Advanced cassette: Lawrence label embraces DIY

But Bobby Sauder, who co-founded the Whatever Forever Tapes music label with Rolf Peterson, fellow member of the band Karma Vision, says that cassette tapes are the way of the future in underground music. Their label, while limited to only 100 copies of each pressing, is embracing cassette recording as part of their do-it-yourself nature.

But Bobby Sauder, who co-founded the Whatever Forever Tapes music label with Rolf Peterson, fellow member of the band Karma Vision, says that cassette tapes are the way of the future in underground music. Their label, while limited to only 100 copies of each pressing, is embracing cassette recording as part of their do-it-yourself nature.

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But Bobby Sauder, who co-founded the Whatever Forever Tapes music label with Rolf Peterson, fellow member of the band Karma Vision, says that cassette tapes are the way of the future in underground music. Their label, while limited to only 100 copies of each pressing, is embracing cassette recording as part of their do-it-yourself nature.

Tapes. That’s right, tapes. As in cassettes, those things people used to buy in the '90s and that these days are more likely to be found in a landfill.

But Bobby Sauder, who co-founded the Whatever Forever Tapes music label with Rolf Peterson, fellow member of the band Karma Vision, says they’re the way of the future in underground music.

Sauder and Peterson got the idea when they were on tour last year, on the West Coast, and they discovered that people there were doing things on a smaller scale. “It was all DIY,” he says. “They had concert venues in people’s houses, and alternative art spaces.

“The DIY places wound up being the most fun,” he adds. “At a bar, people tend to be there to drink. At a DIY show it’s usually kids who come to hear the music.”

When they got back to Lawrence, they decided that was what they were going to do. They started Pizza Power, a DIY concert and event promotion collaborative. They’ve put on about 20 shows since August of last year.

In January of this year, they expanded the venture into music publishing. Since then, Whatever Forever Tapes has released “five or six” albums by local bands.

“The music on our label is similar not so much by genre as by the spirit or ethic of the artists,” Sauder says. “They’d all rather be with a smaller, local label.”

Their catalogue is quite diverse, ranging the “folk-oriented acoustic guitarm piano, pedal steel guitar sound” of Blakey Bear to the experimental noise of Agent X-12, a self-proclaimed “cyborg” who creates his own instruments, such as the “Meowtar” and the “Squibbletar.”

“At a show at our house, he released these little roach-bots,” Sauder says. “They vibrated and kind of walked across the ground.”

The label has been doing well so far, with copies selling at Love Garden, 822 Mass., and with requests for copies coming in from points beyond Kansas, including an independent record store in Japan that wants to sell them, but they waited until this week to officially launch the label because they “wanted to have a big event for our launch,” he says. “We wanted to have our name out there.”

Pizza Power will host the party will be at the Taproom, not a house, in the DIY tradition, because local police recently came down on them for noise violations.

“It wound up costing about $800, which kind of put a damper on things,” says Sauder, who holds a day job at Wakarusa Family Organic Farm.. “We don’t mind getting in trouble. We just don’t have that kind of money.”

The event will still feel DIY, though, Sauder says. They’re going to deck out the Taproom with streamers, balloons and experimental films projected on the walls. “Something that’ll help people get into the vibe for the night,” he explains.

The Internet has really made it possible for small ventures like this to find their place, according to Sauder. “People aren’t necessarily listening to the radio anymore,” he explains. “They’re searching for stuff on music blogs.”

The main way they’ve gotten the word out, though, is through good old word of mouth. People show up for the Pizza Power events and they’re interested and they learn about the music. They also give out stickers and buttons.

Still, this isn’t a get-rich-quick business. Each of the label's releases is limited to 100 copies. “It adds to the value of the tape,” he says, “because it’s kind of rare to begin with.”

For those who might have doubts about the inherent value of tapes, Sauder says it’s all a matter of perspective.

“It’s just my opinion, but CDs have lost their value,” he says. “Somebody once said to me that digital music is like fluorescent light, which represents real light but it’s not the same. Digital music represents real music, but it’s not.”

Comments

rolf153 6 years, 1 month ago

speaking of internet, CHECKOUT THE WEBSITE!!!

w4etapes.tumblr.com

ps, the LABEL LAUNCH PARTY is Thursday MAY 26 @ the Taproom :)

anomicbomb 6 years, 1 month ago

Is it just me, or does this article read like it was out of the Onion, both in concept and execution?

Best line in this direction: "Since then, Whatever Forever Tapes has released “five or six” albums by local bands."

Lol, "five or six". Really, the 'company' has produced less than ten albums but they don't know the exact number.

the experimental noise of Agent X-12, a self-proclaimed “cyborg” who creates his own instruments

Agent X-12, a self-proclaimed “cyborg”

a self-proclaimed “cyborg”

“Somebody once said to me that digital music is like fluorescent light, which represents real light but it’s not the same. Digital music represents real music, but it’s not.”

'Still, this isn’t a get-rich-quick business." lol, no kidding.

This is just too awesomely terrible to be real.

