August 26th, 2015 by Amelia
I met Chris when I was with Perdition on a small Montreal/Albany tour in 2010. I think that’s when I met Chris? Anyway, he’s always been a go-to person in Albany and I wanted to find out more about his label and his recent Noise Annoys record store turned web shop. Here is Chris from Loud Punk Records and Noise Annoys:
Are you from Albany?
Yes I’ve spent almost my entire life bouncing around the Albany area minus a small stint in Boston during 2000.
What was the height of the scene there?
It really depends on how you look at. The late 90s was a really great time to grow up around here in the aspect of the punk scene. It was a really crazy and exciting place during those days. All corners of the scene were really thriving, with shows all the time and a lot less internal divisions and inner scene politics. At the same time it was also a pretty intense and dangerous scene too. You typically couldn’t go to a show without at least a handful of brawls breaking out.But it too really depended on what shows you went to. It taught me a lot of life lessons at a young age, good and bad. The 2005/2006 years were also a really key time locally. The first part of the 2000’s were kind of bleak around here then. There was a resurgence, all of us that had been around for a bit weren’t kids anymore and started filling the shoes of guys like Nate from DEVOID OF FAITH/Gloom Records and others who were the real backbone of what went on around here but were not as active as they once were. There was also a whole new wave of kids that started coming to shows. We had some amazing venues, great bands not only in the local scene but coming through town at the time. It made for a very fun and exciting environment.
What’s it like now?
Albany’s scene comes in waves, though things will be great for a few years, but quiet for a few. Currently it’s a little quiet but your hard pressed to find a scene not in a major city that isn’t in the same position that we are. While some come and go, the core group of dedicated folks around here are still doing what they know and love. Things can only get better and I have no doubt they will.
You started Loud Punk Records in 2009, right? Did you ever think you’d have this many releases under your belt?
2007 actually, I started the label originally calling it Loud Blaring Punk Rock. That was the original name of the label. Prior to that It was the name of my radio show I did at Skidmore College for 3 years. I grew up in the pogo punk scene and as a teenager PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES were one of my favorite bands, I listened to them near religiously. They really emphasized the fun aspect of things and never took themselves overly seriously, which is something I can relate to . My first label release was in the works and I still didn’t have a name yet. Things like that have never been a strong point for me. One day I pulled out my copy of their “Loud Blaring Punk Rock” LP and it clicked, that it was the right choice. After 3 releases I decided to shorten the name to Loud Punk. You would not believe how frequently people were putting the wrong name in Zine write ups, reviews, blogs etc. When I released The BLOODREDS 7″ I counted six different incorrect variations of the label name in print mags. MRR was one of the only ones that actually got it right. As far as the releases, I would say yes and no. I wanted to start a few years prior but I decided to wait for everything to properly fall into place. I wanted to do it right, I knew I wanted to be where I am today but surviving and getting here was the big challenge. Life has thrown me some obstacles and curve balls over the years but I always bounce back. If things went how they should of at times, I would have about a dozen releases more under my belt.
Tell us about your first release- what did you learn from that process?
My first release was a reissue of the The TRAGICS Mommi I’m Misfit 7″. They were an Albany band from the early 80’s who gained a bit of cult status due to their original name The MISFITS. They were one of those bands that became a punk band by accident. They were looking to play some loud fast rock n roll, and the guitar player Bob was playing in bands in NYC in the mid 70’s in the NY Dolls scene. When he returned to Albany he started The MISFITS. They were way too fast and hard for the local (or any other) rock scene but found their place with the emerging local punk scene along with bands like The AD’S, CAPITLE, THE VERGE and others . After finding out about Mr. Danzig’s band they decided to change their name to THE TRAGICS. Around 2004 I decided that I wanted to start the label but the first release had to be that record. Bob was a tough guy to track down, so I spent about 2 years searching high and low trying to catch him until I by chance ran into him at a local bar. I was finally able to talk to him about what I wanted to do and he was beyond excited to do it, so about 6 months later Loud Blaring Punk Rock had its first release out. It was a great learning experience with out a doubt. Sadly most of the positive aspects soon were no longer applicable and becoming obsolete, as everything was changing very, very rapidly from all sides of the spectrum. Not only record pressing but how people treated music in a whole. Being able to adapt is what has saved me from going under like so many of great labels have in the last 10 years.
Who do you press with now and where do you get your sleeves made?
I’ve used many plants over the years for a variety of reasons. Some good, some bad. Currently I am using Gotta Groove Records mostly. I’m new with them but I do really like their quality and the people that work there are on top of their shit. I am about to do my first job at the new plant Cascade Records in Portland. I’ve always had much respect for Mark and TKO Records so I really look forward to working with them. The jackets I have printed through Imprint in the past but I also do some stuff at Accuprint, a local print shop that does really great work. It just really depends on what I need for the project.
What are your plans for your next release?
