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01. Angel Olsen – Acrobat (from Half Way Home LP)
02. Cough Cool – Back in Time (from Lately LP)
03. High Aura’d – River Runs Like Jewels (from Sanguine Futures LP)
04. Lazy Magnet – Kraft Durch Freude (from upcoming Acts Without Error LP)
05. Padang Food Tigers – In My Heart I’m Already Gone (from Ready Country Nimbus LP)
06. Villages – Before Failures (from upcoming Theories of Ageing LP)
07. William Cody Watson – Side A (Excerpt) (from Bill Murray LP)
Entrevue avec Jon Hency
Qui es-tu Jon et quelles sont tes premiÃ¨res influences musicales ? Who are you Jon and what were your first musical influences?
Jon. Bathetic. Age: 27. First musical experiences were singing in my church choir as a kid. One time I had a solo and sang the wrong part. My parents really liked Phil Collins and Willie Nelson. I remember my Dad bough R. Kelly’s s/t album released in ’95, so I was 9 or 10. I was way into that. When I first started collecting tapes I got Eazy-E, N.W.A. and MC Hammer from my neighbor. These had a huge impact on me.
Bathetic was born back in 2007. I handmade CD-Rs and cassettes for a couple of my projects and some off-the-grid kids in the hills of Northwest Arkansas. I just wanted to make things. Do something, and have something to show for it. It became legit when I later moved to Chicago and started keeping track of the edition counts and cataloging titles by numbers. I’m now lucky to have a 3-person team: Me, William Cody Watson, and Omar Mashaal. Without them, Bathetic wouldn’t be much.
Qu’induit le nom du label ? Can you explain the name of the label?
I was in an English class in High School and we had talked about « Bathos » and for some reason it stuck. At the time, I really liked the idea of bathos and something being bathetic. Then, when I started putting out small-run items for bands, it felt bathetic – i was doing something serious, and it came across humorous (« ridiculous artwork » / « bad performance ») to whatever audience there was, – at least at the time. Now, it’s just a name. I’m not too into the idea of ‘bathos’ anymore and it doesn’t really apply to the label. I like the way it sounds when spoken. But now, it’s just a name.
Before, there were no guidelines – if it made sense, it made sense. WCW and I would pass things back and forth, listen to it a lot, and arrive at a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ … we still do this. Every now and again there would be an instant YES and it absolutely made sense. And now, looking back at these things that were an instant YES, they sort of carved a path, narrowed the scope for future Bathetic things. We do throw out some curve-balls, but, ya know, whatever. I just have to support some of these bands and artists.
Positive. I feel like it’s a Bathetic Family that is growing. I really like to work with the bands/artists that we’ve put out LPs with so far. I haven’t met everyone in person yet, which kind of bums me out but gives me something to look forward to! We all talk constantly, passing music and art back and forth, moving ideas forward. No one has been a pain in the ass, everyone is supportive of what we are creating together.
Jeans Wilder was the first release when I started Bathetic back up in 2009. A lot of it was Cody’s persuading to restart the label, and with it, he had been talking to JW who seemed into it. I go back to this release quite a bit, super downer, loner-vibes.. fits right at home with me, I’m glad it was our first.
The second release was The Dawns / Pink Priest split. It was one of WCW’s first releases as Pink Priest, and The Dawns is actually Omar who is now 1/3 Bathetic. So having this as the second release warms things up. WCW just put out his first Bathetic LP, Bill Murray, and Omar is currently working on his first The Dawns LP.
Cool Cough, Lee Noble et High Aura’d font partie de tes ultimes sorties. Tu peux nous en dire quelques mots ? Cool Cough, Lee Noble and High Aura’d are some of yours ultimates releases. Can you tell us more about themâ€¦?
We put out Lee Noble’s first release, Darker Half (which will be reissued onto vinyl by the Italian Label, Black Moss) a few years ago. Dan of Cough Cool was one of the first to grab our attention, doing something that wasn’t drone/ambient, but still had the raw, stoner feel we love. As the label grew I decided to move into vinyl territory, and these were the first go-to’s – we got along well, and I connected with their aesthetic and sound on a deeper level than anything I was working with. Horrorism and Lately are top – Couldn’t be happier moving more projects with them in the future!
John Kolodij, who is High Aura’d, had always supported the label. He would buy most releases and I would recognize the name. He later emailed with the idea of a Bathetic LP. I wasn’t convinced until he sent my way first a CD-R, and then a tape, then another tape. Before long these were on constant rotation. Dark and Beautiful soundscapes, dense and well crafted. So we agreed to move forward with the project, and I couldn’t be more pleased. I love that he spent time and time again, recording and mixing, recording and mixing. He didn’t shit it out in a few days and send a demo. It was serious, focused. A timeless piece. This is the goal, timelessness, that I think all to often shortcuts are taken, for « the now. » Hats off to John and High Aura’d.
