of our current era so creation can be felt for what it is in itself. Being out of date is so much the newer to me. Wolf (Wolfgang Reuther), the brother behind W.I.S, phoned me (armed with his coZZmic German accent) to tell he was into doing it with us. He was the one who first brought Gunslingers to the world’s table— Our relationship is still good, but I can’t really say if some future releases will happen together…

Your latest effort is this years (2013) Massacre-Rock Deviant Inquisitors which is a single-sided 12”.  It’s a split release between Riot Season and Les Disques Blasphematoires Du Palatin Records.  Did you try anything new or radically different with the songwriting or recording of Massacre-Rock Deviant Inquisitors?  What can our readers expect from the new album?

Not at all, we didn’t try anything new nor different to us on Massacre-Rock Deviant Inquisitors. We rather made something usual in the way we approach music, and self-evident in Gunslingers’ gesture: the appeal of musical ad lib; we just may have radicalized it into instantaneous composition and total free-form action, and more than this... we recorded it. 
Concerning M.R.D.I, nothing was rehearsed before and we recorded it as it came to our mind for the first time, it’s raw material which knows no erasure, the contents and its shaping were instantaneous— I coined it “alchemical free-form”. On the record you get 2 versions (part 1 & 2), the second one is inspired by the first one and is as much a re-synthesis as an extension of it… so it’s chronologically second (and necessarily more pre-thought) but in part 2 you also get some contents that are totally unknown to part 1; both parts are deliberately complementary, as are the two fingers of the same hand…
Yes, it is a co-production between Riot Season (UK) & my label— we did our best to make sure that the core concept would succeed and this was precisely what happened, something wild that transpires no restriction.

Where was that material recorded?  When was it recorded and who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used for the recording of Massacre-Rock Deviant Inquisitors.  Is Massacre-Rock Deviant Inquisitors a limited release?  If so how many copies is it limited to?

I did record it, in my rehearsal space at ‘Le Ciel’ in San Pedro Ville, in March 2012. I used the same old analog 4-track tape recorder that was used on Manifesto Zero & all GR related stuff, and with dynamic microphones. This release is indeed limited to 500 copies and each of both labels getting the half of it. It’s a nice object, an opaque white acetate medium that you might mix up with your furnitures..

Can you tell us a little bit about Les Disques Blasphematoires Du Palatin Records?  When was LDBP started and what brought that about?  How are things going with the label?  Does LDBP release music from bands other than Gunslingers?

I founded Lesdisques Blasphematoires Du Palatin in 2006. The main idea was bringing as many as possible of self-sufficient means in order to release my own stuff (& all related stuff I’d be involved into) as I wanted, and operating on an non-profit association basis. Besides, I had no patience to wait for a label possibly interested in releasing my music and I didn’t want to depend on having to appeal to anybody by way of glorious self-promotion. I had afterwards a few fortunate opportunities for my music to be released on other labels though and I took it when it sounded consistent to me; with Gunslingers we were lucky enough to find in W.I.S some very reliable brothers who would release our first two albums with strong faith & quite promptly, and a common aesthetic interest.
But I think being able to do that stuff yourself gives you considerable stylistic (and logistic) freedom, also putting out limited short runs _which has been my case_ is an achievable goal.
It feels like I’ve been urging myself to urgently meet my necessary needs in setting up a micro-structure that would walk synchronized enough with the recorded material; I’ve never excluded the possibility of releasing other artists but I’ve barely been able to run just my own stuff alone without difficulty up to now. The Great novelty to me is the appearance of Gunslingers on my label (with the record M.R.D.I) just recently.

I released GR’s first two LPs (Xperiments from within the tentacular in 2007, GR & full-blown expansion in 2008), “The high speed recording complex” first issue (an album the wonderful Michael Yonkers & I recorded in 2007), Paralytic FluXus (a duo including Gunslingers’ bass player & myself on drums, 2006), and lastly Gunslingers’ Massacre-Rock Deviant Inquisitors EP in collaboration with Riot Season (2013).

Does Gunslingers plan to continue releasing music through Les Disques Blasphematoires Du Palatin Records in the future or are you looking to work with other labels as well?

I shall certainly do my utmost to get this out on LDBDP.

Does Gunslingers have any music that we haven’t talked about?

We sure do.

With the release of Massacre-Rock Deviant Inquisitors not long ago are there any plans for any other releases coming up anytime soon or on the horizon?

