Friday, February 17, 2017
Preserving Silence Records Discography
After coming back from Japan and seeing how many people have labels over there I've found myself having quite the fascination with labels and the people who run them. There is something to be said for people who are either still operating or just starting record labels in 2017. With the ever-looming presence of streaming music continually coming over the horizon it takes a certain kind of will and determination to want to sink your personal money into a seemingly-dated endeavor.
Because I am a person who likes to just get things rolling once I make up my mind to do so, I am going to start with a quick discography of my own label (which I am currently in the process of revamping) while I am in the process of lining up pieces of some of my other favorite labels.
Hopefully within the next few weeks you will be seeing interviews, discographies and pictorials on some of my favorite labels:
Retribute Records (aka Retribution Network)
Closed Casket Activities
and maybe, just maybe...
Back Ta Basics!
I'm actually hoping to make this a regular thing and will do many more from the likes of Escapist, Goodlife, Goodfellow and who knows what else I'll think of.
So anyhow, in the meantime here is a quick rundown of what I released as a kid (and a few download links to accompany).
PSR000: SET AN EMO KID ON FIRE COMPILATION
Yeah. This was it: where it began. I was 15 years old and randomly hitting up bands to ask if they wanted to be on a compilation with an asinine title ... and it worked! A fair amount of the bands actually gave me exclusive tracks. I specifically remember feeling like the luckiest person on the planet whenever Built Upon Frustration sent me 5 demo tracks for the Resurrected album which hadn't even been released yet.
Anyhow, I did a very tongue-in-cheek REMASTERED EDITION post and download link like 7 years ago on the blog you can check out HERE if you're interested.
PSR001: DOWN TO NONE - COMING TO AN END
This was my first band's first CD so of course I had to start a label to release it. Any money I made on the compilation got lost on giving away almost every copy of this for free lol. Full color, 8 page layout printed entirely on my family's ink jet printer and designed in Microsoft Paint. Took probably like 3 weeks to print up 100 copies of this.
PSR002: BETTER OFF DEAD - LIFELINE
I actually had no idea who these people were when I released this. They posted on the infamous PittPunk message board asking if anyone would help print their full length for them and I cold-messaged and said I would. They were quite perplexed. I remember them driving out to my house to pick up 500 copies of this and not believing in the slightest bit that I actually just did this for the hell of it. With each release I got a little bit smarter and broke into my mom's workplace to use their color copier for this one.
PSR003: THE STRUGGLE - FOR HARDCORE'S SAKE
I was especially excited to be able to help with this release as these guys from Youngstown, OH were some of the first people we met from going to shows. This was a short-lived Crowd Deterrent side project that Steve fronted and we knew every word to every demo song. I literally stole paper for this one from my school to print out at home. I think I remember doing 300 copies of this.
PSR004: SUFFOCATE FASTER - DEMO 2002
This was a big turning point for me because now I was getting to the point of helping to release demos of my favorite out-of-town bands who I didn't necessarily know or would consider friends yet. I remember being actually nervous when driving out to a show in Cincinnati to hand these off to the band. They were significantly older than I and had quite a reputation at the time as being the scary Straight Edge guys in the area. I also believe we did 300 copies of this on top of them having their own version.
PSR005: FIRST BLOOD - DEMO 2002
So this one probably sticks out a bit compared to the other releases. I mean, I love everything I put out ... but this demo was like THE game changer in hardcore at the time. So the story here is that I was AIM (AOL Instant Messenger, for the laymen) friends with Doug who was simultaneously playing in both First Blood and Terror at the time. This demo had already come out as a self-released endeavor and I blew him up like every time I'd see him sign on to tell him how sick it was and that someone should release this on the east coast because no one could get a copy unless they mail ordered direct from the band (which was a very unreliable method to get your hands on this release).
