Interview with Kenny Boothby of Little Kid

Noah: Alright so we are here at WKDU interviewing Kenny Boothby of Little Kid. My name is Noah.

Trent: My name is Trent.

N: Alright let’s get this started. So do you have a first question you want to ask?

T: Sure, yeah. So I guess as a good introductory question, when did you first realize that you had a knack for music?

Kenny: I I don’t know I think when I was in grade six, I started playing guitar and I don’t think I was great at it. But there I think it was probably more around grade 8 or 9 for me. I don’t know if I was thinking I was great at music from this but I went to a thing at my church about reading or how to play music by ear and the pastor taught me some stuff about the circle of fifths. In that just half hour-hour session something in that clicked in this big way and I could kind of play music or understood it in some deeper way. I have no idea- I wish I knew how he taught me that so fast but something really clicked and I got pretty obsessed with music after that or just kind of deeper into how it works and how to play it.

N: What were some early influences that you liked when you were that age?

K: At that age? Oh nothing cool, I mean not that much that was cool when I was that age. I mean I liked The Beatles when I was really young. I guess that’s pretty timeless like kids like it and it still rocks when you’re older. But I was into like Reliant K, like Christian pop punk like Christian Ska. It’s like it’s just like excruciatingly uncool music, but that was what I liked back then. I loved the Bare-Naked Ladies. That’s a Canadian rock band, I don’t think they crossed over too much to the states.

N: I know the Barenaked Ladies: you know… “If I Had a Million Dollars”

K: Yeah, of course, yeah. That was the first band I nerded out about, got all their CDs. Yeah, definitely not cool. And those were what made me want to learn guitar and those are some of the first songs I learned

N: Awesome.

T: So outside of music are there any other artistic influences that you have?

K: Yeah, in recent years I’ve been much worse at reading books. I used to read a lot of books. I think I’m addicted to my phone and I’m also burnt out from working a job so I don’t find I read as much. But I definitely think reading was helpful for, you know, words. Getting better with words or finding words I like and hearing different voices I guess. All that to say it’s not much of an influence now unfortunately. Maybe it’s purer this way. It’s just musical influences. But I feel like I read a lot of Flannery O’Connor and Cormac McCarthy was a big one. I liked JD Salinger when I was younger. Yeah so, I used to read, I like short stories, I like short story collections. I think that might be the most similar thing to albums in a way they have the kind of interconnected or feel like they have a theme or vibe.

N: Yeah no I can totally see that influence. I feel like your lyrics, especially on the new album, are very narratively driven so yeah, it’s awesome.

K: Thanks.

N: Speaking of that, how do you decide on topics for your songs and where do you pull from for these ideas?

K: I wish I could pinpoint it better cause lately I’ve been kind of struggling with writing a song or finishing a song. Just because I’m stuck at that part of like, what do I want to write about? I don’t have anything write about. Like that kind of feeling. But I have to remember that more often it’s a musical idea that kind of starts a process and you kind of chase a melodic thing. At least I do this. and then repeating that melody, playing guitar over and over again, saying nonsense words. Then I kind of start coming out of that and I start writing down words. I think for me at least. I got to remember I don’t usually know what I’m going to write about too well when I start and then the words will start to come together. Sometimes it’s not totally until the very end of the writing that you go “oh there we go,” there’s a line that can be the hook of the song. It can be the thing where I can approach this certain line a bunch of different ways and that will crack something open and connect all the verses. So yeah, I think some of it is subconscious or some of it is just following an impulse and trying stuff out. Once in a while, I have an idea for a song. My partner and I were joking around about the rapture and someone coming home and their partner’s clothes are on the ground and they think they’ve been raptured. That was kind of a joke and we thought it was funny. Then like a couple weeks later, I was like “that should be a song” and turned it into a song. So sometimes it works out that way.

N: Yeah, I do that a lot too. Sometimes when my friends say something interesting, I’m like that could be a song right there. Boom.

K: I find it hard though, I find it more difficult to do that sometimes. I have a couple ideas I’ve had for a while where I’m like that should be a song. I want to make that song and then it might take me years to actually find the right way to do that. So it’s sometimes easier coming the other way of just following some vibe and it turns into something.

N: Do you feel like this process has changed over the course of your career at all?

K: Definitely yeah. It’s more collaborative, I think. This one, just by the nature of COVID, went back to being a bit more starting with the Kenny demo for a lot of the songs. I think those have generally been written in a pretty similar way from the start. But at times, like some of the ones on the new record too, we made them in the room together. I was just at that point of just the melody, knowing there was some kind of spark I wanted to chase there and was able to build it in the room with Brody or Paul or Liam and like whoever was there. We kind of turned it into a song that felt good even though the lyrics weren’t there. Then I would write lyrics to that. Which is really hard I find. I don’t like doing it sometimes cause I don’t meet the deadline. Like we want to start recording, we have this day and I’ve got one song done but we just played around with a couple others. So that could be more difficult. It’s kind of fun, it’s like a brain teaser – you got a certain amount of syllables and you gotta build something useful out of it. But it’s a lot more difficult and less enjoyable in certain ways.

N: Yeah, I feel the same way because I write in a full band context and also personally. It’s definitely very different in that sense.

T: Yeah definitely writing is like poetry for me. I find when I read poetry more, I tend to get better at writing music.

K: It makes a lot of sense. I love lyrics and I’m pretty turned off by music if the lyrics are bad like pretty quickly. I mean there’s major exceptions to that. I like stuff sometimes just because it’s fun or whatever. But for me, I don’t really enjoy reading poetry. I’ve had trouble kind of getting into it. I really like rhymes, like very much I’m excited by rhymes. But I don’t like perfect rhymes or stuff that feels too nursery rhyme. And so, with poetry, it’s either not going to rhyme and I’m going to have trouble accessing it for that reason or it’s going to rhyme and it’s going to feel corny more easily for some reason if it’s not to a melody. But I’d like to dabble more with reading. Dan Riggins from Friendship has talked to me about poetry in some interesting ways. I think he taught some course up at University of Iowa and he was saying poetry is like instrumental music which would sound very counterintuitive to me but I tried to maybe keep that in mind when I was reading some of his stuff after. It was an interesting way to think about it, just kind of more of a washing over you than trying to analyze it.

N: Right yeah, I feel like when I want to read poems I lose concentration easily because it’s not part of a larger story or anything. It’s just kind of like containing itself and – especially if it’s long – it’s just hard for me because I feel like I have to really analyze every phrase. But maybe, I should take that approach as well. I’m in a poetry class right now…

T: Oh really?

N: Yeah, in the winter – I was stuck in a lyrical rut, and now I’m stuck in like a musical rut, so I’m hoping to use my poems as actual lyrics at some point.

K: That’s great, it could be cool.

T: It’s funny because for me poetry is like music, like when I read it, I just love how the sounds of the words flow over my tongue when I say it. I don’t know, it’s interesting.

N: Want to ask the next question?

T: For sure. So why do you make music at all? I mean what motivates you to make music? Is it fun? Is it therapeutic?

K: Good question. I think I’m also at the weird spot post-album release, wanting to make new stuff where you also wonder about that. Or like if you’re in that rut, like I’m not writing a lot, well why am I trying? If nothing’s coming out what’s the point? What am I after by making a new song you know? It’s hard to say. I mean, I love music. I have since I was young. I love albums. I love that sort of form of making a bunch of songs and finding a way to fit them together. I don’t know, the stuff I’ve enjoyed the most in my life has been listening to albums or getting to know albums so I guess it’s just rewarding to be like “I can make those sometimes.” So I don’t know, does that mean it’s like vanity or pride or something? Probably, but everybody who’s ever made an album is kind of doing that. So I guess it’s fine, I don’t know. I wish I had a better answer…

N: I think it’s valid

K: Obviously it’s a therapeutic process, or you can put a story to your life or something that helps you make sense of it. That can be really powerful. But when I’m actually just playing the guitar and thinking I want to make something, it’s usually not such a nice reason. It’s hard to articulate.

N: For sure, yeah. Do you feel like mental health and using music as a therapeutic tool affects your creative process at all? And in turn, do you think your creative process and your creative output affects your mental health at all?