The rest of the year and 2016 are going to very busy for me. I current have at the pressing plant: ZEX Fear No Man 7″ and The EPIDEMIC Losing Control 7″. Both of which I am very, very excited for. The EPIDEMIC 7″ was actually supposed to be LOUD 05 but some major setbacks derailed the record for a while. Finally, we fixed the kinks so that this ripping piece of wax can finally come out. After that I have in the works LOWER CLASS BRATS Primary Reinforcement Plus LP which is a collection of their early singles, EXTERNAL MENACE Process Of a Elimination LP a reissue of their absolutely brilliant reunion LP from the 90s and a reissue of the UK82 classic LAST RITES This Is The Reaction LP.
What was it like opening a record store? I assume you wanted to open it for a while. What was that whole experience like?
It was simultaneously one of the most exciting and nerve racking things I’ve ever done in my life. It was something I wanted to do for a long time. I was working multiple jobs with long hours and not much to show for it. Hating what I was doing and feeling like I was heading down the path of becoming a “I wish I did this” sort of person. From the early days of the label a lot of decisions I made were a gradual build up to getting to the point where I could open up a shop of my own. Finally in late 2013 everything fell into place and I set it all into motion. Despite how it all turned out I would do it again, even if the dream was short lived- I got to live mine. If the right things happen down the road I wouldn’t be opposed to giving it another go.
Was it a tough decision to decide to close?
I went into it with a very clear head. It was a long planned thing and I had a lot of time to think of every aspect with extreme detail. Albany is a tough city for any kind of business and and going into it I was very conscious and aware that it might not work out. In the end I made the right choice as I was getting to point where I was starting to have sell off the few things in life that I hold dear. It broke my heart a bit that I had to close but I saw it coming so I came to accept it. Later it turned out to be the best decision I could of made as two months after I moved out of the building, the apartment above the store caught fire and water damage completely ruined everything the lady that moved into my spot had. My life would of been ruined.
Whoa, that was a close call! Do you miss it?
I do. I really liked being able to give people access in a store setting to a lot of off the beaten path type stuff that you won’t find in your average store. It’s really rewarding making someone’s day when they find a record they have been searching for high and low with no avail.
What did you do with your inventory?
I kept most of it and moved it into my tiny apartment that I lived in until recently. It was kind of hellish for a while until I got a bunch of shelving. I continue to sell what I have through my site, record shows and on Discogs. Rather then give up, I decided to adapt to what I could make work.
Erik from Social Napalm told me you bought his inventory. I guess you’re up to your neck in records right now?
Despite moving into a much more spacious place, I have more records then I know what to do with. It was almost at a manageable point until Erik asked me to take his distro off his hands. One of these years I will get my middle room back from all the boxes, that will be a good year.
Tell us about Noise Annoys web shop. Is that a BUZZCOCKS reference or something?
Noise Annoys was the the name of the record store. While I was open I sold select new vinyl online while I kept the best stuff for people coming into the physical store. After closing up shop I kept the web store up and continue to offer up lots of great stuff including, hard to find imports and stuff you don’t see in every single distro. More often then not it reflects on my personal taste, I’m selfish like that. And yes, a BUZZCOCKS reference all the way.
How do you feel about using Storenvy?
I like it just as much as I dislike it. Storenvy has some great features and aspects to it but some of the limitations it has makes it tough to run a sizeable record distro through. At some point I would like to host my own cart system but I have yet to come across someone who can set up what I need. The last one I had was hacked and the hackers completely ruined my store and web site so I have been using Storenvy since.
Any bands in Albany we should check out?
Albany has some really great bands right now. NEUTRON RATS are one of the longer running bands of recent years. They harness the demons of DISCHARGE and ANTI-CIMEX without being another boring dbeat or noisecore clone. They just released a split flexi with Rochester’s ROTTEN UK. SCUZZ arose from the ashes of ANAL WARHEAD and have been around about 2 years now. After a few tapes just released, their first vinyl, a split with another fantastic local band MALE PATTERNS who also have their own EP that came out a few months ago on Shock To The System Records. SCUZZ will have an LP coming out on Loud Punk later in the year/early 2016. AGGRESSIVE RESPONSE are another band that’s been around for about 2 years now featuring a bunch of guys that have played in all sorts of local bands over the years. They play classic NY style hardcore (pre-metal influence) and their debut LP will be the first release out in August on local distro turned label, Wax Deli Distro. CAPITLE, Albany’s original hardcore band reformed about 2 years ago and play the occasional show. They will be recording a new 7″ and a collection of their demos on LP soon..Last but not least AFTER THE FALL are no newcomers to the scene. They have been playing catchy, fast and abrasive pop punk for the last 15 years and were recently signed by Bridge 9 Records and released their new LP Dedication.
Any last words?
The world of running a label and distro is getting harder and harder with no light at the end of the tunnel. Support your favorite places because if you don’t, one day they won’t be there. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a world without places like Havoc, Ebullition, Prank, Velted Regnub and Feral Ward. Thanks to everyone that has supported me over the years, it truly means more to me then I can put words to. Much love and respect to Brendan, Dan and Colin from Neutron Rats, Jay and Joey from AGGRESSIVE RESPONSE, Cannonball and all my other friends in Albany that have helped make the shit work a little less shitty. Without their help and assistance I would still be assembling releases from 2010.