There is more material that we already recorded; the tapes lie in a preferred place of my home and some highlighted halo of hope penetrates my gaze each time I happen to get close to it…

With these completely insane recent international postage rate increases where’s the best place for our U.S. readers to pick up copies of your albums?  More and more these days we’re exposed to great international music but with the recent international shipping price a lot of international releases feel like a carrot on a stick for me as I just can’t afford the shipping on a single LP these days…

Well firstly…about your last remark (“I just can’t afford the shipping on a single LP these days”): how could you find a full length more affordable? — I suppose when you purchase a record you aim for the quality of the music it contains in the first place, not for quantity. Obviously it is then no less enviable to pay for a shorter record (of the same weigh & price as an ordinary full LP) if you think the music is absolutely your taste; 1 minute of music can bliss & blow your mind like no record of 45 minutes could do— it’s a matter of fucking elevation. Duration should neither be a defect nor a plus, but just a mere necessity of time that suits a pure stylish proclamation the best. Next, we see lots of aesthetical mistakes happening around— ‘Too short’ a record does not exist to me as a substantial defect cause it would mean the music is probably too good to the listener who wants more of the same stuff. Otherwise he would more possibly describe it as “fortunately that fucking horrible record is already over!” or “god, it’s perfect it’s over as I needed to take the tangent!” ; whereas ‘Too long’ a record means the music (or part of it) is more than likely boring, which in this case is an aesthetical mistake.
If a bad-&-equally-too-long record weighed less it would make more sense to me since that shit could be shipped at a more affordable price and in proportion of its surfeit of mediocrity. But essentially, if international shipping is ridiculously too expensive nowadays (which is absolutely true & insane) I don’t think it comes from the record duration.
In our case, Massacre-Rock Deviant Inquisitors is not a ‘single’, but a  2-track album...which is fundamentally different. ‘Single’, in a certain use of the term and concerning certain concept, can sound as very simplistic a titling inherited from the mercantilisation & commoditisation of aesthetics. It’s important that people primarily focus on the concept emitted by the band.
…BUT… Your admirable readers in US can sure find our record(s) from our Brothers at Permanent Records (Chicago or LA) or AquariusRecords (SF)…or maybe even at our friend Grady’s Record Refugee (Ventura CA)…

What about our international and overseas readers?

They might consider the band’s very house LDBDP.

Where’s the best place to keep up on the latest Gunslingers’ news?

Me, as far as I’m concerned. Then the pixelized version:

Can you talk a little bit about the philosophy or guiding idea behind Gunslingers? 

“Gunslingers” offers no reason. Being appropriately transported to the whole us’ best place is all we can aspire to. — We’re not necessarily meant to intelligibly mean as far as our audience consists not exclusively in humans but more widely in the Cosmos; our language is expressive motion, our path its primitive conveyor and suffers no mere hyperbole. I leave those who want the pastime to feast upon semantics. And also… Have enough to do with musical cabals without needing them for entertainment. Always make the least impression on the common daub enjoyers.

I know that you are the most involved member of the band when it comes to mixing and recording so I’m interested to hear what your thoughts on Gunslingers would be?  The music at times sounds very chaotic but if you listen carefully there are patterns and hooks that emerge from the din.  How do you go about creating and crafting those sounds when it comes to recording and mixing?

During a recording session, we approach our music exactly in the same way as we usually do… we’ve always been giving all privilege to the performance itself; that means the recording process does not interfere with the very way our music is built up—, we attach great importance to deconstruction on sound & form and this all arises directly from our playing. 
The material is captured through a very minimal setup process consisting in an analog 4-track tape recorder. When mixing that captured material, you know I just take care of merging the instruments into one another (just like a painter would harmonize substance & form, ‘chiaroscuro’ etc) and with more or less magnification… it is like drawing a clear line on the aesthetic of the wished sound, and that’s enough to drain seven thunders’ brains including mine!

I happened for a very few songs (from both our previous albums) to afterwards create some subliminal sonic ornaments that I added by way of post-produced analog tapes manipulations (like reversed tapes, treatment on sound speed & height), but this represents something pretty minimal and, like I said, ornamental.

I know you release solo material.  You’ve got four albums out at least that I know of. Who plays with you on those solo albums or does it alternate between albums? Can you talk about what this work is all about?

On my solo albums there is only me alone playing, or me & I… should I say. It’s been one of my key preoccupations for years to record myself playing successively all instruments (and on each of my solo albums up to now); I’m not inclined to refrain from such solitary musings, I will have been the one who conceived the integrality of his solo recordings that way… and I just keep going like a dissident in the operating mode. 
Be it as it may, the notion of ‘band’ as mere assembly-of-persons-playing-together experiences kind of a shock in its basis… but the notion of ‘individual’ as well since I object _through action_ to seeing it as confined-to-himself-and-restricted. I’m precisely more after the things that could seem like locked away from the individual’s capacity, I want to explore some landscapes unknown to the simplistic representation of the workability; the vision of music only matters. And paradoxically, even a group could barely reproduce or cover just the half of all the material I recorded alone. Several persons in the same band would develop a collective instinct of the ‘entente’ (although the collective would have to face each of its member’s respective singularity & difference), when in my case instinct & intuition, and upon which depends an essential part of what makes that music what it is, are exclusively drawn from just one man, and increased tenfold and redistributed to each instrument. These are too intangible things to imitation, too spontaneously personal to be palpable by the collective ‘entente’. I wouldn’t dare even playing some of that stuff again myself. Being into it is like moving through the troubled waters between the conscious & unconscious. Pure action often surpasses all preconceived expectations, for when spontaneous it is loaded with a dose of the unpredictable which is in the moment.
GR’s music is literally experimental & contemplative, built on the transmission from sudden vision to sudden action (uncontrolled accidents included), and using even the most fastidious (yet necessary) means to materialize it onto some recordable surface. It now feels like the more I record that way, the more it gets titanic a task to achieve. Perhaps my demands are getting higher.
Now in place of several persons playing together, the individual serves all the operations but can only do it in the chronological succession, exploring all instruments separately and getting them all to collide progressively up to the ultimate one. The genesis & mode of generation of such material engage differently with Time—, when I play & record an instrument, I endeavour to do it with the spontaneous vision of the one that’s to come next. To be mentioned that each instrument assigned to a track (I use a 4-track recorder) is played on the entire duration of the music piece and in one blow (no trick no montage no overdubbing). 
My method is quite simple. For example, 3 instruments (Guitar-Bass-Drums). I get to play the Drums and while playing it I hear the potential Bass in my head that’s to come next; and likewise, when my mind hears the Guitar while playing the Bass upon the captured Drums, I finally know it’s the whole band right inside me and ejected from me that’s to be heard next while I’ll be playing the Guitar.

