Monday, July 12, 2010

GENOCIDE ASSOCIATION demo 'Sonik Lobotomy' 105 tracks, 1983.

Question: Is that true that back in the days, even before starting Earache, you had a "band" who consisted in you shouting over Crude S.S., Raw Power, B.G.K. loops from their songs that was called Genocide Association? From:

Answer: Yes that was my "band" in the early 80's, I arranged and assembled a collection of riffs looped from other HC punk bands' demos, and then myself and my buddy Dave from local punk hopefuls Verbal Warning would shout - mostly short quickfire slogans- over the songs. The idea was to create our own multi-song demo because we were in awe of bands like say Mob 47 or DRI's first seven inchers with dozens of tracks on them, and I wanted to join in the fun, and do something similar but with a whopping 100+ songs.Lack of money or skill on an instrument thwarted our attempts to form a real band, so I resorted to what the early hip hoppers were doing with turnables, 'scratching' and so creating new music by sampling/looping others. The story was explained on the Shit-Fi website a few years back.

Nowadays you'd call it sampling, but afforable samplers did'nt exist back then! It was done on home hifi equipment, using a cassette tape-to-tape machine, the songs were crafted and stitched together, riff by riff, play/record/pause, change tape, repeat. It was a real labour of love, the process took months, then when the instrumentals were finally done, we'd roll the completed tape for a final time, with a mic plugged into the hi fi, and shouted lyrics over the top, live, to make the demo complete.

The bands looped were at the very cutting edge of the best hardcore punk, which was a seriously underground pursuit at the time, and include faves like Terveet K├Ądet, Crude SS, Urban Waste,BGK, Raw Power, Kansan Uutiset, Impact Unit, Riistetyt- if you were tape trading with me at the time, these were the bands I was massively into.I think even Minor Threat got sampled/looped into the mix aswell, they were the nearest to a huge band in that early 80s punk scene. I recall adding them to make it plain that this was a spoof demo, but even with recognisable, mega-famous riffage included, not many people at the time figured out how it was created. It remained a mysterious demo and band, and thats the way we preferred it.

Genocide Association did break cover and actually played one show though- supporting Black Flag no less,- the line up was Myself and Dave (Verbal Warning) on shouts, Kalv (Heresy) bass, Tim (Skum Dribbluurz) Guitars and a drummer i cant recall. We just played random noise. Note the long set list on the mic stand ha ha!

The first person to get a copy of the final demo tape with sleeve etc was a mate called Johnny Barry who was running a local fanzine at the time- we figured he'd be taken in by the spoof and sure enough he proclaimed it the best, fastest demo of the issue, and that really was as far as we had hoped to take it, we found a bit of fame in our local scene, and that was good enough for us. Interestingly, Johnny ended up becoming label manager for a time at my label Earache in the early 90's.

Looking back, the whole idea and concept behind the band's music- was pretty much a precursor to the Earache label I would form a few years later.

Heres a few tracks :
GENOCIDE ASSOCIATION demo 1983 by digearache

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Music videos made in the 90's were damn expensive.

Question: Hello,
I was reading your blog and saw that the Cathedral video for witchfinder general cost 25 grand to produce.
That must have been quite a large cheque for Earache to sign off in the early 90's. How did you decide to go with that song, from Cathedral? Also, what was the plan for making that kind of money back as 25 grand is allot of money for an indie label to spend on a song which would never sell the number of singles needed to recoup that cost (I assume anyway). From:

Answer: Yes I agree, the label spending approx £25,000 for that Cathedral video to be made was total madness, but that was the standard, reasonable, mid-size budget for a decent metal video at that time. Everything about the scene was different in the early 90s, death metal and grindcore was hip and new, and the bands were regularly selling 100,000+ copies in America alone. MTV actually still played videos, even on occasion death metal videos, so MTV was the reason these kind of videos were made in the first place, because back then, even a handful of spins on MTV/ Headbangers Ball could launch or seriously boost a bands career.

It was a heady time for the death metal/grind scene- big money was spent, all with the expectation that the Earache bands would form the next wave of Platinum Rock acts. This was Earache's intention, but sadly things didn't quite pan out that way. Its worth noting that labels rarely get artists calling a halt to the stupidity of spending vast sums of money on videos for them- apart from Bolt Thrower who hated videos, I've yet to come across it- mainly because vanity takes precedence over financial common sense a lot of the time.