He always kinda brushed it off until there was some kind of situation where First Blood had a show like the day Terror got home from tour or something and he wasn't going to have time to press another batch. He told me I could make 200 copies if I sent them 100 in time for the show. So I did and I sold a copy to seemingly every single person who actively went to shows in Pittsburgh within like a week. He was impressed that I actually followed through and considering we had both sold our respective copies nearly instantaneously he asked me if I'd like to do an actual press of the album. I wouldn't have been able to come up with the $1500 it takes to press a batch of discs to save my life at the time so I unfortunately had to decline and was insanely bummed about it.
This went on to get pressed and officially released by some weird Bridge 9 subsidiary label called Division 36 which I'm fairly certain never released anything else.
PSR006: TOO PURE TO DIE - DEMO 2002
I literally messaged these guys on mp3.com and asked if they wanted me to book them in Pittsburgh and make 50 copies of this to get the word out so that everyone would know the songs. They said yes and booked a tour based around it and we became best friends and got into some wild shit over the past decade and a half because of it. Label validated.
PSR007: DRAIN THIS BLOOD - BURN THIS DEMO
I had started a new band by this time and of course I was the only person interested enough to put this out. Still to this day I am fairly certain this is the only documented "Enhanced Demo" to ever be released. I genuinely don't even remember how it came about but some completely random hacker kinda kid approached me at The Planet Of The Apes randomly after one of our shows and asked if I wanted him to produce an Enhanced CD for us. I was like ... sure. He had me out to his house in New Kensington for what definitely could've been an abduction/robbery scenario and just showed me this entire insane DIY computer rig he had set up and gave me a Master Copy of our demo tracks that would go into this entire insane computer gimmick that had one of our live shows on it and the whole nine yards. What a weird thing.
Only did 125 copies of this because it took so god damn long to burn for some reason on my 12x burner presumably due to the enhanced content. This is why I just decided to encourage everyone to freely burn their own copies (or pass the Mp3s around on Napster/Kazaa!) because I could only make like two copies a day at most.
PSR008: TODAY WE PREVAIL - DEMO 2003
This was another situation where I just liked a band's demo so much that I randomly messaged them and asked if they wanted me to put their demo out. Same thing... I put this out without ever meeting the guys and then five years down the road I come to find out I'm hanging out and regularly booking their new band, Bitter End. Small world. These guys always joke about how bad of a Hatebreed knock off this is but I maintain that this rules. I'll probably steal some riffs from it one day. I actually still have a lot of copies of this and will probably throw one in if you order shit from my webstore because it's so sick!
PSR009: DRAIN THIS BLOOD - CONTEMPT FOR TRADITION
This was a big release for me despite being my own band. We were actually making moderate waves at the time and had some other labels offering to put this out for us. In true Rick Ta Life style I opted to bite the bullet and go DIY on this. I think it ended up being the right call considering it allowed us to sell these for dirt cheap ($3 in person/$4 ppd lol) and really get the word out on the band. I currently have like 20 copies left but we made 1000 of these! Big achievement for a bunch of nobodies. This was also fun to release because I did this whole color-coordinated layout/fake-vinyl-CD-R gimmick that people actually really liked. Terror liked it so much in fact they stole my idea for the One With The Underdogs CD lol. It just serves as an example of doing something unique to make the release standout whenever you're 17 and don't have enough money to press the disc on your own after you just shelled out a whopping $500 for recording.
Side note: I allowed an upstart label by a guy named Che to release this on vinyl as his label's first endeavor. That label was called Flatspot Records and would go on to release some things like the Trapped Under Ice and Backtrack demos and other super cool hardcore things. We are essentially the only unsuccessful thing the label ever put out. For some reason our release is the only one not listed on the discography on the site. He must be embarrassed of the horrible layout. Also a small chance he's still salty about the fact that I told him I was going to beat him up if he didn't get us our 7"s in time for our final show after waiting over 6 months for them. To his credit he took a bus up from Virginia for the final gig in order to ensure we got our copies before the band was defunct ... AND he moshed like a worm for our set!