You released the face melting A Reverse Age last year on Mexican Summer limited to 750 hand-numbered copies.  Do you have any upcoming releases planned or in the works at this point?

Yes sir, I plan to record new material soon this year…

Do you have a preferred medium of release for your music?  With all of the various mediums that are available to musicians these days I’m always curious to hear why they choose the specific methods that they do, and why.  If so why?

I do, absolutely— no doubt vinyl (lacquer-cutting process / acetate, to be precise) is my preferred medium. The way the recording grooves are cut is totally far out! I’ve figured vinyl, and according to this process, is the most suitable for rendering the sounds captured with my analog 4-track tape recorder, the sound amplitude & spectra is precise & powerful & colorful and run through your speakers like a fuckin’ untamed Beast. If you try to compare it with a cd of the same music, it’s another world, almost another album…lots of frequencies which contribute to the analog sound dynamics get lost in a cd…

I grew up around a fairly large collection of music and I loved randomly grabbing something off of the shelf, staring at the artwork, reading the liner notes and being transported to some far off distant place.  Having something to hold and look at, read and feel, while I was listening to the music made for a much more complete listening experience and offered a rare, albeit brief, glimpse inside the mind of the artists that made it.  Can you talk about your connection, if there is one, with physically released music?

Holding a physical format into one’s hands (and more specifically a vinyl) draws us entirely to the artist & his music, our curiosity gets higher as the cover fascinates or intrigues us, there’s but a small step to connect with the sound and we just have to remove the record from its sleeve we know this… but no way time hasn’t come yet we still need to touch the paper and drink its ink one more time and enter each of its pores properly before, our Eye is wild & rabid it wants to hear visually first, we prolong the excitement for it’s too good & sexy and getting more & more sweaty we delay the liberation time again and then we might start the same experience again while listening to it even yeah man I know what you mean…by physically…

Do you have a music collection at all?

In fact not really… it’s rather the music collection that has me! The more it collects me the more it hears me…
I’ve never had the spirit of the big fat collector to be honest. Though there are a lot of records that would certainly make my day(s) to get, still the ones I own are exactly my taste, without unnecessary overstock. We can collect ad infinitum, but taste evolving forms itself through time & knowledge and cannot be traded. I suppose an essential record must be tasteful to you over time and pass the test of all revolutions. I have a comfortable amount of records that are essential to me.

Thanks so much for taking the time to finish this, I know it wasn’t short and it can’t have been “fun” but I hope it was at least entertaining to look back on the history of the band like this.  Is there anything at all that I missed or that you’d just like to take this opportunity to talk about?

Thanks to you for your interest in our band. I hope I was useful.… Man, have you ever heard about the black dwarf man?...

(2006)  Paralytic FluXus – Paralytic FluXus – CD-R – Lesdisques Blasphématoires Du Palatin 
(2007)  GR – Xperiments From Within The Tentacular – CDR, 12” – Lesdisques Blasphématoires Du Palatin Records 
(2007/2010)  Michael Yonkers & GR – The High Speed Recording Complex – CD-R, 12” – Burka For Everybody/Lesdisques Blasphématoires Du Palatin Records
(2008/2009)  GR – GR & Full-Blown Expansion – CD, 12” – World In Sound/Lesdisques Blasphématoires Du Palatin Records
(2012)  GR – A Reverse Age – 12” – Mexican Summer Records 
(2008)  Gunslingers – No More Invention – CD, 12” – World In Sound Records 
(2010)  Gunslingers – Manifesto Zero – CD, 12” – World In Sound Records 
(2013)  Gunslingers – Massacre-Rock Deviant Inquisitors – 12” – Lesdisques Blasphématoires Du Palatin/Riot Season Records

