In the mainstream section of so called ‘alternative music’ scene, there is a mistaken idea that artists and labels, as well as promoters are at war. Our good buddy Dave Norman from Canadian DIY label Zegema Beach Records is extremely passionate about new music, he’s been doing a massive work promoting underground bands, and it’s been always a pleasure to support his work through numerous features here on IDIOTEQ. When he put out the latest issue of Zampler label compilation, I really wanted to help him out and came up with this devilish idea of interviewing all of the 25 acts featured on the record. We have almost succeeded, and it is not without reason that 24 bands have been eager to share their thoughts on their contribution, Dave’s label, DIY culture and some worthwhile artists recommendations.
Zegema Beach Records represents a DIY potency at the height of the tide. Its releases can at times be demanding, but there is a great joy in the listening repetition, and a plethora of emotions in its extremity. In loads of varied, urgent, dense, experimental, and intelligent releases available at Zegema Beach Records, dozens of artists have produced something that is very much their own. We have been always eager to learn about independent bands, either their initial steps, or surther evolution and maturation.
The following multi-interview was conducted with 24 post hardcore / screamo / experimental hardcore punk artists associated with Zegema Beach Records label: RUTKA LASKIER (Czech Republic), UNDER A SKY SO BLUE (USA), CROWNING (USA), YOUTH NOVEL (USA), RESPIRE (Canada), THE WORLD THAT SUMMER (Canada), SLEEPER WAVE (USA), SUBJECTS/RULERS (USA), MASSA NERA (USA), МЯТЕЖ (MRTEX) (USA), KELUT (USA), WE WATCH CLOUDS (Poland), LESSENER (USA), APOSTLES OF ERIS (USA), DREI AFFEN (Spain), THE ULTIMATE SCREAMO BAND (Canada), SYNODUS HORRENDA (USA), THEY SLEEP WE LIVE (Germany), VI SOM ÄLSKADE VARANDRA SÅ MYCKET (Sweden) TERRY GREEN (Canada), VEIN (USA), GIF FROM GOD (USA), SALIGIA (Germany), and CONGRATULATIONS (Canada). УЛЫБАЙСЯ ВЕТРУ‘s (Russia) part is the only one missing.
Artwork by Connie Sgarbossa.
Hey guys! Thanks so much for doing your part! Please drop us a couple of lines about your contribution track.
RUTKA LASKIER: Hi, we thank you for doing your part!
UNDER A SKY SO BLUE: The Poverty of Modern Life is the 2nd track off of our new EP The Spectacle Provides. This song discusses the crushing realities of living under a capitalistic system and combating them through unified resistance.
CROWNING: Hey! We’re CROWNING from Chicago, and our song “Velleity” is track 3 on the Zampler off our soon to be released Funeral Designs EP. It’s a tough and tender jam, a lil emoviolence, a lil euroskramz.
Maya Chun of YOUTH NOVEL: Thanks so much for having us!! VII is actually a pretty old track, we wrote it before we wrote the songs on the COMA REGALIA split. It’s also the first track with our friend Tristan Garwood (SAINTLY ROWS, BONZO) on drums!
RESPIRE: Our contribution to the Zegema Beach Records Zampler #8 is a track from our full length Gravity and Grace which Dave helped put out. It’s the second song on the record, Ascent. It’s probably the most thorough example of what RESPIRE sounds like. It’s got everything we do all in one track.
THE WORLD THAT SUMMER: Moth Volcano is definitely one of our favourite songs we’ve written. This one was pretty spontaneous. It’s a very rhythm-driven track. It came about during practice when our bassist Mike just started playing around with a very driving bass riff. For me on drums, the beat came about pretty easily and we just kept this loop going. It was very energetic but also kind of brooding. From there the rest of the elements fell into place pretty easily and it quickly became a very intense (if not one of our most intense) songs.
SLEEPER WAVE: This track is the final song of our side of the upcoming 2×12” 8-way split record coming out on Zegema Beach this year. It represents a bit of a change in our sound towards a heavier style that we are working on incorporating with the more melodic sounding parts of our earlier material. We were listening to a ton of JEROMES DREAM for this track and I think CAUST was also mentioned as an influence at one point during the writing.
SUBJECTS / RULERS: This is one of my favorite things Matt has ever written… It’s very grownup sounding compared to some of the other things we have done in the past… His voice is pretty righteous on this track too… It was one of the fastest ones we wrote, everything just came together and progressed quite naturally.
MASSA NERA: Some lyrics that pretty effectively encapsulate what our contribution (“Doing Nothing for Others Is the Undoing of Ourselves”) is about: “Cut my arms and leave me to die./ Turn me into a bowl of soup. / Cut their fins and leave them to die. / We need them. Respect their beauty. / Tasteless. A Trophy.”
МЯТЕЖ: Our song is called “The Truth About Human Design” and is a commentary on how humans have been designed into the current system dominated by the economy, capital growth, jobs and consumers. It is one of two tracks from our upcoming cassette split with Baltimore’s SYNODUS HORRENDA, whom we played with on our last little US tour.
Miles of KELUT: Thank you!! Determining Things was the second song we ever wrote (Riflessioni… was our first) and still a personal favorite of mine – we were definitely trying to go down the chaotic road with this one, between the d-beats, the odd time blasts and riffs, and the weird clean section, pretty much every section in this song hits something different I love about heavy and chaotic music.
WE WATCH CLOUDS: Hey! the track was recorded in 2015 with a slightly different line up. the style of music was more melodic and less aggressive than it is at the moment, but we consider those as a good times when we were just starting playing together.
