Monday, June 11, 2012

Label Interview: Fusty Cunt


[PURESTENCH : Fusty Cunt; why did you decide to create this label and what were your ultimate goals? Why the name, where did it come from?]
I created the label when I was 13 or 14 as a means to self-release a bunch of the stuff I was doing then. It mostly consisted of grindcore and noisecore stuff. Unfortunately almost everything is long lost because I didn't really care about anything then and I don't have any of the original tapes; however, I do have a few of the digital masters from one old goregrind band I did. Maybe they will see the light of day, maybe not. As time progressed, I started becoming more serious with harsh noise material and decided to give the label another chance, this time with proper catalogue numbers and actual work going into releases. I also started getting in touch with more people and wanted to support them by properly releasing their material as well. The name simply came from my childhood love of goregrind and toiletgrind band names. To be honest, I really HATE the label name, but I keep it for that reason. To me the name represents a certain kind of noise to me. It's an annoying noise that you just can't block out and are forced to live with it In misery.
[PURESTENCH : What are the qualities you look for in an artist that you are putting out on the label? Is the content as important as the sounds?]
First and foremost, I try to determine if they are actually dedicated. If I can tell someone is sending me a load of shit right away, I immediately write it off. Next, is the content. I highly believe noise is (or at least should be) based around concepts.
Noise, to me, revolves around specific concepts and how an artist can go about producing a sound that reflects said concept. For instance, when I did the release "Free Health Care" from my own moniker PTM, all the sounds were produced using old and new medical equipment cut up and manipulated at high speeds. It was then packaged in a surgical glove. I would say that It does not ALWAYS have to be this way, but when artist get creative with their ideas, it makes it much easier for me to make a decision on whether or not to release it. Sound, then, of course, would be the final step. If it simply sounds like garbage or rehashed examples of others work, why even bother. On the other hand, sometimes something unsustainable is just what I'm looking for. True noise if you will. Bottom line is, content/concept is just as important (and often more important) than the sounds themselves.
[PURESTENCH : Unlike most of the other labels I have interviewed you release both Cassettes and CD(r)'s. Does the label or the artist choose which will be used? Do you prefer one over the other, if so why?]
The artist does not really have a say. I'll tell them beforehand that I mostly release cassette, and pretty much everyone has 
accepted that. That being said, I rarely use CDr. It's a medium that I don't particularly like to work with artistically because of it's shape (especially 5" CDrs). When I use it, it's mostly to add a special something to a boxeset (i.e., the …Massacre box and Streetmeat box with extra b-card CDrs). It's a part of the whole, but it acts as an outcast. The sound of cassette is also just more inviting to me. The act of having to flip the cassette from side A-B really forces the listener to be an active one, rather than passively throw on a CD and cook breakfast without even paying close attention. I will be getting into the vinyl game more actively as a follow up to the Pharmakon/Deterge split 7". In the works are a Urine Cop 7" and a Skin Graft/Deterge 12".

[PURESTENCH : Is Fusty Cunt your label alone or is there other people involved, either with equal creative input or just to assist you?]
In the past, I've worked with Sam from Phage, Adam from Winters In Osaka, and others to co-release certain releases. I do like working this way at times due to financial constrains, but mostly I choose to work with my friends and dedicated colleagues (of whom ultimately become my friends) to get different perspectives on art, sound, etc. As for Fusty Cunt as an everyday operation, it's 100% me. It dies when I die.
[PURESTENCH : PTM and Deterge are your personal projects, correct? Are there any other projects in the FC catalog that belong to you? Is it easier to release your own material or do you find that working with other labels is easier? Is one approach more fruitful than another? ]
Correct those are my two main projects, and PTM is slowly becoming more and more scarce. I have had PTM as a project since I was 13 years old, so it will never fully die, however. They are both completely different in concept, sound, artistic merit, and emotion; which is why they are much more than one-off projects, but remain separate. There are plenty of things on the label that are either myself or a collaboration with myself and someone else. I won't name exact projects because I prefer to keep myself out of them. They exist for their concept, not my involvement. Although, if one actually pays attention, it's fairly obvious which ones they are. The reason these exist is for a few purposes really, (1) I like the material, but It doesn't fit with Deterge or PTM conceptually (2) it's an actual musical project/band and (3) it's a collaboration that both/all parties involved want to keep separate from solo work.