K: Yeah I think so. That might be an interesting thing in the last few years. I’ve gone to therapy since like 2018? I want to say… maybe 2019? I just had a couple albums since then. But I think before going to therapy and just also being younger person on the first album, I’m not sure how healthy it was to process stuff that was so intense for me. I was writing about my whole faith crisis in songs, and stuff that I hadn’t really talked about with my friends or talked about with people that were close to me. I was just putting it into a song. And where I was at in my growth as a person, maybe that was all I was able to do, and it was a way to process it and it was helpful. But maybe I could’ve talked to my friend about it, you know? It might have been nice. Rather than this weird thing where I have a really intense performance of this song and I’m feeling kind of screwed up because I’m singing with this stuff and feeling very strange. Now hopefully I’m processing these things that are intense in therapy and that is also helping me improve my own communication with my loved ones and my own identification of what’s going on with myself. I think I’m just a bit better at doing that kind of work. So hopefully that’s not happening with songs the same way. But maybe there’s a plus side of that kind of clarity? I definitely have written songs now about stuff that I worked out in therapy or already kind of processed I’ve actually got insight or more of a big picture look at stuff. That might help with the writing being more mature or more of a different perspective. I think just an older person’s perspective helps. The person who’s done a little more work on themselves and a little more emotionally healthy.

N: Yeah that’s always been kind of interesting to me. Because I do the same thing. Like I write songs about stuff that I don’t talk to my friends about. These are things that are going to be released for everyone to hear at some point. I think it’s just because writing music is a very- especially if you’re doing it by yourself – singularly focused process that it creates a zone for you to do that.

T: Yeah for me there’s some things where I try writing music about it, and it does nothing and I realize I just gotta talk to people about it. And then there’s some things where I talk to people about it and it does nothing, and I’m like I just gotta write this down and do music. So I’m always bouncing between talking to people and writing music for a lot of things that I’m going through.

K: Yeah hopefully now, at least, there’s an order to it for me of like, I want to talk about it with the person before and have approval for it being a song, or like, you know, that kind of thing. A little more like where am I in this, this careful with that then when I was younger.

N: What’s the divide between songs you write that are based on like real events and feelings, and more fictional?

K: I think all of them are kind of both. I don’t know if I’ve had any that are that are fully one or the other. I don’t know if I’ve had any that are not fictionalized at least a little bit, is probably what I should say. I think there have been some that are probably pretty purely fiction, but even those are often an image or a theme or something that’s still connected to something in my life. But I don’t know, I guess the most narrative ones are Raptured or Two Invitations as well. Two Invitations has some autobiographical things stuck in there but it’s also just a totally made-up story.

N: that’s a good answer for sure. Inevitably, every song is going to have a bit of yourself in it, even if it’s completely fictional, because it’s just coming from you.

K: Yeah

T: You mentioned the way you’d write music when you were younger versus now. What are some ways that you think you’ve grown as a musician? And perhaps more broadly as a human being, since you first started Little Kid?

K: As a musician I think I’ve always wrote pretty repetitive songs. I like repetition, I think that’s something I’ve just embraced. It’s a barrier for me to listen to music that doesn’t repeat a lot. If I like the melody, I like to hear it a bunch. So that’s always been pretty constant, but I think there was a point maybe where we first were like “oh we can put some weird chords and it’s kind of fun.” For some reason, I really don’t think were any accidentals on the first 3 albums. Everything was in the in the key. I don’t write the wackiest music that way, but we did start thinking to put some weird chords in there. I don’t know if I described them, we have a way we describe these chords sometimes.

N: I know what you mean.

K: But anyways, I think we dabbled in more musically complex stuff. It’s not very complex still because that stuff doesn’t excite me too much, but I think I’m prouder of some of the chord progressions or some of the ways we snuck in some weird little chords and harmonic stuff. That would be the musical growth kind of thing. Lyrically, I’ve challenged myself to kind of just write better. Try to make every line something I work at a little bit more. I think there was a long time where I’d have songs that I mostly felt pretty good about but I’d maybe still be like “I wish I fixed that line.” I try to be a little more focused to make the whole thing something I’m proud of. But yeah, as a person, that piece around therapy or just trying to try to be better at identifying what my emotions are and why I’m feeling this way, and not leaving that up to someone else to discover that for me and tell me you’re behaving this way. I just think that’s maturity and I think it’s also doing some work around figuring yourself out so you’re not hurting somebody else. I don’t know if that comes through in the music, but in terms of my own, maybe try and just be better at communicating and better at identifying what I want or what I should do.

N: I think that’s a valuable thing to have and that’s something that everyone could work on for sure. And I’m glad that you feel like you’re a place where that’s something you’re good at.

K: better at.

N: Yeah better at. Alright so for this new record what were some of your biggest influences during the creation process?

K: I think it’s died off a little bit now, but I was definitely riding this “Bob Dylan at his most intensely productive” era. I just love the classics by him like Blonde on Blonde and Highway 61. Just that pace of writing and the ambition of these long form songs was pretty inspiring, and I think we were trying to make records really fast, partially inspired by that and by some other bands and projects. That looseness and that pushing forward. It’s still kind of there, but I think by nature of the pandemic and all of a sudden not being able to record together, I was forced to not try to have that energy anymore because it wasn’t possible. I guess that’s been a shift. If anything, the Bob Dylan influence might be more present in other ways just because of the length of the songs and playing with folk forms. Obviously I’m sure the music I listen to is influencing the stuff. I feel like we now have a big discography and for live shows we’ll play a lot of our stuff from older albums. I feel like we weirdly can be like “I’m making this song that is a Little Kid song.” I’m not so much thinking “I really want to do a Leonard Cohen type song.” So for better or for worse, I feel we’re sometimes just reacting to or being influenced by them before and being “let’s try to do something like this but better,” or try to pursue what we liked about this thing. But yeah, I don’t know if I could point to many musical influences. I think also because it was such a long span of time. It’s what was I listening to in the period of 2019 through 2003? I don’t know, a bunch of different things, bunch of different phases, yeah maybe more rap music to be honest. I think that’s exciting me in certain ways with the lyrics.

N: What’s your taste in rap?

K: I really like Billy woods lately. I think that’s the best writing I’ve ever heard in my life. Like just in terms of the rhyme schemes and the humor mixed with really biting social stuff and mind-blowingly intense rhymes going on in there. The way that he sneaks in these syllables and stuff is super inspiring but also super embarrassing. You’re just like “oh man I thought I was getting pretty good at this, but this is this is a whole other thing.” How does someone do that kind of vibe you know? I also just like more carefree summertime drive stuff. I honestly like Drake. Vince Staples is one. I really liked Vince Staples’ more recent albums. Really low-key ones like Self-Titled. It’s like 20 minutes long. That one I listened to a lot that one summer. But I mean not very deep cut stuff though. I really like those artists I mentioned but I don’t have my ear to the ground very much.

N: I’m always curious to see what artists listen to like outside of the genre that they make themselves. So I’m glad you shared that with us. How long does it take you to write a song? And do you consider the recording process part of the writing process or is that a separate thing?

K: In the past honestly, I’ve written almost every song that I’ve released in a day, like the lyrics, in a session.

N: That’s crazy

K: I’ll be excited enough about an idea to sit down and do it. It will be like maybe 8 hours or something. Sometimes I have the whole day to do something. I’m usually recording with the four track or I’m listening through the four track with headphones while I’m singing. I picture how it’s going to sound recorded a little better. I’m usually demoing actively on the four track while I’m writing. I make the song, do a rough recording with the four track, maybe do a couple counter melodies on the piano or on a little keyboard or whatever and I have that version that I send to the band and we will restart it, generally. Sometimes we’ll keep a little piece from the demo and mix it into the intro of the song or something. But usually we redo it, and in that time between, I might tweak a couple lyrics if I’m like “that line is not sitting great with me.” Usually it’s like that and then otherwise it’s the flip side where we write it together and I have to then build the lyrics. And that process can take forever, like months and months because I don’t have that same spark of like “I’ve had the idea.” But yeah, this thing has happened where I find the right hook for the song and not necessarily a hook like a melodic banger of a melody, but just what the verses can come back to at the end. That’s what the chorus could be about, and then something will click then things fall into place. So yeah, generally, the actual writing process is in a many hour window but sometimes just doing that on an idea can be months and months. And honestly, I maybe just have to give up on those ones that take that long. I’m learning I don’t usually finish them, so I think it’s got to be that hot in the moment thing.

