Scotch Tapes

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Scotch Tapes shares its story of second hand overdubs to hometown hockey philanthropy.

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Al Bjornaa | June 3, 2010

scotch tapes

Scotch started in October 2008. I had been
sick for quite awhile and needed a creative outlet. At first I only
released on recycled tapes. I had 100 tapes and $100. I figured that if one or the other
ran out, Scotch would be no more. I released
some of my music to start and then began releasing a few other bands I
liked. Eventually I got enough balls to contact some larger names in
hopes they might be down with releasing something on the label. Surprisingly, no one ever said no.

After about 2 years of doing this, I have had a chance to work with some
of my favourite bands out there (Oneida, Plastic Crimewave Sound, Mike Watt, Shearing Pinx, Young Governor) and have been able to help grow
with a few lesser known artists that have been with me since the
beginning (Endometrium Cuntplow, Tayside Mental Health, Derek Rogers).

I really don't have a certain aesthetic when it comes to my releases. Each one is different. There is really no format. The artwork comes
from the band or me or one of the many helpful artists who have never
charged me to do cover art. I have put out tapes
with normal plastic cases, fabric cases, wooden cases… whatever is
handy and whatever looks good. Scotch is
pretty far from genre specific. I have put out punk, noise,
experimental, folk, as long as I think it sounds good, I will put
it out. And I really don't care if you have 4 Myspace “friends” or
40,000. This was never meant to be a popularity contest. It has (and
will remain) always been about releasing what I thought was great
music.

Scotch tries to be as prolific as possible. I
hate sitting on releases for months before releasing them. I mean I
have done that, but it was usually because of something important that
came up. I have gotten a master in the mail in the morning and had the
tape for sale by supper time. I like it that way.

If I had to choose some of my favourite releases, they would likely be
the Oneida tape, the Plastic Crimewave Sound 8-track, the Al Gaeda 7″
(having a release with mike watt on it was a dream) and probably the
upcoming Shearing Pinx/ Talk Normal 7″ (just because its soooo good) but I love everything I've put out. I never really worry about making a
profit. I am a fan of everyone I release and just love to be working
with them.

As for what the future might hold for scotch,
well… I have already surpassed what I had expected from the label. Light years past that… I never thought I would do more than 4-5 tapes without getting bored or losing too much money. This year I plan on releasing about 60-70 tapes,
4-5 vinyl releases, 5-10 8-track releases and likely upwards of 20
lathe cuts. Plus I want to release maybe 10-15 zines this year too. I
also have a big summer compilation coming out on June 21 (first day of
summer) called Fuck Winter: A Scotch Summer
Mixtape
with bands like Young Governor, Wet Hair, AIDS Wolf, Plastic
Crimewave Sound, Mess Folk, Tayside Mental Health, Shearing Pinx, Fever
Fever, Fuck Montreal, Meat Curtains, Divorce, Ultimate Thrush… Its a
monster… Its also the first Scotch
Compilation. I have tried to steer away from them in the past… but I
will likely continue with the summer mixtape thing.

A few months back Scotch started a little distro
section that has grown into a full-on online store. I think its up to
about 200 titles. Somewhere around there. That will continue to
expand and possibly develop into a real record store in the future, but
that's 2011 plans… we shall see.

Scotch Tapes Label Sampler:

Bipolar Bear,“Gabon Hippo”
I have been a fan of this band for a couple years. I just love
the dirty feel of their music. Not dirty in the sense of poor
production. Their production quality is top notch… Just the
sound itself. When I asked them to do a tape and they said they
would love to re-issue “Harlem Pripyat” on tape, I was all over
it. I thought it was their best album to date. This is the
bonus, tape-only track.

Neon Tongues, “Big Kids” -
This tape happened in literally 4 hours. I was sitting around
bored one day when I stumbled upon their Myspace. I really liked
what I heard so I asked them if they wanted to release a tape…
immediately.
I had a stack of c10s so they emailed me two tracks. I did the
artwork, printed the inserts and labels and voila… a tape in less
than 4 hours. Dylan from Neon Tongues is doing pretty well these
days as Cloud Nothings. This was limited to just 20 copies…
yikes.

Nobunny, “Motorhead With
Me”
- The Nobunny tape came along fairly serendipitously. I heard
“Mess Me Up” on the satellite radio one day and loved it.
So when I got home I checked him out. When I noticed his tour
schedule I realized he was driving through my area in less than a week
with a few off days. I asked Justin if he wanted to hang out and
get drunk for a day or two and he was down. When he got here,
he said the band was really low on merch so we decided to do a tape…
in a day. We never announced it on any message boards or anything.
We preferred to wait to see how long people would notice a new Nobunny
release. It took about 2 months. I had sold only about 8
copies until then. The rest sold out overnight. It was Scotch’s
first “hit.”

Plastic Crimewave Sound, “Son
of Dread Reaction”
- PCWS is one of my favourite bands… hands down.
I was thrilled that they wanted to release something on Scotch.
When I asked them I was nowhere near the label I am now. I only
had a handful of releases and no one knew anything about me. But
we released this album on cassette and 8-track. I think the opportunity

to do an 8-track was just too much for them to turn down. Steve
still says its one of his trophies. Scotch and PCWS have other
plans coming up in 2010.

Ryan Garbes, “Raw Flower”-
A lot of people have never heard of Ryan Garbes. But thousands
of people have heard of Raccoo-oo-oon, Wet Hair and Dunebuggy.
Garbes is/ was part of all of these amazing bands. I love
Raccoo-oo-oon.
They are still one of my favourite bands and to get to release something

for Ryan was a treat. This was one of the releases that made people
take notice of the label.

Shearing Pinx, “SL’AXES”
This was not on a Scotch release but on a little sister label called
Frequent Sea Records. That label was a cd-r label that lasted
only about 8 months. I wanted to put this on the sampler because
Shearing
Pinx will be playing a huge role in Scotch plans for the rest of the
year. I have a tape, a split 7” (w/ Talk Normal), a compilation and
probably a few other things featuring my favourite Canadian band right
now… well… top 5. These guys from Vancouver just fucking slay.

Terror Bird, “We Were
Monsters”
-
This is the title track from their Scotch release. Nikki’s voice
is just a force of nature. It makes the hair on my neck stand
up every time I listen to them. 2010 will be a massive year for
them. They have a big Euro tour coming up along with a new LP
on Night People/ Adagio830. Hopefully this wasn’t their only
Scotch release.

Great Slave Lake, “Daytime
Television is Just Friggin’ Horrible”
– Great Slave Lake is a project
that Derek Rogers and I threw together a few months back. This
was from our debut called Radioactive Test Bears. We try
to be as serious as possible and bring to light important issues…
but we are just too dumb… so we make weirdo noise and give it funny
names. We have a few releases set for this year including a
collaboration
with Jeremy (Shearing Pinx) and THE Mike Watt. All proceeds of
that album will go towards building a new outdoor hockey rink in the
little town I live in… seriously.

Download the full sampler here.

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