Monday, 31 December 2012

Punk in drublic - Spastic Fantastic Records



A little while ago I decided to write some features that lifted the lid on DIY/cool labels. Labels that are pushing the envelope for killer bands and that have an obvious theme or aesthetic. My first feature was on Manchester based label Church of Fuck, which deals with dark/despairing hardcore, amongst other genres. This feature focuses on German punk label Spastic Fantastic Records.

Spastic Fantastic Records was founded in 2007, with the sole purpose of releasing fast punk music. They specialise in the kind of punk that is regularly reviewed in Maximum Rock n Roll and like to keep things colourful!

As well as Spastic Fantastic, there is also an imprint called Yakuzzi Tapes, that solely releases tapes. A while ago, I caught up with label head honcho Maz, to find out more about it's beginnings, future and about the punk scene in Germany. 

Can you tell us a bit about how Spastic Fantastic Record started and what your ethos is for the label?

Yo hey James. First of all thanks for your interest in doing a special about the label. I'm very pleased for your support. So back to the question, SFR started back in 2007 with the demo tape of my first hc band, when I was 18. Since then I perceive the label as an open minded, violent free, anti fascist, pro gay and left wing family base. 

Whereas a lot of hardcore/metal labels promote dark aesthetics, you seem to have a more positive and colourful attitude. Is that inspired by the music you release?
 
Indeed. As I started the label I listened to much 625, Youth Attack and Slap-A-Ham stuff. What Happens Next, Scholastic Deth, Surf Nazis Must Die, Highscore, Spazz… everything over the top, bandanas, flannels, skateboard decks! I can't do anything with so-called modern hardcore. I like fast music, smart lyrics and fun on stage. That's why everything seems a bit more colorful if you look at the label catalog. 
 
What has been your proudest achievement since forming the label? What has been your best selling release?
 
Hmmm, hard question. I don't have exact numbers, since the label is only a hobby and not used to make more money, than I need for a new release, so I don't really care about records. The last NXD or rather Napoleon Dynamite LP was a big seller and we made another run of it around 1 or 2 months after the release date. That's quite fantastic for a small band and label as SFR or NXD with a tiny niche of people, being into this kind of crap punk. My proudest achievement may be the fact, that bands like DEAN DIRG or SNIFFING GLUE asked me for a release. Till today, two of my absolute favorite bands. Besides, it's really satisfying to work together with so much nice people, friends, my punk-rock family. Every release was fixed through a gut instinct and the people seem to like my label roster and politics behind the surface. That's awesome!
Can you tell us a bit about your current releases?
 
Currently in the pressing plant: The first DANGER! DANGER! EP. A new band from the NIHIL BAXTER area and mates of em. Fast and aggressive hc punk with a nice street-punk edge and some crazy guitar tunes. Besides, we will release a compilation LP of Belgium’s SUNPOWER with their EPs and some cover songs - 80s hardcore punk with some love for the 70s. Afterwards I expect the limited Demo LP of Dortmund's all-star power violence/ fastcore project of 142. They made a demo CD-R and one or two shows, before they quit the band. Till today I was a big fan of their one and only release and looked forward to finally release it on vinyl. I hope to find 99 other idiots; they want a piece of it on 12'', too. 7 minutes, 45 rpm, 12 inches, silk-screened foldout cover and limited to just 100 pieces. Also in the pressing plant, the upcoming LP of East Germany’s SAD NEUTRINO BITCHES. A highly explosive punk-rock mix between garage, rock'n'roll, 60s, 70s and straight-forwarded hardcore punk between DEAN DIRG, BLACK LIPS and HENRY FIATS OPEN SORE. Early 2013 I expect the new LP by Hanover’s premium hardcore pack of T34. On top of that we will release a couple of tapes in the next few weeks. Check out Yakuzzi Tapes on Facebook for that.
Can you talk about your future plans for Spastic Fantastic?
 
There will be a Deutsch punk split 7'' between KOTZREIZ and NXD in the first quarter of 2013 and a new EP by FRIENDS OF DOROTHY, a new band from Sweden with members of HENRY FIATS OPEN SORE and the mighty Sir Henry Fiat on the mic. Be prepared for some spittin’ punk'n'roll in the veins of his former band(s). Additionally we're working on several new releases, I hope there will be some new material by the established SFR-bands, maybe a flexi or a singles club. I'm planning to redesign and update the shop and its software with a friend in the future. 
 
What is your policy when deciding which bands to work with and release for?
 
I focus on working with friends or friends of friends, fast music, snotty sounds, left wing, a nice sense of humour. Stuff I like, not stuff that will sell. That was always a good recipe.
How has Social media (like Facebook) helped you label reach wider audiences (it was how I found out about you!)?
 