Michael of LESSENER: This track was written for and about the late Nick Thompson from Blood Of The Young records. A lot of my friends and peers had known him throughout their lives and I had unfortunately never been given the chance to meet him. Through speaking with his close friends over the last year, I felt as if I had known him, to some degree or another and I realized that if we had met we would have likely been good friends. This serves as a constant reminder to me that we should all constantly tell our friends how much they mean to us, each and every day.
APOSTLES OF ERIS: “Putting Faith Into Fantasy” features some guest vocals from David Norman, just a standard anti-religious sort of tune.
DREI AFFEN: Hi Karol! We are so glad to collaborate with you! Well, the song we chose for this compilation is called “Miedo” (in English “Fear”) and it belongs to our first, and only, EP that was released physically in October 2016 and it’s actually the one that David chose himself. It’s the longest track in the album and one of our favourites too.
THE ULTIMATE SCREAMO BAND: My contribution track is taken from the split 7” « LORA & tHE ULTIMATE SCREAMO BAND ». I am very happy with how this song turned out; if you must know, there is a clean part that was erased because it sounded bad; the lyrics are about deception, and fear that someone you love will die without you knowing about it.
SYNODUS HORRENDA: Our track is a song on our upcoming split with MRTEX. It was recorded at Skramden Yards by Matt Redenbo (of EYELET). It is short and fast.
THEY SLEEP WE LIVE: Hey, thanks for having us. Our contributed track is our opening track of December last years released “escaping the measures of time” 12inch, that was released with the help of a couple lovely diy based recordlabels, one of them is Zegema Beach Records.
Arvid from VI SOM ÄLSKADE VARANDRA SÅ MYCKET: Hello again. This is Arvid from VSÄVSM answering. “Jag vet att det gör ont men varför gör det så jävla ont” was recorded at the same session as our 12″ “Den sorgligaste musiken i världen”. We always liked the track but couldn´t fit it on the record. When THEY SLEEP WE LIVE approached us about doing a split we thought it was a great track to use for that. The song is about the pain that comes with loss and though you know it´s coming you are never prepared on how much it can hurt.
TERRY GREEN: Its called “one” and its the first track off of our upcoming LP coming out this year. Its titled “Michael soft Sam” on the zampler but it’s more of a working title/joke title
VEIN: A track from our latest split w/ .gif from god.
.GIF FROM GOD: Thanks for having us! Why I Died Wide Eyed was the first song we wrote after defragmented. Chris, who comes up with a lot of the songs, wanted to do more DAUGHTERS sounding stuff. Thematically, we wanted the song to sound like a horror movie.
SALIGIA: It’t the opening song from our upcoming 10″ called “loud speaker” . these are the words for it . think they speak for themselves: Faith + ethos are blinkers and stimulant drug for the foolish masses since time immemorial. It’s either black or white – the simple logic of dogma. And whoever speaks loudest, is always right.
CONGRATULATIONS: We recorded this track for a split 7” with THE RABBIT THEORY (Switzerland) which is coming out on Zegema Beach and Time As A Color Records. It will be the last release from either band. Justin and Sasha wrote this song.
How did you find out about Zegema Beach Records? What led you to being part of the amazing work of David?
RUTKA LASKIER: I think most of us did find out about ZBR when David wrote about the compilation. We had a nice conversation about music and few other topics. He seems to be a good person, so why not? Later when we checked the ZBR we were quite happy to be part of this compilation.
UNDER A SKY SO BLUE: We’ve known David for a few years and were introduced to them through mutual friends and acquaintances. When I was asking labels about helping release our new EP David was the first person that I thought to approach about being involved. While we were discussing when the release would be ready they suggested that we take part in the ZBR Zampler that was upcoming.
CROWNING: Justin was already a fan of open mind/saturated brain for a while. David has just always done a great job of finding and promoting new stuff, so when we had our ep ready we sent it to him in the hopes that he’d maybe do a feature on it on the blog or something. It turned out he really liked it, and he was gracious enough to ask us to do a tape run with him/ZBR. We couldn’t possibly be more excited because we have so much respect for him, the label, and the blog. David knows his shit so to get an endorsement from him meant a lot to us as a very new band. We’ve only known him digitally, but I already want him to carry my casket (and just him).
Maya Chun of YOUTH NOVEL: I was made aware of Zegema Beach largely through the blog, which is a ridiculously prolific resource for so many really really really cool bands– I think YOUTH NOVEL started working with David before I joined the band, but Zegema Beach and Skeletal Lightning put out the first physical cassette I’ve ever been a part of (Turned Around Abruptly…) which was super frickin sweet.
RESPIRE: It feels like we’ve known Dave forever so this feels like a hard question to try and answer. The 6th Zegema Beach Records release is FOXMOULDER’s Lethe, an album by a band that’s ½ of Respire. We’ve all seen David at shows around Toronto and we’ve all spent a decent time going through his incredible distro, which is probably most of our first in-person interaction with him. That’s probably how most of us got to know Dave and Zegema Beach. When RESPIRE started playing and releasing music David expressed lots of interest in the band right away, and we began talks to release our full length together all the way back in the early stages of the band.
THE WORLD THAT SUMMER: I had gone to a bunch of local shows in Hamilton that Dave was involved with over a couple of years and always noticed this guy selling a bunch of tapes and records. I remember browsing through a few times, but never really talking to Dave. He’s a bit of a social butterfly. Finally in the summer of 2015 I was at a LIFE IN VACUUM show and we got talking about music and running shows. Dave was looking for a band to play an upcoming gig, and I sent him a link to some of other band’s stuff. We played that show, and shortly afterwards we started THE WORLD THAT SUMMER together. The rest they say, is history.
SLEEPER WAVE: I probably heard about Dave and Zegema Beach through one of the various emo/screamo related subgroups on Facebook, and was immediately blown away by both the breadth and quality of their catalog, as well as the awesome work Dave does sharing music on his blog. We were incredibly stoked when Dave hit us up about filling the position of one of the North American bands that dropped off the planned 8-way, and have been working with him ever since.
