Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Interview with Eric of Urinal Cake Records

It doesn't take a genius to know that Detroit has one of the best legacies in rock n' roll history. The somewhat recent success story of the protopunk band Death has shown even more of a light on the punk-gestation city. But even before Drag City reissued their records, household names like the Stooges, the MC5, hell, even the White Stripes showed only a small amount of the Detroit rock n' roll history. If you haven't seen it yet, there's a great documentary called It Came From Detroit about the city's garage rock scene, featuring bands like the Gories, the Von Bondies, Electric Six, and more.

If you've been keeping up with my blog at all, you've no doubt seen that I've had some focus on Motor City with interviews with SROS Lords and Protomartyr. Both of these bands started out on the label Urinal Cake Records. Urinal Cake has put out records by the Johnny III Band, Bad Indians, and Terrible Twos just to name a few. Their roster seems to constantly be growing too.

The record label is also hosting a great Weekend of Music at PJ's Lager House, which will be Urinefested II (the sequel to Urinefested I) in Detroit featuring Tyvek, Timmy's Organism, and a ton more bands. In addition, there will be an art show happening. I'm definitely going to be making my way up there for a bit of the weekend, and I strongly recommend anyone with a working thumb to try and hitch a ride thataway during June 19-21. It's going to be a hoot and a holler for sure. They have a few releases coming up too, but I'm going to let Eric talk about that in our interview below!

Also, check out the label on their Facebook Page to keep up with what's coming out and what's going on. You can also keep up with the label on their Twitter.

Jordan: Why choose the name Urinal Cake for a record label?

Eric: When I started the label I didn't want the labels name/ logo to be associated with Detroit because I wanted the label to be bigger than just in Detroit.  I was going crazy thinking of a name when Johnny Ill said he had an interview the coming week (regarding the new Johnny Ill Band LP at the time which was our first release) and wanted to plug the labels name.  Johnny, Chris Campbell and I kept throwing around names but nothing was the "one."  Finally, I was at work and had to take a piss real bad.  I went to the bathroom and they had just placed new urinal cakes in the urinals.  While I was taking a piss I text Chris "Urinal Cake Records", the rest as they say was down the toilet.

J: Do you only put out records by bands from Detroit? Would you consider bands from other areas?

E: I think its by coincidence that pretty much all the bands are from Detroit.  There are a lot of diverse bands and I wanted to be the label that put those bands out.  I've pretty much done what Ive wanted with Detroit so yes, would totally consider bands from other areas now and always have really.

J: Is there an overall aesthetic, ethos, or genre that you would lump Urinal Cake releases into? Similarly, is there anything that you look for in particular when thinking about your roster?

E: I don't think so.  Every record/ band is different from the other.  I don't really look for anything when deciding to put out a record, its pretty much just if I like it enough to put it out.

J: Are there any particular examples you used in the creation of your label?

E: Nothing in particular but I had a direction I wanted the label to go in.  When it first started out I was wrapping my head around the artwork, web design, etc for the label.  I wasn't 100% happy with it.  Then I asked Jeff Arcel (Terrible Twos, Bill Bondsmen) to create a "standard" label for the records and it was killer.  After that he does everything pretty much in regards to all artwork, created the website, etc.  He basically runs the label with me.

J: How did you begin releasing music? I know you started with the Johnny III Band and SROS Lords releases. Can you tell me a little bit about those?

E: The first release was Johnny Ill Band's LP.  To this day their first 7" on Kaboodle is prob my fav 7" of all time. Johnny and I never really met before I asked to put out their LP so he kind of took a risk doing it with a label with no releases to date. I couldn't be more stoked to have that as the first LP however.  Craig Brown mentioned that SROS Lords ruled so I had to check them out. They were such a diverse band at the time, a weird bunch that were outsiders to the rest of the scene which I totally loved. Both Johnny Ill Band and SROS Lords records are almost gone.

J: What have been some of the biggest success stories for Urinal Cake?

E: Obviously Protomartyr.  They deserve everything.  They started out awesome and are beyond that now.  Best band.

J: Bit of a loaded question, this next one, but do you have any releases that you are particularly proud of or enjoy more than others?

E: I can honestly say not really.  Like I said before, they are all so different from one another.  I am excited for the new Feelings and Growwing Pains LPs coming out however.  Both records rule.

J: What would be a dream record to put out? It can be as long of a shot as you'd like.

E: Some bands I really love right now are Gary Wrong and Obnox.  Timmy Vulgar and Kevin Boyer have been favorites of mine since forever.  Los Angeles has some cool bands now too.  

J: Do you have a favorite super hero?

E: Jamie Cherry 

J: Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? Are you familiar with the wolf?

E: I don't eat Pork so I think we would go about our separate business.

J: What is coming up in terms of releases for Urinal Cake Records?

E: Debut LPs from Feelings and Growwing Pains should be out any day now.  Some other records in talks that that I really can't mention right now.

J: Anything else you'd like to say?

E: Urinefested II is coming up in June in Detroit.  First weekend of summer.  We didn't think we could top the first one but this one is gonna be big.  Piranhas are playing their first show in 11 years.  Lamps are playing which is insane.  Fontana (X! Records/ Detroit legends) who are playing their first show in almost 5 years is gonna be so awesome.  Timmy's Organism, Tyvek, Terrible Twos, Smelly Tongues, Feelings, Growwing Pains just to name a few more.  Way more bands are still to be announced plus theres a cool art show during the fest.  

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