Saturday, December 7, 2013

Interview with Chris Clavin of Plan-It-X Records

Sorry Chris - took this from facebook
I got into Plan-It-X records a few years back. My friend Billy gave me a big list of folk punk bands that I should check out that included some early Pat the Bunny bands, Operation: Chris Clavin, Ghost Mice, Defiance, Ohio, and Rosa. I really liked what I heard because it was unpretentious and focused on honest lyrics. The first song that I really took to was "Whiskey is My Kind of Lullaby" by Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains. From there I started listening to any folk punk I could get my hands on. That's when Plan-It-X was having a blow out sale and I think for $20 I got two DVDs and 10 CDs, which was awesome. 

Those were the CDs that I had in my car at all times. I got my first Bananas record then, as well as a Rosa record and a Wingnut Dishwasher's record. There was a ton of variety in instrumentation and songwriting, which was something I valued. It was basically because of these records that I decided that I could actually write songs and got into DIY, an ethos I still believe in and support.

Plan-It-X has been around for a while and is based in Bloomington, IN where Chris Clavin, its owner, creator, god lives. He also has been in a ton of really great bands that seem to always be playing somewhere. It's amazing that this guy can do so much.

He recently put out a really great split 12" with Ramshackle Glory that was funded by Kickstarter. It's a really incredible record called Shelter that focuses on the idea of where a person can find shelter or a home. In a DIY punk community where punk squats and house shows are pretty much the lifeforce of a the music scene it's an important topic that has a lot of interesting stories. His band Ghost Mice continues to perform and make great music.

He recently also put out a book called Free Pizza for Life, a book about the creation of Plan-It-X and his experiences. His website can be found HERE. You should buy his stuff. It's always cheap, but expensive in quality (that's a phrase, right?)

I e-mailed him to see if he'd get hip to an interview and this is what he said.

Jordan: How did you get into punk rock?

Chris Clavin: What's punk rock. Just kidding. It was by accident. I started a band and we couldn't really play music, so people said we were pop punk. They I found out about the DIY touring network and I've never looked back.

J: Have you always lived in Indiana? What is the music scene like there?

CC: I've lived here most of my life. I moved to Olympia in 2006 and then to Gainesville in 2007 then to Cairo Illinois in 2009 to try and create a punk rock utopian community (cairo is a ghost town). I moved back to Bloomington in 2011. Bloomington has a great music scene. Lot's of styles. Lot's of different scenes here. 

J: When did you start first playing music? Did you grow up with it?

CC: I started when I was 19, I guess. I wish I had started sooner. I grew up with 80s music and heavy metal and my moms old 60s singles. 

J: What all bands have you been in? Which ones do you currently play in?

CC: Green Tea, The Ted Dancin' Machine, Lost August, Drowner, Operation: Cliff Clavin, The Trolls, The Coug, Pink Ass Flowers, Dude Looks Like A Lady, The Sissies, I like japanese hardcore, The Devil Is Electric, The Dragonflies, Ghost Mice, Captain Chaos, The Jammy Dodgers, Tooth Soup, Inky Skulls, Imperial Can, By Blood. --- Current bands: Ghost Mice, Tooth Soup, By Blood, Inky Skulls, Captain Chaos. 

J: Lyrics seem to be a big part of your music. Which lyricists, poets, or writers inspire you? What topics do you typically cover?

CC: Bad Religion, Fifteen, Bob Dylan, The Cure, The Smiths, The Mountain Goats, Kurt Vonnegut. 

J: How did you decide to start a label? When did you start Plan-It-X records? Did you start it alone? 

CC: This info is all on the PIX FAQ... Its too boring to talk about again... I started a label as a joke, to release my own band, with my friend Samantha! ...

J: What were some of the first releases that you did?

CC: Operation: Cliff Clavin, Against Me, This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, The Bananas. 

J: How did you get the name Plan-It-X?

CC: Sam was taken by aliens to a moon of mars from her years of 10-15. The aliens called it planet X. 

J: How was it using Kickstarter to get funding for the Ramshackle Glory 1st album repress and the split that Ghost Mice did with them? Do you feel like it's a sustainable model for new releases?

CC: Yeah, I guess. It's dark times for record labels. We do whatever we can to survive, but it's starting to feel weird to me. I think I'm gonna quit soon. I don't want to beg people to buy music. 

J: DIY is a big part of your ethos. What do you think the role of DIY has or should have on music? What do you think of people or artists who don't adhere to DIY?

CC: I love the DIY scene. I love seeing great bands playing in houses. To me it makes the music so much more real. I hate stages and rock lights and backstage rooms where the bands can hide before and after they play. I love the DIY scene because the bands and the "fans" are totally equal. I also like non-DIY bands. I just don't like the bands that use the DIY scene as a stepping stone to the next level of music. 

J: Do you do any other sorts of art other than music?

CC: I draw and make comics. I paint sometimes. I do art for records for other bands sometimes...

J: How was it writing "Free Pizza for Life?"

CC: Easy. I wrote it in a few months. You can tell by the mistakes... I just wrote down all the stories that I bore my friends with all the time. 
J: You've been touring around a lot and so I'm sure have eaten at a bunch of different places. What is the best Pizza you've ever had?

CC: That's a hard question. I guess I'll have to say it was in Rome, by the train station. It was so good I didn't even notice it was vegan. 

J: What all have you been listening to lately?

CC: Bad Religion and Amanda Palmer. 

J: What all is in the future for Chris Clavin?

CC: I have no clue. 

J: Anything else you'd like to say?

CC: Quit your job, become an environmental terrorist. 

No comments:

Post a Comment