SUBJECTS / RULERS: I found out about zegema beach through a mutual friend of David and myself. Jesse Mowrey would always tell me about this guy he talked to that had a really rad label, and was into all of the same nerdy music that we were into. He has also helped out on releases from other bands we have played in in the past.
MASSA NERA: Most of us have been familiar with Zegema Beach Records for quite a while. I imagine it would be difficult for anyone with a serious interest in this sort of music to avoid discovering ZBR for an extended period of time. With that being said, I think I (Mark) was the last person in the band to find out about David’s label, despite having been a pretty ardent “screamo” fan (or whatever you want to call this music) for the past 8 years. I’ve been a semi-avid reader of his blog (Open Mind / Saturated Brain) for two years now, yet somehow avoided any mention of ZBR until we played with David’s band, мятеж, last August. I quickly rectified this and enthusiastically dove into the ZBR catalog.
As for our participation in the most recent Zampler, I believe David reached out to us a while back about it. Either that, or Chris (one of our guitarists) reached out to David. Truth be told, I actually didn’t find out about this until it was released! Needless to say, I was amazed that David would even think about including us, much less follow through on such thoughts.
МЯТЕЖ: I found out about it when I had the idea to start it back in 2003 and watched Starship Troopers with my roommate.
Miles of KELUT: Of the band, I was definitely the latest to the scene, considering everyone else had prior been in YUSUKE, GOLIATH, etc etc, so I found David’s label and blog (Open Mind/Saturated Brain) through them – ended up seeing him with МЯТЕЖ at Warp Zone Fest 2 here in Peoria and been in touch since
WE WATCH CLOUDS: To be honest before david contacted us i had heard only few words about Zegema , and didnt actually know how much he is doing for the worldwide screamo scene, and when he asked us if we would like to participate in this project we didn’t hesitate for a single second.
Michael of LESSENER: I originally found out about Zegema Beach from one of the Zamplers that I acquired from my friends in THE SKY ABOVE AND EARTH BELOW. They played a show in Boston in 2013 and gave me a bunch of free stuff, including Zampler #2 and Zampler #3 that David had put out. I think simultaneously David was posting reviews ever so often via his blog Open Mind Saturated Brain, which I was a big fan of. I approached David asking to help out with the KEN BURNS final 7” and through that we’ve definitely bonded, I later ended up playing a show with him and we had gotten to know each other a lot more through that.
APOSTLES OF ERIS: I started talking to David because I saw some of his blog posts and nerded out about CEASE UPON THE CAPITOL and other bands with him. I showed him my old band ALTAR OF COMPLAINTS and we talked about doing a release, but we broke up before that could happen. Then he asked me to play bass with mrtex on tour and we became best friends immediately. I showed him some of my solo stuff and we ended up doing a split when he got a band together in his city called THE WORLD THAT SUMMER.
DREI AFFEN: Zegema Beach Records is a DIY label we already knew because of bands we listen such as LA PARADE, LENTIC WATERS, YUSUKE, OLD SOUL, DESCUBRIENDO A MR MIME OR OJNE. We like all these bands and we always considered ‘ZBR’ a label true to its principles. We met David because of OSOLUNA, another band where Elsa and me play, and he is such a great guy. We proposed him to participate on the EP and so it happened. We are so glad to belong to this family and share label with a lot of incredible bands.
THE ULTIMATE SCREAMO BAND: I first heard of Zegema Beach through my friends on social medias, the name automatically caught my attention because I am a huge fan of Starship Troopers; and then I realized it was exactly the kind of label that I wanted to see happen in Canada; very « screamo » and emotional hardcore. In all honesty, David’s passion is one of the reason I started the project ultimate screamo band; he reminded me of my own passion for the genre.
SYNODUS HORRENDA: Nick and Robbie have known Dave and Zegema Beach Records for a few years through emo/screamo message boards. Our first show was at our house Skramden Yards in Baltimore where we played with David’s band MRTEX on their way to Swamp Fest. Afterwards we asked if they would want to do a split and here we are now.
THEY SLEEP WE LIVE: I think it kind of started when we got connected to a Swedish band called VI SOM ÄLSKADE VARANDRA SÅ MYCKET. We had a split 7inch with those guys in the works and they already released an LP with Dave, so I ended up contacting him if he would like to join the upcoming release as well, the rest is history. At the end communication is the key to find people and pull something together, since Dave is a very communicative guy it’s easy and fun to work with him.
Arvid from VI SOM ÄLSKADE VARANDRA SÅ MYCKET: A bunch of labels was involved with our first vinyl release, a split 7″ with CHUCK BASS, where Zegema Beach was one of them. I think that was the first time David heard of us. David really likes us and has been involved in every release we have done since then.
TERRY GREEN: I believe it was when Louis (our bass player) moved out to Hamilton for school. He was working on trying to get us shows in Hamilton and we ended up on one of David Norman’s gigs. It turned out that Norman was the guy always selling emo records at shows and we really got along after that. Ever since then he’s always shown interest in working with us/helping us out
VEIN: From chris of .gif from god.
.GIF FROM GOD: David has been a huge friend of most of us for a long time, as many members of .gif have been in other bands in the scene. When we sent him our roughs for our first full length he was completely instrumental in promoting us and helping with the physical release! We seriously couldn’t have done it without David and his enthusiasm.
SALIGIA: It’s not hard to find out about David – i mean he is all over the place – guess i first got in contact with him over his blog http://openmindsaturatedbrain.blogspot.de/ someday even before he got himself into releasing records. what a nerd :)
CONGRATULATIONS: David reached out to us a few years ago to offer help with releasing our EP. We bonded over chocolate milk and hazy laptop listening sessions… I’ve been introduced to so many good bands through his label and blog, Open Mind Saturated Brain. He’s been massively supportive and a great friend!