N: Do you write a lot of songs that never see release at all?

K: Not that many. On the last few albums, we maybe had one or two B-sides that we finished. I start writing a lot of songs. I got a lot of notepads that have a few lines or something, or just a couple of words I realized had a pattern to them or something that don’t ever quite turn into a song. So yeah, I guess when I’m talking about that 8 hour span it’s like when I realize this song’s going to work. I think that there are lots of little starts of things that don’t end up finding the hook and just will stay that way but if we finish it, we usually release it. There’s a really small amount of songs being fully recorded that we didn’t end up wanting to put out.

T: How comfortable are you with people hearing your music while you’re still working on it? Would you ever think of releasing those demos on Bandcamp or something?

K: Yeah I think now I’m pretty ok with putting demos up for the people who want to hear it. The people who don’t want to hear it won’t listen to it and that’s fine. But there will be a few people who might dig it. We have released demos once in a while. I surely will do more of that whenever it’s the good time. But I think for something I’m currently working on I don’t generally post it publicly. My friend Aaron from Fog Lake, he’s always hearing stuff that’s partially done. I’m always sending him stuff. Anybody who’s my closer friend, especially musicians. I value their opinion. I generally like to send them stuff. He will send me some stuff sometimes. He’s a little more personal about it or protective. But I think honestly, getting a bit of validation earlier in the process can be helpful. I want to know I’m kind of onto something. So sending it to someone whose opinion I value and being like “hey this is great, I would I listen to that a bunch of times,” you’re like “ok, if Aaron likes it, it must be pretty good.” So yeah that can be nice.

N: Awesome, you know, Trent’s a big Fog Lake fan

T: Yeah, I saw Aaron in concert at Philamoca.

K: That’s great, yeah.

N: Have you ever played in Philly before?

K: No. I was just saying to Trent though, we’re planning a tour for August and we’re going to come to Philadelphia. We got to figure out the venue and all that. But we are just kind of finalizing our routing with the other band.

N: Awesome

K: We’re just starting to let people know and whatnot so I’m pretty certain I’ll be there. I’ve never been to Philadelphia. It’s been on my list for a while as a place to visit so I’m excited to see it at least for a day. And there’s lots of good music there so hopefully we’ll play with cool band or something.

N: Yeah make sure you get a cheesesteak. Don’t bother with the liberty bell, its just a bell.

K: I guess as a Canadian I don’t really know the significance of that.

N: Alright I think Trent has one more question.

T: Yeah this question is probably as personal as you want to make it, but this is something that I’m pretty interested in. I mean maybe the context helps: I was a Christian for over 10 years and I listened to some of your earlier stuff while I was still a Christian. Maybe about like a year or so ago, I kind of fell out of the faith so I don’t know, your music has always helped me while I was a Christian and sort of after I was a Christian, so I’m interested to know, are you religious? And if so, how does the interplay between the music you make and your faith work? Like does one support the other?

K: A lot of people will ask about it. Obviously it’s very present in the music so it makes sense. I think my path has kind of been that I grew up very Christian. I would have identified as a Christian still for the first couple little kid albums, even though I was going through stuff, kind of questioning things on the record itself. I think the path was kind of confusing and kind of sad and that turned into kind of angry and very much rejecting the whole thing. I think that probably comes throughout some of those albums too but in more recent years I value some aspects of growing up with those stories and with some of the values. I wouldn’t identify as a Christian now at all. I don’t go to church, I don’t have really a spiritual life to be honest, hopefully that’s not disappointing. But obviously, I’m thinking about it still a lot. I think there’s some beautiful stuff in the stories and there’s some beautiful stuff in the ideal kind of life that you could live with some of those teachings. I don’t really see that happening very much so it is definitely a turnoff to the idea of using the title of Christian or being involved in the church. But yeah, I think the overall journey has been to push away from it really hard and be like “no way” and very angry. But in more recent years I appreciate that part of my life and I would enjoy any time I have crossed paths with going back to church with somebody or going to a service. I’ve enjoyed the comfort of it in certain ways and there are certain things about the music and other communal stuff. There are some things that are just so beautiful you can’t explain them, about existence and about just like I don’t know, music and for me math and things that blow my mind and excite me. And I can see how you want to explain it with something like God. I feel like that makes sense and I respect it and I kind of agree with it in a way. I just don’t super know that the Bible is really true or want to participate in that culture really actively. But yeah, it’s clearly made a real impression on me. I find that stuff pretty inescapable to write about and I frame stuff through some of those images or some of those kinds of ways to think about the world. So yeah culturally, I’m definitely Christian. I can’t really help it now. But just in terms of the deeper practice, it’s not really present. I would definitely not be like “I’m an atheist” or I don’t want to be one of those… what’s the name from the office… Ricky Gervais like that kind of “I’m smarter than everybody because of logic or whatever.” That stuff totally repulsed me too. So yeah it’s a complex answer complex question. I’m sure for everybody I would hope it’s a complex answer

N: Yeah so you’re a big math guy as well?

K: Yeah I’m a math teacher. math and music. Just started teaching music but yeah I’ve been a math person forever. I love it.

T: Oh wow! I’m a math major actually.

K: That’s great yeah, I have a math minor. My math knowledge only goes to like second year calculus. I loved it and my appreciation of math has grown in teaching the stuff we do in grade 9/10/11 of high school. I know that stuff. It’s not very useful math, but I enjoy it very much.

T: As a math major, I can confirm that the higher up you go in math it really isn’t that useful but it’s really cool.

K: Yeah it blows your mind in a great way.

N: Do you ever use math in your songwriting or do you, Trent, ever use math?

T: I don’t, no.

K: We do. We say we got to do some math sometimes when we’re working on something. Often, it’s that we’re going to slow down a tape and transpose a note to match the key. It’s like very strange, specific math. It’s like we want to make the drums sound slow on this song so we’re going to record them fast and slow the tape down, but the bassline was there in C now it’s in A so we got to do transposition. My student today was realizing on the guitar. We were talking about semitones and tones and the student was moving a rift up and realizing “oh you can play the riff here” and that same student was in my math class that day and I was like it’s just like the K value on the on the parabola and it’s moving it up one.” It excites me that the student was like “they’re almost the same thing right?” And they’re both beautiful in a kind of spiritual way to be honest. Music is obviously more. It’s more apparent to everybody that their music is beautiful and spiritual but I think there’s something that happened that it gets out the same thing if you don’t have your walls up.

T: I did not expect to talk about math today during this interview.

N: I think we might be I think we’re done with the questions but, anything else you want to say to the people who might be listening to this?

K: I guess well to you two thanks for having me. I know I posted that I want to be on podcasts. You can tell like I could be chatty if I have the chance so yeah thanks for the chance to be chatty with the music itself. I appreciate it.

N: Of course! this was a really insightful conversation. I’ll definitely be listening to a lot of Little Kid after this interview.

K: Try to catch the math.

Hot Mixing w/ Sorry Records’ Nick Boyd

Brooklyn’s Sorry Records has been a bright spot for new electronic music in these wild-ass times we’re living in, serving up everything from tender break-beat groovers to full throttle giddy-up, let’s rave bangers & beyond.

We caught up with label manager Nick Boyd after grabbing this b2b deejay set from Nick & Sweat Equity co-founder Alien D.

Press play & sink into the chat ▶️

Chris B: Nick, thanks so much for linking up to do this mix, chat, etc! I feel like you wear a lot of different ‘hats’. For the uninitiated, can you walk us through who you are and what you do?

Nick B: No worries Chris — thanks for inviting me to do the show and all your hospitality!

I’m from Winston-Salem, North Carolina originally — moved to New York when I was eighteen or so for school and have been just generally doing as much music stuff as I can since. I run Sorry Records, interview NYC artists for the great Love Injection fanzine, write about music every now and then for places like Crack and Bolting Bits, DJ, and run two radio shows on The Lot Radio and Newtown Radio here in Brooklyn. I used to go out dancing a lot too! I try to approach all the stuff I do with that mindset. 

A festive cake for the new Tony G – Pianoman EP, featuring remixes from Bored Lord & DJ Delish

How have you been hanging in there this past crazy year? What a time to be alive, right? Any new Covid hobbies ? How have you been coping and getting through this all?

