Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Interview - White Centipede Noise

Interview - White Centipede Noise

PURE STENCH: [Let's start out in the usual inquiries; introduce yourself and tell us when the label was created and what provoked you to start a label in the first place.]

My name is Oskar Brummel, I’m a young man from Minneapolis, MN, USA. I started my own label out of a desire to be involved in the entire creative process in releasing noise, as well as the means of production and business aspect. Having full control to release noise according to my tastes and vision alone was also very appealing. I also feel like there aren’t many labels focusing on quality harsh noise right now, so I wanted to try to represent that more. Having your own label is also a logical next step when you have your own bands, as a vehicle to release your own material without having to be dependent on another label.

PURE STENCH: [Do you belong to any of the groups on your label?]

Yes, WINCE is my solo project. I also play in GRAIN BELT, a 3 piece harsh noise unit with Sam Stoxen (BACULUM/PHAGE TAPES) and Joe Beres (WILLFUL/SMALL DOSES). There are plans for other projects/collaborations involving myself to be released on WCN down the road.

PURE STENCH: [The name "White Centipede Noise" is definitely one-of-a-kind. Why did you choose that as your name?]

I have a pretty significant phobia of house centipedes, which has developed into a deep fascination with them. I think the white centipede image comes from a time when I as a kid and I found a giant centipede floating dead in a cat water dish, and it had turned white.

PURE STENCH: [The groups on your label all have similar characteristics to them, characteristics which are pretty specific. They are all raw, dirty and violent Harsh Noise acts and a lot of junk/metal play seems to also be a central theme with each release. Is this the type of material you consciously look to put out or is it more of a coexistence that just happened to play out like it did? What traits do you generally look for?]

In general, I release what I like, and raw, dirty, and violent harsh noise is what I like. And yes you are right, there is a certain sound aesthetic I have in mind for the label. There are a lot of bands I really like and/or admire that I would not consider for release on the label, simply because it wouldn’t fit. I do have plans to branch out beyond “metal abuse harsh noise,” into other avenues of noise and industrial.

PURE STENCH: [ Thoughts on the current American Harsh Noise/Power Electronics scene outside of those involved with your label?]

I don’t particularly identify with it, but there are plenty of great bands in the US doing their thing right now, and some promising newcomers as well. Of course there’s a lot of utter junk, and perhaps even more stuff that I know people are into for legitimate reasons, but that I can not really get into. That’s about as specific as I’ll get. The US doesn’t really have that unifying “Americanoise” sound or community it may have had in the past, while a lot of other countries with significant scenes do have a distinct national style (Italy, Finland, Sweden, etc.) It’s much more diverse in the US, often distinguished regionally. I would even say that Minneapolis has a pretty unique and distinct scene, which is something you would primarily pick up on at shows.

PURE STENCH: [ Like many of the other labels I have interviewed it looks like the same person continually creates the art for each cassette. All are black and white (except for the Grain Belt CD) and all look crude and xeroxed. Is this your (the label) handy work or do the artists themselves create the art?]

Yes, I create all of the art for the label. I’m open to collaborating with the artist, but I like a sense of aesthetic uniformity in the releases. I’m not much of a visual artist outside of the label, but I really enjoy working on that aspect of the total package. The specific aesthetic is a combination of mainly personal taste with the fact that I lack the technical skills to create slick artwork. The GRAIN BELT CD was an exception. Joe from SMALL DOSES designed it, as his label co-released it, along with PHAGE TAPES.

PURE STENCH: [ What is the most difficult part of running a label?]

The biggest challenge for this label specifically is keeping tapes stocked. From the onset, I made the goal to keep all tapes I release in print indefinitely. I’ll usually start off making 50 and restock them in batches of 20 or so there. The restocking can be challenging when someone places an order out of the blue and I realize that I’m out of what they want. I dub and assemble everything from home, and release c30 tapes exclusively, so it isn’t too hard to keep up, but it requires a higher level of organization than I’m used to. This has been the other challenge, just general organization, as I’m a fairly scatterbrained person naturally. Running the label has forced me to set up systems to make sure things stay organized and that everyone gets their orders. This has actually been a very rewarding challenge, and seems to have improved my overall personal habits.

PURE STENCH: [ What made you decide to make your releases unlimited instead of doing small ltd batches like most labels do? What was it about the Wince cassette, "Vasovagal Syncope", that it required a small limited number with a larger booklet/insert than other releases?]

I think a lot of labels and bands use rarity as a crutch. It drums up urgency to purchase, sometimes to a pathetic level. Everyone knows it feels cool to own #2/30 of something, but I feel that it really takes away from the integrity of the material itself. If it’s work that you think is good why not make it available for people to hear? Some label bosses get such a big boner from being able to say “SOLD OUT” on the messageboards, and people congratulate them for it. I often hear people justify super small limited editions on the fact that they only suspect 30 people would want to buy it, but it just strikes me as ultimate trollface, especially when said by established artists who know their ltd. ed. releases will sell out in a day. I decided to make tapes in unlimited editions to challenge this trend, to challenge people to buy tapes that are not going to have increased resale value on I’m confident that the music I release is good, so there’s no reason to limit it. I have had a couple people email me to ask if X cassette is still available, and I reply that yes, all tapes are available indefinitely, and then I never hear back.

As far as the special edition of “Vasovagal Syncope,” I wanted to release something where I was able to extend the artwork to further express the theme of the tape. Keeping the packaging with the booklet in print indefinitely would be unfeasible, so I just made it a small edition, while keeping the standard edition in the Norelco case in print. I like releases with extended artwork or elaborate packaging, and I can understand the fetishism of limited items, so I plan to do more releases like this in the future.

PURE STENCH: [What do you have planned for this year?]

Let’s see… FAUX PAS/GRAIN BELT 7”, which WCN is co-releasing with Small Doses and Phage Tapes. Tapes from DEVELOPER (Matthew Reis of Teeth Collection fame, heavy and psychedelic cut up HN, very reminiscent of cut-up era Macronympha), RESPIRATOR (Fairly unknown from the Houston, TX scene, damaged organic noise, much like a more negative Hands To), SLAVE PATIENCE (HN mail collab between myself and Danny Propert/Legless from Baltimore), ORGASMIC RESPONSE UNIT (Brother on brother from Luke and Nate Tandy, known for Being and Diaphragmatic, respectively), some other stuff surely. There’s a 7” planned with one of my favorite noise artists PARANOID TIME, but it might be a while yet for that one.

PURE STENCH: [Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. Any comments, last words, quotes, etc. you would like to add before we end our session?]

No, but thanks for interview and interest in the label.

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