March 4th, 2015 by Amelia
This interview is with Chris (also known as Scooch) and Kyle who are responsible for Shithammer Records and the Manic Relapse fest. Manic Relapse Vol. 3 is this weekend in Oakland. These boys have tirelessly organized this fest all year and have contributed a lot to the DIY Oakland punk community through their efforts. A lot of cool stuff is happening this weekend from the Bizarre Bazaar kicking things off this Friday afternoon to crazy lineups beginning Friday night to after shows and a slew of cool cassettes from Shithammer Records that are limited and available at gigs. Even though Kyle moved to Philly last year, they’re both in Oakland now and tying up lose ends so that we can have a killer time. Here are the boys…
Who runs Shithammer Presents?
Shithammer distro, record label and booking is a collective of punks, run by Chris mainly on the West Coast and Kyle on the East Coast.
Who is organizing this year’s fest?
Chris is doing most of the organizing while drawing help from folks all over the West Coast, including people like Dark Raids, Nightrider Records, Human Double Face, MMM Discos and I’m sure a bunch of others we forgot.
How did things change when Kyle moved to Philly?
Things have definitely been different. We split our distro stock down the center and everything is handled by weekly phone calls, packages, PayPal, carrier pigeons, smoke signals and Skynet. It’s not a perfect science but things are moving forward more than ever. We are able to cover more ground, explore more scenes, and highlight our favorite things happening around us.
How the fuck did you get WORLD BURNS TO DEATH and then APPENDIX to headline? I didn’t even know they still played shows. Has APPENDIX ever been to the States before?
I don’t kiss and tell. APPENDIX has never been to the states before and we’re real excited to have them and it’s always sick to have a great band like WORLD BURNS TO DEATH and all the other hardworking, traveling bands coming from all over.
What local bands are playing — even if technically not all members live in the Bay Area?
STINKWARD, LECHEROUS GAZE, APRIORI, RULETA RUSA, PIG DNA, KICKER, SIDE.EFFECTS, RECKLESS, REMNANTS, KORROSIVE, SSYNDROM, RUKKUS and MONSTER SQUAD.
What about the after gigs?
…But after the gig? After gigs are always super fun and a chance to see a band up close and personal and always end up being full of chaotic surprises.
How many international bands this year?
Three and a quarter — APPENDIX, TERVEET KÄDET, LIFE CHAIN, and one member of MORPHEME came from Japan.
Is it hard getting international bands with the cost of plane tickets? How do you manage that?
It can be hard and stressful but with help from our community we find ways to make it possible.
Do you think we currently have a good scene here in Oakland? What is solid and what are we lacking?
With the tech industry booming in the last few years a lot of punks can’t afford to live here anymore, and it’s not as much of a crusty paradise as it was in the past. It’s kinda nutty, people are still getting killed daily and robberies have never been worse, but rent is still skyrocketing.
This has brought about a change in faces in our punk scene and has made the punks that are tough enough to stick it out way more integral than ever. It can get hard to separate the people who are actually doing positive and constructive things in our scene and who is just showing up for the party. But, overall, things are good.
Are you having problems with venues? Didn’t you almost not have a venue last year?
People have recognized all the work and effort we have exerted so far over the past two years and have come to rely on our ability to book shows. We aren’t considered as much of a risk and a definite trust has been established between us and our venues that might not have been there before.
What lessons did you learn from last year’s Manic Relapse Fest?
We’ve learned to be more preemptive with our planning and more thought out and constructive. We also learned when to ask for fucking help.
Besides the CRUCIFIX commemorative show for their 30-year anniversary of Dehumanization last year where they played under the name 1984, what were the other highlights from Manic Relapse Fest Vol. 2?
I think that was my favorite part of last year’s fest and most people won’t contest that. But, that being said the day show at World Rage with BLAZING EYE and RULETA RUSA and the after gig at Pink String with NOMAD and FUTURE were incredibly intense. There were far too many things to count on one hand and the fest was just killer over all. It was us trying to get our favorite bands in the world to play for hundred of our best friends and this year will be even more Manic.
Why is this year different?
The bands are getting bigger, the ideas are getting bigger, everything is just on a grander scale and easier but more exhausting at the same time.
What do you recommend to punks coming here from other places? Where should they stay if they don’t know anyone yet? Is Oakland walkable?
Be smart, be safe, respect the locals (whether they’re punk or not), don’t walk at night alone if you don’t have to, learn about the BART and bus routes and schedules, or download Uber or Lyft. Hotels can be found by the Metro and on the east side of town with little to no research.
Carry a knife. Can we get tickets in advance?
Pre-sales are currently sold out, but door admission is still available at the gigs.
How can we stay up to date on after shows and more bands being announced?
You can always e-mail us at or Check our Facebook at facebook.com/shithammerdistro or facebook.com/manicrelapsefest, and check the Facebook event here.
Any last words, punks?
We’re very grateful for how things have grown and progressed over the past three years. It’s cool to see a tight knit group of friends make meticulously laid plans into a reality through hard work and perseverance. We’re excited to see how this weekend will play out and look forward to Manic Relapse volume four.