It's easier to release my own material when packaging is highly important for the release. I wouldn't expect a label to go all out on exactly how I want certain things done (i.e., PTM's "Hoarded Gifts" or two upcoming Deterge private releases). Some things are too special for me to not have complete control. On the other hand, when a label asks to do a release for me I take it as a challenge to cater the sounds and aesthetics to that specific label while keeping my own style. I never record something and just shop it around. Either I have a specific label in mind or a certain label has asked me for material.
[PURESTENCH : When you started Deterge what were your intentions and have they remained the same over the years? What has been your personal favorite release that you have done?]
When I started Deterge the concept was a simple; I wanted it to be more power electronic and composed than PTM. As I put more thought into what I was doing I wanted to keep a running concept of "intelligence" involved with each release. It could be intelligence as sexuality, hate, anger, mourning, worship, etc. I feel that it really isn't a concept many would include into their artistic imagery, but something that is highly important to myself as a person. I focus on the darker side of intellect or the more theoretical and metaphorical concepts, which is why I believe it works well in the PE scene. All the elements are present; I just decided to be a tributary to the whole body. Making something "real" is far more important to me than My personal favorites, that has already been released, are "Intellect" on Gods of Tundra and "Roscosmos" on Collapsed Hole. With "Intellect" the lyrics and sounds just mesh perfectly and really is a true introduction to the concept; plus I love the artwork that Connelly produced for it. "Roscosmos" is special in that albeit being entirely instrument, all the sound sources directly reflect the theme. James (from Ahlzagailzehguh/Collapsed Hole) is a person I really trusted to present the material in a really calculated way and he did with the metal stand. It's also an honor to be the first artist outside of the east coast to have a tape on Collapsed Hole!
[PURESTENCH : Do you know how many shows have you played as PTM, Deterge, or any other group? What was your first show like? Do you ever get stage fright or does the alcohol take care of that?]
I've played way too many performances as PTM to count over the past 12 years, but most were when I was young, didn't know what I was doing (which I wish I could go back to now and again because it was true noise at that point) and I would open for punk and metal bands near my hometown, often unannounced. I've decided on doing a PTM performance only once a year now because I feel each performance has to outweigh its predecessor and will act as a "state of the union" for all the misery in the past year.
Deterge has performed 20-30 times since its formation.

Stage fright has never been an issue because I've always felt each performance was a necessity rather than a recreational activity. Before each PTM performance I feel it's best to literally psych myself up immediately before I start…it's like the opposite of a meditation. The one and only performance that I was actually nervous about was the Burning Fleshtival 2011. Even though many of my friends were present, it was personally a highly important show. Once I began, I was fine however. I hardly drink in general, but never will before a performance as I feel it would completely distract me from the most important element, the pure raw emotion Involved.  If I ever experience stage fright I want to confront it with the noise, not hide it with alcohol or any other substance.
[PURESTENCH : Unlike many labels today it doesn't feel as if the material on this label is only there to be gimmicky. I usually find that you can tell a lot about a label by their Compilations. What was the thought process you went through when you put out stuff like "Anhedonia"? It is fairly unique in that each track is fairly short. What was the purpose, if there was one, of doing this? ]

Glad you asked this since, unfortunately, the concept was lost on many of the listeners. "Anhedonia" was compiled over 2 years and the lineup was hand picked by myself (with the exception of one, which was suggested by another artist involved) because they were friends or close to friends. Each artist was given specific Instructions to compose a 45 second to 70 second track with the idea of "denial of self gratification" in mind. Artists were chosen because each has a unique sound and I knew each would generate a different spin on the concept (social denial, monetary denial, sexual denial, intellectual denial, political denial, bowel denial, etc.). Many artists truly went all out on the concept especially Hands Rendered Useless and Endless Humiliation. Each artist was then asked to provide their own artwork because they would be able to perfect their idea with more insight. The track lengths were chosen as a denial of gratification to the listener. Just as you are about to fully get into a track, it's over, leaving you wanting more. It is also meant to be listened as a whole, not necessarily track-by-track. The diaper is also an attack on everyone's prized personal record/tape collection. It's hard to display without someone saying, "What's with the diaper?" The ultimate goal was reached when I could not get brown tapes as planned because they apparently don't exist. This denied me the satisfaction of having it turn out exactly the way I intended.
[PURESTENCH : What is the process of releasing material on your own label like? Is there a "template", or some regular arrangement that you go by?]
I more or less mentioned earlier. There are certain aspects that I
feel only I can produce to my liking when it comes to packaging. I just feel time and thought are needed in order to do something right. There is no real template because I wouldn't want anything to look or necessarily sound like previous work. I don't know why people are so afraid of progression and comfort. Noise should be about pushing boundaries. What I'm interested in at the moment sure as hell better not be completely present in my sound and presentation in a year or two or I'm doing something very wrong.
[PURESTENCH : Do you create the artwork and packaging ideas yourself or do the artists?]
Depends. If the artist is adamant about doing his or her own art, that's fine with me. It honestly will keep things from looking too similar. Unless I hate the art they produce, I'm down for whatever. If the artist has no preference, I do it. Artists often actually request that I do the art just to see what I can come up with.
[PURESTENCH : The label is relatively new, beginning in 3 years ago in 2009 if I am correct. Where do you see Fusty Cunt in 3 more years? How do you see the general Noise/P.E. "scene" in 3-5 years?]