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
© Copyright

Trappist Afterland interview with Adam Cole

Trappist Afterland is a psychedelic folk band from Melbourne, which consists of Adam Cole (vocals, acoustic guitar, bohdran, bells, dulcitar, lute, oud, tanpura), Phil Coyle (tablas, frame drums, vocals and percussion) and Nicholas Albanis (hammered dulcimer, Appalachian Dulcimer, bowed psaltery) with addition of many other guest musicians such as Andrew Whalley (guitar, loops, melodica, glockenspiel, dulcitar and harmonium), HakGwai Lau (Er-Hu, vocals, Chinese lute, Chinese flute), Brett Poliness (harmonium, vocals) and Adam Casey (guitar, hurdy gurdy, voices, percussion, loops). As can be seen here we have various of musicians, that really are using a lot of traditional instruments brought from different cultures, that end up in a mesmerizing mixture of esoteric psychedelia. You won't find a lot of bands that use such a variety of instruments and sound not too messy. Trappist Afterland influences came from groups like "Comus" and "In Gowan Ring". The most attractive theme is their ritualistic, tribal approach of performing, which adds a special appeal and those interested in esoteric literature and music will truly find something to think about. We will talk to the band about their concept behind music and how did it all started out of Melbourne, where the band is currently held.

Trappist Afterland formed around 2010. What can you tell us about the first formation and how did you got an idea to start this kind of psychedelic folk band?

I started Trappist originally with Adam Casey who I had known for years through Adam's other musical project "The Boy Who Spoke Clouds".I was looking to find another guitarist in the style of Fahey , Basho and Sandy Bull and Adam fitted the bill perfectly.
I had always really loved the first wave of '70s acid folk and was especially interested in the "Trees" community album The Christ Tree and the "Can Am des Puig" album Book of Am. So with those albums in mind  Adam and I went to his parents house on the coast in Portarlington and Recorded The Round Dance of the Cross.

The sessions for that album were great! Adam and I were getting to know each other musically and personally and the music came out very easily. I wrote the songs and Adam recorded and produced them whilst drinking copious amounts of Trappist ale.

Were you part of any other musical project before forming Trappist Afterland? 

Before forming TA I had played in quite a few bands starting with indie shoegaze folk band "Arrosa" from 96-98, "Kali" from 98-2000, "The Pollen Choir" 2000-2006 and "Happily ever Afterland Band" with my best mate Neil Sweeney who now lives in Baltimore NY.
Trappist was essentially an off shoot of "Happily ever Afterland Band". Neil and I started HEALB because of a mutual love for krautrock, Current 93 and  and early acid folk. Unfortunately Neil moved back to the states and hence the forming of Trappist.

You don't play music that attracts big audience, but still how do you see the urban scene in your city?

The Melbourne scene has a great history of garage rock and post punk stemming from the early '80s with the "Boys Next Door", "Crime And The City Solution" etc. to the late '90s when the "Dirty Three" got massive.
There are many great places to play in Melbourne although unfortunately for us not a lot of bands play the kind of music we do, so putting together lineups can be difficult.
We are hoping to play more folk festivals this year, but we still play pubs and clubs when we can. There are a lot of new psych bands popping up around Melbourne, so it has been good playing with those bands.

You have currently four albums released digitally and some got limited CD release and now I would like to go through each of them and talk about the concept and the lyrical meaning behind your music (albums) and you can also comment the recording and producing process of each one. The first one you titled "The Round Dance Of The Cross" and it was released in 2011.

The Round Dance of The Cross was essentially a collaboration between Adam and I. The lyrics were largely influenced by the gnostic gospels and I think it was the first album I had recorded that put a lot of my beliefs more to the forefront. Adam and I often joked that the record and its process felt like an exorcism of sorts hidden behind excessive amounts of drinking.
Although the themes are of a very serious nature, the actual recording process was so much fun. Both Adam and I realised that we could pretty much try anything and experiment in such a way that we'd never been able to before in our other projects. I think we really enjoyed embracing the absurd on this and our second album Burrowing to Light. Both albums were incredibly fun and hilarious sessions to be a part of.

You dedicated your second album "Burrowing To Light In The Land Of Nod" to Steven Begovic?

Steven was a local Melbourne musician and a close friend of mine who developed a very rare case of multiple sclerosis. So in some ways Burrowing to Light was a bit of a concept record about Steve's battles with his condition. Steve passed away shortly before we finished the album so unfortunately I never got to play it for him. Soon some friends of mine and Steve's brother will be putting on an art exhibition of Steve's paintings with local bands from Steve's past playing. Steve was an extremely talented painter and musician and a fantastic guy.

Summer of 2013 brought to us another album digitally released by The Active Listener. "Like a Beehive,The Hill was Alive" is in my opinion your most well crafted work. What was the concept behind it?

Like a Beehive was the first Trappist album I did on my own. Adam had left the band and so I got writing and recorded pretty quickly after Adam's departure.
I recorded the album at another friend of mines studio with the help of a couple of friends, some of which are currently in the band now.
Phil Coyle (tabla), Brett Poliness (organ) and a busker from Hong Kong Hakgwai Lau who I met busking with the traditional Chinese Er-Hu (which is essentially a 2 stringed violin) played on this album. We were all very happy with how the album turned out and it will be soon getting a vinyl release through a UK based label "Sunstone Records". Nathan from The Active Listener has done a great job with the digital release, so we owe a lot to him.
As for the concept of the album it is again very heavily influenced by the gnostic gospels and new testament. Although the songs themselves are pretty esoteric in nature.

