Interviews

An interview with Heinzel of DIY hardcore/screamo label Krimskramz Records

krimskramz
Heinzel has been running his emotive screamo/hardcore label Krimskramz since 2015 and he’s already managed to concentrate on a lot of amazing records presenting a bunch of interesting artists and create a well known brand in European punk scene. We sat dow with Philipp to talk about his transition from Würzburg, Germany’s Shivery.MMXII.Productions (2012-2015) to a whole new chapter that he’s recently opened up in Barcelona, Spain. Read the full interview below and, as always, look out for a plethora of worthile music recommendations. Buen provecho!

Hey buddy! Thanks so much for taking some time with us. How are you? How are things going?

Heeey! Thank you for offering me doing this interview and sacrificing even more time! In this very moment not too good, since I’m moving house now and my whole body is super exhausted… But besides that I really can’t complain! How are you? I hope temperatures haven’t droped sub-zero already in Warsaw.

Unfortunately! Mainly because we just received loads of snow and it’s still above 0°C, so you can only imagine the result. Freakin’ wet & muddy streets, haha.

Alright, so let’s start off with a wider introduction of Krimskramz. Please drop us a couple of lines about the idea behind this project, how it supplement your previous label Shivery Productions and what drove you towards it in the first place?

Oh shit… Snow is great, but these side effects if it’s too warm are really a pain. Hope your shoes are waterproof!

I’ll try introducing the project a bit! As you just mentioned, Krimskramz followed up our old label Shivery Productions and the reasons for founding it were basically the same as for Shivery. I wanted to continue helping out friends by releasing their records (or occasionally setting up shows for them), get in touch with new and interesting people I didn’t know before due to firstly enjoying their music and hopefully at some point meeting and becoming friends with them! Basically we would have continued doing the same with Shivery, but we’ve all moved away from the town we previously lived in. So it made sense to move on and start new projects. Pascal (living in Berlin since the beginning of the year) is running Tadzio Records now!

Shivery MMXII Productions, Daria, Heinzel and Pascal, by Sindy Rose

Shivery MMXII Productions: Daria, Heinzel and Pascal, by Sindy Rose

How’s life in Barcelona been for you so far?

Right now I’m a bit screwed due to losing my job, but I’ll find something else eventually. Generally I’m super happy here though! It’s such an attractive city and I can feel how I’m constantly learning and experiencing new things. There’s always a lot of things to do and visit and obviously simply hanging out and meeting new people is great, too! The fact that it’s still not too cold to have a beer or eat sunflower seeds while sqatting outside is such an advantage as well…

D’you have some favorite local acts?

Yes there are some really great and interesting Catalan bands!

ABOBINABLE!, PLEASE WAIT from whom I’ve just released an Album called “Look Around, See Inside”. They are from Sant Feliu de Guíxols and play post-hardcore / 90s Emo; “HURRICADE” who I’ve sadly never seen live, but they rule and are such nice people and good friends from Girona; Finally “TANO!” from Barcelona/Girona who everyone should listen to, because it’s difficult to describe and simply amazing and diverse. Thanks Karol for putting the s/t LP in your Free Download section earlier!

Sorry for switching our two places now.

What are your favourite local acts from Warsaw, Karol? I would like to listen to some :)

Oh yes! I wish HURRICADE were still around. I’ve featured both TANO and PLEASE WAIT on IDIOTEQ earlier in 2016, haha! [See the links above]

Warsaw wise, please check out LIMP BLITZKRIEG, WE WATCH CLOUDS, HEATSEEKER, STREET LIGHTS, HARD TO BREATHE, LAZY CLASS, EL BANDA, BROOKS WAS HERE, GOVERNMENT FLU, WOUNDED KNEE, DRIP OF LIES, TIDES FROM NEBULA, DEAD SIRENS. Sorry for not including a bunch of other bands. We definitely lack screamo, emoviolence, powerviolence and raw post hardcore bands in our area. Also, there are loads of amazing artists from all kinds of genres in the rest of the country!

Back to Barcelona, what is the connection like with people at shows? Have you been a heavy gig-goer since moving to Spain?

Currently HURRICÄDE is on an indefinite hiatus and maybe we’ll be lucky to see them one day or listen to additional songs. – Maybe not.