It's actually not really new at all. I started it 12 years ago. I was just never active at all until recently. Plus most of the old releases are lost and never had catalogue numbers. I see Fusty Cunt producing only the finest material in 3 years. By this I mean bigger named artists, but keeping an eye on many up and comers that are doing something unique but are yet unheard. My goal is to expand my fanbase and have the fans trust my judgment so that these new artists have a safe and expansive outlet to be heard. I could care less about myself; the label exists for something bigger than me. It's support for something I believe in.
The scene will be relatively similar to what it is now, but slightly bigger. Everyone is concerned about noise becoming "big," but it will never happen to the extent of what most could imagine. I don't really see that as a bad thing if it did anyway though. Even if 100 kids join the scene, 75 will probably be gone in a year or two, and if you get only 1 good artist out of 100, that's great in my eyes. Anything that is worthless to you can easily be disregarded, there is no need to complain about it.
[PURESTENCH : Is there anything that is going to be coming out soon on the label?]

I'm keeping really busy. At the moment, the things I'm most excited about are:
Urine Cop 7"
Skin Graft/Deterge split 12"
Ascites - Leak Test C20
Two private Deterge releases
A potential collab 12" from two of my major influences sonically (will remain secret until confirmed)
[PURESTENCH : What does Power Electronics/Industrial/Noise mean to you? What do you feel, see, hear when you create and listen to these genres?]
It means everything, quite literally. Noise goes far beyond the reaches of sound. It's really a way of thinking. It's the drive to focus and meander simultaneously. It's the drive to create. It's uncomforting. It's a necessary failure. It's greed. It's elitism. It's fucking up while remaining persistent to succeed. It's nothing, yet all encompassing. When I create and listen it's all dependent on my mood. When I perform live all faces are completely blank (I actually block out all facial features), but I realize they are present and extremely important. It's a collective masturbation for myself and those who actually pay attention and understand.
[PURESTENCH : What do you think of the current American Power Electronics and Noise scene? Who are some artists that are currently active who you are into?]
I enjoy a good amount of it. I feel that many of the Americans are more willing to try new things. The Europeans shit on us for unknown reasons. Just because their sounds are more "uncomfortable" doesn't mean they are personally out of their comfort zones. That's a problem. Of course I couldn't generalize an entire continent, I'm just going by a lot of what I've red negatively about us and what I've heard coming from there. There are great examples that prove that generalization incorrect; for instance, Content Nullity, IFotS, Vomir (his ideas and philosophy are unique only to him, not those that replicate it), Cut Hands, plus many more. Granite there is a lot of garbage In the USA, but there are a lot of incredibly innovative artists. The entire Red Light District crew is fearless in pushing boundaries, Nyodene D is perfecting a new death industrial direction, Mack (Koufar, et al.) is continuing to take chances regardless the outcome, Dominick and the entire Hospital lineup consistently pushes new concepts, the entire No Coast is dedicated to their sounds and art by producing a specific sound while remaining singularly different, and acts like Urine Cop and Endless Humiliation are understanding how to meld noise/pe and music without sounding fake.
[PURESTENCH : Thanks for doing the interview, anything else you want to add?]
Thanks Ryan for the thoughtful questions and to anyone that took the time to read this.


  1. This was a pleasure to read, thoughtful and informative. Thanks!

    1. I am glad you enjoyed it. More interviews coming this week.