Colloquial Sound Recordings (CSR) is another cassette label that I came across recently. The label has put out some excellent releases since it’s founding and is probably best known for putting out albums by A Pregnant Light. I got in touch with the label and they agreed to the following interview with me.
Curt: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview! First of all, can you give a brief history of the label?
CSR: Thank you for the interest in CSR and all that we do. As far as a brief history, the idea for the label had been around for a really long time, and we had been compiling material and ideas for years. In late 2010, my personal life slowed down a bit from it’s hectic pace. A band I was playing in disbanded, freeing up some time and resources, and we released the Aksumite demo in mid 2011. It has been onward and upward ever since. It’s a lot of work and dedication, and I’m really proud of our reputation as far as a business goes. We are fair, quick to respond, ship the orders in a very timely manner, and if there ever is a SNAFU, we address it immediately. We don’t have any disgruntled people that I know of. We go out of our way to run the business side with honor, integrity and a sense of order.
Curt: Out of all of the formats you could pick to release music on, why tape?
CSR: As a launchpad, it’s really hard to top for a few reasons. Firstly, a few years ago was the big cassette resurgence, it made sense to work within the market demands. That may seem like a really funny thing to say for an independent label that is fiercely independent and DIY, but it’s honest. We have covered this in past interviews. We popped up at the right time and we’re 90s kids. We grew up on tapes, so it was as much fun for us as for anyone. We have lofty goals and some pretty prolific bands, so the cassette format allows us to present a product that we’re proud of in a semi-regular way to our supporters. It’s a really great medium. We’re not opposed to CDs or LPs or anything though.
Curt: Do you have any plans on putting any releases out on any other format at some point? If not, why not?
CSR: Maybe. As I mentioned, I’m not opposed to CDs or LPs at all. One of our bands, Dressed In Streams is being re-issued on CD via Handmade Birds, a highly respected label out of Texas. While the cassette adds a real ambience and lends itself to much of the recordings, it’s not essential. It is a crucial factor, but I think the music needs to stand strong on it’s own, which is why we also offer digital downloads. We’re record collectors and prefer physical media, but we don’t want to exclude people who think differently than us.
Curt: I read in a previous interview that you did that CSR is looking to create a specific aesthetic with its releases. Is there any chance in the future that you may branch out and start looking to diversify your releases at some point?
CSR: I think we’ve done a good job in maintaining and developing that aesthetic. We have certainly grown and matured. I recently was going through some boxes and found the first CSR tape and it made me cringe. It’s funny how two or three years can dramatically change things. As far as branching out, I’m assuming you’re talking about bands? I don’t like working with bands I don’t know personally. I find people to be irritating and disappointing. If you’re referring to diversifying the aesthetic, I think each release has it’s own aesthetic, there is no “CSR template” though I love labels that do that, sort of like old Blue Note, or current labels like Sacred Bones. I think each release has it’s own feel, but the goal is to have it fit into the wider framework of CSR.
Curt: Now that basically anyone in the world can find out about a band in an instant, do you think that this has cheapened the experience of finding new bands or do you think that it’s better that a kid can find out that there’s more out there in extreme music than 5 Finger Death Punch and Volbeat?
CSR: I think record stores are the most important thing in the music world. Those people are the educated gatekeepers of taste, or at least they should be. A good record store is irreplaceable. The internet is a great tool for people to find what they’re looking for, and the internet is solely responsible for our successes. I think we have a generation of kids now raised on an ocean of information. They have access to everything, and have no vested interest in something specific. I wish we were in more record stores, I would rather one kid find one of my releases from a clerk who was passionate about it and sold it, believing in the music, than 10 kids buying releases online. Though I understand not everyone has access to a great record store in their area, but if you do – you should support it 100%. I don’t think there is anything wrong with Five Finger Death Punch or Volbeat, I’m not a fan of those bands, but everyone is allowed to like what they like. I think it’s great that aggressive music has a voice in the public arena. I mean, it does more-so than a nice thing like jazz, or blues. Keep in mind, I’m from the 90s, when you had to dig deep to find out about music. Everyone now wants people to believe they were born in a Burzum shirt. The first “black metal” I had heard was in 1998. Cradle of Filth, Cruelty and the Beast. I started working backwards from there. Eventually you’ll hit Bathory and go, ‘AHH!! This makes sense!!!’. I would never have gotten there if it wasn’t for the accessibility of Cradle of Filth, so I don’t like people disrespecting “popular” bands.
Curt: One of the things that is so impressive about CSR is the quality of the releases. Everything from the art to the music itself is always fantastic. How are you able to find all of this good music to release?
CSR: For the most part, the bands are people I know. Every once in a while we will step outside those boundaries. We like to keep it close.
Curt: What albums will you release by the end of the year?
CSR: We don’t announce upcoming releases. We’re always working on stuff and would rather just present the world with a finished product. We will leave tweets and facebook updates about every step of the manufacturing and writing process to other labels. Joing the mailing list at COLLOQUIALSOUNDRECORDINGS.COM to find out about new releases, etc.
Curt: Any final words you would like to say?
CSR: Thank you for your time, Curtis. Thank you to the readers, thank you to our supporters. Lots of exciting things on the horizon for CSR. There is a light…