How much do you appreciate independent labels’ contribution to the innovativeness in music and diversity of DIY culture?
RUTKA LASKIER: Haha, that’s tricky question! Well, as we didn’t have any personal experience with any label so far we can’t say yet. Generally I’m sure there is massive contribution of labels to music and I appreciate anyone who is so passionate about music. The passion forces you to step out of “passivity” and being part of a label can make someone even more dedicated to create whatever they want and be connected to other people with similar passion or values.
UNDER A SKY SO BLUE: DIY labels allow for an interconnectedness that cannot be achieved by other means and it’s extremely important to us that we are always solely working with DIY labels and distros. Their contributions to what can be made and pushed are essential. Having people distro your tapes in Canada, the Midwest/West Coast, and Europe when you live on the East Coast is incredible.
CROWNING: It can’t really be overstated how important independent labels are for keeping this community going. These labels not only help so much with the creation of physical media (i know we wouldn’t have made any physical release if it weren’t for David), but they also provide a network for bands to connect with each other, not to mention a stockpile of information gained through experience that new bands don’t have. With everyone getting their music for free, the only people setting up new labels are the ones drawn to and committed to broadening DIY culture.
Maya Chun of YOUTH NOVEL: When I was in high school I found out about labels like Hydra Head and Topshelf because a lot of bands I liked were on them. Previously I had thought of record labels as these like pretty intensely capitalistic institutions that signed bands just for profit, but all of a sudden labels became people who just really liked these bands and wanted to help them grow. Once I joined YOUTH NOVEL I was made aware of labels like Zegema Beach and I was blown away by how much work is put in by people like David to pretty much singlehandedly disseminate so much incredible music that I probably would have never heard otherwise. Hearing bands like CONGRATULATIONS and SORE EYELIDS really changed the way I thought about and made my own music, and seeing the kind of work that David puts into to put records out as well as running a really incredible blog (I really cannot stress how great his blog is) makes me want to do the same for other people.
RESPIRE: If it wasn’t for independent labels like Zegema Beach Records, we would never be a band doing as much as we are now. Dave’s enthusiasm for the kind of music we play makes him a great ambassador for the scene. We’ve discovered some amazing bands through Zegema Beach, and we hope people have discovered us too!
THE WORLD THAT SUMMER: There’s no arguing that the method and manner that people discover, purchase and listen to music is constantly changing and evolving. As an example, 2017 is on track to see vinyl sales surpass digital downloads. A label like Dave’s, although small – plays an important role. Having someone local to help out bands is pretty important, especially nowadays where there are a million bands all trying to get people to listen to their stuff.
SLEEPER WAVE: Independent labels are the main way that DIY artists can spread their art, and for a niche genre like screamo it’s incredibly important that labels like Zegema Beach continue to help the people release and promote their music.
SUBJECTS / RULERS: Independent labels are the driving force of getting diy music out into the world. Without them, I feel that we would miss out on some pretty amazing music due to simple lack of exposure.
MASSA NERA: I think I can speak for everyone in MASSA NERA when I say that DIY labels and distros constitute a significant part of what I’ll flippantly label “the screamo experience.” The amount of people we’ve spoken with and gotten to know over the past eight months has been absolutely surreal. We’ve gotten to converse with people from all around the world, and if I were to make a rough estimate, I’d say about 75% of those people have been label/distro owners. The passion and effort of these people defies description, really. I certainly don’t know when I’d find the time to run an operation such as this. The fact that there are so many people who are committed to providing an outlet for obscure, difficult art while simultaneously promoting DIY ethics and leftist, progressive politics is pretty amazing. So yeah, the contribution that DIY labels have had to this artform and culture can’t be understated.
МЯТЕЖ: Independent labels are key. Fuck fads. Fuck making records for profit. Fuck contracts. Fuck the corporate rape of art.
Miles of KELUT: Can’t say enough about how I appreciate it! Between supporting smaller bands and getting releases out and spreading word about those artists, I’ve found so many great bands through someone deciding “damn this kills, people should hear this” that I never would have heard otherwise.
WE WATCH CLOUDS: We think that independent labels are the one and only way to release the kind of music we do, it gives that personal touch and that feeling that someone put a lot of effort and passion into it. diy ethics in every way is the best option. from growing your own vegetable garden to releasing unknown screamo music from Poland.
Michael of LESSENER: Without independent labels, I would know far less and listen to far fewer bands. A lot of what I find myself listening to is because of compilations and samplers put out by independent labels. Also I look up to indie labels and their contributions a lot! They are role models for me, and remind me that anything can be done so long as you have the time, energy and patience.
APOSTLES OF ERIs: I’m extremely appreciative of independent labels. Many of the bands I’ve been in have had to fund our own releases, so it’s a weird but cool feeling when someone else is actually interested in helping get your music out there, especially when they’re putting out bands you already love.
DREI AFFEN: The truth is that for us, aspects such as the DIY and self-management are really important. It’s the cornerstone for projects parallel to the “music industry” to go ahead and have a way to be heard or edited. Projects that, in the end, aren’t manipulated by huge companies or merchants of the musical industry that, from our point of view are rotten. In other words, it’s one of the few places where you can be ‘honest’ stylistically and expressively without having to fit into any standards as far as product sales are concerned.
Because of this, we think that this is the most appropriate way for any kind of band or project to appear, without mattering their style or being tied to the chains of market economy.
The existence of labels like Zegema Beach Records is so very important.
Also, we can’t forget that behind the word ‘label’, there’s a person with a philosophy similar to yours and that is dedicating time and resources without obtaining anything in return.
