A new hardcore record label has decided to plant its seeds in the rebuilt, never so welcoming hood of Detroit. Based in St. Claire Shores, Michigan, around 10 miles northeast of downtown Detroit, Over & Out Recordings started a little over a year ago and has already delivered a number of great vinyl releases, including fresh, remastered wax version of 1995 Jade Tree classic “No More Dreams Of Happy Endings” by DAMNATION A.D.! We sat down with the label’s founder Brenden to get some more details on his background, straight edge, this new project, his upcoming plans, and a lot more! Check out our interview below and be sure to GO HERE to browse through some worthy records.
Hey Brenden! Thanks so much for joining us here on IDIOTEQ! How are you? How’s Detroit been treating you this cold ass winter?
Hey! Thank you for having me! I am pretty well, just enjoying the day with my kids before I have to work tonight, I hope you also are well. Honestly it has been pretty brutal. We live right next to a lake, so that doesn’t help. Basically I am constantly Jack Torrance at the end of Kubrick’s The Shining.
It’s been 5 years since my lengthy interview with Eric Scobie, touching on many aspects on Detroit and its punk scene. Tell us about your very beginnings, background and first interactions with undeground scene in the city.
Eric is a great guy, Great Reversals are one of the best bands to come out of MI, on a personal level I also look up to him a lot.
I grew up in a real small 2 mile by 2 mile town called Clawson, which is about 15-20min outside of Detroit. I am sure you have heard many stories about how great the scene was in Detroit, but for me it started in my small town. I used to skate a lot so from the skate videos I would watch there were always punk or metal songs playing or hip hop which I also enjoy, I would have to say the first punk/hardcore bands I really heard were Agent Orange, Black Flag, and Dead Kennedys, then I started to explore more what was out there, I watched a lot of headbangers ball, I was super in to Slipknot, Cannibal Corpse and Korn, this was all around age 11-13, around this time as well there was this place called Teen Center, which was like an after school hang out, I never actually attended the center, but they would host shows from time to time so I would always go there, I am not sure if this band is on your radar, but that is where We Came Is Romans who are huge now started off, Louie who plays guitar in that band was in a metalcore band called Sever All Ties who I “roadied” for. A lot of great bands played there. There was also this place called Flipside Records, which is actually one of my many jobs now, they used to host a lot of punk bands, and I met Jeff Uberti through there who now plays in Hellmouth (who I put out a record for) and Rebel Spies. There was also this guy named Ian Courtney who has played in several bands and is now a film maker, I was like 13 or 14 (back in 2003/2004) and I was bringing a bunch of cds up to the counter, like Type O Negative, Smashing Pumpkins, Black Sabbath, probably some metal stuff that I thought looked cool and whatever else, but he handed me this Morning Again – Hand Of Hope cd, and my world was changed, I would now buy as many hardcore cds as I could, read the notes and check out more bands, this was my first introduction to many different ideas, straightedge being one of them, which I hold to still today. After this I started being able to go more frequently to shows in the city, this music what exactly what I needed to cope with what I was going on in my life, I could have been very self destructive if it wasn’t for being able to get an outlet with screaming my lungs out to my favorite songs and jumping on peoples head.
Has the straight edge, as in many different parts of the country, been tied to more radical politics? Or does it rather dostance itself from edgy activism?
