Labels are the spinning gravity well that drives the vinyl vortex. Alongside personal contemporary favourites, such as Toxic State, Cintas Pepe, La Vida Es Un Mus Discos, Quality Control HQ, Static Shock, Heartfirst and Hardcore Survives, sit Italian industrial connoisseurs, Avant Records. I was introduced to the label only recently via The Shend (The Cravats), and have subsequently enjoyed many a happy evening catching up with the raft of essential vinyl releases they have fired into the ether over the past five years. Particular high points for me have included CCCandy, Lust For Youth, White Hex and War/Var (discussed in an earlier Iceage post). With these observations in mind, I made the virtual trip south to Bologna, Italy, to shoot the shit with Avant’s head honcho, Andrea.
Tell us about the birth of Avant Records?
The label was born in 2007 to co-release the split seven-inch between my band, His Electro Blue Voice, and the French black metal punk band, Nuit Noire. It started with the intent of doing something good, and doing it well, and that’s the spirit I carry it on with to this day. Tryin’ not to fail, ha.
Why is it so important to still be producing quality vinyl artifacts when the rest of the planet seems hell-bent on reducing everything to digital anonymity?
Well, you will always have small phenomena that contradict bigger, mainstream trends. You just choose which side you on. No one is really right or wrong – you just feel where you belong, don’t you?
Did you have any particular model in mind, in terms of iconic labels/templates, etc, that you wanted Avant to emulate?
I like to keep things simple, minimal, neat and effective, but I’m surely not the only one? There have been many who have shown me the way to go.
You appear to reside at the border where electronica meets post-modern avant rock (considering the connections to Iceage, Slug Guts and Sacred Bones) – was this a purposeful interface, or has it just worked out that way?
It wasn’t planned that way in any great detail, but that idea was there from the off: embracing everything that could be labelled post-punk or post-industrial. Basically, the best in music influenced by the last real avant garde riot, which was indeed punk and industrial culture.
Back in the dust of last century, punk rock and cold wave electro were always ideal bed-fellows, do you think the current vibe reflects the sanctity of this union or, again, is it just another happy accident?
It’s no lucky accident, and once you take a deeper look through the annals of punk rock, you understand that punk can be more than plain rock’n’roll fun music! It has been just so throughout the 1980s and the 90s. Punk rock is just ONE way to say the same things one can say in many other ways, through many other kinds of music.
What other labels, publications, websites, ‘zines, et cetera, do you rate?
Labels I love and admire are RTB, Dais, Pesanta Urfolk, Blind Prophet, Sacred Bones, Handmade Birds, Brave Mysteries, Posh Isolation and more, for the great job they do both on the music and the artwork/iconography side.
Which Avant release have you been most proud of so far?
I’m proud of all my releases, but I can say I’m particularly happy with the Scorpion Violente LP, as that’s something a lot of people seemed to enjoy; Lust for Youth, and how the band grew with us; King Dude and Cult of Youth, ‘cos folk music is always a challenge for a ‘punk’ label; and I’m gonna be real proud of the upcoming debut LP from our pals How Much Wood Would A Woodchuck Chuck If A Woodchuck Could Chuck Wood? – this is really gonna be one outstanding album!
What artist currently producing music anywhere on the globe right now that hasn’t released wax on Avant would you like to work with?
Australian dark-folk/medieval-punk band Lakes is worth all your attention, and I can’t wait for their new album on Blind Prophet. Wreathes from Wisconsin is incredible also. I’d like to have more Cult of Youth, too.
What have been your three favourite long players by artists not on Avant Records in 2012?
Let’s say Wreathes s/t LP on Pesanta Urfolk, Father Murphy’s ‘Anyway Your Children Will Deny It’ on Aagoo, and Vatican Shadow’s ‘Kneel Before Religious Icons’ on Type, but there could be more (there always are! – JE).
And finally, what does the rest of 2012 hold in store for Avant?
Out Sept, 2012:
AV!020 – NIGHT SINS – ‘New Grave’ LP
AV!021 – HORROR VACUI – ‘In Darkness You Will Feel Alright’ LP
Out Nov, 2012:
AV!022 – HOW MUCH WOOD WOULD A WOODCHUCK CHUCK IF A WOODCHUCK COULD CHUCK WOOD? LP
AV!023 LUST FOR YOUTH – ‘Saluting Rome’ EP
For 2013, more stuff in the works, but nothing concrete yet. I hope I’ll be able to achieve what I have in mind, though.