Today exclusively at Abusement Park we will have Papa Anvil AKA Mr. Stoney Bass the main man of Denton, Texas based record label Anvileater Records. A man of riffs, beer, and hot dogs. Let’s do this!
One time I ate a bowl of anvils for breakfast without any milk, but anyway, what made you start Anvileater Records and what was the original goal?
AER: Well, I grew up in the punk and hardcore scene booking shows, (trying) to play in bands, and just doing things that go with having a bunch of friends running a venue and it just slowly led into me promoting releases and eventually just putting them out. It kind of happened without me planning for it to, which is kind of the whole mantra of the label. I moved away from scene I grew up with but wanted to help from afar, so I put a few of their demos out. It helped transition the label into a DFW thing. I’ve never had a real goal besides helping my friend’s music get heard and then finding ways to get music I like out to other folks.
What inspired the name Anvileater? I personally love the name.
AER: Sadly, there’s not even a cool story about it. I was playing with the idea of actually doing a release instead of just booking DIY tours while signing up for a fantasy football league. I tried to think of a clever name for the team, chose The Anvileaters, and it stuck with me. I didn’t have a name when I went to make a Facebook so I just wrote Anvileater, and it just stuck.
The name Abusement Park has a similar story.
Who were the first bands you worked with, as well as first release?
AER: Well, two releases actually happened at the same time. I was doing a tape release of Cannonball’s 7” for their last show. They were some of my best friends, so it made the most sense. While doing that I became friends with this awesome powerviolence band in Denton called Meaner Demeanor. I got them on the last show and we spent all night trying to dub tapes for both bands. It was the most DIY shit you could imagine, but it was awesome. We drove back and sold a ton of tapes at their show. A lot of them were super janky and we redid the J-Cards for all we had. I’m really sorry if someone has one of those, but thank you.
What’s the hardest part about running the label?
AER: It’s really an everyday struggle to stay relevant, and make people care about what you’re doing. There’s a lot more waiting times in tapes and vinyl than when we started so you’ve got to have constant content in between to keep people engaged. I love it, it gives me a reason to show off my ever waning design talents.
What keeps you releasing physical media in this digital age? (Please continue to release physical media).
AER: Man, people are always going to want to hold something. It’s awesome to hold a tangible piece of music and be able to look at it and see people care about details as much as you do. Digital music definitely has its conveniences but I’m a man of ritual. It feels good to just sit down and listen to a record. Spotify is a great marketing tool, and I don’t expect to make any money off of it but I know there are plenty of people like us that get hooked and have to find a physical format. Long winded, but there’s people like me that love that feel. I’m constantly defending putting out analog formats, even if they’re getting bigger.
I absolutely agree! There is nothing more satisfying than a pile of music to flip through and play after a long day.
Is it just you running it or do you have any help?
AER: Anvileater has always been somewhat of a co-op. I’m always the one running everything but I’ve always had a small crew that I could bribe with a case of beer to help fold, mail, or stuff records. Lately, my girlfriend Lacey has really stepped in and helped with the organizational side of things. Shipping and getting orders out is way easier with someone on top of it. I get super ADD and get ahead of myself, she helps get it functional and it shows.
Fist bump to Lacey!
How do you find most of your bands and ultimately what makes them good enough to work with?
AE: I don’t really have one way. I’ve released bands from submissions, seeing them play at a show, or just getting drunk and agreeing. I really like bands that are playing shows and working at it. Show that you really care about what you’re doing. I hate music business shit, I’m more about passion and doing what you love.
What’s a sure fire way to not get put out by Anvileater?
AER: Add me on Facebook, make small talk, and then just hint about your band. Send messages over and over. Send me and email with 60 other labels in the same email. Use too many descriptors, MELODIC METALLIC BLACKENED CRUST DOOM DBEAT PUNK USBM OSDM PUNK RIFFS. Please just send me a regular email, a few bands in the vein and a nice bandcamp or some tracks.
One of my favorite things about your label, is that you have a variety of music on it. Was this originally the goal or did it just happen that way?
AER: I think it’s really just indicative of the music I like. I just like heavy music. The next few months are going to be even more varied.
What release are you most proud of?
AER: It’s always the last one I put out, I try hard to always be improving. Right now, it’s the Athamé release. It’s just so pretty, and those girls are great to work with. They were more involved than any band has been before, and it showed. Kelly stained and carved the boxes, and Megan carved the stones.
The Athamé boxset was excellent and worth every penny.
(A glimpse of the Athamé altar kit edition that they did for High Priestess which quickly sold out)
Texas is pretty far from Sweden, how’d you get hooked up with Haoma?
AER: Robyn sent me an email with a soundcloud link, and honestly that kind of throws me off because I hate Soundcloud, but I finally did and was just blown away. I emailed them back and we just got started right away.
You recently worked with Mind Ripper Collective on the Pavel Chekov split with Endless Swarm, how did that come about? Also is that something that might happen again with Mind Ripper or a different label?
AER: Well, we put out the Pavel Chekov/Criminal Slang tape last year and I try to jump on anything those dudes are on. Seriously the best dudes and the most prepared band I’ve ever worked with. They hit me up about Graham (Endless Swarm, Mind Ripper) wanting to put out that split so I emailed him about doing the US distro and helping release it.
Yeah I love working with other labels, we co-released the Panzerbastard/Rawhide split 7” with Unholy Anarchy Records outta Baltimore last year too. I like working with other labels and seeing how they do things, and records are expensive so it’s cool to have other people pitching in.
How would you describe Anvileater records?
AER: We release music that’s made by people that give a shit about what they do. It’s just a showcase of people doing things we enjoy, and helping people get their music out there. It’s usually Loud, Heavy, and Hazy. I grew up looking at the back of tapes and then researching the name on the back to find new bands, I wanna help people find music they normally wouldn’t listen to.
What does the rest of 2016 have in store for Anvileater?
AER: Man, it’s gonna be weird. I have several tapes, a record or two, A book/zine, and helping release a Horror movie coming out before 2017, so I’ve been really busy trying to make sure that all happens. There will also be some interesting pieces of merch thrown in there. I’m always overloading myself so just keep watching.
I cannot wait to find out what all those are especially the horror movie!
Thanks again for agreeing to do this! My final question is:
If Anvileater Records was going to be stocked in a grocery store, what products would it be located by?
AER: I would cross merchandise Anvileater Records with a side-stack by the Lone Star beer and one by the hot dog vendor out front.
Coming Soon from Anvileater Records-
Canyon- S/T CS
Marla Stone CS
Haoma- Endless Stash CS
Blight (FL) Discography CS
Possessor- Dead by Dawn CS/CD (this will be the first cd ever put out by Anvileater!)
Be sure to check out the FREE Summer Sampler for a taste of everything Anvileater puts out minus the hot dogs.