Not quite sure how well I’ve been hanging in but I’m still here! It’s been just an insane sludge of a year — finding it difficult to find any consistency between bright highs and new lows. Outside of a weekend or two, I’ve been in New York non stop since this whole thing started. I’ve been very lucky to have held onto my pre-pandemic day job which wasn’t the case for so many folks so I really can’t complain though. Besides long aimless walks through Brooklyn and combing through the David Morales remix catalog, I’ve been coping by throwing myself into running Sorry. We’ve probably “signed” 10 records in the last year and significantly ramped up the frequency of our releases. That first month of pandemic I think I commissioned like six remixes. 

What is the ethos behind Sorry Records? Why did you start the label & where were you when you started it? Was this like a back of the napkin kind of thing or had been premeditated for a while or … ?

Definitely wasn’t premeditated. We’ve grown and changed a lot since our first records in 2015. Sorry started back when I was living with Tony G and Nick Dalessio (Figur fka Stick Figure) in college. They started a band and made an indie rock record with our friend Noah Engel from ART DLR on vocals and Drummy on drums. The label was initially started to promote that record but I’d wanted to start a label since I was in high school.Those early releases were all over the place, predominately music from my close friends, and genre wise everything from Dalessio’s experimental IDM leaning breaks stuff to the aforementioned indie rock and pop punk stuff from our friends Trash Boy in Philadelphia. 

Drummy & Nick Boyd at The Lot Radio in Brooklyn

Our original ethos was completely open format — really just any music I liked of any genre period. As time moved on and I myself got heavy into disco and subsequently house, techno, going out raving, the Sorry Records as it exists today cemented as a label primarily focused on the diverse sound of the dance floor and dance music history as a whole. I’ve always been in love with dance music as a curatorial genre developed via DJs who pieced together music from all sorts of genres and eras in their own new vision. I feel like all you really need to know was pretty much laid down by David Mancuso before Disco even had a name, you know? Lead with love, community, and play whatever feels right for you and the dancers. 

Must admit I’ve had a lingering frustration with what I perceive to be a loss of that spirit from current DJs and dance labels. From house to techno, there’s tons of labels out there putting out record after record with the same tone, same sound, same artwork… You hear stories about folks like Anthony Parosole ending a set at Berghain with Frank Sinatra and people being legitimately mad! That mindset sounds like hell to me. 

Ahh, to get lost in the fog again — soon enough! Figur enjoying a moment in the dance at the 2018 Sorry Records Halloween party

Sorry Records is also super influenced by the diversity of the New York dance music sound and we definitely want to champion our community where you can go to Bossa on like a Wednesday night and hear ballroom mixed into gabber into Detroit techno into reggaeton. I want to turn the techno kids onto house and vise versa. Would love to help people my age be more familiar with the history of this music and community within our city and the rest of America. I also want to make music that is fun to dance to. As far as ethos goes, these things are always in mind when I approach our label. 

What are some of your favorite labels & why? Maybe include a favorite label growing up, an all-time favorite and some contemporary labels you’re feeling…

I could go on and on so this will be an incomplete smattering but I’d be remiss to not mention a trio of labels that actively and directly inspired me to start Sorry.

I’ve been a humongous fan of Jeff Rosenstock and his community-oriented/anti-capitalist DIY approach to his collective Bomb the Music industry! and Quote Unquote Records was hugely influential on just about everything I do. He made so many decisions that completely shifted my understanding of what was possible for a musician and record label. Every record he’s put out since 2005 is available for free download online even since he’s signed to larger labels like Polyvinyl. Almost every Bomb show was all ages, under $10, and instead of selling merch you’d just bring a blank t-shirt to the show and Jeff would spray paint a stencil on it for you in the parking lot. To me I guess Jeff proved that idealism and honest commitment to DIY ethics was not only possible but fun. I’ve strayed pretty far from the punk world since but his words and approach are always in mind — “So write some songs with lots of hooks / Remember why you wrote songs in the first place / Let’s start a band / This is all that you can do.” 

Another label that inspired a similar realization of “wow I can do this” was my old friend Nathan Romano’s cassette label Personal Records based out of Greensboro, NC. I met Nathan when I was 16 at a summer filmmaking program and he is an insanely creative person who spent high school releasing dozens of folk/experimental/rock type records via this cassette label he ran out of his bedroom. Nathan was the first person I knew personally that ran a record label, booked shows, built his own world via DIY… He pushed me way more than I think he realizes. 

Lastly I just generally wouldn’t be running a label if it weren’t for A. G. Cook and PC Music. What they did with that label especially between 2013 and 2016 just bowled me over. They created their own world and changed the world at large in turn — legitimately the most thrilling and impressive record label in my lifetime, you know? PC Music taught me so much about intentionality, curation, presentation, and the overall possibilities of what you can do with a record label especially as it relates to digital media.

In interest of brevity, here’s some other labels I adore divided between past and present:

Strictly Rhythm are HUGE for me and everyone. Salsoul, Fania, Ze Records, West End, Philadelphia International, Prelude, Nice ’N’ Ripe; MOTOWN, Sleeping Bag, Emotive, Movin Records, everything Power Music especially Sex Trax, Nu Groove, Nervous, Easy Street, King Street Sounds, T.K. Disco, Suburban Base, Dance Mania, Teklife, Warriors Dance…

Sweat Equity, Haus Of Altr, Moveltraxx, Naive, Juke Bounce Werk, Future Times, ONE PUF, Sneaker Social Club, Kiwi Records, Allergy Season, EAT DIS, Mood Hut, Incensio, Timedance, The Bunker NY, Knightwerk, Scuffed Recordings, Most Excellent Unlimited, TWIN, Super Rhythm Trax, N.A.A.F.I., BFDM, Mister Saturday Night, TraTraTrax, Frendzone, ROOM, Off Me Nut, Local Action, Dark Entries, Balkan Recordings, Fixed Rhythms, T4T LUV NRG, Intedimensional Transmissions, Loveless Records, Planet Euphorique, Swing Ting, Kindergarten Records, Super Tuff, Twin, Hooversound, Illegal Afters, Honey Soundsystem, Loveless, Local Action…

If you had to give someone advice for starting a label today, what would it be?

My advice would be if you’re thinking about starting one, just start one. Work with your friends at first, really think about what you can do for the artists you work with that they can’t do by themselves, and never prioritize money ever. Also just email me — I don’t have enough friends who run labels and would love to help any way I can. 

Escaflowne rocking it at Good Room for a livestream

What’s one thing you love and one thing you don’t love about electronic music right now ? (not being able to do parties aside)

Octo Octa said “good DJs make dance music still feel like a secret.” That’s my favorite part about electronic music. 

Something I don’t love? The fact that not a single publication or platform is even coming close to properly covering even 10% of the beautiful stuff going on right now. 

What’s in the pipeline for you, Sorry Records, and beyond?

We’ve got a ton of projects in the works for the next year or so on Sorry Records. Records and remixes from Escaflowne, C Powers, PlayPlay, Bored Lord, John Barera, Brian Abelson, WTCHCRFT, Amal, X-Coast, Xhosa, UNIIQU3, Interplanetary Criminal, Chrissy & Maria Amor, Bianca Oblivion, Alien D, Tony G, DJ Girl, Sonia Calico, Drummy, zorenLo, Nick Leon, Figur, Loraine James, They Hate Change, NIGELTHREETIMES, Olive T, Martyn Bootyspoon, Overland…

Our next record is from Miami bass duo Basside and produced by the late genius SOPHIE 

 We’ll get around to our first vinyl release sometime as well. Besides that I’m just going to continue to try to do as much radio, DJing, music writing as I can while I can. 

What’s one thing you found out about yourself through this crazy period?

I’m addicted to YouTube and TikTok in a profound and concerning way.

What’s your favorite post-rave meal / snack ? (For whenever that happens again….)

Whatever’s available but I do have a fond memory of walking home from a DJ Harvey all nighter years ago and passing Bergen Bagels on Flatbush Ave just as they were opening and getting a plain bagel w/ lox and cream cheese. In a dream world my favorite post-rave meal would a BBQ tray w/ red slaw from whatever they call the original Little Richards in Winston-Salem, NC. That or a Cookout tray — burger cheddar style, fries & a corn dog, with a Cheerwine float.