Your latest "The Five Wounds Of Francis Minor" was released in late fall.

The Five Wounds of Francis Minor was the last album I recorded and it was completely done all on 4 track in my studio at home. Again the album is essentially a concept album looking at Francis of Assisi and occultist and Astrologer John Dee.
The idea was basically a comparison between two very devout christian's who chose two very different paths in their lives. John Dee dabbled very heavily in the occult and went to great lengths in order to satisfy his obsession with gaining esoteric knowledge in the spiritual realm. There is an amazing documentary about John Dee which goes right into his life and his writings are quite fascinating. I became quite obsessed with his story and works during the recording and in some ways to my own detriment. As compelling as his story is I would never recommend anybody to get too involved in it, especially enochian magic which he founded through his scrying with the supposed Archangels.
Francis's story on the other hand is just as compelling and a far more healthy and safe approach to connecting to such things, in my opinion anyway.

Your cover artworks are very well made and gave me an impression that it means a lot to you?

I have always loved the paintings of Peter Breughel and Bosch ever since seeing those ESP "Pearls Before Swine" albums. So I guess the art is kind of our take on that. Beehive and Burrowing were done by a local Melbourne artist who is doing quite well now. Unfortunately for me so well that I can't afford to hire him anymore for the new album haha.
Most of the images that Tim painted were either dreams I'd had or just ideas that matched the themes on the albums. But he is a great artist and it's been amazing being able to see the ideas come to life so well on paper.

Can we talk about your influences? What are some less known bands, that had a great impact on your music besides the most obvious ones?

Our influences do vary greatly from band member to band member, but speaking for myself I would say that early '70s prog, psych and folk have been quite major, also a lot of free jazz such as Ayler and more recently classical music or ancient medieval music has been on the turntable, especially Thomas Binkley and his Studio der Fruhen Musick project. Earlier on I guess bands like Sebadoh, Wire, This Heat and Big Black had a big effect on me. As far as contemporary stuff goes I particularly like "Moongazing Hare" from Denmark, "Kathleen Yearwood" from Canada and a lot of the "Hand Eye Records releases. But the list could go on and on.

What are some future plans for you?

As for future plans we are planning on playing some shows in Europe and the UK in September 2015. We have also nearly finished a new album which I'm very excited  about. The new record is much more of a band approach again. Phil Coyle plays frame drum on this release and he will also be doing a lot of singing and chanting with me this time around. Also we have a new member Nick from Oz band "Dandelion Wine" playing dulcimer, hammered dulcimer and bowed psaltery as well as Naomi also from "Dandelion Wine" playing flute. The whole album has been recorded on analog 2 inch tape and it is sounding great courtesy of our engineer and buddy Anthony Cornish. And as I said before Beehive will be getting a vinyl release in the UK September this year. So there are lots of things to look forward to.

Do you have collection? What's your opinion on the return of wax?

As for wax I am a vinyl tragic and vinyl in my opinion is the only way to go especially when you're talking about returns and maintaining value for your collection. And lets face it... nothing sounds better than a nicely pressed record.

Thank you very much for taking your time. Before we say goodbye just one more question. What's the story behind your band's name?

As for the name it was a bit of a joke concerning a heavenly place drinking monk ale for eternity. And also a connection to my earlier band "Happily ever Afterland Band".

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2014
© Copyright

Pre-Rock Records interview with Jim Ginther

Canada’s long since been the home to some of the world’s greatest garage and psych music but unfortunately outside of the great frozen North, we don’t always hear a lot about those killer juggernauts lurking in the frozen lands just the other side of Detroit; enter Shooting Guns (interview here).  Last year I talked to Shooting Guns, being one of Canada’s foremost instrumental, psych, doom groups, about their latest album Brotherhood Of The Ram and what they were going to be up to in the future.  At the time they eluded to some new material and the like, but I hear that all the time.  Little did I know that they were planning on starting their own label to facilitate the distribution of the aforementioned album inside of their wintery homeland, or that it would be months before I caught onto the shtick.  Pre-Rock Records popped up on my radar for the first time when I managed to snag a copy of the limited edition two-on-one cassette of Born To Deal In Magic/Brotherhood Of The Ram, their logo appearing alone on the j-card.  I did a little looking, didn’t see anything about Pre-Rock and just kind of wrote it off for the time being.  Flash forward a few months, in the midst of my Facebook band stalking I came across what appeared to be an absolutely killer compilation of Canadian psych and garage rock, House Of Burners released by one Pre-Rock Records.  This time, after a little digging I found that the masterminds behind some of the greatest instrumental psychedelia that I’ve ever heard were starting their own brand new record label!  Their first official release is the insanely killer compilation House Of Burners which features tracks from not only several of my absolutely favorite Canadian bands, but about half a dozen I like so much that I’ve tracked them down and interviewed them for the magazine.  The minute that I found out about Pre-Rock I dropped one of the founders, Jim Ginther, a line in hopes of finding out what was up with the fledgling label and before long I ended up doing this showcase on the label.  There’s some really interesting stuff brewing for Shooting Guns and their new label, and if you’re intrigued by any of what I’ve just written you are going to want to read on because there are big, big things happening in the Shooting Guns camp.  And as we all know, anything that leads to more amazing mind pummeling psychedelic sludge rock can’t be a bad thing!
Listen while you read: 

Where are you originally from?  What was the local music scene like there when you were growing up? 