I claimed edge in 2006, it was a pretty important time for me to make that decision. Some of my friend group started getting heavy in to drugs, I was surrouned by addiction my whole life, I do not talk about it much but it had a huge impact on me, I never wanted to be home and I didn’t really want to be around the friends who were doing that stuff either, we got in to some pretty fucked up situations because of their actions. I feel like straight edge, at least in Detroit has changed drastically since then. I was young and pissed and I was super attracted to the violent side of straight edge, I had some more positive friends later in life who kind of swayed me away from that mindset, but at the time I was attracted to things like Courage Crew, who were this straight edge crew who were so unapologetic about it, some of the dudes played in this band called XTyrantX, they had this lyric from the song XDeviantX that said “I kill for straight edge” and like I was about that, maybe not killing, but fucking someone up, sure. Earth Crisis was another huge band for me, Gomorrah’s Season Ends was like my anthem, it still is haha. I was very militant for a while and made some decisions that I necessarily wouldn’t change, but I would not repeat them now , but I never accomplished anything by just saying “beat the shit out of sellouts” or whatever came out of my mouth. I am still a pissed off straight edge kid, but I focus my anger about things in more creative outlets instead of just violent actions. Now when I said things have changed, there isn’t really a big violent straight edge culture in MI anymore, in fact it seems there are just very few edge people in general. It is also like kind of weird to, like most of the people in the scene are like 18+, their minds about how they are going to live are basically made up, preaching to them about being straight edge may just be completely pointless.
Apart from straight edge, how do you feel about your local punk scene in general right now? With all these young kids and the digital revolution that changed our mindsets a bit, how has it evolved and how thriving is it these days?
I have a lot of different feelings on this. The scene is super divided for one, there are a lot of great scenes within that division though, I dabble in mostly all of them, so I see a lot of differences, the one thing they all have in common though, is that they love to talk shit about each other. How it used to be, and I am not trying to be like one of those “hardcore was better in my day” kind of people, because it is still great, and I am not that old, just one year shy of 30, but ALOT has changed in the last 10+ years, shit even the last 5 years. There used to be a lot of mixed bills, almost every scene would be together, for some reason it just isn’t like that anymore. A lot of people also just do not put in the work, it is like they expect everything to be handed to them and they do not want to help anyone else out. Physical fliers are almost non-existent, in fact the only people I feel that do it are people that work for a street-team or the people that have been around and still hold on to that DIY mentality, and the punks, the only fliers I see at the record shop now are dropped off by the local d-beat DIY punks, or something Scobie is putting on, nothing from the hardcore scene, unless the venue itself dropped something off, which also is another thing going back to bands expecting things, a small band should promote their show, it isn’t solely the venues responsibility. I also think people have found hardcore for different reasons now, it is undoubtedly more mainstream, a lot of people get in it now to be “cool”, and it shows because what they are worried about is how they look to other people, dressing up to go to the show to play some part with some expensive t-shirt from a band that they honestly probably do not care about and maybe haven’t even heard a song from. More people are concerned with going to This Is Hardcore than supporting their local scene, which I have nothing ill to say about This Is Hardcore, I wish I could go every year, it just isn’t in my budget. A guy like Joe Hardcore, even though I do not know him on a personal level, he throws on a sick fest every year, but he cares about his local scene as well, he is constantly putting on great shows and helping people out when he doesn’t have to. Going back to people getting in to it for different reasons, like in my opinion, every one is welcome as long as you are not a racist or whatever kind of hateful stuff, and I can not speak for everyone, but I feel it used to be an escape, like it wasn’t about being cool, it was about getting away from the bad shit that was going on in your life, finding that cathartic release from a bunch of sweaty fucked up kids just like yourself, jumping on each other and screaming along to the same songs, hurting the next day and doing it all over again a few days later. It wasn’t about showing off your “sick mosh moves” it was about letting go of the heavy shit on your shoulders, now sure this wasn’t always the case, plenty of shows were just about being violent idiots, I mean I did throw a shovel while seeing The Banner one time. But what I am trying to say is, that I see a real lack of passion currently, I feel a real lack of people having their own identity and just trying to mimic something or someone else. I have talked with several people about this, and I think it just depends where you came from in the scene or really just in life, some agree with me, some disagree. I will say that I am completely thankful for people like Scobie (Dropping Bombs Records) and Maxxwell (who runs The Sanctuary right outside of Detroit) and Eric Z. (who owns Refuge Skateshop in Dearborn) , they have both helped me out tremendously whether it be throwing my bands on their shows or whatever else.
I love and absolutely hate the digital age at the same time, it sometimes makes things too easy but also hard at the same time. Right now I am spinning some records while typing this, but later I will be driving to work and will be listening to spotify, or whatever streaming platform I choose. What bums me out more than anything is a digital only release, it makes me straight up not want to listen to your band. I have been to several shows where there were like 5 or so t-shirt designs and no music, thinking they may have just sold out, I ask about it, almost always they just didn’t have anything physical, like that is a super bummer, a good chunk of my record collection was stuff I bought at shows from bands I just heard. Also being that it is so easy to put something online, every thing is so over saturated, it makes it really hard to keep up with bands, or even to be recognized sometimes unless you are lucky enough to find yourself on a hype train. Another thing I want to know, what is up with putting a cassette template on your bandcamp for a digital only release? It makes no sense. I see the benefits of digital, my label would be nothing if it wasn’t for social networks, my bands do not tour, I do not go to as many shows as I used to because of other life duties, but I wish not only in the underground music scene but on like a worldly level as well we weren’t so dependent on all things digital.
That being said here are some digital links of stuff to be checked out:
Not only do I love Great Reversals but I also got to drop a guest vocal on the song Reason In Madness off the Natural Burial 7″
Not only are Cloud Rat a great band, but they cover one of my favorite Neil Young songs.
Some old friends in a new band Niboowin making some killer screamo jams
Great post-rock from my hometown Sunlight Ascending who I will be putting a record out later this year for
The almighty Hellmouth who I put a record out for earlier this year
One of THE BEST hardcore bands to come out of MI…Retribution (RIP)
INTEG2K18 (Integrity related project) songs from a 7″ I put out last year
SCUM Detroit D-Beat, RIP JOE FUCKER
HUSHED, I just released a cassette for this band
Porton Down some great indie emo jams that I put a cassette out for
Love Under Will, featuring two people from a former band of mine making music for vampires to dance to, also Nick (the vocalist) is a director, his movie Wronged which I actually played a small role in is now available on all VOD services and on DVD. Also be on the lookout for his new hardcore band Wounded Touch who are working on a record right now.
I could go on forever, but thats a good start.
Wow! Thank you so much!
So, do you feel that putting together this new label of yours kind of extended your contribution to the scene? How much was it your personal urge and fulfillment to start a label, versus how much was it an act to give back to your local community?
I do not know how much my label is contributing to the scene, I guess you would have to ask the people who have been buying my releases that question. Originally it started out as an outlet to put my own bands out because I could not find anyone else to share enough interest. The first Over and Out release around 2013 actually never saw light, it was a split with my noise project PowerXFear and my friend James’ solo project Broadacre, James also plays in Porton Down, Sunlight Ascending, and in my band Not Ok., but the reason it never saw light is that the PXF side sounded like shit, the levels were all fucked, so i just scrapped the release, this would explain why there is no OAO001, at the same time I was re-issuing the Not Ok.-Self Titled EP on cassette, so the catalog numbers were already set for that being OAO002. After the Not Ok. release I was asked to play bass in this band called Rest In Shit (RIP), we did a demo (I actually did not record bass on the demo) then I dropped that on cassette in 2015. After the cassette I really wanted to take the next step and take on some bands, money was tight so I couldn’t do anything crazy, a full vinyl release wasn’t in the cards, but I did link up with Dwid from Integrity and I did about five or so shirts for Integrity and one t-shirt for Psywarfare, that was an awesome opportunity and put me on the map a little. Around that time I was getting a lot of lathe seven inches, I thought they were pretty cool, the sound quality wasn’t amazing, but for most punk and hardcore, who cares, so I brought this idea up to about 20 bands about doing short runs of like 50 copies of some kind of release and I was shut down by all, I was pretty discouraged, I did not think my label was ever going to take off completely. Around this time in 2017 Fast Break! Records were putting out a new Hellmouth record called Oblivion, now these dudes were friends of mine, and I can not remember how it came up, but we got talking about some unreleased tracks, and of course I was like yea I want to put that out, so 50 copies on a lathe 7″ were put out for their release show on 2.25.17 which is the name of the 7″ and they sold out instantly. The next release wouldn’t come out for another year which was a re-issue of Domain by the deathcore band And Hell Followed With. To be real with you, this record was put out for two reasons, so I could make money to fund other projects and so Nick from the band could make money to help with his upcoming film, and it did, I made enough to fund the record and a few future projects, thanks to all who ordered. I am not saying I do not like that record, because I do, it was at a time in the MI scene that was a little more fun, so it is a nice nostalgia piece, but it isn’t in the catalog of stuff I listen to on a weekly basis. I made some people happy and that is really cool. It did not come without issue though, I was going to rebrand my label name, so i decided to go with Tightrope Records, now when I did a google check, the name did not pop up, come to find out later that was also the name of a white power label, which by no means do I support, one of the Integrity shirts actually was the old Smash Racism design. So this put a bad mark on things, I ran the initial pre-order under this name then made a statement about going back because of the issue, so Over and Out is here to stay.
So now we are in 2018/2019 where releases from INTEG2K18 (Integrity related project), Hellmouth, Porton Down, and Scum are out, followed by Damnation AD, Hushed, and Sunlight Ascending releases that are about to come out. My grand scheme for the label is to put out stuff I really like and not really care if anyone likes it or not, I mean I hope they do because I do not just want to sit on this stuff, but I feel like this label is for myself more than anyone else, it is a big passion of mine, I hope people come along for the ride. What I really want to do is put out records that never made it to vinyl, or have been out of print for a long time, I feel a lot of labels are giving new bands a platform and that is great, I am not above that, but I know a lot of people want their favorite records on wax as well.
This Damnation record I am putting out is huge for me personally, I own the original, but it has been out of print for some time, I am glad to bring the masterpiece back. I’ve sent out tons of messages to bands i love about re-issuing stuff, I am sure most just see it as annoying because most haven’t even answered, but heres to hoping that I can get some other great works out there on wax.
From your perspective, what makes vinyl records so special and valuable?
I think what makes them special is they are a physical format, and nothing will beat that feeling of holding something in your hands, and like you can’t brag to your friends about something digital, ha. I will say though that it sucks when you spend $20+ on a record and it doesn’t come with an insert, I get real bummed, especially now that I know what the costs of everything are.
People can debate the sound quality is better, I don’t really know about that, my ears are too messed up from not taking care of them over the years to know. I think the value comes from just the fact that you can’t easily duplicate a vinyl record like you could a cd or tape, once it’s sold out, it’s harder to get it from a second hand seller in a lot of cases. But value is very personal, I have stuff that I paid a lot for that I probably couldn’t even give to someone else, but I love it and that’s all that matters to me. I think I like vinyl records a lot because of my dad introducing them to me at an early age, I had cds, but vinyl just really stuck out to me for some reason.
Ok, so what are your next steps with Over & Out for the coming months and beyond?
So right now I have pre-orders up for the re-issue of Damnation AD- No More Dreams Of Happy Endings, this version has completely new artwork, and all the tracks are re-mastered, the track listing has also changed from the original. This is a limited addition of 500 with 4 color options. I am not sure who is putting it out yet, but a European company will be putting out a Euro press as well with different artwork.
Pre-orders for the Not Ok.- Self Titled 12″ re-issue are up as well. I also have a cassette coming out for a local band called HUSHED next week limited to 50.
My next planned release is the first time on vinyl release of All The Memories, All At Once… by Sunlight Ascending who are an amazing post rock band which will be out over the summer.
That is all that I currently have secured, I would like to get a few more releases out before the end of the year, I have some things in the works that I do not want to jump the gun for, but if we agree on it, it is going to be something really awesome, all I can say is, get ready to bang your head and mosh to death, ha.
Overall I just want to stay connected to the scene and do what I love, being a father of 3 with tons of jobs makes it hard for me to attend shows like I used to.
You can order here.
Great, thanks so much for your time!
Thank you for your time! The last thing I would like to say is start something creative, never let anyone hold you back, ALWAYS support your friends and what they are doing, especially if you expect them to support you in the future, we are all in this together. Long live Hardcore. Watch the film Wronged by Nick Holland.