We’ll all be in the dance rocking it to awesome peeps like Sorry Records soon enough! Be well & spread love y’all <3

Artist Profile: Matt White of Goathex

By Sam Spencer

First things first, how have you been in these past months and how are you dealing with quarantine?

Well, all things considered, things have been solid. I have been lucky enough to keep my main source of income, my family has been safe, and I’ve been able to keep working on producing and releasing music with my band. Since I’m not one to go out or socialize in big groups a lot, my personal life hasn’t been too radically changed. So I really can’t complain much.

Do you have any advice for not going completely numb to it all? 

Genuine mindfulness, intention, and focused emotional investment in the things directly in front of me have done wonders for my chronic mental anguish, which like with everyone became worse at the start of this insane global crisis. I have too much anxiety to be numb, so I have to spend my time forcing myself to feel present instead of trapped in my head feeling ​everything​. I strongly advocate for conscientious physical and mental self-improvement. Focusing on your body, your intentions, your outlook, your knowledge is the best way to escape chronic stress and anxiety. Stop ruminating on and suppressing your problems and start working on how you can make yourself capable of conquering them. It IS possible.

I see you had some upcoming dates that got canceled, which must suck all things considered, do you have a plan for making up for lost time once things get back to normal?

We had an almost unbelievably stacked year ahead of us with heavy-hitter gigs lined up for nearly every coming month with killer acts like SPITE & WITCHVOMIT from the U.S. and NOCTURNAL GRAVES from Australia, as well as two U.S. tours later in the year. Like everyone else we were immensely bummed to have our plans pulled out from under us, but we took it as an opportunity to focus more on writing and working on our dynamic as a band, as our heavily packed schedule was actually making it a bit difficult to write new material or rework things… for example we finally made a long-planned change of switching our bass player to rhythm guitar and adding bass to my position on vocals. This has proved to be a change we’re very happy with. We’ve also gotten a lot of work done on the writing of our first full-length with this new lineup. So I think we’ve made the most out of the situation.

On to your story, where are you from, and what was the music / scenes that you got put onto growing up? And who was it that was initially showing you music you remember feeling passionate about?

I was born and raised directly outside of Chicago in a community that is pretty rich with excellent young musicians and artists. I had an early penchant for Punk & Alternative Rock that soon evolved into an obsession with 80s American Hardcore, and by middle school continued to evolve into serious interest in Death and Black Metal, Raw Punk, and all aspects of the D.I.Y. music underground, from NYC warehouse raves to harsh noise shows in Midwestern basements. I was also definitely heavily influenced by the local culture of hardcore rap from very early in my upbringing. If you are a die-hard music fan, you know fully that the internet, and all its deep corners and crevices, is a ​godsend​ in the most profoundly legitimate way. But probably the most influential force in my path into ​playing​ music was the many D-Beat/Raw Punk house shows I attended in Chicago during high school. This was where I really learned about what true underground extreme music was about- freedom and self-reliance, creative purity, furious unity among ruin. I could probably never play in any other kind of band, at least not in any serious sense, and I definitely never want to be a part of the music “industry” in any way.

From what I can tell, you have a really broad taste in music, how do you feel that contributes to your own art?

Yes definitely, I would say that among my favorite genres I haven’t mentioned yet are Latin Jazz & Soul, R&B, Medieval Ambient, Vaporwave, Drill, Old-School Southern Hip-Hop, New Age, Juke/Ghettotech, Psych, City Pop, all kinds of international folk music and really anything and everything in between. I really don’t discriminate much at all when it comes to musical styles and I try to be as conscious of everything happening in the music world as possible. I’m an obsessive and a completionist when it comes to my habits in music hunting and collection, so when something catches my interest I tend to get very deep into understanding it. I also tend to keep the lines between these different worlds pretty clear in my mind, so honestly I’d say that it contributes more to my personal worldview and perspectives than my art, which I try to keep pretty purely devoted to the traditions and aesthetics of Black Metal.

What have you been listening to as of late?

I’m going through a big kick of underground 90s hip-hop, deep house and dub techno. Also pretty heavy into old-school power electronics/industrial noise like ATRAX MORGUE and MURDER CORPORATION. I’ve been keeping a handful of newer goth/post-punk bands in rotation recently as well, lots of TR/ST, BLACK MARBLE, & MOLCHAT DOMA. And of course plenty of Black Metal, recently especially East Asian hyper-militant Bestial Black Metal bands like KONFLICT, DAKINI, REEK OF THE UNZEN GAS FUMES, and TETRAGRAMMACIDE. Some other mixed stuff I’ve been digging lately that I recommend: GROLLFRIED, FAILED TREATMENT, GRUPO EXTERMINADOR, DANIEL BACHMAN, JULIANNA BARWICK, STRIATIONS, NIRRITI, ROYAL HOUNDS NYC, THE AZTEC MYSTIC, LOS INICIADOS, KLAUS SCHULZE, NEIL ARDLEY, RUNESPELL.

What role does music play in your life?

It’s the most important aspect. Everything else (including my non-music related career path) is in the effort of facilitating my continued personal investment in music. I really could never live without its near-constant presence in my life as I’ve had for as long as I can remember now.

How long have you been making music now? And give me a little run-down of the type of music you started making originally, what you make now?

I’ve been messing around with instruments for most of my life. I jammed with friends throughout middle school and high school, but as I was surrounded mostly by thoroughly more musically gifted jazz/funk musicians in my friend group, I never really found the creative chemistry or alignment I was looking for. So I kept working on lyrical and conceptual ideas on my own, and it wasn’t until a year or so into college that I found other Black Metal musicians interested in putting together a serious band. Things fell into place very naturally once we got the group together. So really, Black Metal was the first style of music I’ve been able to produce in a legitimate sense.

What instruments do you play?

I’ve attempted to learn many over the years and the only ones that have ever really stuck with me enough for me to have any real confidence are drums and bass. Learning to perform metal vocals and developing my own style and different approaches for various styles has been something I’ve enjoyed a lot as well, if that can be considered an instrument.

Do you have any bands that you really look up to within black metal? Have you been able to meet any of them?

Goathex as an entity worships the elder cults of BLACK WITCHERY, PROCLAMATION, and CONQUEROR above all else. We also give our total support to the TRUE warriors of the Black Metal underground, such as ABYSMAL LORD, HUMAN AGONY, ARCHGOAT, CRURIFRAGIUM, SATANIC WARMASTER, and NYOGTHAEBLISZ… not to mention our comrades in METHGOAT, PRIMITIVE WARFARE, BAPHOMANCIA, NACHTLICH, PROFANE ORDER, NOCTURNAL DEPARTURE and others… We’ve made many allyships around the world through our efforts in the underground and have performed alongside some of the aforementioned acts on our home territory… We consider it the utmost pleasure to commit acts of debauchery and barbarism alongside these men.

Tell me more about Goathex, how did you guys come together, how long have you been making music, and how has the scene here in Philadelphia been thus far?

Goathex was formed at the end of 2018 with the intention of playing pure, unflinching Barbaric Black/War Metal in the tradition of the 90’s underground. The lineup from the previously active band SILVANTHRONE, whose guitarist and I came up with the idea for the band, was copied over directly with my addition. We started jamming during that winter, and by early spring were recording our first demo. It was for us and anyone who cared, and we didn’t expect much to come of it as we passed that demo around, but it was surprisingly well-received locally and around the black metal community online. Soon we were offered to do a professional tape release of our second demo by our allies at FORBIDDEN SONORITY. Both of these demos continue to do pretty well, and in Philly we’ve seen quite a bit of support from the extreme music scene.

From what I can ascertain you guys are really starting to blow up, how does that feel, and if you could set your sights on an ultimate goal what would it be?

As far as we still have to go in our efforts, knowing we have people digging our music around the world is pretty surreal. I’ve always thought the coolest shit is playing in a band writing and performing psychotic anti-music for no one except yourself and a handful of other die-hard weirdos scattered around the planet, and being on the other side of that dynamic is humbling and inspiring as fuck. Our ultimate goals include lots more U.S. touring, and definitely European, Southeast Asian, and Australian tours, we fully intend to establish these plans as soon as possible so that we can meet and perform alongside some of the people we’ve connected with around the world in real life.

What’s the story behind putting out physicals instead of going to streaming platforms? Do you ever see yourself going that route?

