January 8th, 2014 by Amelia
Vinyl Rites got on my radar with BRAIN KILLER’s Church and State 8″ in 2009. I finally got to put a face to Vinyl Rites when I met Daniel on MAUSER’s last tour. Here he is…
How did you start Vinyl Rites?
By asking a lot of questions to Var who owns No Idea Records, stealing money from the food service job I had, and wanting to document my friends’ bands no one cared about.
Is the name a reference to anything?
No, it’s just a stupid pun.
What was the first record you released?
October of 2006, RELIGIOUS AS FUCK s/t 7″. We did 500 copies and it sold pretty quick.
Tell us more about the BRAIN KILLER 8″.
My old band DEAD FRIENDS played a basement or three with BRAIN KILLER in Boston, when they only had a tape out. They blew me away. Very few bands were doing that style at the time. I offered to do a record and they said no because they claimed they wanted to put it out themselves. That cute idea evaporated when Deranged offered to do a record, but we had already talked about doing an 8″ for fun. At that point the label was all about experimenting and trying different things, so I was excited about it. Also, between the time of us agreeing to do the 8″ and it actually coming out, people started hyping them up a bit. I regret doing the 8″ now, because it was so limited and it is a great release. Fuck Marcus.
What is your favorite format to release punk? 8″s?
12″ 45 rpm, black heavy vinyl that is not pressed at United or Pirates Press. I wish 8″s, 5″s, and every other odd size would disappear.
Yeah odd sizes are a pain in the ass. What pressing plant do you use? Who do you use for sleeves?
I am currently using Rainbo for vinyl, via SAMO Media. SAMO is a broker, which makes my experience with the plant much easier and keeps unexpected costs to a minimum. I use Imprint for pro-printed sleeves, but we still screen print and xerox a lot of stuff.
How has being from Florida influenced you?
We have to work hard for what we have here. Some big cities do too (like Boston, which has constant venue problems), but when we tour and see how easy it is to book a show and have a hundred kids show up it always makes me crazy. Some of the best bands play Gainesville and there will be ten people at the show. On a more personal level, I love old stuff. I sell used records for a living, and love antiques and shit. The South is great for this — tons of flea markets, junk shops, and thrift stores. I don’t know what I would do if I moved to a big city and had to get a real job.
Sounds like the life — it’s what I do every time I travel down South. You just find the craziest stuff! How has being based in Florida affected your label?
I only put out what I like by people I like. Initially it was more of a regional thing, but that ended quick. It has been mostly bands from Florida though, with the exceptions being bands from NY and Boston, which I’ve always had strong ties to.
Anything specific to Florida punk that makes it special?
It’s in bad taste to say this in print, but I don’t think Florida bands are special. I think the recent crop of Gainesville and Tampa bands are extremely special (CHURCH WHIP and ECTOPLASM, specifically), but Florida as a whole doesn’t impress me. We have a rich history, some of my favorite bands are from here, but most states do. Florida is weird, and we are known around the country for being weird. Sometimes it makes the bands better, but most of the time it makes the bands try to mix too many genres before they try to just write good songs.
It seems a lot of people leave Florida… Are there kids moving there? Best cities to be in?
There isn’t a lot of people moving here from out of state, but a lot of freaks end up in Gainesville, as it is one of the only tolerable places in Florida. I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the state. Our scene is about to hit a huge slump, you can kind of see it on the horizon. A lot of people are moving away, but the core group of creative people are still killing it and there’s a lot of great new bands starting.
Well, at least there was MAUSER. How was MAUSER tour? How did you wind up being in the band?
The most recent tour was in March of 2013 with our good friends from Japan, FOLKEIIS, and the great LA band MUNDA MUERTO. It was a great tour, the best domestic tour of my life. Seeing FOLKEIIS completely destroy every night was very inspiring. They’re a very cool band that follows no trends. They just write killer songs and play as hard as they can every single night. I joined MAUSER when the old bass player quit. I had known all the guys for many years and had put out their first EP. I still don’t write or record anything for them, just play live and tour.
What was the scene like when you were coming up?
I grew up in a tourist trap, going to mostly hardcore shows. We would travel a lot to Gainesville and Orlando to see bands like FLOOR, CAVITY, REVERSAL OF MAN, etc. Big names of the late ’90s and early 2000s. I was really into Florida death metal too, and still listen to a lot of that early stuff more than punk.
What local distros and record labels do you first remember?
There was never a distro in my small town, but No Idea Records was very prevalent in the area. They carried a lot of hardcore and their prices were dirt cheap. It’s kind of strange that 15 years later I co-own a record store with those folks, as I ordered some of my first 7″s from them.
Did you model your label after a specific label/distro?
Prank Records was definitely my biggest influence when I was starting the label. For about ten years I bought everything Prank put out, and I still try to keep up. Vinyl Rites was really limited in the beginning by finances — things that appeared to be limited were only so because I wanted to sink the money into new projects instead of repressing old ones. Prank has always been great about keeping their catalog in print, putting out eclectic sounding bands, and having everything look excellent. Much respect.
Yeah, Ken and Prank Records rule. What’s your advice to punx who want to get in the game?
Put out what you like and never rush a record for tour. If the band didn’t get you the recording and art with enough time, that’s not your fault. Do your best to get it out, but don’t compromise quality because you are in a hurry.
How is doing this rewarding?
I’ve met some very good friends from all over the world because of doing the label and trading records. I’ve gotten to permanently document some bands and things that were nearly forgotten or no one knew about in the first place.
How is it frustrating?
Punks don’t want to pay what it costs to make records. I don’t need their money, I have a job, but it would be nice if labels could afford to pay bands more because they do deserve it. The stigma of not making money off punk is fine with me. It weeds out a lot of assholes, but records haven’t gone up with inflation nor have door prices at gigs. There’s no easy answer here. No one wants to pay $10 for a new 7″. I get frustrated that there isn’t a better answer than, “Everyone is broke, sorry.” Fuck it though, I would take punk over metal or whatever other stupid genres there are out there.
What were your latest releases?
VACCINE/NO FAITH split 7″ and the CHURCH WHIP 7″.
Any upcoming releases?
I have the immense privilege of reissuing the MORBID OPERA discography, who are a great and legendary Florida band from the ’80s. Around the same time will be a collaboration 12″ between two bands I’ve been friends with for over ten years, THOU and THE BODY. It’s musically a little outside of what Vinyl Rites usually does, but they are punks playing loud music, which is all I care about. Sick bands, great people, incredible record.
How can we stay up to date on Vinyl Rites? What’s the best way to contact you?
www.vinylrites.net, or if you are ever in Gainesville please stop by the record store we opened a year and a half ago. It’s called Arrow’s Aim Records, and is located at 101 N. Main St.
Thanks for not giving us a link to a tacky Facebook page or something. Corporate social media is not punk! Any last words, punk?