Monday, May 25, 2009

Blackout! Records head honcho Bill Wilson answers our questions while the current poll is still pending. Put on WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE and start moshing. -Gordo DCXX

How did the idea come together to do the "Where The Wild Things Are" comp and how did you pick the bands? Were there any bands that were supposed to be on the comp or that you wanted to be on it that never panned out?

Part of what was so appealing about hardcore to me is that it wasn't just fans separated from bands in an ivory tower. Most people contributed to the greater scene in some way. I didn't play guitar, bass or drums, and was a little too introverted to want to be a front man/singer/screamer. I was an aspiring graphic designer at the time, so I started out illustrating and doing layouts for my friends (Breakdown "brick" logo, Raw Deal "Dealer" t-shirt, and later on the Sheer Terror "Bulldog" logo.)

I liked the music from the SXE bands but despised most of the fanboy sheep. A charismatic leader leading a cult of cheerleaders reeks like high school. The whole Warzone aesthetic of "no obsessions" made more sense to me. I guess I felt more at home with the "other side" of hardcore, more in line with the NY Thrash ROIR cassette or Big City Records "One Big Crowd". The Cro Mags, AF, and Sheer Terror were my favorite bands: raw, angry bastard sons of metal and punk. The next wave of those kinds of bands didn't seem to have a voice, so I wanted to start a label.
The comp was the product myself and Jim Gibson, a friend from Yonkers and music guru who worked at the local record store. I had the design skills and along with friends in Breakdown and Raw Deal, we both had some money saved from our part time jobs. I bought a book called "How To Make and Sell Your Own Record" at SeeHear and was off to the races.

The bands were really all friends from my days hanging out at CB's and my longtime friendship with the members of Breakdown/Raw Deal. Anthony from Raw Deal knew Outburst, Paul Bearer went to middle school with me in Yonkers, etc. Mike Sentkewitz from Raw Deal knew Norman Bates guys and I wanted them on to have diversity. My only real regret is that Underdog didn't make it on, we originally advertised them on fliers but we never got the track before we went to press.

Any stand out memories or stories regarding the compiling of the comp?

The comp came together pretty easily with people saying yes to be on it, but bands (especially hardcore bands) do tend to procrastinate. So getting the layout pages and masters took a bit longer than we'd planned. I don't really recall any standout drama - most of what I recall is me using press type to set the back cover and the work it took to learn how to do it.

What can you tell us about the classic Raw Deal shot that ended up on the cover of the record? Did you know automatically that would be the cover when you first saw it? Was there any alternate cover shots you were considering?

Wes Harvey was a friend from the scene and an illustrator from Baltimore who was in NYC for school. He did amazing crosshatched historical artwork. He did a great picture of a brawl in an alleyway that we were considering for the cover. Ultimately that became an innersleve.
Drago from Raw Deal was going out with this great photographer, Theresa Kelliher. She took some pics at an Irving Plaza show and I think that became the cover almost instantly when I saw it. Like so many others involved in the comp, she was a part of the "extended family."

A lot of people tend to refer to Revelation's "The Way It Is" comp and Blackout's "Where The Wild Things Are" comp as two of the best NYHC comps to ever come out. How do you feel about that and what compilations are some of your favorites?

It's good to know that other people feel about the record the same way I did when I was making it. I always hoped that it would fit into the great pantheon of comps, from Flex Your Head, This Is Boston Not LA, through the aforementioned ROIR NY Thrash and One Big Crowd collections. I think the Rev and Blackout! comps pretty much are a complete snapshot of that wave of hardcore.

Favorite band / track off the comp?

It's like asking a father to pick a favorite child! As far as impact- I know that Outburst "The Hardway", with that crazy mosh part and Bob Vandermark's trademark "swoosh" at the start created a very memorable beginning.

A ton of people ask me why the comp isn't available as a download or CD (a recent pressing of the LP version is available from Jim at Noiseville.) If it did come out on CD I'd want to make it a true collector's item, and I simply don't have the time to put the same effort in that I did when I was 19. I've been corresponding with Jordan from Rev about a few ideas on things but nothing concrete has solidified yet. The digital version may come out on iTunes over the summer, but I would also like to wait until they come out with more interactive digital packaging.

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