Earache for a while had 7 bands licensed to major companies, Cathedral was one of them, they were licensed to Sony/Columbia in USA between 93-95, so luckily the major bankrolled a lot of these costs, making it easier for Earache, as a genuine Indie, to swallow. Bands nowadays can make clips suitable for MTV on budgets of £3000 or significantly less, easily.

What you have to remember is that film technology in the early 90s was analogue, bulky, expensive and basically crap. Filming took place on actual reels of film, all editing equipment was hardware, not software. Nowadays my iPhone can shoot HD video - anyone with a creative imagination can make a decent music clip for $300 now, but as ever its the creative vision of the director which is of the most premium value to any clip.

I remember a famous Michael Jackson video at the time reportedly cost over $1,000,000 and this cost was mostly due to the buying of scarce computer time to render a sequence where his image shatters into a million pieces across the screen. Nowadays this effect come as a free preset on even the most basic video editing software.That's how much technology has leveled the playing field.

The Cathedral clip features footage from the Vincent Price movie aswell, which I think was a bargain to acquire from the copyright holders, maybe £1000 tops. Then the cost of the studio hire, lighting, stage set and decoration, wardrobe, plus the hire of actors and actresses appearing alongside the band. Did you see a horse in the clip? that's definately not easy or cheap to hire! Plus the director fee on top, it all adds up.By far the most expensive part of the clip would have been the film camera hire and film stock, and the costs of tape transfers and subsequent editing time at a film editing suite, though.

Hope this explains the thinking behind the costs of the clip.

While we are talking about clips, here's UNKLE : Rabbit in The Headlights, which is widely regarded as one of the best music clips ever made.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Florida's 90s Hardcore scene, was not as famous as the local Death Metal scene.

Question: I had to ask this since morning again (pictured) are reforming and earache has your demise on the books. When you were looking at the death metal bands from tampa in the 90s did you pay any attention to the heavy hardcore scene that was going on in florida at the same time? by that i mean the bands such as culture, shai hulud, morning again, poison the well, remembering never etc, im curious that there were two very heavy music scenes going on in the same state but they never seemed to interact. From:

Answer: Glad you appreciate Your Demise, its a straight-up heavy Hardcore band which is making waves right now- the album also has thunderous Drum n Bass interludes which actually the band are dropping we think, as it was the idea of old singer George. The CD was issued by Earache in the USA under license from Visible Noise.

But back in the 90s, yes you are right, it wasn't common for Death Metal kids to mix at all with Hardcore kids back then, in fact they were two seperate scenes, with different cultures and "rules". Ha ha its funny that a scene which declares it abides by "no rules" sure had a LOT of them- like how you dress, what music you play, even - this is the vegan hardcore and straight edge hardcore scenes I'm talking about- the food and drink you choose to enjoy. Luckily things are more relaxed these days in Hardcore.

But by far most heinous crime for a Hardcore band at the time was to play metal - that was a total no no and indicated a willingness to 'sell-out' which marked you down as a traitor to the very values of hardcore.Notable HC Bands of the 80s like Gang Green, DYS and SSD all started playing a sort of streetwise rock/metal and within a few years their fanbase had evaporated and the bands split up.

To answer your question, I visited Florida tons of times during the explosive rise of Death Metal 89-94 and I was vaguely aware of a coming HC scene in Florida during those years, but the bands you mention really formed and hit their stride a good few years later in mid-90's, so most of them signed with pure-play HC labels like Revelation or Good Life in Europe. To be honest the scene was tiny and didn't really compare in size to the Death Metal scene, which was also fresher sounding to my ears.

I do remember coming across EARTH CRISIS - Scott Burns of Morrisound gave me the demo tape he'd recorded by the band and I did like the band, the militant straight edge stance of the band was cool. I assumed they were a local Florida band, and so kept an eye out for their later activities- but never made an offer to sign them.

If you want the lowdown on the Florida 90's HC scene bands try this great blog xSTUCKINTHEPASTx

Heres Earth Crisis 10 year Documentary: