With our great passion for multi-interview features, anniversary features like the one we arranged for To Live A Lie Records, it is my great pleasure to unveil another document for one of the most noteworthy DIY labels around, Time As A Color. Its founder, Daniel Becker, has compiled 9 exclusive recordings by 8 fellow bands, complemented by one live recording by experimental post rock act GRAND DÉTOUR, that we premiered earlier this month at this location. The record features new joints from COMA REGALIA, NEBRASKA, BAIL, DUCT HEARTS, TERRAFORMER, LORRAINE, CARSON WELLS and KUMULUS, and can be pre-ordered at this location. I tossed up the opportunity to interview all 9 bands and ask them about their tracks, Time As A Color label, DIY music in 2017 and their home cities. Check it out and stream each of the tracks below!
What’s the backstory with the track you contributed to this compilation? Can you explain both its creative and content value?
GRAND DETOUR: It’s called Arbeit und Rythmus, it’s a song we’ve released on our album called Tripalium. The version on this compilation was recorded live at Little Elephant in Ohio during our Usa/Canadian tour in 2016. As usual we arrived pretty late at the studio, so we just had time to unload and play! It was a first experience for us, I think you can feel a bit our nervousity on the record!
COMA REGALIA: The song is a couple years old actually, we just never finished or recorded it. every once in a while i try to manage some ideas into words and i put all this pressure on myself to make it very clear what i’m trying to say. this was one of those instances. the basis of the song came from the line “i want to live in a world where no one says, what if it was your mother?” i think a lot of people can see where this line of thinking is a problem and it really frustrates me that a lot of people in the world can’t or don’t have compassion for others unless they can place some kind of ownership on them. it’s especially prevalent in regards to acts of sexual violence but of course not limited to that. since i wrote this initial line i’ve seen a lot of effort in the world to convey these thoughts in others, which i think is fantastic. sometimes when i’m trying to put those kinds of ideas in writing i just feel the weight of that responsibility and it makes it difficult. saying those kinds of things is difficult in it’s own right but it makes it more so.
NEBRASKA: The track plug came after a long off period of non-writing for NEBRASKA and thankfully was created organically and naturally. As with many of our songs John and Craig (guitarists) and Andrew (Drummer) put their heads together and came up with the bare bones of the song to work on and through jamming it came together easy. Personally from a lyrical place, the song is not too indifferent from a lot of emo music from people in their late 20’s early 30s and is pretty much a comment with my own anxieties about coming to your near 30s and finding yourself stressing over the direction of your life and career, it’s pretty much a cookie cutter near 30’s crisis track haha.
KUMULUS: Actually it’s our newest song. We had no real plans to record or release it, so Daniels sampler was the reason to do so. Also There’s one special thing about this song: it’s the first time, that another person contributed its part to a KUMULUS song, as Simon is playing his sad trumpet. We’re really happy and surprised how good it worked out and love it so much!
DUCT HEARTS: As mentioned in the inlay this is a fragment of one big song we are working on. most of the ideas of the song are already a bunch of years old, DUCT HEARTS started in 2009 but it remained a one-man-recording-project until 2014. so I gathered all ideas I had during that time to form one big song. then when we started being a 3-piece band we kind of focused on easier/quicker reachable goals and songs we were writing together, so this kind of just stayed on paper. I always felt it had cool ideas but the entire thing would be a lot of work to put together, record and then a 20-minute-or so song would be difficult to integrate into a 40-minute liveset, so we never really picked it up to work on it and actually finish, because there’s always other things that go first (like touring, or recording our first LP entitled ‘feathers’ last year, which is going to be released this summer). however I love releasing split records and things like that (which you may have guessed looking on our back catalog), but the last 6 songs we wrote were for our LP so we kind of had a lack of songs to put on all the splits we wanted to do, so we had the idea to somewhat document the ideas we have for this big song in smaller fragments we can record in our rehearsal space and release these ideas bit by bit and then learn from the recording sessions as well as see what people think.
BAIL: In 2015 we’ve been on tour together with Dan and his band ‘DUCT HEARTS’. ‘A World Lost Yonder’ was quite new to that time and Dan really liked it. So even if we’ve written new songs in the meantime, we wanted to provide a song to this special ‘Time As A Color’ release, to which Dan has a relation to.
LORRAINE: In June 2015 we did a live session at Dreherhaus, an old industrial building just outside of Vienna. ‘Club28’ is one of the songs which we recorded there. Actually, the song is quite old, and we really think it deserves to be released on vinyl. The name is taken from a strip club our singer had to pass on his way home from work.
TERRAFORMER: It’s a song we made for the compilation. There’s not much to say about the content: as it’s an instrumental song, there are no lyrics. We named it Medea after the figure in the mythology. We thought that might fit our music with it’s tragic backround and if not, it’s a nice and epic name! We started making that song when we reached the early end of Mineral. There is the things you can find in a terraformer song but a little different from the record.