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.  Growing up, the biggest band to come from here in the 80’s was The Northern Pikes (“She Ain’t Pretty She Just Looks That Way”) and then Wide Mouth Mason in the 90’s.

Did that scene play a large part in forming your musical tastes or in the kind of music that you like to listen to and or release?

No! When we started playing in bands around town, the most visible scene was guitar-prodigy blues rock.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s not what we were into doing.

© Suzanne Friesen

Were you very involved in the local scene when you were younger at all, like booking shows or helping to record or release anything?

There were so many bands going hard making some really interesting music, but very few bands were recording it and seemed like even fewer were touring.  These cool projects would exist, play some amazing local shows, and then disappear forever.  It was cool to be there for the shows but also bothersome that very few local bands making interesting music were getting their due.  The only impressions people had of Saskatoon were these blues rock stereotypes even though so much cool stuff was happening.  I think it was in 2002 that we got a group of thirty musicians together and started talking about starting a collective with a studio so that we could start document things happening in the scene.  Steve Reed,  who plays synth in Shooting Guns, and I set up a studio, taught ourselves sound engineering on the fly, and put out a 3-disc comp of bands from the prairies, complete with hand stitched fun fur album covers.  Steve recorded a lot of very cool records over the next ten years, including the Switching Yard track on this comp.

When did you decide that you wanted to start releasing music and what brought that decision about for you?

I’m not sure if this is only true for out here but generally, if you want to have fun, you’ve got to make it yourself.  Music was our outlet for fun and releasing material seemed like a natural progression.

Where does Pre-Rock Records operate out of?


Is there any sort of creed, code, ideal or mantra that Pre-Rock subscribes to or runs the label by?

Small bites, chew thoroughly, chase it down with Pilsner, repeat.

What does the name Pre-Rock Records mean or refer to?  Who came up with the name and how did you go about choosing it?

The name Pre-Rock, like most of our song titles, came from our very own Chris Laramee (guitar, synth) who has a much better way with words than I do.  We play Neanderthal rock, so it’s a reference to the primordial nature of our sound.

I know Pre-Rock Records started last year (2013) as the copy of the Brotherhood Of The Ram/Born To Deal Magic two-fer cassette tape was on Pre-Rock, but I hadn’t heard any mention of the label before that.  When and how did Pre-Rock get started exactly?  What exactly led to the formation of Pre-Rock Records?  If I’ve heard right Pre-Rock was started as kind of an offshoot from the need to distribute second Shooting Guns’ second album, Brotherhood Of The Ram in 2013 or something along those lines...

We were driving home from a show in Edmonton last August discussing how we wanted to distribute Brotherhood of the Ram in Canada.  It was pretty clear that if we were going to get it in record stores, we’d have to do it ourselves.  So, we figured it was time to put a name on something that we were already doing.

Is Pre-Rock being run entirely by Shooting Guns members or is anyone else involved and is everyone from Shooting Guns involved with Pre-Rock, or are there just a couple of you that are handling the label at this point?

It’s just us.  I take care of a lot of the logistical stuff, but we make all decisions and plan as a group.

Did you start Pre-Rock Records with any certain plans in mind, or any kind of particular game-plan that you’re looking to accomplish in the coming year or two?

Other than putting this comp out, we’re going to focus on releasing more Shooting Guns stuff.  We’ve got a lot of new material and are excited to release it on a bunch of formats.  I’d also really like to release House Of Burners on double gatefold vinyl if there’s demand, but we released the CD for now to get it out there and see what people think of it.

Pre-Rock Records’ dropped your first official release under the label banner PRR001 the House Of Burners compilation, which features a ton of absolutely killer Canadian psych and garage rock.  How did the compilation come about and how did you go about choosing who was going to be on there?  What all went into the release of House Of Burners?  Was this first release a fun, pleasurable experience for you?

We’ve had this funny idea of a fictional retirement home for psych bands called House of Burners whose residents would be bands that we’ve played with over the years.  We had this idea on the road years ago and even talked about releasing a comp, but that’s where it stayed until we established Pre-Rock.  Once we had the label, it seemed like the perfect time to go ahead with it.  We started reaching out to all the bands we’ve played with since 2009 and were pretty amazed by the enthusiastic response we got.

Is Pre-Rock going to be mainly focusing on releasing Shooting Guns’ material at this point or are there plans to continue to release material from other likeminded Canadian bands?