Aside from the traditional aspect of physical music in metal/punk and the fact that all of us were already pretty hardcore collectors, self-releasing via tape and working with independent labels is simply the best way to release music in my opinion. The artist gets to offer a more holistic and multifaceted work, and the listener gets a more tangible artifact of their connection to the artist. While we do put our stuff up for promo on YouTube and Bandcamp, we don’t have much interest in putting it on streaming platforms. It’s just not the right venue for Black Metal in our view.

What’s your creative process like? Ambiance, company, drugs etc.

Smoldering, unflinching, hateful rage. Of course having some booze, weed, and nicotine around doesn’t hurt either.

Tell me about how important imagery, especially the disturbing stuff, is when you’re formulating music.

The driving creative force behind Goathex is the sum of all sadistic brutality and agonized suffering of mankind- war, torture, murder, plague, misery, deceptive cruelty on the grandest scale. We don’t consider this subject matter to be fantasy or a joke in any way, and we view our use of it as expression of reverence to its power, its eternal presence, its curse-like permanence, its undeniable and unquestionable REALITY. We also want to be clear that we don’t have some half-baked underlying positive or hopeful political message like a lot of false black metal bands that have been cropping up on social media recently… human suffering is absolute and eternal. Furthermore, black metal is NOT a vehicle for forced political virtue signaling. We are disciples of the school of Occult, Bestial, and Evil Metal, and absolutely consider ourselves specifically a SATANIC Black Metal band. Images of slaughter and chaos at the hands of demonic figures are a blunt allegory for the demented, grotesque Hell that is human reality, controlled as it is by the unstoppable forces of Evil and Death. “Satan” is a representation of pure darkness- the whole of the aspects of our reality that we don’t want to experience, and that we will never experience. It is also a symbol of eternal resistance to Judeo-Christian moral matrix… but perhaps that’s a discussion for another interview.

Well said. Looking back on past shows, have there been any especially memorable moments/stories worth sharing?

We look back on all of our performances so far with great fondness, but notably, Goathex and our other project, Silvanthrone, played a successful gig in Columbus, Ohio this past February with the mysterious cult known as GEHEIMNISVOLL… Little is known to the public of this act, and it was a unique pleasure to plot, perform, and celebrate this success alongside the entities behind this project.

It might be hard to, but if you could pick a project that you feel most proud of, what would it be?

Goathex is the first “real” band that I’ve been able to be a part of, and thus far every release has just been a learning experience which we’ve built off of and applied onto the next one. None of our releases come close to capturing our ultimate vision of relentless barbarism- each following will be an effort to push ourselves further into the spiraling black abyss. However, I do believe our recent split EP was a considerable step in the right direction from our demos.

For those who don’t know, give me a rundown on your label, and the other bands you’re associated with.

Goathex bassist and entity behind TRIST DØD, Vantherus and I started Pennsylvania Black Metal Records at the very end of 2019 with the simple goal of having a platform to release any of our ideas with total creative and operational freedom. We had a handful of side projects and solo releases ready to go, and a bunch of old releases we wanted to reissue, so we took it upon ourselves to establish the label and start making the tapes by hand ourselves. At the moment, the label has only released projects by the members of Goathex- SILVANTHRONE, TRIST DØD, and DECEASHOST. But we have new personal projects in the works, as well as some releases by friends to be put out on the label eventually. But recently we have been focusing a bit more on in-progress releases that are going to be coming soon through the work of other labels.

Any upcoming releases or secret shows we should be on the lookout for?

On the release front,  writing of the debut Goathex full-length is nearly complete, set to be released as a 12” LP with a limited edition boxset through our long-time ally RED DOOR RECORDS… Also, look out for vinyl releases from Goathex-related acts TRIST DØD and SIlvanthrone coming soon via NITHSTANG PRODUCTIONS… Hand-dubbed tape versions of most of our releases are made available through the P.A.B.M. online store ( for those interested in our back catalog. As far as shows… We had a tour planned for Southern CA with the San Jose-based GOATCORPSE, this summer. Most of the dates of this tour are unlikely to be replaced, but we are in the process of planning a small-scale invite-only, secret-location generator show in the Los Angeles forest with GOATCORPSE and a handful of other local bands, thanks to the immensely ballsy work of our L.A. promoter NIHILISTIC MORTALITY. We have no interest in surrendering when the choice is in our hands. The real Black Metal underground is invincible.

Shoutouts or last words? Thanks for taking the time man.

If any of the things I’ve mentioned here interest you, I implore you to LISTEN TO THE BANDS MENTIONED ABOVE, look into the labels releasing them, and BUY their music. Avoid “safe”, neutered, and commercialized metal like the plague!!! Black Metal will always be more than music… death to false devotion! Your interest and support is greatly appreciated, it’s a pleasure to answer your questions. Always stay true to the underground…


Photo by Jahmir Brown @bulbshoots

By Sam Spencer

As the Philadelphia lockdown carries on, so does the music and skate scene here in the city. At the epicenter of both those arenas, I was introduced to QThree. I got in contact with him to go in depth about who he is, what he comes from, and how it feels to be one of the most talented producers working out of the 215.

What’s up man what have you been doing and how have you been keeping sane during this quarantine?

I’m alive bro I can’t complain. I say that a lot because I know no one wants to hear it. This pandemic has been a 50/50 for me. Really eye-opening, reconnecting me to my spiritual side. Also making me regain focus on my mental health, as well as my physical health. It’s been stressful but very growth-filled.

You grew up in Philly, right? What was the first kind of music you got exposed to, and who was it that was putting you on?

The first kind of music I can remember being exposed to was classical and Jazz music. My grandfather would play it in the morning driving me to school and at night if we went out on 90.1 on the radio station. I was also exposed to soul music of course. Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Etta James, Patti Labelle. My mother would clean the house and play a lot of Sade, Jill Scott, and Anita Baker. My mom played me my first hip-hop album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. It wasn’t the first hip hop song I can remember, but it was my first experience with an album.

Were there any specific scenes that you grew up around that influenced what you listened to?

I grew up in the church. I used to sit in my mother’s choir rehearsal, I was also in the children’s choir. By the age of 12, I was engineering the live sound in my church and handling the manufacturing of the recorded services. I’m also from the hood, there was no avoiding hip hop and the contents of the lyrics.

When/what did you first hear that made you want to start making beats? How many years have you been doing it now?
Still D.R.E. was the instrumental that made me want to make beats. I made my first official beat in the 9th grade. At the end of the year, my teacher had a competition in computer class and we were instructed to use the apple loops in GarageBand to make a composition. I had the best beat, so my first beat was lowkey from a beat battle [laughs]. I didn’t start taking producing seriously until Freshman year of college when I was 18. It’s been on ever since. I’ll be 28 this July.

Were you always rapping too?

Back in grade school, we were really influenced by the Rap DVD era in Philly. I wasn’t always as nice at rapping as my peers. In 6th grade, I was the beatbox guy they would tell to “hit the beat” when my associates had rap battles. I was always the best at it in the class, despite being an outcast in those early years, music was a way I could connect with everyone. I also used to bring in my radio and we would dub tapes of us rapping on it in music class. I got into hip hop by rapping and making beats.

That’s sick, If you had to pick an all-time favorite producer who would it be?
The RZA. He is the perfect example of orchestrated chaos. When I hear RZA I get a representation of art, I can hear human mistakes, as well as borderline perfection. He was also the first to sample a high-pitched soul sample. That inspired so much of hip hop, and it’s still an element that can connect the most even through modern rap and the new generation of listeners. Wu-Tang Clan’s production is my all-time favorite. The C.R.E.A.M instrumental revolutionized hip hop production.

What was the first cosign that really meant something to you?

I wouldn’t consider myself as receiving a “cosign” yet because usually when you get those, your career “jumps off” and you “blow up over-night” when Alchemist and Evidence first started publicly saluting me on twitter it was definitely a special moment for me. They even supported my projects.

How was being able to work with Evidence?

Genuine. Everything is organic with Ev. When I first started tweeting that I was moving to LA he never hesitated to reach out and make sure I connected with him. He still to this day will check in with me on a personal level. I’ve learned and am still learning a lot about life from him aside from music. Me rapping to one of his beats just happened naturally.

What’s the worst misconception people have about producers, or what’s your biggest pet peeve in working with rappers?

I’m not sure what kind of misconceptions people have about producers, but I do know a lot of people fail to give a producer credit for a song. The lyricist always gets the recognition for a beat and it just doesn’t make sense to me.  Working with rappers is always a different experience. My pet peeve in working with anyone is bad communication. Waiting too long to hear back about a beat, if they’re going to use it or if they want a different vibe. It’s like pulling teeth. I work best with any artist who knows how to communicate outside of their ego.

What kind of hardware do you usually work with? What are you working with right now?

I use an MPC, an SP 404sx and an SP303 altogether. I also own a Po-33.

What role does music play in your life right now?

Therapy. The support is a plus, and I’m eternally grateful for it.

You do all your own cover art, right? Where did the inspiration for that come from?

Yes, I do. I drew my first picture when I was 3 years old. Art has always been a part of me. Audio Is just another medium I create with. I can’t even finish a project without staring at the artwork. Music for me is scoring my visual art with its own soundtrack. Besides graphic novels and anime, the inspiration for my visual art comes from somewhere beyond explanation. Most likely God and my ancestors.

What is your music creation process like? 

It depends on my mood and where I am. If I’m not at home, I’m over at Krouse Quality studios, If I’m not there I’m at sadhu’s making beats with him. I make most of my own solo work on my own in solitary. I produce, record and engineer, so everything gets done on my time, when and how I want it to be. I hate studios. I’d rather be in comfort in order to express myself appropriately.

Tell me a little about Baked (Life) Recordings

Baked life is a brotherhood established in 2011. We were brothers for years before then, bonding through the skateboarding lifestyle in Philadelphia. Under the organization of one of our founder’s Mark Ryan, we formed together as a rap group: “The Bakery Boys” and we fully embody the representation of “Brotherly Love.” We were the first rap group of our generation to bring “being yourself” into the music scene in Philadelphia. I would be nothing without Baked Life. The “recordings” aspect is our independent label imprint. Consisting of members: QThree aka EAR.DRUM, Mark Ryan, Drip, TJ ATOMS, Atar’e Godspeed, Veeay, Mr. Joe Cool, Reef Raw, Dook, Cousin Ab, Davey Denairo, and KiDZER0.

You just dropped a compilation tape on Bandcamp called Deaf Tricks, with stuff you worked on for skate videos with Thrasher, Sabotage, DGK, and DC, how does it feel to have something like that under your belt?

If it wasn’t for skateboarding, I wouldn’t even have baked life or anything. Big thanks to Brian Panebianco for calling me to his crib one night in need of an instrumental for Dylan Sourbeer’s Sabotage 4 part. As the Sabotage brand started to grow, Thrasher reached out to clear music from me for their exclusive premieres. I feel blessed to belong to skateboarding in my own way because I damn sure ain’t nice enough at it to go pro. [laughs]

If someone reading this is unfamiliar, what would you recommend they listen to?

Everything. not even just mine. Get familiar with the family.

You had a beat battle with Sadhugold recently, how did that go and give me a little insight into your relationship? 

I’ve known him for over a decade. We started making beats at the same time, we bonded first through trading vintage clothing and through Pokémon. Battling was in our nature. We always tend to challenge each other just like Ash and Gary, Red and Blue, etc. It definitely helped with my growth as an artist as well. The battle was awesome. It was actually the first Instagram live-battle in history, for those who are not aware. He put up a great fight, but I won. [laughs]

You said you have another tape dropping in the near future, anything in regards to that you can expound on right now? 

I have an instrumental album set to drop in June. It will be one of the best instrumental albums you will hear in 2020.

To wrap up, tell me about how important Philly is to you, and the impact it has on the music you make? Obviously, this city has a lot to it, but what are the aspects that not everyone understands? -Do you ever see yourself living elsewhere?

Philadelphia is the greatest city in the universe. There is a code of realness I have never experienced anywhere else. Everyone here is actually aware that they are a human being, I’m grateful for how humbling it is here. I lived In LA for 2018-2019 and when I moved back home, I nearly kissed the ground. It’s so much love here. I don’t know if I could find it anywhere else, and I feel great about it.

Any shout-outs or last words?

Shout out to God, my mom, My grandad, my entire immediate family, Brax, Jay Sun, Plain, Matt Ford, Miles Comasky, Tony Maserati, Ev and Enzo, The entire Baked Life brotherhood, my Armory East Skateshop family, Infamous Love Plaza, Anthony Trivelli, Joe Piff, Brian Douglas, Heather, Tracy Gorman, Seme, Ajua, Akasha, Bianca, Chris Mulhern, Marq Spekt, Kermit, Mike Gov, Bobby Tenderloins, EBN, Wiles Martyr, Krouse Quality, Karas Lamb, BIOE, Tayyib Ali, Sherm, Mongo, My therapist, Sleaz, My nan reef (dirty fresh), Daniel Amalak, Shamsiddin, The whole “M-Block” from Lincoln University class of 2014, Mr. Green, Jimmy Gorecki, Sagan Lockhart, Andrew Gilbert, My SOH family, Kareem Idris, AA RASHID, Jamil and Kozel, DooF, Shamus, Foozy, My cuzin Jewshism, 8ballMal, Geremiah, Tat the destroyer, Julian Robinson, Daria, Brewery town beats, Creep Records, Ben, Zev, Beemon, Ayoub, and my lawyer. I know that was extra but I don’t care. Last words: who cares.

Holding Hands (Again) with Gargoyle Records

Some records just stand the test of time. In the mid-90s Baltimore natives Don Corrieri & Tony Pegas of Gargoyle Records released six of the most high-octane east coast break-beat records we’ve ever heard, all of which now fetch a pretty penny on the good ‘ol Cogs. It goes without saying that these tracks still completely rip up today’s dancefloors, which is exactly the reason why Holding Hands label boss Desert Sound Colony snatched some up for re-release on his Holding Hands Again imprint.

Editor’s note: Desert Sound Colony played one of the best sets of recent pre-quarantine memory for [sic] at the end of 2019 — dang, I miss dancing with friends!!

Hot off the release of Gargoyle Records Classics Volume 1, I caught up with the Gargoyle bosses Don and Tony to chat about the label’s history, their favorite breaks, and of course grab some of the label heat (which I mixed up into a little label sampler below to whet your appetite).

WKDU · Gargoyle Records Ultra-Mix

How did you and Tony meet up? What music were guys into at that time?

Don: We met in the mid 90s and were both already deep into the underground music scene. It was an exciting time as we were moving from industrial bands (like Nitzer Ebb and Thrill Kill Cult) to house and techno. At the time, I was promoting my record, FS Tech. Tony was only 17, but  was one of the biggest DJ’s and promoters in Baltimore. He would spin my records at his weekly “Meltdown” parties. Soon after, I had him over to my studio and we would do sample sessions into my EMU sampler.

Tony: I met Don sometime in the 90s. He had produced several projects I had heard, so when he brought me some records to play, you better believe I played them. Eventually he invited me to his studio and it was an instant connection.

How did Gargoyle get started? 

Don: Tony would bring DJs and acts to my studio. In 1995 he was throwing a New Year’s Eve rave and approached me about creating a song specifically for that event. The song we created eventually became “Danceaholic”.  After that we began working on more music together, and soon launched Gargoyle.

Tony: Once we had a few songs, our friends Dan and Bump at Defective Records suggested that we start a label and release it ourselves. Fortunately they shared with us how to go about doing that (thank you guys!) And that is how Gargoyle Records was born.

What’s the biggest difference in dance music today vs the 90s ?

Don: Back then the music was much more underground. It didn’t permeate ads and pop culture as much. It was great to witness the birth of new genres and be able to go to clubs and hear truly new sounds.

Tony: In the early days, it was all just called “dance music”. As time went by it got more refined in terms of genres. Eventually DJ’s started playing just one style.

What’s one of your most memorable label / party moments?

Don: Tony was one of the headliners at a big party in Ottawa, Canada. They rolled out the red carpet for us and it was amazing. It was a wild party with great bands and DJs. Our (just released) song, “Do You  Believe” was actually created for and debuted that night, played on acetate vinyl.

