Volar Records

Craig Oliver

Volar Records

Like many labels, Volar Records was a series of false starts.

In early 2009, I was trying to find a label to put out a split 7” with my band (Spirit Photography) and a Canadian band I knew and loved (Sharp Ends). A friend suggested that my girlfriend at the time and I start a label, and after a couple of days, we batted around the name Volar (a Latin term referring to the palmal region of the hand, and also Spanish for “to fly”, slang for “to explode”, among other things). Fire in the palm of your hand, I thought, and so we settled.

It was still months before the first release would make its way out, with help as a co-release with locals Single Screen Records (co-run by Jackson Milgaten, who now finds himself busy with Cuckoo Chaos). I’d reach out to enough friends with new bands (Beaters, Ale Mania, Fresh and Onlys, Ratas del Vaticano), and those first records were pretty exciting, all of us finding our way in the dark together.

A long break, no real money, and then a new job, promising. A couple more releases on my own, and then a couple of co-releases with my buddy Jon’s label, I Hate Rock n Roll (he’s now plenty busy fronting Cold Showers), the Audacity “Ears and Eyes” 7”, and a long-in-the-works tribute to the Nerves. More records, working my ass off to pay for them, feeling a little crazy juggling it on top of a normal job and band and video stuff and general life stuff. This still pretty much continues to this day, but I’ve been learning how to manage it a bit better.

Eventually I took a bit of a break to catch up, spent this last year trying to make things proper, lined more stuff up with other bands, all in an attempt to make things a bit more ‘real’.

The trajectory up to this point has been fairly simple: I have plenty of friends in great bands here in town (Beaters, Ale Mania, Tropical Popsicle, Tar Halos, Christmas Island, Stalins of Sound), friends elsewhere doing great stuff (Fresh and Onlys, Window Twins, Uzi Rash, Shannon and the Clams, Destruction Unit, Lenguas Largas, et. Al.), folks I’ve reached out to blindly after being exposed to their stuff (Cold Pumas, Soft Riot). Above everything, it’s been a grand excuse to stay involved with all this great art, to help support it and, and as best as I can, share it with the world at large. If there’s anything that’s helped bring all of us together, it’s the idea that we’re all trying to forge our own paths, whatever that means in the end. I’ve had the good fortune of working with a number of folks all working with a distinctive creative voice, everyone sort of thrashing at the walls in their own ways, and so I keep pushing, as long as that continues to exist.

Volar has a number of exciting things coming up in the near future: the sophomore LP by Window Twins, Wish (the side-project of Fresh and Onlys/Magic Trick’s Tim Cohen and exray’s/Ray’s Vast Basement’s Jon Bernson); UK atmospheric-dark- synth-one-man act Soft Riot’s debut LP, No Longer Stranger (with the second LP ready to go in a few months); our first singles series (which I’m calling Strange Mutations) box set featuring new 7”s by Beaters, Audacity/Big Eyes, Eat Skull, Far Corners, and Stalins of Sound; the debut vinyl LP by San Diego’s weirdo-big- noise-psych outfit Tar Halos; and some more 7”s after that by the likes of Teenage Burritos, Cosmonauts, and more. Thanks to everyone for their support and all that, I’m deeply to a number of folks for their help.

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