Thanks a lot for this huge list on WARSAW! I’ll definetly check it out. Sad to hear that you’re lacking on these genres though…

When I moved here, my first flatmates Raquel and Anna brought me to a show in a squat in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat on my very first evening. On this show I saw KLS among others! KLS hit me so much, that I released their newest 7″ EP “SUPERPOP” in spring. Now in the last months I found out who the among others were, since I forgot who was playing due to drinking a few cerveses amb preus populars. N.I.T. and MECONIO, they are all super nice bands and people and some of them are members of the mythic Ojalá Estë Mi Bici collective, who put on amazing DIY shows of completly different genres. But well, on this evening I didn’t meet them, but at least I started directly with being a heavy gig-goer!

I was so happy to meet Hectorlein (a.k.a. Héctor), who is also a part of Ojalá Estë Mi Bici. He was always so welcoming and really helped getting to know people and becoming a part of the circles here… Which lead to going to even more gigs :)

Oh man, I wish I had more time for gigs these days. Apart from running this webzine, I’m a full time employee of one of the biggest Polish tech companies and quite a family guy, so it makes harder and harder to follow all gigs. There are certainly less opportunities for me, but also a noticeable downslide when it some to gigs in general. There used to be way more crowded shows in Warsaw, but I guess it’s a temporary turn. Nevertheless, there are a lot of active promoters, bands, labels, and they’re keeping it up. I get this feeling that there used to be more full packed shows like this one or even less attended, but very atmospheric DIY basement shows, some house shows and grear shows at local squats when there was more around. I promise we’ll break it down in a more detailed form sometime!

Meanwhile, back to Barcelona, how strong is the distinction between the genders represented in local independent art scenes you experienced ‘from the inside’?

Wow man! You’re so so active on IDIOTEQ, additionally having a full time job must be so much work, I personally could probably not handle this :D

This VERSE show looks super nice and packed. But yes even though things might have stagnated now, I’m sure that it’s just one of the temporary low tides, that can be observed in every big city from time to time. After there will be another wave again soon!

I think after living here for only one year, my observations are still quite blurry and subjective…

Today some friends are showing a documentary about a female Punk/Noise band from Chile and the local (DIY) scene there. After that Paula, Sofi and Víctor will play with their Punk/Emo band called MENDRA. This is just an example, but I feel like here more women are involved in the DIY punk scene than in Germany. Like everywhere it is sadly still a quite male dominated scene…

As I said my experience is not the best, but I feel like in the visual art scene on the other hand there’s more women involved here than men! The people behind the stands on “Gutterfest”, which is a DIY art fair here, also proved this!

Ok, so back to the label, are there any other labels that you look to for inspiration as far as launching and growing Krimskramz?

Actually a lot of different ones and at the same time none… Now I’m not really inspired by any in particular, but by the DIY ethics in general. A few years ago, especially when starting out with our old label SHIVERY PRODUCTIONS, I was looking up to labels like React With Protest, Adagio or Dog Knights!

Your artists belong to various subgenres, but it all makes sense together. What is the common thread between these artists?

This answer sounds too simple, but it’s simply my taste I guess…

But I do often find it as important that the people involved are great as well. Generally I would also release a record I like (but that doesn’t blow me away), if I like the people who wrote these songs that are going to get pressed :)

What would you say is your main ethos?

To be honest I would say that I don’t have too much of it…  Like a deep political motivation or something.

Generally I think I was always more inspired by interpersonal things. Inspired by getting to know the people behind the music I’ve released, building friendships, connecting all over europe and even the world. Hosting them, but also getting to see the places they live in, learn more about their cultures and languages, while simply having a good time.

So I guess the main motivation is helping out these people I’ve met on my journey and always meeting new ones…

Heinzel Bäcker, Dizzie Pascal and Daria de Malvoir. by Sindy Rose

Shivery Productions: Heinzel Bäcker, Dizzie Pascal and Daria de Malvoir, by Sindy Rose.

Sounds like a good motivation to me.

How much do you look to new acts? What’s the ratio of being flooded with requests to seeking new additions to your catalogue? What is the process for bringing on new artists to the label?