It’s to be thankful and we feel very lucky to have met so nice people in all the labels that have helped us.
THE ULTIMATE SCREAMO BAND: It is all that matters to me.
SYNODUS HORRENDA: Working with independent labels and media lets all of us explore our art and navigate through our various scenes in a more genuine way that is pleasantly removed from more corporate practices and thus lets the community be more genuine and, honestly, interesting. Independent labels give artists the freedom to make their own music, as opposed to artists trying to make music that they think will fit into a certain labels roster.
THEY SLEEP WE LIVE: Without Independet Labels this culture would appear completely different. In our circles most of the labels are doing way more than releasing music, they set up shows/festivals, help bands with booking and stuff, as well as connecting the band to further mindset people that lays to new possibilities for us. Music wise it is barely hard to describe what these labels achieve, most of them put a lot of their personal money into their releases and take a risk of having overstocks and unsold releases for a long time. I think you must have a big heart filled with passion, craziness and risk disposition to keep things running. So to shorten this, we appreciate the work of labels like Zegema Beach a lot.
Arvid from VI SOM ÄLSKADE VARANDRA SÅ MYCKET: Though it’s easier now to get your music out there on your own, labels are still really important. In a way it’s easy to be in a band, but it takes a whole other level of commitment to run a label. The people who run labels and do bloggs and set up shows are vital to keep the scene alive.
TERRY GREEN: I think labels throw a lot of opportunity our way. Interviews, bringing us to different audiences, and Norman also puts on shows for us where we get to meet a ton of touring bands (which helps when we try to book a tour). the help we receive is always appreciated!
VEIN: Independent/DIY is v important. it’s what keeps the scene alive.
.GIF FROM GOD: We as a band are completely committed to DIY ethics in the creation of music and arts. Some of the members of .gif run a DIY label of our own, while others book and promote shows and fests in the Richmond DIY community. DIY ethics are inseparable from .gif from god as a band and from its members as individuals.
SALIGIA: Are they? what is an independent label these days?
CONGRATULATIONS: It’s invaluable. So much respect for people like David who sustain an otherwise absent platform for artistry on the smaller scale. At each independent label there’s a pathfinder devoted to harnessing and leveraging their specific interests from remote spaces. With individuality, from one to the next, there’s a ton of sonic diversity to explore. “Punk” is a means of acceptance and inclusivity, so there’s also a recognition of progressive social support in running a DIY label.
‘25 bands’ times ‘several other artists worth checking out’ equals loads of recommendations to keep our readers busy for the whole year. Let’s give it to them! Are there any new local bands in particular that have really impressed you recently?
RUTKA LASKIER: There is always a lot of good bands! ANNA M. CHRISTIANSEN, PACINO, KOVADLINA, TOMÁŠ PALUCHA, KRUHY, GOT A WOLF, ETTE ENAKA, THE QUEUES, SHALLOV., DNO, TOUFAR, NULAJEDNANULANULA, KOLONA, MENTAL TENSION, MANON MEURT, MARA JADE… This is what just came to my mind, there is a lot more of bands deserving mention.
CROWNING: Chicago and its surroundings are full of great stuff. Check out GRIEF HARVEST, GHOST OF A DEAD HUMMINGBIRD, STAY ASLEEP, ADVANCE BASE, and BLITHE FIELDS. Honorable mention for Black Nail, who are probably the most exciting band doing the emoviolence thing anywhere in the country right now, and they’re from just down the road in Rockford (I think).
Maya Chun of YOUTH NOVEL: MOVER SHAKER (Detroit) puts on a very good live show, some really dense, driving indie rock. GOOD PERSONALITIES is a Toledo two-piece band (I think people call them dream pop now?) that’s about to blow the heck up. Other than that, PALM is by far the best band I’ve heard/seen in the last year, if you haven’t listened to them you absolutely should.
RESPIRE: We’ve been a little bit reclusive lately and haven’t got out much, but a couple of new(ish) local bands that stand out are NANETTE, GROWING FINS, and WIMP CITY. Some of our friends who’ve been playing in awesome Toronto bands for a while also have some new projects getting off the ground, so we’re excited about those too. Other records worth checking out: SNORAS – Heart of Weakness, GROUPER – Dragging a dead deer up a hill, RIALTO – Verse En Coma.
THE WORLD THAT SUMMER: I’d have to thank Zegema for introducing me to local heroes like TERRY GREEN, RESPIRE, LA LUNA and WIMP CITY. We just played a house show with all of these bands (not the first time either) and I have got to say, the caliber of music that they’re all putting out is pretty inspiring. I would certainly recommend RESPIRE’s new LP Gravity and Grace.
SLEEPER WAVE: There’s a lot of good local punk bands in Western Mass like HARDWARE and MEAT DREAMS, and also SHOWHORSES, who play a cool mix of doom/black metal and industrial. VEIN is from Boston and also great and their split with .GIF FROM GOD slays.
SUBJECTS / RULERS: I really dig SALLOW. I also enjoy CULL. Both bands from Nashville, both full of great people with a nice understanding of what it is to write the good stuff. Thetan is another one that springs to mind, they have been around for a while, but it’s always great to see them play.
MASSA NERA: I believe we’ve been greatly impressed with the majority of bands that we’ve had the good fortune of playing with! As a band, I think our favorite local artists are WHAT OF US and SUPINE. WHAT OF US is definitely one of the greatest live acts I’ve ever seen. They produce an awesome blend of various hardcore subgenres in a way that is pretty unique and engaging. They are an absolute force to be reckoned with. SUPINE create an interesting amalgamation of black metal, screamo, and ambient that is cathartic, absorbing, and calming all at once. They get better each time I see them. Honestly, I can talk about these two acts for hours. The fact that they’re both comprised of kind, generous, and passionate people makes them all the more noteworthy.
