Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2010/2011: Havoc Records

- So I took 2009 off from new releases. I was still hard at work with distro and of course selling back catalog. The US economy took a dive and there were big structural changes going on in DIY hardcore music. I saw a lot of stores, labels and distros going under and I didn’t want to take any risks. I thought I would play it safe and wait and see how things went. I wanted to think hard about what I was doing, which direction things were going and where my label fit into it. In the late 90’s and early 00’s I put everything I had into the label. I worked around the clock and put all my money from my day job into building up the label, doing tours, etc. I thought that if I just worked hard enough I could build a DIY hardcore label that would live up to the labels I was a fan of in the 80’s. I really pushed hard at this and had to make a lot of compromises. Just when I was about to expand more and put a lot more money into the label I had second thoughts. I started to realize that the only way to “make it” in music business was to sell out or do unethical things, like rip off bands, sell commercial music, license songs to TV shows etc. I thought long and hard about this and decided to go back to the roots of why I started a label. DIY hardcore, crucial records that stand the test of time. So I backed away for a while to save money and restructure. Then came back with a more focused approach. I’m pretty much mostly into re issues now and maybe now and then some new bands, but I’m more interested in helping friends bands with distribution or doing a US press than putting out records myself. 2010 though saw me re issue two critical local hardcore bands from the 80’s Final Conflict and Willful Neglect. Except for some collectors in Germany no one knows these bands, but I think they are great. Then I struck this deal that is pretty much the crowning achievement of 20 years in distro, that was to re issue Discharge and Varukers back catalog. Discharge is my favorite band by far. I can’t even begin to explain how intense my passion for those singles is. My hair still stands on end when I hear jams like “But After the Gig” and “No TV Sketch”. When that bass fill in “Two monstrous Nuclear Stockpiles” kicks in I am punching the wall. Anyway, this deal was most excellent for me and I’m pretty much shipping Discharge records as fast as I can put them together. The Singles are coming in 2011 and this is going to me really cool for me. Also in 2010 I got married, which was a big deal. We don’t get so many killer shows around here anymore, but some cool bands came through and of course I went to Chaos in Tejas. In this town it’s more fun for me to collect records than go to shows or play in a band, that might just be because I’m getting old, (I’m 41) but I’m more in tune with some jams coming out of Finland and Sweden than what’s going on around here.

- Discharge Singles, Chaos in Tejas is going to be killer this year. I’m working hard at my day job, it’s more of a focus today than my label, but I’m going to keep the distro going strong in the late night and weekend hours and put out a few more killer records. Hopefully I’ll be helping Kromosom with a 12” and doing some more re issues and US distribution for friends bands.

- You asked one band I think people should check out and I’d have to say Herätys by a long shot. So far this is the best band of the Decade. The S/T 12” I can’t stop listening too. People say they sound too much like Totalitar, like this is a bad thing? That 12” just has so much raw energy, a real head banger/fist pumper.

For further info: Havoc Records and Distribution