The focus is Shooting Guns for now, but we’ll never turn down a good idea.  We’ve been tossing around the idea of split 10” with Hawkeyes who are also on House Of Burners in the fall.  We’re taking things one project at a time, so it’s exciting to see where this little project will go.

You just released the House Of Burners compilation at the beginning of this month (April 2014) and I had no idea about it until a few weeks prior to its release as you all are extremely good at playing your cards close to your chest.  Do you all have any other releases planned or in the works at this point that you’d be willing to share or talk about?  Do you have a bunch of stuff lined up so far or are you just kind of going to play it by ear?

We’ve actually got a really exciting project on the go right now that we’re pretty pumped about…  Scoring a film!  We were approached by the creators of WolfCop, an independent police/horror/thriller that was entirely created, directed, and filmed in Saskatchewan.  The film won a national contest put on by CineCoup and in addition to funding the production of the film, it’s got a theatrical release set across Canada at Cineplex Odeon theatres, with possible US release as well.  A nice spinoff of now having this studio is that we’ve also been spending the spring recording a ton of new material, so we should have another album in the works sooner than later.

How did the idea of doing a soundtrack originally come up?  I've actually thought you all would do a really great job listening to Brotherhood Of The Ram especially.  How did you originally get involved with WolfCop?

Being an instrumental band, we’ve always wanted to score film.  So when the executive producer approached us, we jumped at the chance, setting up a studio on the fly and putting in eight hour days to figure out how to pull this beast off.  They’ve been great to work with and have given us artistic license to pretty much do whatever we want.  We brought the amazing Toby Bond, who’s an accomplished composer in his own right that I’ve had the pleasure of touring with in previous bands, to help us with scoring and he deserves a lot of credit for how this sounds.  We recorded everything ourselves and got local mixing engineer S.J. Kardash to get the gritty sound we were going for.

Who's releasing WolfCop and when is the soundtrack supposed to be coming out?  Will that be before or after the film's released?  Was the material for the WolfCop soundtrack written and recorded specifically for the film, or had some of the material been around for a while and fit the film well?  How much new music from Shooting Guns is there?  Is it enough for a full-length or is it more along the lines of an EP?

I’m not totally sure when the soundtrack will be released but I can tell you than when it does, it’s coming out on vinyl.  We’ll be using John McBain, who mastered House of Burners and Brotherhood of the Ram as well, to master it nice and loud.  One hundred percent of the material on this soundtrack was written for the film and we wrote enough to cover the entire eighty-plus minutes of the movie, so we’ll actually have to be pretty choosy about what makes it onto the soundtrack album.  One thing that I’m really proud of is that we’re responsible for getting Lawrence Gowan (“Moonlight Desires”, “Strange Animal”) on board.  I’m not sure if he registers in the US, but he’s a living legend here in Canada.  Toby worked out a heart melting cover of “Moonlight Desires” and we recorded a version for Gowan to approve.  It’s pretty cool to know he’s going to hear a doomy version of a track we all grew up on.

Obviously you all have just started and have only released one CD at this point, so I don’t know how much would be speculation on your end to answer, but you seem to be extremely well versed in revealing only what you know to be true and not given to wild flights of fancy and shooting your mouth off about stuff that’ll never happen, which unfortunately has become a problem with all of the small, indie boutique labels out there.  Do you plan to continue to release stuff on CD or are you all going to make a play at the vinyl market which is booming right now with your upcoming releases?  Speaking of booming popularity, boomboxes are popping up again and again as well and I know Shooting Guns has a cassette release which actually bore the Pre-Rock Records label name.  Are there going to be any cassettes on Pre-Rock in the future?

Thanks for making it sound like we’ve got our shit together!  Cassettes will be playing a very large part of future Pre-Rock Records releases, as will vinyl.  We released House Of Burners on CD as it’s a good, inexpensive format for compilations, but I don’t think we’ll make releasing individual albums on CD a priority.  I’d rather have the downloads available for free, or very cheap, to get it out there and make tapes/vinyl available for the collectors.

With all of the methods at people’s disposal these days I’m always curious why they choose and prefer the various methods that they do.  Do you have a preferred medium of releasing music?  If so can you tell us a little bit about why?

We’re all vinyl collectors so that’s a pretty easy answer!  If you take the average music listener, myself included, I’d sooner just download a band’s discography than buy the CD unless I wanted to make a point of directly supporting the band.  While CDs still make sense for promotional releases, they’re a dying medium since so many people just want the digital file.  That said, as a vinyl collector, I’ll definitely buy the album on vinyl regardless of whether I’ve already downloaded it.

I grew up around my dad’s massive collection of psych and blues and I was really encouraged to dig in and enjoy it.  There was something about yanking something off the shelf, sticking it in the player, kicking back in the beanie bag with a set of headphones, reading the liner notes and zoning out staring at the cover artwork.  There was a magic to having something to have and hold in my hands and physically experience along with the music, so I really appreciate people who release music such as yourselves.  Do you have any connection with physically released music and if so, what is that and did that play any role in your wishes to start a label of your own?