Some other bands that we love that might not be on many people’s radar: ORDINARY LIVES, FIRE IS MOTION, MALEVICH, FOXTAILS (their drummer shreds), NY IN 64, THERA ROYA, LUME, AU REVOIR, TRUMAN, CONVULSANT, THE PLANET YOU, YASHIRA, SUNROT, LIVING TRADITION, MUDBEARD, ARROWHEAD, ARROWS IN HER, ORNAMENTS, PEOPLE’S TEMPLE PROJECT, COMA REGALIA, and ASPINE. Obviously, there are several more bands that we love, but I tried to limit this to groups that we’ve played with. On a more selfish note, Allen is part of FOREVER LOSING SLEEP (I think they’re pretty established). He drums for them. I’m part of an ambient/screamo/spoken word project called OUR WITS THAT MAKE US MEN. We have a full-length coming out in February/March.
МЯТЕЖ: I just heard the new TRUMAN EP and TRACHIMBROD LP and am absolutely smitten. I’ve been jamming that CROWNING EP for the last two months and the RESPIRE LP for the last year. Lately I’ve gotten hard into HUNDREDS OF AU, VEIN, SEEYOUSPACECOWBOY, BLACK NAIL, KELUT, LESSENER, NINE ELEVEN, REMOTE and SECONDGRADEKNIFEFIGHT.
Miles of KELUT: Lil tricky to pick local bands without any bias, since I’ve kinda ended up as The Drummer™ of the scene and end up in too many bands, heh – always had the smallest soft spot for emo and FOURSIDE from Normal really impressed me, they put out a split with BUMMED OUT recently that I dug. Otherwise I may as well briefly rep my own stuff, I’m playing drums now for Stye who just put out our first EP this month, powerviolence/grind with a member from FOURSIDE, and I’m still pretty darn fond of the TAKE MY BIKE… PLEASE! demo from last year. Additionally, they’re just outside of “local” but I’ve played a few shows with TWEAK with my various bands and I’m still excited about em, I Am Overcome With Hate was just ridiculous and I’m looking forward to whatever’s next.
WE WATCH CLOUDS: Yes, we have some great local bands that we would mention. of course were in love with guys from ESCAPISM, but we also would like to recommend DESZCZ, HEATSEEKER, GOVERNMENT FLU, NUKK, and many others, but seeing those fell deeply in our minds.
LESSENER: DISAVOW is a great band that’s coming out of Providence right now. It features members of WEAK TEETH, BLOOD PHEASANT and LYRA. Also, SLEEPER WAVE, who are featured on this compilation. Their music KILLS and they are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. PEOPLE’S TEMPLE PROJECT is another ridiculously good band that comes to mind. Their live shows are nuts, and they’re great people to be around. One more local that I’d suggest is our bassist Pete’s other band, REVERIES. Keep an eye out for them!
APOSTLES OF ERIS: Richmond has some really great newish local bands. SAMARRA, 60659-C, FETISH GEAR, EXTENT DETH, LISTLESS, ASM, THIS LAND IS NOW DEAD… I’m in 2 newer bands called PIGEON MEETING, and MAJOREL, and I hope to contribute some good stuff to the scene with them.
DREI AFFEN: Hmm…it’s true that where we come from the music styles that reign aren’t our favourites but I can tell you that there are young bands doing really cool things, and an example of this are PURA VIDA which, although they are not neither new nor strictly ‘local’, we really like their music and they have an attitude we love.
THEY SLEEP WE LIVE: Puh, there are a lot of bands out there. Locally seen I haven’t checked a lot of bands, but we found friends in a new band from Berlin, called GRAV ZAHL, they are super nice and play music in the vein of how french screamobands wrote music during the early 00’s.
Arvid from VI SOM ÄLSKADE VARANDRA SÅ MYCKET: Tough one. Haven’t played any local shows for a couple of months and haven’t really been on the lookout for new music. As far as last years best releases I think DREI AFFEN, VIVA BELGRADO, PG.LOST and THEY SLEEP WE LIVE really stood out. WE LIVE really stood out.
TERRY GREEN: We play local gigs a lot and we get to play with a lot of great bands. Some of our favourites include, GROWING FINS, RESPIRE, NANETTE, WIMP CITY, STRESSER, and CONGRATULATIONS.
.GIF FROM GOD: There are tons of sick bands in Richmond right now! LISTLESS and 60659-c are both doing incredible things and are absolutely going places. INSANE POWER from Maryland released my personal favorite album of last year. We just put out a split with VEIN, who you absolutely need to listen to if you haven’t done so already.
SALIGIA: Can not wait for savage realm to start getting new songs together!!ex BATTLE OF WOLF 359 / LICH folks.
AMYGDALA and CASSUS impressed me a lot last year – the recordings of both bands were awesome – but they re even more incredible live!
Always reliable in delievering the grinding heaviness: KEITZER!
I am really curious to see yuri playing live with a drummer!
LETTERS TO CATALONIA were /are fueling my ´99 obsession again – that coming record should rip hard!
Don’t know how much space we can fill here so here are some more good people doin sweet music these days: JOTNARR, ULTHA, THEY SLEEP WE LIVE, GENTLE ART OF CHOKIN, EUTH, SEEYOUSPACECOWBOY … sure forgot some .. sorry .
CONGRATULATIONS: There’s a local 80’s inspired sci-fi artist named BRANKO VRANIC who has a cool improv doom band called CAVER and some sweet ambient synth works. Check that out! If I can breach locality, I’m really into Jay Som (SF) and I’d recommend the Swedish bands on Zegema: VIA FONDO, SORE EYELIDS, VI SOM ALSKADE VARANDRA SA MYCKET…
Awesome, thanks a lot! What else can we expect from you guys in the near future?