I think the web 2.0, Youtube, Facebook, Bandcamp, Blogspot offers a lot of free space for labels and artists to share messages, ideas, music and creativity. That helps me of course spreading news for upcoming releases, shows and shop updates, but also is a great way of stay in contact with friends or connect to people worldwide. We're doing trades with Asian and American people from far away, we only know through their web presence
 
What bands are you currently listening to and who's influenced you over the years?

Some bands that influenced me and the label, that spontaneously come to my mind: THE ITALIAN STALLION, ExTxAx, SPAZZ, CHARLES BRONSON, FORMALDEHYDE JUNKIES, THE REPOS, CIRCLE JERKS, ANGRY SAMOANS, SCHOLASTIC DETH, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!?, R.A.M.B.O., TERRORGRUPPE, HENRY FIATS OPEN SORE, THE HIVES, SURF NAZIS MUST DIE, BEASTIE BOYS, BOMBENALARM, NEGATIVE APPROACH, THE PRICKS, THE SHOCKS, DEAN DIRG, TRIO… some of them got connections to the SFR family over the last 4-5 years, which is cool to speak to bands and people I listened to, while growing up. Records I listen to these days: THE JIM TABLOWSKI EXPERIENCE – s/t recordings, WICCANS - Field 2 12'', GRUPPE80, JA JA 12'', GREEN BERET - Violence Is Their Currency 12'', THEE OOPS - Hey Charlie 7'' and some of the test-pressings and tapes I'm working on. 

What is the punk/hardcore scene like in Germany at the moment and which local bands would you recommend to us?
 
The scene… hmmm, I think it's easy to book a tour, playing shows, meet new and nice people and get treated well here in Germany. The northern part of Germany is quite lame for such big cities like Hamburg, but therefore I really got in love with the eastern and especially the southern part of Germany. There are a lot of people being into the DIY scene, making records and tapes, printing posters and shirts, booking agencies, of course playing in bands. But as everywhere, some people are awesome, others pretty much suck. Even in the great punk-rock / hardcore universe. I try not focus so much on scenes, maybe cause there is no real existing scene in our area, but you should check out THE JIM TABLOWSKI EXPERIENCE and MADAME MONSTER.

So as mentioned above, here's some lines about SFR's latest releases:-

Leidkultur - For A Better World 7"


Leidkultur are a hardcore punk band from Nuremberg and this 7" features 6 songs, chock full of hardcore in the vein of bands like From Ashes Rise. SFR have two pressings available - 1 with a Black on White cover and the other with a Purple on White cover. The Purple pressing is exclusive to SFR. You can stream the 7" below:- 



142 - Demo 12"


142 were a hardcore/powerviolence band from Dortmund. They are no longer together, but SFR are pressing their demo onto vinyl. It features 10 songs in 7 minutes, so you know it's gonna be nuts! It's strictly limited to 100 copies and is a co-operative release with fellow Germans. Rising Riot Records. You can stream the 12" below and it should be out in January 2013:-



T-34 - Do It Yourself 12"


This is another 12" coming from SFR, for Hannover based punks T-34. These guys sing in their native tongue and this record should be out very soon. You can a preview of this record, by streaming it below:-



Sunpower - Decade 12"


SFR will be releasing a very special 12" for Belgian hardcore punks Sunpower in January 2013. It'll be a compilation that will feature the songs from their first 3 EP,s as well as some special unreleased songs. There will also be a live DVD included! The 12" will be limited to just 300 copies, with 60 receiving special SFR hand-numbered, screen-printed outer sleeves. Wet your appetite for the finished product below:-



Danger! Danger! - S/T 7"


This is another pre-order that will be out in January 2013. This is fast punk, from members of fellow SFR band Nihil Baxter. Again, it can be streamed below:-


As well as these records, there are going to be new releases from SFR's sub-label Yakuzzi Tapes. As the name suggested, Yakuzzi Tapes was set up to press special cassette releases.

Their latest releases include tapes from Pusrad and Cheap Drugs. You can order them here - http://www.spasticfantastic.de/catalog/yakuzzi-tapes.

Yakuzzi Tapes also have a bandcamp page where you can stream all of their releases - http://yakuzzitapes.bandcamp.com/.

There's also tonnes more music from SFR's back catalogue on their bandcamp page at http://spasticfantastic.bandcamp.com/.

You can also buy both SFR and Yakuzzi Tapes releases from the main label website at http://www.spasticfantastic.de/catalog/index.php.

You can both label on Facebook to at http://www.facebook.com/spasticfantasticrecords and http://www.facebook.com/yakuzzitapes.

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