You're the lucky reader of the 38th edition of the Punknews.org Vinyl File. This column aims to keep you informed with upcoming releases as well as spotlighting interesting releases, your favorite bands' own collections and labels with a history of vinyl releases worth talking about.
This week's Vinyl File features an interview with Damian Abraham, who sings for Fucked Up. We featured a Fucked Up discography a few weeks ago and have been busy readying this interview ever since. In addition to the interview, we're giving away a very special Fucked Up prize pack which includes their split 7" with Hardskin, a copy of the Two Snakes 7" and a copy of the Litany 7" with a special one-of-a-kind custom cover. Sick? I know. Keep reading to find out how to win as well as the winner of last week's Format winner.
As always, Vinyl File is brought to you by Ben Conoley.
Alright, first things first, we'd like to congratulate Justin Ellsworth of Brampton, Ontario for winning both test pressings from The Format.
As for the Fucked Up contest, to win this one, email ben (at) punknews (dot) org with your name, address and "Fucked Up" in the subject line. One winner will be announced next week.
THE VINYL FILE SPOTLIGHT Can you tell me about your personal background in punk and hardcore before the band started? How did you get into records?
I got into punk the summer of grade 8. I got into trouble with the police for getting someone to buy me beer (I actually took the wrap for my friends at the time). My mom forbid me to hand out with those kids anymore and made me get a job as a staff member at a all-day sports camp (hell on earth). I met a kid there that was obsessed with Sonic Youth and it was all down there from there. I started collecting records pretty soon after but got really into it when a store opened up in Toronto called Full Blast. They stocked stuff that I had never seen before but more importantly they sold collectible records and that was really the first place in Toronto to sell rare punk.
You say that it was collectible records that you liked them for. I'm not sure how old you are, but I was born in '80 and vinyl certainly wasn't the norm. Why did you give a shit about rare vinyl?
I'm 28, I had records when I was young so it wasn't a completely alien format but you are right, it was not the norm. I think I was drawn to it because of the fact that it held a sort of exotic nostalgia. It also gave me a chance to connect to the music in a way that CDs couldn't, both tactile and in a weird metaphysical way too.
Were you into punk rock before records?
Yeah for sure, but as I started to get into the older bands, that was when I started buying more vinyl. Because of the reasons I said and also because it was pre-mp3 and a lot of the stuff I was getting into wasn't always on CD, so it would be the only way to get the music of these bands. But I also have always collected stuff. I blame my dad (he is a compulsive collector). So collecting records came very naturally to me.
Do you remember the first one you picked up that made you think, "Woah, there's more to this than just a piece of music"? Like a moment/record when you found they were collectible?
I think it was when I bought the Committed for Life 7" by 7 seconds. I got a first press of it and it felt so cool. It was more then just a record, it became an artifact, a link to a time that I couldn't have been. It was a link to that past.
Haha, yes, my orca of time
Were you involved in any bands that released music before Fucked Up?
Thankfully no. I was in a band called Overtime that had a demo (it was me and the dudes from No Warning) but apart from that, nothing. I can sleep well at night knowing that no Urine Trouble demos are floating around out there. I was in 13 bands before Fucked Up, only two or three ever did a show.
Fucked Up took a long time to release anything on CD, covering about every format along the way. Was that a deliberate choice of direction?
It was. To me CDs are best served for anthologies of singles, so we wanted to make sure we had enough material to do a decent anthology CD.
What is it that is so appealing about singles?
The single is the format of punk. I think it is really the format of pop music all across the board. I mean I can only name a hundred or so classic punk albums but thousand of classic singles
In addition to that, did it suit your writing process more? Or did you sit on songs for a while, waiting to release them as singles?
Sometimes… more so in the past then now. I mean we had Baiting the Public pretty early on but knew that we wanted it to be it's own single. Now we sit down more and write songs for records as they come up.
Right from the start pretty much, you had different variations of your records. Was that an extension of your attraction to collectibility, or was it more of a reality when dealing with small runs and represses?
They were more a result of accidents and poor communication and some less the honourable label people. I'm not going to lie and say that I was a 100% against it myself but as a band we never asked for any of it.
Right, the discography you made up says that a lot of things were done without the band's consent.
Yeah the dirty side of D.I.Y.
Haha, I suppose so
It's really true… I'm sure most bands would complain about it
Unlike a lot of bands who make up most of their variations by doing different colors, yours tend to be label mistakes, or different sized holes, etc
Yeah that stuff is manufacturing errors. I mean I can understand the economic benefit of pressing variations but it was something that Fucked Up was never down with.
Does it bug you then, to see people paying hundreds of dollars for some random variation of one of your records?
No… unless it is being sold by one of the people running the label that put it out. When you put out any product you acknowledge that it can be sold on the secondary market and people will pay what they want for it. I think I would be an asshole if I got bummed at some kid buying our records for what I thought was too much money while I'm doing the same for Confront records
Yeah fair enough.
I think it is insane, I mean don't get me wrong.
I can't believe how popular records have become in the last year as far as what people are willing to pay for them.
I think it has a lot to do with the death of the CD. I mean so much of the world now is virtual that people want to have something "real" and the most real item possible becomes coveted and in our world that is a rare record. The opposite of an illegal mp3 is an over priced record.br/> So what are some of your favorite releases from Fucked Up?
I think the Litany 12" or the Year Of The Pig 12". Both have cool packaging and I like the songs on both Bating the Public 7" too.
Your Christmas 7" generated quite a buzz. How did that come about?