RUTKA LASKIER: We are trying to finish release of a split on a cassette, hopefully very soon. In 2017 our biggest desire is to release our upcoming LP on vinyl.
UNDER A SKY SO BLUE: We just released our new EP The Spectacle Provides, are planning a small week long run with PIG LATIN in the summer, have a new split in the works, and will be on another comp all before the end of the year.
CROWNING: We just put the final touches on our first EP, Funeral Designs which Zegema Beach Records is going to be releasing in a few weeks on Feb 14th. Now we’re writing the next one, hoping to get something new out before the end of the year. if you’re in a band and wanna do a split with us, lets do it! Otherwise, mostly the usual, playing shows, touring if we can make it happen, spending too much money on pedals.
Maya Chun of YOUTH NOVEL: Since a bunch of us don’t really live anywhere near each other anymore it’s probably safe to say that YOUTH NOVEL stuff won’t really be happening anytime soon, but who knows. I’m also in another screamo-type band with Jon Riley called VAMPIRES that I’m hoping we can get off the ground in a real way.
RESPIRE: We’ve finally started writing again, after a long period of finishing up stuff related to Gravity and Grace. We have a ton of new material, now we just need to spend 3 years turning it into a record! We’re also planning a tour through Central and Eastern Europe in June of this year, which is incredibly exciting! Half the band plays in FOXMOULDER, which toured Europe in 2015, so we’re looking forward to seeing our friends, and hopefully making lots more while playing our music to lots of new fresh faces.
THE WORLD THAT SUMMER: Right now we’re actually waiting on two pressings that are going to be released very soon. The first is an eight-way split entitled “Eight Feet Under Vol. 1” that features two songs of ours that we still play quite often. It’s taken a bit of time to get everything organized as dealing with 8 bands and various labels is a bit of a logistical nightmare. Secondly, we have a split with Sweden’s NIONDE PLAGAN that’s expected to drop in late February or March.
SLEEPER WAVE: More music and probably an east coast tour over the summer!
SUBJECTS / RULERS: No future releases planned. Matt lives in d.c. Now. But I feel like if we ever live close enough to each other again, justin and I would love for the three of us to play together. It’s fun. It’s really fun. Man I love those 2 guys.
MASSA NERA: Well, we’ve contributed two songs to a 4-way split that will (hopefully) be released next month. I believe everyone has finished recording their contributions. We’re also currently writing for a full-length record. I don’t have a timetable for that, but I can say that I think the songs we’re writing are easily our most challenging, interesting, and enjoyable. Oh, we’re also taking part in a JEROMES DREAM compilation. Hopefully we’ll be playing more shows in the coming months as well, as soon as these recording projects are completed.
МЯТЕЖ: мятеж has a ton of stuff coming up: – a split cassette with SYNODUS HORRENDA (member of EYELET / ALTER / МИЩА); a split 12” with KELUT (ex-YUSUKE); a split cassette with SAMARRA (members of .GIF FROM GOD/TRUMAN/THIS LAND IS NOW DEAD/CAUST/MAJOREL); a JEROMES DREAM cover for a comp; a European tour in mid-late June as we are playing Cry Me A River Fest; and we just released a split tape with our favourite Swedes VI ÄLSKADE VARANDRA SÅ MYCKET that will NOT be released online and is limited to a mere 70 copies, most of which are already gone.
Miles of KELUT: I’ll just say, I hope y’all like time signatures ‘,;^)
WE WATCH CLOUDS: We’re working on recording our present material right now, we’re in touch with David and talking about releasing it on Zegema Beach Records, which would an awesome step forward for us.
LESSENER: Currently, Lessener is working on some comp songs that will hopefully be recorded within the next month or two. We’re still focusing our attention to the release of this EP and writing more material when we can.
APOSTLES OF ERIS: I’m hopefully going to make a full band version of this project and play out and do some recording. I’m contributing to a comp that Akashita Corporation is putting this year, but that’s the only thing solid planned right now.
DREI AFFEN: First of all, we want to release a split with a band we really like and we hope it comes out as soon as possible. They, this band, are really nice people, even though we can’t say who they are for now hahaha. We have plans to start recording in July what will be our second album.
We are composing songs for it and we hope everything goes as planned so it’d be ready for then. We’re working really hard on it; we are so stoked!
Meanwhile we are playing across the peninsula and in May, as we are playing in Berlin at the Miss The Stars Fest IV we will do a small European tour.
It’ll be only a few dates but we hope to have a really good time.
THE ULTIMATE SCREAMO BAND: I just started working on a longer album, it will be a 12”. Also, I want to play more shows; to anyone reading this, please help me book a show in your hometown, anywhere, please get in touch.
SYNODUS HORRENDA: Right now we are staying active and playing local shows. We will be writing new material soon before the MRTEX split comes out. A small tour in the spring/summer is in talks. We all play in different bands too that will be doing more extensive touring. Nick, June and Billy are in a goth band called LOVER’S TOUCH that will be doing a tour for the month a March . Robbie is in EYELET and ALTER which will be heading out for most of February.
THEY SLEEP WE LIVE: We just try to keep this band going, we hope to play shows from while to while and wanna release another album, splits, whatever there will come. They Sleep We Live is our outlet from daily routines and obligations, so this band should go on for while.
Arvid from VI SOM ÄLSKADE VARANDRA SÅ MYCKET: We are currently writing for our upcoming 12″ and are recording soon. We just released a split cassette with мятеж and have two song on an eight band double 12″ split that should be out in a few months. The only show we got booked right now is Miss The Stars Fest in Berlin in May. Should be a lot of fun.
TERRY GREEN: We’re mostly working on getting our new LP out but we’re always writing new stuff / planning for a future tour, just the normal things that bands do.
VEIN: A full length.