Keiv Spare 6 years, 1 month ago

Most people (especially young people) don't even have equipment to play a cassette tape. I would also think that cassette tapes for recording would be more difficult to find, and more expensive than blank CDs, or mp3s. Most people listen to music on CDs or an mp3 player. I would think vinyl records would even be more popular than cassettes. Distributing cassettes is just stupid, and anyone who says they are the way of the future is delusional and I wouldn't trust them for a second. Also, most recording studios have shifted to digital recording, so it doesn't make any sense to take this step backwards. Either this article is satire, or the interviewee is delusional or winding us all up. This is so stupid, it can't be real.

awas1980 6 years, 1 month ago

You may cry foul, but "Cassette Culture" is very real. http://pitchfork.com/features/articles/7764-this-is-not-a-mixtape/

"Though in the mid-'90s cassette culture seemed to decline with the appearance of new technologies and methods of distribution such as the Internet, MP3 files, file sharing, and CD-Rs, in recent years it has once again seen a revival, with the rise of tape labels like American Tapes, Scotch Tapes, Obsolete Audio Formats, Stunned Records, Pug Records, Not Not Fun Records, Heresee, From the Wheelchair to the Pulpit, Woodsmoke, Silenzio Statico, Green Records and Tapes, Already Dead Tapes, Spookytown, Crepusculo Negro, Night People, Object Tapes, Brown Interiour Music, Mellotronic Archive, Bum Tapes, Retirement Records, I had An Accident Records, Bart Records, Breaking World Records, Life's Blood Aural Releasing Entity, Lost Sound Tapes, Workerbee Records, Mirror Universe, Space Idea Tapes, Burger Records, Olde English Spelling Bee, Tour De Garde, Cakes and Tapes, Fairchild Tapes, Tapeworm, Pizza Night, Field Studies, Pop Gun Recordings, Wohrt Records & Tapes, Econore, Bemböle Cassettes and To Hip To Hop Tapes." - wikipedia

“...I only listen to cassettes. There’s already a cassette industry but it’s pretty subterranean. Cassettes and vinyl are the best sounding formats for me, Oxide tape. Big, fat, normal, bias sound. Turn it up!” -Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth)

campblood 6 years, 1 month ago

The fact they these people can't fathom the idea of a band releasing a cassette is strange to me. Sooo strange it must be a joke, right? "Most people (especially young people) don't even have equipment to play a cassette tape." -Because finding a tape deck/walkman is like the finding the Holy Grail. "Also, most recording studios have shifted to digital recording, so it doesn't make any sense to take this step backwards." -Who records in a studio? Beyonce? It just doesn't make any sense!!!!!!! My old, tired brain just f*#king exploded and leaked on my Dockers.

sqrt 6 years, 1 month ago

I would think cyborgs are better at predicting the future than humans are.

and anyone who says they are the way of the future is delusional and I wouldn't trust them for a second.

I would agree, I wouldn't let people who run a DIY cassette label babysit children.

Keiv Spare 6 years, 1 month ago

If a prospective label suggested to my band that we record and release our album on cassette, I would think that's a cool/fun idea, as a side item to releasing it digitally or on CD. But cassette as the primary/only means for fans to hear your music? That's just dumb.

BZ 6 years, 1 month ago

your boring music will be distributed in boring methods to your boring fans. yawn.

sqrt 6 years, 1 month ago

How many times have you heard old people and square people call Jackson Pollock paintings dumb? Music is supposed to bring people together and be fun!

cavynaugh 6 years, 1 month ago

Many of the bands on Whatever Forever do release their music through CD as well. Tapes are just another format, like vinyl or mp3, that some people enjoy listening to.

anomicbomb 6 years, 1 month ago

The idea of releasing a new album on cassette as a novelty or part of a subculture doesn't surprise me. If you get your kicks off by authenticity tripping over the esoteric use of inferior technology, go for it.

Its the content of the story that I'm interested in...its awesome! Look at those quotes! C'mon, re-read some of the things said in this article and tell me the people saying them are taking themselves seriously. If they are, even better!

“The music on our label is similar not so much by genre as by the spirit or ethic of the artists,” Sauder says. “They’d all rather be with a smaller, local label.”

Translation: The people have no other options.

Their catalogue is quite diverse, ranging the (sic) “folk-oriented acoustic guitarm piano, pedal steel guitar sound” of Blakey Bear to the experimental noise of Agent X-12, a self-proclaimed “cyborg” who creates his own instruments, such as the “Meowtar” and the “Squibbletar.”

Read the above excerpt of the article. "guitarm piano", "self-proclaimed 'cyborg'" "Meowtar". If that section doesn't belong in the Onion, it doesn't belong anywhere. Completely awesome.

Reminded me of this, fwiw:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/garage-band-actually-believes-there-is-a-terre-hau,272/

WHATEVERFOREVER 6 years, 1 month ago

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! C'MON ERRBODY!

BUT REALLY, WE "GET OFF BY AUTHENTICITY TRIPPING OVER THE ESOTERIC USE OF INFERIOR TECHNOLOGY". NICELY SAID!

mr_right_wing 6 years, 1 month ago

“People aren’t necessarily listening to the radio anymore,” he explains. “They’re searching for stuff on music blogs.”

Today's technology is the biggest threat radio has faced since the introduction of television. Stocks in big corporate radio are worthless (as in little to no value) yet radio execs sit around smiling, clueless.......

They couldn't be more out of touch if they somehow lived on Saturn.

cakefever 6 years, 1 month ago

"whatever forever" might be the best name for anything ever and I am hecka jealous

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