The songs that will come to feature on the new LP were written with that intention. On the whole, this LP is more patient and straight forward than previous releases. Whilst Same Grave does feature a lot of similar tropes and themes to the LP, the latter was a body of work in its own right.
In spite of this, we still really liked Same Grave as a song, and an old friend of our drummer offered to record us. Everything came together really nicely. We recorded this song and another live in one day.
Live recording was certainly a learning experience for us. I can’t speak for the other guys, but I felt like I needed to get out of that 100% perfect take headspace and accept that the slight imperfections are the essence of a live recording. It is a simple concept, but I think we learned a lot in that day.
Part of the reason we had sat on this for such a long time was that we were all struggling to come up with vocals. We had some ideas for a while, but was struggling to see how they might fit. The deadline of having the songs recorded gave us the incentive we needed to finally finish the song.
The song explores the one’s ideals and by extension, identity. It challenges whether, those ideals have any impact beyond the individual and the difficulty in quantifying that. It also considers our justification for a set of ideals or belief system, and certainly highlights the difficulties some people, myself include, face in doing so. There is certainly no resolution, but the process of writing the lyrics was a cathartic one.
How did you come to work with Time As A Color?
GRAND DÉTOUR: I’ve met for the first time Daniel, during the euro tour of HUMAN HANDS in 2012*. I did a show for them in my town. I felt in love with the band and felt in love with Daniel. GRAND DÉTOUR was playing on that show, and daniel was realy into our stuff. So we stayed in contact.
* the band mentioned Daniel in their first interview for IDIOTEQ, conducted back in 2013.
COMA REGALIA: I’ve always appreciated TAAC’s design aesthetic and commitment. i think first we just did a trade and started talking about some releases. we were doing three releases together all at once and during that time our correspondence became more personal. i really value that connection when we’re involved with someone from a label. i put so much of my life into our music. it’s become more and more important to me to be able to share that openly with the people we’re involved with.
NEBRASKA: Nebraska first approached Time As A Color in 2012 shortly after we released our 7″. We were hoping Daniel would be interested in trading records with us. He was happy to oblige and approached us soon after about contributing a track to what eventually became the My Heart in Your Hand 10″ compilation. In dealing with Daniel, it soon became clear to us that his label was something special. He is very motivated and organised; he also puts a lot of care and effort into each release. For us, records like the K.C. Milian 2xLP discography or the Leave Nothing but Footprints, Take Nothing but Photographs 3×7” boxset looked exactly like the kinds of records we wanted to release, and so for Daniel to offer us a spot on the 10” was incredibly exciting.
KUMULUS: Hmmm, good question. I can’t really remember how we came together. I think a friend recommended his label and I just wrote a mail to Daniel. Then he co-released our second album and we’ve been in good contact since then…
BAIL: We met Dan nearly 10 years ago in 2008 when we were on tour together with ‘KIDS RETURN’. We connected quite easily, so one year later in 2009 we were touring with him and his former band ‘WISHES ON A PLANE‘. From now on we had so many shows and several tours together with Dan and thanks to Dan, last in 2015 with his band ‘DUCT HEARTS’. For our tour 2009 with ‘WISHES ON A PLANE ‘2009 we released the split CDR ‘Transparency’ together with them. Then 2011 Dan asked us if we want to contribute a song to his first release of the “TAKE NOTHING BUT PHOTOGRAPHS… LEAVE NOTHING BUT FOOTPRINTS?” series – well, sure! Finally he recorded and mixed our 2014 released LP ‘In Closing Memories’.
LORRAINE: I know Daniel for a few years now. It all started when I asked him for a few records I wanted to add to my distro. We kept in touch, I did shows for DUCT HEARTS, they have been on the PYLON MIXTAPE #1 and someday Daniel asked us to be part of a 4-way split with DUCT HEARTS, THE DAYDREAM FIT and DOTLIGHTS. Last year, I convinced him to co-release our most recent 7“, and for now, we’re really happy to be part of this 10 years anniversary release.
TERRAFORMER: We met Daniel when we played a show in Germany two years ago. He told us that he’d be interested in helping us with our next release. In a short amount of time, we’re releasing Mineral, the split with our friends in Watered and the song meant to be on the compilation, quite a start !
CARSON WELLS: We worked with Daniel when he helped to release our split with buddies HUMAN HANDS and have kept in touch since. Great guy!
Do you feel there’s a real strong sense of cohesion and collaboration amongst DIY musicians and promoters? How would you characterize your closest independent music environment as of today?
GRAND DÉTOUR: A lot of promoters are also musicians, so I feel like it’s a chance to play in that scene. We are always treated like kings, we have food, we have a place to crash, even if you’re an unknown band. That is a big chance, espacially in the european scene.
COMA REGALIA: I feel like there is and there isn’t. DIY isn’t a utopia, of course. there are people in DIY who are in it for different reasons. i think for the most part, that’s fine. some people maintain their place in the DIY scene in hopes that it can take them to a point where they will no longer need to operate within it. i don’t always know how i feel about that. people have their own motives and i feel like largely, people in the DIY scene won’t step on each other to further their goals, but there are those people out there.