.GIF FROM GOD: We have a short tour coming up in early March going to South Carolina. We also have some new tracks in the works that we hope to release this year!
SALIGIA: We are finally hitting the road again for a week in March – mainly the uk – and play miss the stars fest in may. we are pretty occupied folks and work at an almost eldery pace so guess then ten inch this year will be the only output but who knows … almost got a new song ready ;)
One last thing before I’ll let you go. Keeping the creative edge, how would you describe Zegema Beach Records to somebody who does not know the label yet?
RUTKA LASKIER: No need for description, check it and decide by yourself. There is a lot to be discovered on ZBR.
UNDER A SKY SO BLUE: ZBR is the ultimate “I respect this person and they run one of the most amazing labels ever” label. There are only a few labels that boast releases as good, but even still theirs have less variation. David works with everyone and is always willing to help get something out there.
CROWNING: Catharsis, buried in a wall of teeth. I mean David just fundamentally “gets it”. The label puts out so much cool stuff, and is so dedicated to finding and promoting amazing work in ways that are accessible to the artists and fans. If anything about diy hardcore or screamo matters to you, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t check out ZBR.
Maya Chun of YOUTH NOVEL: Screamo encyclopedia-incarnate puts out records from the best in the world.
RESPIRE: Screamy, loud, emotional, and eclectic bands from all over the world.
THE WORLD THAT SUMMER: The Zegema site has this tagline: “a community rooted in promoting honest / passionate / inspiring music – usually with screaming” To be quite frank, this is a pretty accurate description. Not all of Dave’s releases are necessarily “screamo” but it would be a pretty safe bet to recommend the label to people who like heavier, crazy stuff with some screaming. Maybe ask them if they miss the late 90’s or early 2000’s and then point them towards Dave’s online store.
SLEEPER WAVE: Zegema Beach is an independent record label focused on heavy bands from all around the world, catering to a variety of diverse subgenres that often featuring strong emotional content in the music or lyrics.
SUBJECTS / RULERS: Zegema beach is an indescribably great thing. I don’t have anything eloquent to say other than the fact that I am thankful that David Norman exists and cares enough to do what he does. I am in love with the existence of people who still care enough to do labels and I have so much respect for labels like zbr who are doing it right. Nothing but love.
MASSA NERA: I’d describe ZBR as an amazing source of challenging, unconventional, and inspiring art. If you’re tastes run towards the loud, angry, and socially conscious, there aren’t many better places to turn, especially if you prefer your art to be DIY.
МЯТЕЖ: A label and community rooted in promoting honest, passionate, inspiring music – usually with screaming.
WE WATCH CLOUDS: I would describe it as a fully passionate label run by a guy who is in love with every kind of a decent underground hardcore music. great stuff, great contact!
Michael of LESSENER: Zegema Beach is a great source for new music spanning many different genres in the underground punk/metal/hardcore/emo/screamo scene. From widely known popular underground bands to super obscure stuff, it’s all there! The Zamplers are such great ways to be introduced to new bands as are the Open Mind Saturated Brain blog posts. There’s a plethora of music, so you’re bound to find something you never knew existed that you’ll enjoy. Don’t sleep on this label!
APOSTLES OF ERIS: Zegema Beach Records mostly releases forward thinking screaming music with melody by bands from all over the world
DREI AFFEN: Well, as we said before, it’s a label with a really good musical taste, so honest and with a ‘DIY way of working’ with so many ‘must-listen’ bands.
In addition, the fact that the label is run by David Norman is an ‘extra point’. He is a really nice person, so huggable and with very good values and principles so don’t think it twice and check out all the material available because it’s sooooooo good!
THE ULTIMATE SCREAMO BAND: One of the best Canadian DIY labels, run by one of the most kind and inspiring people I have ever met. Check out the catalogue, seriously.
SYNODUS HORRENDA: The most central DIY punk/screamo label to come out of Canada in the past decade.
THEY SLEEP WE LIVE: Handsome Record label with a foundation that is compound out of friendship, passion and diy ethics.
Arvid from VI SOM ÄLSKADE VARANDRA SÅ MYCKET: It’s just a great label with a lot of heart. Do whatever you can to support Zegema Beach.
TERRY GREEN: Norman is a dude who knows his emo/screamo. If you hang out with him you’ll have at least 15 bands you need to check out when you get home. He puts out what he wants and it’s really good stuff. I recommend zegema to anyone trying to get into or find more lesser-known (but worthy) emo bands.
VEIN: A label full of intense music for those seeking something more raw.
.GIF FROM GOD: Fucking sick, one of the most incredible people to work with doing some of the most instrumental things in DIY! The world is a better place with ZBR in it.
CONGRATULATIONS: Dave “Nobility” Norman’s cacophonous kingdom spans internationally and is rooted in the utmost integrity and passion. Highly revered hardcore platform keeping it so real. Level Plane 2.0! Haha
Great, thanks! Cheers for your time. Take care!
Maya Chun of YOUTH NOVEL: Thank you!!
MASSA NERA: Thanks for allowing us to field these questions!
WE WATCH CLOUDS: Thank you so much, it’s such a pleasure to be here!
Miles of KELUT: Cheers!
APOSTLES OF ERIS: Thank you so much for this!! IDIOTEQ rules!
DREI AFFEN: Thank you so much for the interview, we really appreciate your work and your initiatives! Take care!
THE ULTIMATE SCREAMO BAND: Love and respect to everyone, everywhere.
SYNODUS HORRENDA: Thank you.
THEY SLEEP WE LIVE: Thank you!
Arvid from VI SOM ÄLSKADE VARANDRA SÅ MYCKET: Thank you. Keep up the good work.
TERRY GREEN: Thank you for asking us some questions!
.GIF FROM GOD: Thank you \m/