Wednesday 24 July 2013

The Fitton Inquistion w/ Andy from Dry Cough Records

One of my favourite things about writing for the 'Lord is when I discover truly amazing, hard working and dedicated labels. People who are usually out of pocket because they love the music, and the bands that play this music. One such individual is Andrew Bankes, who took the leap and started his own small label to spread the Doom. He deals in tapes of fine riff-mongering acts, and he is just at the very start of his adventure. Said home of the heavy is Dry Cough Records, based in Manchester, UK just about to release their second tape and it's a pleasure to subject him to the Inquisition.

FI) Hey man, how's you? What prompted you to start up Dry Cough?
DCR) I’m pretty, pretty good thanks dude!
I’ve fancied doing my own label since I started playing in bands, but it was always one of those “I’ll get round to it one day” kind of things. One morning last year I was sat drinking coffee and surfing the web when Oliver Goodland (former owner of Church Of Fuck) posted a link to Plague Survivors’ bandcamp. I had a listen and was immediately blown away.  I downloaded the stuff that was available and then contacted them to see if they had any physical releases. At that time there was split 7” with Scotland’s Prelude to the Hunt in the pipeline so I was fairly content with knowing that something would be along soon. The months passed, more tracks went up for download but still no 7”. I looked at their FB page again and saw that the 7” had fallen through, but somebody from the UK had suggested doing a tape for them. Then I noticed that the conversation in question was 2-3 months previous and that nothing had come of that either. That was the point I thought, “Fuck it, I’M going to do it”. I emailed the band and suggested my putting out some of their stuff. They were up for it, and after a bit of dialogue we settled on doing the ‘Discography’ tape; I had my first release sorted and Dry Cough was born.

FI) Right now you're starting out with tapes, a format that is going through a strong resurgence with the hardcore fanbase. How do you get tapes made then?
DCR) The bands send me the tracks, and any artwork and text they want to use, then my man Dia Artio then does the layouts for me (as I’m utterly hopeless with Photoshop), then it all gets sent to a place in Yorkshire called Fairview Duplication.  They then run off a test tape, and once approved by myself, we have the finished product. Some folk might point out that doing it this way isn’t strictly DIY as I’m not hunched over a table scouring card or individually screen printing 100 sleeves or whatever, but it takes up a lot more of my time (and money) than you’d think!

FI) Your first release was the Plague Survivors tape. What was it like to start with such a strong set of tunes?
DCR) Fantastic. I absolutely love that band; their songs are just horrible – in the best possible way. They’re one of only a handful of active bands who make me feel envious that it’s not MY band. Releasing their music was the next best thing.

FI) Your upcoming second release is by On Pain of Death, from Ireland. How did that happen?
DCR) Before I had started the label I read a review of the “Year Naught Doom” by a dude called Ross Mckendrick on his blog, Repulsive Revolutions. His piece made me think; “I need to hear this band”, and I was not disappointed! At that time it was only available to download, but a vinyl release was due on Canadian label Handshake Inc. Once the plague Survivors tape was underway I sent OPoD an email asking if they’d be up for doing a cassette version. I didn’t get a reply from them for a good few weeks and almost forgot about it, but Matt replied to my second email and thankfully they were on board.

FI) I've talked to you in the past about this, but do you think you will reach the stage where vinyl becomes a possibility? I'm gagging to get your releases on wax.
DCR) Yeah, that’s definitely the way I want to take the label.  I would’ve loved to have released vinyl from the off but it just wasn’t financially possible. Working in record shops for 17 years means I’ve not quite made my fortune just yet.
FI) What is your preferred format, as a fan?
DCR] Vinyl without doubt. I only began buying records and tapes again about 2 years ago after 7-8 years of solely buying CDs. A friend of mine turned up one night with a couple of 7”s by Leeds powerviolence band Closure and jokingly insisted they would change my life. How right he was. I had been toying with the idea of putting all my CDs onto iTunes and selling the lot, but thanks to this friend I came to my senses and went the opposite way, bought a turntable again and never looked back.

FI) How far would you like to go with Dry Cough? Do you intend to keep it small, or would you like to go as big as possible?
DCR) I don’t have a clue. I haven’t thought past the next couple of releases to be honest. I’ll just see how things go.

FI) We've covered Plague Survivors, we've covered On Pain of Death. Who's next for the Dry Cough roster?
DCR) If all goes to plan, then the next tape will be a compilation of older tracks by the New Zealand band, Open Tomb (and hopefully some of their new stuff later in the year). I’ve also agreed in principle to a co-op with Church Of Fuck, to put out a 7” by new Manchester band Old Skin (featuring members of Esoteric Youth). Beyond that, who knows.
FI) I ask bands about their influences, but I'm sure that label dudes have label influences too. Got any heroes who run record labels?
DCR) No not really. The closest to that would probably be Chris Braddock of Feast of Tentacles. All his releases are quality, both musically and visually. AND he sings in Moloch, my current favourite band.
FI) Thanks for answering these questions brother. I usually save this space for shout outs - got anything you would like to say to the doom masses at all?
DCR) Buy my tapes! Both bands are fucking awesome and deserve to be heard by more people. And the more tapes I sell, the more money I can plough into future releases.
The End

As ever, show your support to the band by checking them out at the various links.  Thanks to Andy @ Dry Cough Records for the great insight into running a DIY label.  You can read the review of On Pain of Death here .  You can pick some choice merch here