With nearly 50 releases under their belts, Already Dead Tapes has been working around the clock to craft amazing cassette releases (as well as a few wax offerings) to their growing audience. Recently, we at Chicago Mixtape have been hanging out a bit with Josh Tabbia (who runs ADT along with is Kalamazoo based partner Sean) and in between particularly gory scenes of Zombi 2 and plates of enchiladas from the Notes and Bolts kitchen, Josh was able to answer some of our questions about the day to day operations of the label.
CM: Already Dead Tapes has been expanding beyond its namesake lately, hasn’t it? You have several vinyl outings coming up, correct?
JT: Yeah, we actually just released our first 7”, a split between the Binary Marketing Show and the New Diet, which is our second vinyl release to date. We’ve also got at least two more full length LPs scheduled for release before year’s end, one from Spelling Bee and the other from Daniel Frances Doyle. Our first vinyl release was Forget the Times ‘Soul Music’ 12”, which is my label partner Sean’s project, and that dropped earlier this year as well.
CM: Explain the synthesis between you and yr partner, who runs the label with you. With you in Chicago and he in Kalamazoo, how do things get worked out and finished?
JT: Well, the division of labor comes pretty naturally, based on our backgrounds. I handle all art direction, web design and most cassette production, while Sean focuses on label promotion, booking and vinyl production. In instances where it’s possible we’ll split the production of a cassette between Chicago and Kalamazoo. We both handle submissions and lining up new talent for future releases, we just stay in close communication about how we feel about prospective projects. None of this is to say that running a label between two states is easy, but we have a lot of grace for one another.
CM: Speaking of Kalamazoo, you have a fest centered on the label coming up, care to tell us about that?
JT: The Already Dead Family Reunion is our 2nd annual label fest. It’s our chance to bring together a bunch of bands that we love and share them with new and old listeners. 28 bands with AD affiliations will be there over the weekend. Most have releases with us or have releases in the works. Artists are traveling from all over the country to play. Some of our all time favorites will be there. We’ll also be dropping several new AD releases during the fest and offering plenty of sales on label merch. The Family Reunion is being held September 20-22 in Kalamazoo, MI. More info and discount advance tickets can be found at alreadydeadtapes.com
CM: The art and packaging for yr tapes are extremely detailed and you seem to have an aversion to more traditional packaging, i.e. norelco cases, etc – why?
JT: It’s not an aversion to any one type of packaging, but rather avoiding routine. I do this as much for the design aspect as the community and music, and I love coming up with new ways to house cassettes and interpret the format. If I design several ‘non-traditional’ packages in a row I get just as board with that as if I were doing j-cards all the time. Design wise, I want the label to embody diversity and variety from release to release, and looking back at the past fifty releases I really feel a sense of accomplishment in that area.
CM: Musically, ADT is all over the place, but seems to focus on the lo fi and the noisy and ambient, why the pull towards those fields?
JT: I wouldn’t even go as far as saying we have a focus on any particular field. We made the decision early on to avoid becoming another noise and drone label. We love that stuff, but it’s only a small part of why we’re doing this. We both love most genres and want the label to reflect a very inclusive community of artists, each with their own unique approach and voice. One of the first times I was asked to describe the label I said something to the effect of “We’re not above releasing any form of art” and I think that well sums up where we stand today.
CM: In not being above any genre – are there any that the two of you would be, perhaps, put off by, initially, but down to release something within if a truly good example happens along?
JT: In all honesty, I can’t really say there’s a good example. Within most genres we encounter, material that jives really well with what we’re trying to accomplish and material that just doesn’t seem like the right fit. With that said, there are definitely genres that we would love to tap into but just haven’t yet.
CM: We’ve personally spoken about our mutually shared pasts in the metalcore scene – much of it to humorous effect – any plans to talk someone like Converge into letting ADT take care of the cassette release of their latest record?
JT: Well, because we focus on smaller editions, 50-100 in most cases, and because our packaging is hand assembled, it’s very unlikely something like that would satisfy either party. We’d be more likely to release some weird side projects from the guys in Converge before trying to tackle such a huge project. I’m imagining those guys sell a lot of records, much more than we’re producing per release right now. With that said, if they or some other hardcore band that was doing something that seemed to fit with the label had an idea, we would be more than up for the challenge.
CM: What’s the future for ADT in the next 12 months?
JT: On paper, more of the same, keeping up with a constant release schedule and finding new ways to grow and progress as a label and community. We’ve got a solid queue of releases that will take us into much of next year and we’re working on expanding into new formats, i.e., zines, literature and other fine arts. Around the turn of the year we’ll also start initial planning for the next AD Family Reunion. We’ve kept extremely busy for the last two years and the next 12 months will be no different in that regard.
To find and purchase Already Dead Tapes releases, go to http://alreadydeadtapes.com/ . Listen to Josh on todays 9/10 edition of the Notes and Bolts Podcast over on iTunes – http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/notes-and-bolts-podcast/id520376235
Wearwolf – Book of 8
Panda Kid – Arizona
No Monster Club – Let’s Get Lucky
The Binary Marketing Show – Liquid Lung
Chat Logs – Isolation Rites
Chris Brokaw – Recidivist
Dominic Pierce – Synaesthesia
Talk Midway – No Ones
Micromelancolie – Owl Eater
Radiator Hospital – Shut Up and Deal