воскресенье, 22 января 2012 г.

DDb Interview Series (1011) - Bathetic Records

I want to thank Jon for making this great QA session possible.

From my point of view, Bathetic is now presenting an example of one of the most diverse and unique music publishers. When did you launch the label? Tell about the history of Bathetic and the label’s name.

Bathetic started with just DIY tapes a few years ago when I lived in Arkansas (a small southern state).  I had read about the idea of ‘bathos’ and thought it fit with what I was doing in the DIY world at the time.  During that time, the phonetical sound of the word itself was on point, so it stuck.  I dubbed tapes at home and silk-screened, painted and stamped the covers.  These were mostly Arkansas reclusives doing their own interesting thing in Ozark Mountain basements.  I later moved to Chicago where my good friend William Cody Watson convinced me to re-start the label, this time expanding upon the tape idea. We decided to make it more national and international than it was before, releasing music which we thought was really good, regardless of the genre.  I later moved around the midwest and eastcoast for a while, carrying all the tapes and records with me, using addresses I called home at the time to mail off Bathetic orders.  to I've recently moved to Asheville, NC near the Smoky Mountains where Bathetic Headquarters will remain permanently.

You are quite open in terms of genres and styles. How would you describe your releasing criteria? How do you decide what to release?

Cody and I always have a long sit down with music submissions, or music we find, or friends and friends of friends music before we move on anything.  We listen, think, talk.  Come back to it, listen, think and talk some more.  We don’t like to keep things heading in one particular direciton other than what we can truly dig.  I don’t like to keep focus on folk for too long, or synth/drone, or whatever it is.  In any given day, I’ll listen to all kinds of music, so I’m not sure why I would limit Bathetic’s output to one particular sub-genre of music.  I’m all for contrived genres, and I’m a huge follower of certain labels that put out a specific type of music, but it’s just not Bathetic’s thing to do.  I think if there is any sort of underlying theme woven through our releases, it would be this midwestern/southern feel of darkness.  I love downer tones, I love bedroom jams, I love loner head-space.

Does Bathetic keep a strong connection to the local scene? What projects have you been impressed by recently?

Since I’ve moved to Asheville I’ve been trying to book some solid shows, and this has taken grip pretty well so far.  I have been stoked with the sparks of interest and the potential of this town.  Asheville puts on the Moogfest each year with big acts (Suicide played this year!).  The kids here have arranged the underground offshoot, Foogmess.  This past year was dope, and it will continue to grow each year.  This is exciting.  I also meet or hear of new people every couple of weeks, hiding out, doing their own thing, something very interesting and unique.  I like how they are hard to get a hold of and their shows are rare.  This to me says that what they are doing is genuine.

Next question I will ask to every person in DDb interview series.
What have changed in independent music world with the developing and spreading of the Web?
Any positive improvements? Any negative repercussions?

This question sparks a recurring conversation anywhere you go these days.  The web is a necessary evil.  Tons of positive things to be had with it, and tons of negative repercussions.  I always laugh when I think of bands on Myspace who thought they would become more and more famous if they spent all their time adding ‘friends’ and thanking people for ‘the add.’  It went nowhere real fast.  Of course, with the web, theres a ton of movement in interests – everyone kind of moves to whatever is ‘hot’ at that moment, depending on which big blogs post what that week.  It can be exciting and one can easily get lost in it, but it’s just a momentary hype.  I try to lean towards those things which are timeless.  I find myself listening to Black Sabbath, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce’s Nebraska, and Mettalica’s Kill Em All more than anything.  These are timeless works that will never die.  With fast-moving information through the internet, I feel a lot of this aim for timeless quality is lost because, let’s face it, musicians and labels have egos and they want to put out a bunch of releases by a bunch of good artists.  I think it will have a whiplash effect one day, if it hasn’t started already.  I could go on and on, but it’s just a ramble…

Who makes the arts for you releases? As for me, each cover is awesome (especially Age Wave’s 7’’ one)!

We usually have the musician provide some sort of photo, colors or ideas that we can move with.  We are still evolving a Bathetic aesthetic that is entirely open to design, but still has a similar feel to it all.  Omar (who has designed the website) has helped a ton with the art for releases.  Cody always has killer ideas.  It’s kind of all over the place, but we like it to start with the artist, run it through our filter, and then get approval from the artist for finishing touches.  The Age Wave 7” is a great one and has a fun story.  Ren (Age Wave, Container, God Willing, etc) had mailed me some cut out photos (not sure where he got them), paper-clipped together, and had a poorly scripted note with a diagram of how he wanted to piece the photos together for the cover.  It was hilarious.  I then had to piece the info together (the note ended “can you even read this?” !), scan all the photos, send them to Omar and Cody and move with it.  Since then, Ren has bought a scanner, so I’m not sure if projects will be this terrible and fun anymore.

Imagine the music is like fruits and vegetables. How would your catalogue look like then?

Mostly vegetables that are good to eat in the autumn months.  Add a lemon or lime in there for freshness and to keep some optimism, but keep an expired melon in the corner.  Mostly keep around the vegetables that you want to put in a stew that you can eat by the fire.  Warmth is the goal.

Any idea why an intelligent person must be into politics? Is it a myth?

Socrates put a lot of pressure on smart people and therefore set the bar pretty high.

What drives you crazy except for the music?

I love Miller High Life and hanging out by fires and rivers of forests tucked inbetween mountains.  I want to jump, I want to fall, I want to splash.

What future plans can you share with us?

We have the lo-fi bedroom masters Cough Cool putting out an LP with us soon as well as a head trip ambient LP release by Zac Nelson soon, two side-long tracks.  There will forever be tapes, most recently will be Birds of Passage, Angelo Harmsworth, Caroline Park, Dinner Music, Motion Sickness of Time Travel/Listening Mirror split.  Future works with High Auru’d I’m way too excited about!  There’s quite a bit bubbling in the Bathetic office now.
Also, a big focus has been working on starting a bar/music venue here in Asheville… more on that to come… but for the time being, I will work on getting some Asheville musicians on the map and more recognized for their brilliant works.

Please describe the most dramatic dance you can imagine. And what music should accompany that dance? 

One big laser that covers the earth forever.  It is completely silent.