Yes for me as well!

I would say that it’s mainly either friends asking me if I’d like to release their stuff or friends who ask for friends, because they run a label as well and want to co-release it or just because they want to help.

Indeed there is big waves of mail requests and I’m super slow in replying to all of them. Most of those bands asking me are not really my thing… It often seems like people are too lazy to research a bit about the labels they ask, so it happens quite often that metalcore bands or whatever will ask me for help and I’m simpy not into it. Another thing that happens quite often is that I’m out of money due to having planned too many other releases (and not selling much) or just being poor.

What formats do you release? Also, what do you think about tapes? Have they made a real comeback?

I personally really like tapes, even though I haven’t released any on krimskramz yet. Just vinyl…

On our old label we released quite many though and tapes are great, beautiful and affordable.

Not quite sure if there’s a comeback though, since they used to be way more present! But they’ve definetly displaced CDs again, which is good.

Heinzel live by Auras & Impressions

Photo by Auras & Impressions

How much of a struggle is printing vinyls these days?

It really depends on the pressing company and the contacts you have… If you’re super lucky, records might be pressed within a month, but normally it’s more like up to half a year, what can be quite a pain. But as long as the records come out at some point we should be happy enough. So for example if you want to bring your new record on a tour you have planned and they shouldn’t be ready, it really makes sense to quickly dub some tapes in order to be able to bring something :)

KRIMSKRAMZ vinyls

Do you see as much physical distros at shows as it was years ago? Has the digital revolution already changed the landscape of good old trading, zine culture and social networking in reality?

This is a tricky one… I think back in Germany I didn’t really realise a big difference over the last years, but this might also be due to being a 25 years old greenhorn. So I simply can’t compare my experiences with the ones people made in the 90s…

Here in Spain this is obviously even more difficult, but what I’ve seen in one year is super positive. We trade a lot, there’s many zines and basically everyone is helping everyone which is so great. For example a month ago there was another “encuentro diy”, like a convention of diy stuff basically. Small labels, people that make pedals or write zines, just to name some examples. There were bands (for example my friends Tano!) playing, people trading stuff, getting to know each other, eating and drinking.

Any cool reads you’d like to recommend?

Since I live here, I’ve actually just bought one single zine and traded an additional one. The one I bought was a zine that documents the punk scene in Barcelona with pictures. The other one, a “Recetario Sónico Popular”, is also not the typical fanzine, since it’s a fanzine with pictures, text and mp3s in which you can listen (and read along) to people reciting traditional Galician recipes and hear the sounds of the kitchen they are in.

Since I’m still not completely fluent in Spanish, due to just learning it since I moved here, these two fanzines are easier for me and I’m still stopping myself subconsciously from buying zines in Spanish. Furthermore living in Catalunya means most zines that are sold here, are not even in Spanish and my Catalan is even worse than my Spanish…

I’m optimistic that I will learn more of both languages fast enough and will be able to read Spanish/Catalan zines more fluently soon!

Heinzel by Tina Oesterhelt

Photo: Heinzel by Tina Oesterhelt

Ok, so lastly, what can we expect from Krimskramz in 2017?

Generally I will continue doing what I love and there are already some things in the works.

The ones that are lined up are once again records from friends and bands I’ve already released stuff from :)

Due to huge delays the first thing that’s going to happen in 2017 will finally be the arrival of the YOTSUYA KAIDAN / DET ÄR DÄRFÖR VI BYGGER STÄDER – Split 7″.

Following up to this I will release another Split with Det är därför vi bygger städer, who will share the next 7″ with PETTERSSON.

LA CIENCIA and DESIDIA, two bands from Galicia will release a Split 12″, which will be quite special since they were some of the first people I met from Spain.

Last but not least a new 12″ record from DECURS! Really looking forward to all of this :)

Awesome! Be sure to let me know as soon as more plans appear.

Thanks so much for your time and good luck for your new Spanish chapter of life! The last words are yours.

I will always keep you posted Karol and please don’t thank me, since it was a huge pleasure to talk to you and I’m more in the position of having to thank you :)

Also to all of you for reading this interview, I appreciate it a lot. I wish everyone a great start into the new year and the best of luck for everything.

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