Absolutely.  I love unique packaging and the way the music industry seems to work now, you’re paying for format, not the music.

As much as I love my music collection and it’s precious to me, digital music has proven to be a real game changed.  Besides the fact that it allows me to really take my collection on the go with me for the first time, the really amazing thing has been its combination with the internet.  Together they’ve exposed people to an entire universe of music that they never would have heard of otherwise, not to mention keeping tabs on things and keeping up with everything that a label or artist are doing.  It’s allowed an unparalleled amount of communication and interaction between fans and the people responsible for making the music that they’re interested in.  It’s not all peaches and cream though and there’s always going to be ups and downs to everything.  I understand digital piracy to an extent as a way to explore music, but illegal downloading in running rampant while people have absolutely no interest or intent to pay for anything, even if it interests them.  With everyone being able to have an equal voice it’s also extremely hard to get noticed in the chocked digital scene that’s going on out there right now.  As label owners and musicians during the reign of the digital era, what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?

I remember joking ten years ago that a band is lucky to get fifteen seconds of fame, forget minutes, because of how bombarded we are with a constant glut of new bands.  Digital technology lifted the barriers to home recording and that’s what got us hooked into making records.  The challenge now, is to find a way to connect with your audience.  A pet peeve of mine is when bands try to promote themselves by just saying “we’re a band” or “we have a song”.  There are a million bands doing that and it just becomes background noise.  Because of this, it’s very difficult to cut through and I really appreciate when bands get creative in reaching out to their fans.  As for digital distribution, I think if people want to get the music, let them have it.  The old music model is dead, but there are still opportunities to get ahead if artists and labels are willing to adapt.  We’ve posted download links to get all of our stuff for free before and while it doesn’t fill the cash register, it gets the music out there.  I’d much rather have the music spread, which opens up way more opportunities in the long term, i.e. building a fan base in new cities for touring.  The way I see it, if someone wants to download a track for free, they’re going to do it anyway.  So you might as well embrace it but have merch available so people can still support if they choose to.  Having said all this, it’s a unique situation with House Of Burners since each band owns the rights to their songs and it’s not fair to the bands if we’re giving away free downloads of their music under the Pre-Rock name.  We’d rather give fans the opportunity to collect a short run release and support their favorite band directly in the process, which is why we made the whole compilation streamable but put the focus on buying copies from each band directly.

Do you all give a lot of thought to the visual aspects that represent the label, like logos, covers, shirts and that kind of artwork?  Is there any kind of meaning or message that you’re trying to convey with your artwork?  Is there anyone that you usually turn to in your times of need for those kinds of things?  If so, who is that and how did you originally get hooked up with them?

Jay Loos, the bassist in Shooting Guns, and I compiled all the photos and then I did the graphic design, layout and logos.  The aesthetic we were going for on this was different ‘houses of burners’ where they look all decrepit on the outside but are a paradise once you’re in there.  All the photos are of abandoned buildings in Saskatoon and rural Saskatchewan, and I like how it adds to the ‘made is SK’ vibe; something that I’ve always wanted to be part of any project I’m involved with.  We also did all of the artwork for Brotherhood of the Ram ourselves, using photos from Saskatchewan photography books and working a little of our own Photoshop magic.  That said, we’ve worked with some amazing artists over the years.  Ben Hettinga did our first LP, Born to Deal in Magic: 1952-1976, as well as half of the cover art for our first 7”; Cate Francis did the other half.  We’ve also got to give a big shout out to Harley Kataklysm from Regina for designing our logo and tentacle shirts.

Are there any major goals or plans that Pre-Rock Records is looking to accomplish in 2014?

House Of Burners on double-gatefold vinyl would be a dream come true.

With the absolutely insane international postage rate increases I try and provide our readers with as many possible options for picking up music as I can.  Where’s the best place for our US readers to pick up your released? 

Postage is one huge advantage that CDs have over vinyl, as we can send a copy pretty much anywhere in the world for under four dollars while it’s ten dollars to send a record within Canada.  For House Of Burners, if you’re favorite band isn’t shipping internationally or you want to support Shooting Guns, ordering directly off our Bandcamp is the easiest, and you get digital copies of all the tracks with the CD.   As for getting Shooting Guns stuff internationally, we’ve had the good fortune to partner with Riding Easy Records (formerly Easy Rider Records) out of LA and they’ve lined up distribution points across the US and EU.

What about our international and overseas readers?

While most of our releases are out of print, there are a lot of distributors that still have Brotherhood of the Ram on vinyl.  Germany’s Kozmik Artifactz is the biggest distributor in the EU carrying it and I think their shipping rates are pretty reasonable, but there are also distributors in Sweden, UK, and even Japan.  So hopefully, there’s a copy that’s not too far away.

Where’s the best place for fan to keep up with the latest releases from Pre-Rock Records?

(2014)  Various Artists – House Of Burners – digital, CD – Pre-Rock Records (Limited to 1,000 copies)

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
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