I collect Christmas punk records and we have always want to put one out. So we decided to bite the bullet and do one to go along with a holiday show we were doing. The thing took on a life of its own. We knew we wanted to do it for charity and what was going on the a-side but the the lyrics and the b-side came together in the studio. I wrote the song while they recorded guitars and then we cold call all the celebrities for the b-side. The Nelly Furtado thing only happened because she was next door working on a new song.
We have one planned for this year too.
Do you think it's the one you have had the most feedback for?
That or Year of the Pig. It was real weird how much press year of the pig got. I mean with the X-mas record it is easy to see why people would care. I mean who doesn't like celebs? But with Year of the Pig it was real weird.
Do you mean because of the references to Robert Pickton?
I think that could of had something to do with it but I think it was the fact that it was a 20 minutes song too. I mean it beat lip gloss on Spin's best songs lists.
You should do a few more of those and release a box set called Epics in >20 minutes.
Hahaha, I mean we are working on Year of the Rat 12", so who knows…
Yeah, that's another interesting series, it's neat because it's something that causes discussion outside of just "Hey, they have a new record"
For us it is the next step from doing two song, 3 minute 7"s. Also, it gives us a chance to work out our prog-rock inklings.
You mention doing another Christmas 7" and there's the Year Of… series. What appeals to you about doing series of records? I mean, besides the prog rock.
Hahaha. I think it is just a cool way of doing things. The series idea was kinda stolen from the Melvins too. Melvins and Poison Idea are big influences on the Fucked Up approach to records.
What about on a personal level - what are you into vinyl-wise now?
Too much. I'm still really into everything I have always collected but now I'm collecting weirdo synth records too… it never ends. So now it is power pop, hardcore, kbd punk, synth with a focus on Toronto and Clevo.
You must have a pile of records at home.
Yeah, I've started to try a par down too but I would guess10, 000 7"s and a few thousand LPs.
So "a pile" would be an understatement." You've also got your own label started, with one release down. How did that come about?
It was really something I wanted to try and now I know I suck at it. I don't have the time or money to do it right.
So does that mean it's on the back-burner?
Yeah… I can think of hundreds or records I want to put out but I can't really do them justice these days. I help out with my friend's label Dine Alone where we are doing the Moondog record, so that will have to do for now.
THE PUNKNEWS VINYL FILE
To Celebrate the long awaited release of the original Bomb the Music Industry!! album, Album Minus Band on vinyl Asbestos Records is hosting the "Congratulations John on Helping Me win a BTMI! Test Pressing Contest!" The Rules are simple… attend one of the dates on the Asian Man Tour, and take a picture with yourself and John in it. Creativity counts.. and the funnier or more awkward the better! Only catch is… you can't let him know why you're taking the picture, as he has no idea about this contest existing… its a lot more interesting this way. Best picture wins a Test Pressing of the Album Minus Band LP. Two runners up will get a prize pack from Asian Man including the newest CD release of all five bands on the tour. You can also pre-order your copy of the LP from the good folks over at Vinyl Collective. You can email your photos to Flood@asbestosrecords.com.
The Mars Volta's new album The Bedlam in Goliath will be out on vinyl shortly. You can pre-order it here or here and have them ship on the first of June. The album is going to be on two records, each half black and half red with an etching on the b-side. What's that? Not excessive enough? Well, they are also throwing in a custom shaped picture 7". Yeah.
A-F Records is now selling the double-LP version of Anti-Flag's latest release, The Bright Lights of America Here's the pressing Info: First pressing: 3,000 copies worldwide 50 with Side A/B on white/tan/black/silver splatter vinyl, 100 with Side A/B on semi-transparent white/black/silver vinyl, 150 with Side A/B on tan & black vinyl Remaining copies - Side A/B/C/D on black vinyl. All copies come with laser etching on Side D. So that leaves three sides of music, with a laser etching of the eagle man from the cover on the fourth side. There are two bonus tracks available on the LP: "Wake Up The Town" and "I'm So Sick of You". All copies include an exclusive double-sided poster/lyric insert. For more info go here Men Women & Children are back with a followup to their 2006 self-titled album. Ultra Hot Volcano is available from I Am Sound Records. It's got two new songs and they'll ship it to you within the states for free. Sweet!
Chemikal Underground Records have released a 4 LP set of Mogwai's Young Team. The band's first album is now available in a deluxe edition. You get a free MP3 download of the album when you order, which is only fair since it will cost you an arm and a leg to acquire. More info on the release can be found here.
Triumph of Life Records is now taking pre-orders for their split 7" between O Pioneers!!! and The Anchor. The record, which has been in the works for over a year is finally done and can be purchased from the label's website.
Six Feet Under is now taking orders for the new Down to Nothing 7". Hem Hem is being limited to 220 copies and the label has imposed a one-per person limit on the record. Six Feet Under is also releasing a limited version of Mental's DEmo II 7" which only features 7 of the 8 songs meant to be included on the album. Only200 exist. You can order that one right over here.
Right to Assemble Records has released their second Right to Assemble compilation. This new volume is pressed on 500 copies of clear vinyl and features unreleased songs from The Ergs, Ensign, Dead Tired, Fire Still Burns and more. To order, check the website.
Interpunk is now taking pre-orders for Less Than Jake's upcoming eighth album GNV FLA. You can get is with a bonus 7",on its own, or with a signed bonus 7". The possibilities are really, quite endless.
If you have anything you would like to see featured on Vinyl File, email ben (at) punknews (dot) org.