Quel est le disque dont tu es le plus fier ? Whatâ€™s the release of which you are most proud?
This is going to change depending on my mood and the night. I’d probably have to say Lee Noble’s Horrorrism and Cough Cool’s Lately have had the longest time to resonate good vibrations. Lee would send me tracks that would eventually become Horrorism, and I would take long bike rides at night and listen. This was in the winter, and I felt I could really relate to what was going on. Cough Cool is one of the few bedrock jammers that can really pull it off – really pull it off. It’s one of those records that stones me out. It’s the upper of the Bathetic downers. It has the underlying slo-mo that cracks a smile on my face.
I should also say, without a doubt, Angel Olsen’s Strange Cacti, hands down, eternally most proud to be involved.
Pourquoi sortir des cassettes et (maintenant) des vinyles ? Why are you choosing cassettes and (now) vinyl formats?
Le vinyle reste le but ultime pour beaucoup. C’est la totale : un bon gros 12 » plein d’amour que l’on peut serrer dans ses bras. Le son vinyle, sa maniÃ¨re de remplir une salle, c’est Ã‰NORME. Il y aura toujours du vinyle.
Cassettes are cheap, fun to put together, nice to listen to, and holding them is much more enjoyable that CDs. Cassettes never died, they will soon be as popular as CDs, the two will find and serve their own purposes. Cheap is the obvious one when starting a label from scratch. Putting together a cassette – choosing the paper, printing art, cutting and folding jcards, dubbing the tapes – you can really get to know a release this way, become a part of it. I love listening to tapes, especially tapes from different labels – some are crisp and sound perfect, others are blown out red-lining, and others are soft mumbly sounds. It reflects on the diversity of the community, I love that.
Vinyl is the ultimate goal for so many. You get the full package – a big 12 inches of love you can put your arms around, squeeze a big hug. The surface noise, the way the sound fills up the room, it’s BIG. Vinyl will never die.
Quel est le futur proche de Bathetic ? Whatâ€™s the near future of Bathetic?
Angel Olsen’s new record, Half Way Home, was recently released this month. It’s another level! A new record by Villages entitled Theories of Ageing will be available October 16th. Ross Gentry is Villages – this will be a special release because he is an Asheville based musician (where I currently call home). I am lucky to see Ross perform live often. People are really going to start digging into this stuff – I’m blown away by it!
Also in October will be a record by Lazy Magnet called Acts Without Error. If you don’t know Jeremy Harris’ Lazy Magnet, get ready. This album has been in the works for over a year now. I think in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years I’ll look back on Lazy Magnet’s work and wonder « how did he do this?! »
Lee Noble and Cough Cool are currently working on their second albums for Bathetic.
Sans mentionner des groupes de ton label… Ã quoi est tu addict ces temps-ci ? Without mentioning your labelâ€™s groupsâ€¦ Â What are the things you are addicted to?Â
I will always be into the band CAVE from Chicago. Those guys are on point.Â I also find myself listening to Work/Death, Caethua, and the Dead C more than others.Â I’ve always had a thing for Anthony Henderson’s voice. Inherently evil but still super smooth. Would love to hang with him for a weekend.
These are all tracks from Bathetic releases over the past few years. For me, these are some romantic downers, best for chilly nights on the parking lot pavement, wine straight from the bottle.
01. Bitchin Bajas – Consciousness 2 (split LP with Faceplant)
02. Padang Food Tigers – It’s A Fucker (Ready Country Nimbus LP)
03. Wild Safari – Bearskin Rug (We Laid Our Heads in Their Laps cassette)
04. Dead Drums – Narcoleptic Shock (Fashion Defense cassette)
05. Rene Hell – 55 RN gaz (three sequences for detuned piano 7″ split with Wet Hair)
06. Villages – Nesting Grounds (Theories of Ageing LP *due this summer!*)
07. High Aura’d – Methodist Bells (Sanguine Futures LP)
08. Age Wave – Telephone Dreams (Telephone Dreams 7″)
09. Lee Noble – Desire Isn’t Suffering (Horrorism LP)
10. Drew Hill – You Can’t Below Now (split cassingle with Pink Priest)
11. Cough Cool – Back in Time (Lately LP)
12. High Wolf – Swallow Pills With Ganga River Water (A Guide to Healing 7″)