Tony: The best Party I ever played was with DJ Bump from Defective Records for the premier of John Waters’ film Serial Mom at the Baltimore Museum of Art. A-List Party. By now I played only what I liked and everyone loved it…if you have ever seen a John Waters movie you can understand Baltimore and its charm. I eventually produced and promoted raves with SisterFace (Trax DC) and Bubbles (Cignels + Orpheus). Richard Long had passed by this time but Gary Stewart, who was an associate of Richard’s, did our sound and Super Cal did our Lighting. In the Mid-Atlantic Area, our system was only comparable to The Paradox.

Is there anything that stands out to you as part of the signature East Coast sound / style ?

Don: I say the East Coast sound is a little rougher and rawer— just like Baltimore!

Tony: The ‘Baltimore Club’ sound influenced our music quite a bit. We took the chopped up loops/vocals and added techno and acid synth sounds.

How did you link with Liam / Desert Sound Colony?

Don: Beginning in 2019, we had a steady stream of renewed interest in our music. We never officially had anything online and the vinyl was getting scarce. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see our records selling for upwards of $100. Along with messages from fans we had a good bit of label interest. Liam offered us a great deal and the rest is history.

Tony: We liked the vision Liam had toward re-releasing our music. His label, “Holding Hands Again” not only symbolizes the reissue, but that Don and I are back at it!

What else do you guys have in store after the Holding Hands release?

Don: We actually have another retrospective EP, “Gargoyle Classics Vol 2”, coming this summer on Liam’s label Holding Hands Again, and a 3rd EP with another label based in Europe. On each of the records we’ve also included an unreleased song from that era. Plus everything has been remastered and sounds really great. We’ve also began working on some brand new tracks, so be on the look out for more on that soon!

Tony: We’ve been talking about the next Gargoyle release and I can feel it coming.  I’m putting together a new studio with some of my favorite classic synths like the Juno-106 with the Kiwi mod as well as new gear.

Don: Yeah, the renewed interest in our music is definitely making me itching to create some new acid breaks!

What’s your favorite break ?

Don: I love the Bad Sista break, which is one of the most iconic loops in Bmore club music. Also the Lyn Collins (used in ‘It Takes Two’).

Tony: Pacha on Acid ( Krafty Kuts remix)

Stay tuned for more heat from the Gargoyle crew & definitely check out Gargoyle Records Classics Volume 1 if you haven’t already!!!

Stay safe out there y’all <3


Interview by Sam Spencer

With the drop of Sadist Pink’s debut album Dolorem Ipsum, I got a chance to do a little Q&A with him about what it’s like to be making and releasing music while the world continues to cave in on itself. 

Firstly how are you and what have you been spending your time doing amidst this pandemic shit?

I’ve been doing good, thanks. Most of the time I’m catching up on schoolwork and just generally worrying about the state of the world or being misanthropic, so nothing too far from the usual, I guess. In my free time, I’m going into work alone at the local community garden and reading a bunch. Aside from being far from friends, I’m very appreciative of how lucky and safe I’ve been.

How do you feel about dropping a project right now?

There’s a little guilt about the timing…it’s a wild feeling to be promoting my work at a time like this. But simultaneously, this album is all about the ‘end of the world’ ideas and emotions that I’m usually dealing with, so it also feels like there’s no better time to release these songs.

Where are you from originally/where do you live now?

I’m from Trenton, New Jersey and that’s where I’m at right now.

What kind of music scene did you get introduced to early on? And who put you on?

I started just going to Philly noise and DIY shows a while back in high school, but I haven’t been deep into that recently, I guess. It’s a long-ish drive from Trenton. I guess I just stumbled into it.

When did you start making music?

I’ve been making my own music since around 2013-ish, but I’ve been playing instruments since I was young.

What did your first stuff sound like? How much has it changed since then and how so?

My earlier stuff was definitely way less put together. I was working off GarageBand and just fucking around with an amphead and a looper pedal in my room. It was all very glitchy and slow and dark, so I guess my stuff’s gotten more formal and less repetitive, but I’ve really been down for the same general vibe.

What is your creative process like?

It sometimes starts on the piano in my house or a guitar, where I might come up with a melody, but usually, it just gets going on my laptop. I usually just post up in Logic software for a couple hours on the porch and just work on a beat and vocals. I come up with something I like and then let it sit for months on my computer before I ever re-record vocals on my microphone upstairs. It’s a long process with no guarantee of success. I’ve got way too much music just sitting on hard drives. Maybe I’m just lazy.

Tell me about your name.

I just liked the sound of the two words together. It’s jarring but pretty.

When people listen to Dolorem Ipsum, what kind of environment do you suggest they be in?

Hmm… I think being on public transit on a rainy day makes this project sound 10 times better but I suggest they dodge that fare tho.

Was there a conceptual bottom line going into this new project?

Going into this project I was thinking a lot about how I feel very chaotic inside most days and I almost always see that chaos mirrored by the outside world. It’s such a struggle to see beauty in the world’s violence. I’m always wondering what finding peace looks like in a broken world and if that peace will always just be escapism or ignorance. And how do we justify finding that peace? Imma stop myself before I start a philosophical monologue.

Do you feel like you achieved it?

Very much so.

How long did this project take?

It’s been a while. At least a year or so now.

What role does music play in your life right now?

Music is and has always been a great place for me to process what I feel and think. It gives me ways to dissect myself and the world around me that I think are crucially important. Only recently have I been thinking about how others relate to my music, which is weird because it’s always been such a personal experience for me.

Who are you inspired / who do you listen to at the moment?

My mom was always bumping Sade when I was young so I think she’s my biggest influence for sure, and then there were Bjork and Toro y Moi too. These days I’ve been listening to lots of Yves Tumor, Ecco2k, Jessica Pratt, and Oneohtrix Point Never. 

Who did the cover art? I’m a fan

Thanks, it’s just something I threw together.

Do you have a favorite track on it?

I think ‘Esc’ sums the project up the best. 

Where can people listen/stream when it drops?

The album’s up on Spotify and Apple Music but there’s also a music video for ‘Of Desire’ up on YouTube.

Can we look forward to any shows or live performances when things calm down?

Ahhh, I’ll give that a maybe. That shit makes me mad anxious, but we’ll see. 

Any shout outs or last words?

Shoutout to my friends for their love, and Noam Chomsky. Plus shoutout to you for this interview, right?

American Football: how midwest emo lives on

by Brooklyn Fellner

Nate Kinsella, Matt Kinsella, Steve Lamos, and “the mysterious” Steve Homes, all poured themselves a glass of red wine in the lounges of the Union Transfer. Their band, American Football, was reuniting after a much anticipated comeback. Here is what they had to say about touring, writing, and getting the band back together. 

American Football had played last in Philly at the UT two years ago, “give or take.” Although the band enjoys touring on the east coast, they said they “enjoy anywhere they’ll have us.” 

They decided to do a deluxe release of their self-titled album after proclaiming “huh people wanna hear us.” This came as an exciting announcement, as the original album, first released in 1999, has been revered as a breakthrough for midwest emo music.

Their first record seems to be a timeless token of late 90s alternative. The band described how it just keeps getting passed on and on in every decade since its release. At every show, 60- 70 percent of their audience are in their 20s or younger and they are still surprised, but enthused by how relevant their music is today.

“it  just seems like it keeps getting passed from generation to generation, it’s neat to be that for someone… even though they should be listening to different bands,” they said.

The revamp of the band is credited to Steve Lamos, who was rummaging through an old box of cassettes in his dad’s home, where he found old recordings of American Football. This rediscovery sparked an interest in playing together again, which led to their reuniting in after years of breaking off and starting families, new jobs, and adulthood. From this, came the American Football LP3 which was released in 2019 and was followed by the tour. Featured on this LP is none other than the queen of alternative herself, Hayley Williams. She lends her outstanding vocals on the song “Uncomfortably Numb.” Nate recalled this only took her three takes to nail.

In high school, the bandmates were in the homegrown punk scene. From there, this lifestyle extended further in college, when there were clusters of shows popping up in Champaign, Illinois. There were opportunities for people to play wherever they were allowed to be loud, so this usually happened in basements and garages. This idea of having DIY shows started to spread, and even if there is no end goal, the band said how they were enjoying their time in the basement regardless of the future of their music.  Through the scene, their band got more and more popular and through “dumb luck,” as described by the band members, American Football caught on.

Fast forward to now, American Football still pulls loyal audiences to every show they have played on their reunion tour. The deluxe release of their self titled album has, without a doubt, inspired an even greater appreciation for midwest emo music.