On the other hand, of course there’s a network of incredible people who share a passion and dedication to music and each other that’s often beyond words. if you try to explain it to people outside of the scene the explanation often falls pretty short. it sounds like it’s just a bunch of people hanging out in run down houses and rental spaces but to everyone involved we know it’s so much bigger than that. the people i’ve screamed in a basement with, stayed up talking to all hours of the morning, and went to crappy diners with after shows mean everything to me and you can find them everywhere.
NEBRASKA: Absolutely, I think in this scene it’s one of the only things that you can rely on with people who have mutual mindsets, ethos and goals. It is essential for that type of relationship to work with strong mutual cohesion and collaboration. In terms of Nebraska currently, I think our closest environment we collaborate with is internationally in terms of worldwide blogs, distros and labels outside of Australia who luckily enough for us have taken an interest in us. It speaks volumes to the power of a global DIY community irrespective of borders that is excited to collaborate with artists who might live on the other side of the world. It’s a cool thing when you some first hand that there can be positives which come out of globalization, this compilation is a testament to that.
KUMULUS: Everybody involved in the diy scene contributes his part to it: bands, labels, promoters, fanzines, distros,… It’s strongly connected because everybody ‘needs’ each other, is working together. I like the moment right before you leave after the show In the morning.
Promoter: thanks for playing!
Band: no, thanks for having us and spend days for organizing, cooking, giving us places to sleep, etc.!
I love to play shows, but i also loved to set up shows and host friends and bands that I just liked. In most of the bands there where members set up a show for us in the past or maybe will in future or at least help with contacts or anything. For me it always just made sense, to be active as a band and promoter. Actually I don’t like the word promoter. It feels like there’s only one person, but mostly there’re collectives and groups setting up shows, as it’s to much work for just one person. Giving and taking… It’s not only the band, that makes a good show, but without a band there’s no show!
Same thing with labels, fanzines…
DUCT HEARTS: There has to. i mean no one here is in it for the money, those who are won’t stay long, because they either fail or go where the money is when they realize. so what makes it work is some sort of spirit of doing something, of helping out friends, being part of a community. so whether you play in a band or do a label, distro, shows, write for a zine, it doesn’t work without the counterparts. however even though i’ve known a bunch of people in the “scene” since what feels forever, people change. and i get the impression promoters are the most “jumpy” link in the chain. some people stop collecting records and being punk when they finish university, or they simply can’t split enough between day/work life/family and idealism. you can’t blame them, that’s life. i really wish more people would find the confidence to try and put on small shows in their basement or whatever. most bands don’t need more than that.
BAIL: Yes, definitely. DIY can take a lot of time, and especially people that are interested in DIY know to appreciate the effort and the result of your DIY stuff. And it’s always cool to swap ideas on it.
LORRAINE: Vienna (or Austria in general) has a somewhat wide and incoherent independent music scene. Even though we’re friends with a lot of other bands and promoters, it sometimes seems that they’re hardly connected with each other, which definitely has to change. I mean who wants an elitist music scene forever?
TERRAFORMER: Yes, it is the kind of scene driven by mutual support and collaboration. They are collectives that do a lot of work and set shows in our city. On a personnal level, we’re not setting shows or stuff like that, even going to show sometime is tricky. We’re not able to attend a lot of shows which not great.
CARSON WELLS: In a word, yes! I think there is a lot of camaraderie between bands and people who put on shows to help out where possible. Even small gestures, like punk-post, can be hugely helpful. Especially when being in a band or being a promoter is, for the vast majority, a loss making venture.
A lot of cities in the UK seem to be suffering the same fate, in that their venues are under threat, or, worse still, have closed down. Our home town of Aberdeen has been subject to this, but a few promotors have managed to keep good things going on. Often the venues are far from perfect, but a willingness to embrace that, is what helps to foster a DIY community focussed on live music. This is particularly important when considering that future venues appear to depend on those communities – Wharf Chambers in Leeds and DIYSFL being examples of that. We also have some good pals in Dundee who are looking to start something similar too!
What’s your city’s best kept secret?
GRAND DÉTOUR: Probably the PIZZA FRITES! french fries in a pizza and roled like a kebab/falafel sandwich!
NEBRASKA: Easy answer, the O-Bahn. The O-Bahn is a guided busway (bus on rails) which connects from the Northeastern suburbs of Adelaide to the city centre that extends for about 12 kilometers. I think that it might be the second longest guided busway in the world. It is a bit of a cult icon within Adelaide that spins tourists out when they realize such a feat of transport infrastructure exists within our quiet little city.
DUCT HEARTS: It’s not a secret, but Munich’s best thing is a vegan kebab at royal kebabhaus right at the central station!
BAIL: The Kölsche Klüngel.
LORRAINE: If you ever visit Vienna, go check out YUMMY at Stumpergasse (Hitler lived there for a while, but now it’s a great store for records, skateboards and diy printed stuff)
TERRAFORMER: Still searching !
CARSON WELLS: Thain’s Bakery.