PSR010: SUFFER THE FATE - DEMO 2003
This was a side project I did for a minute with a bunch of friends and was my first foray into the drumming world. It's one of the worst recordings of all time and probably just shouldn't exist but god damn did we get wild pits at our shows. Only 100 of these floating around thankfully.
PSR011: WHERE IT ENDS - DEMO 2004
My band at the time, Drain This Blood, and our new besties, Too Pure To Die, did a weekend or two together and these guys tagged along. They were Straight Edge so we said fuck it and hung out with them. That's kind of the end of the story here. 300 copies ... a lot of which are still in my basement.
PSR012: CROWD DETERRENT - REVENGE ON THE SCENE
This was one of my favorite releases as I still to this day think it's some of the best Crowd Deterrent material (along with the Die You Bastard demo). I've always been amazed at how seemingly effortlessly these guys can crank out music. Between all of the Crowd Deterrent releases and various side projects that are essentially the same members anyhow they had to have written well over 100 songs in the past 20 years ... and they're mostly all really good! These guys are also the kings of hardcore music videos. YouTube if you don't believe me. Only did like 200 of these because the band doesn't care about letting people know how good they are but we probably could've easily done 500 or more considering every time I eBay one of these I land like $30. One day Crowd Deterrent will accept that people actually really like them and they should make their music more readily available.
PSR013: KAMIKABE - THE ETERNAL FIRE
Kamikabe was, and still is, one of my favorite bands from the area. They were always light years beyond the rest of us in the musical talent department. While they'd eventually evolve into a technical death metal band who'd be released by Unique Leader Records this was when they were a young, spry metalcore band sounding like a carbon copy of everything that was coming out on Lifeforce Records at the time. Had they been a few years older or knew how to show up to their gigs on time they'd be mentioned in the same sentence as endthisday, Nehemiah, The Year Of Our Lord and the likes. This was released in a DVD format because the vocalist at the time worked at a Blockbuster that threw away 500 cases. Ever see what 500 DVD cases in an industrial size garbage bag looks like?
PSR014: NOTHING SACRED - S/T
So this was it: the big step up to being a real label ... or so I thought. I finally had money to actually press a disc considering the Kamikabe EP sold like 200 copies in one night of opening for Zao and we sold them for actual money (I think $6 lol) instead of the typical $1-$3 price range that all earlier PSR releases were pushed at. This band was essentially just a reformed version of Drain This Blood after Rob and I took some time off to tour with Too Pure To Die. There was a lot of hype behind this project considering DTB broke up in it's "prime" and we were really going full force with our musical endeavors at the time. I decided to bite the bullet and press 1000 discs of this thinking they'd fly off the shelves considering that's what the Drain This Blood EP did in like one tour and 2 months of local shows.
Well, maybe that would've been true had I not quit the band before the disc even got back from the pressing plant lol. It didn't really help that the band changed their name (to Unreal City) along with my departure. I managed to rid myself of the large majority of these but mostly as Hanukah presents, stocking stuffers and trade-ins to every single used CD store on the East Coast.
This definitely put a damper on the label and technically was the final release as this was when I got mildly and temporarily sour on hardcore and kinda receded out of that scene for a while.
PSR015: KAMIKABE - DEMO 2006
This is kind of a ghost release as I didn't really call it a Preserving Silence release. Basically I just felt as though this demo/EP was amazing and deserved more than the black and white piece of paper with nothing more than the track listing that they released it as. All I really did was print some decent color layouts to give them to stuff their discs in as a thank you for the Eternal Fire EP doing so well.
PSR016: FAILURE TO FALL - S/T
Same here. Not an official release but these guys had just recorded a pretty good full length and dropped a lot of money on it and then just threw it on the internet without any intent of releasing physical copies. I printed them up a stupid simple layout and sent them off on tour with 50 copies for the hell of it. Kids!
So there it is: a very brief yet extremly overly indulgent history of Preserving Silence Records. Like I said I'll hopefully be doing similar run-throughs on labels that actually did more relevant things in the near future but hopefully you got some form of entertainment from this article.