q and also a :: Deathbomb Arc
Brian Miller aka Brian Kinsman of experimental music label Deathbomb Arc sent us these answers to our questions in this next installment of q and also a!
(btw Deathbomb are is on the verge of celebrating their 20th Anniversary)
q: What is the last song you (really) heard?
Not sure if the use of “really” here is to emphasize deep listening or simply “don’t lie to look cool”…. either way the answer is the end credits song from the film ‘Postal’. I had to look up what that actually is. It’s “The Magic Sound” by Mark Polak. A shockingly poignant and touching piece of music for the ending of a film that constantly walks a dangerous line between being a grim and intelligent satire of America and nothing other than an embodiment of everything horrible that it could be satirizing. It was shocking when it came out, quickly on the heels of 9/11 and the blind, bloodthirsty patriotism that followed. Watching it now, under the thumb of the nazi totalitarian state, it doesn’t just feel in questionable taste, it feels dangerous at times. Is this wisdom, or is this just alt-right humor? When this end credits song starts though, it actually has a very similar moral as ‘The Last Jedi’ – the true evil isn’t either side at war, it’s the people benefiting from both sides of it. Maybe. Or maybe this film is just garbage.
q: What is the first album you remember purchasing for yourself? What is the last album that you purchased?
I remember the first albums I asked for as a gift…. but no recollection of the first full length album that I actually bought on my own. I do have lots of memories of going to Sam Goody in the mall with my friend Allen Sung (who would later be the first drummer of Rose For Bohdan) in the early 90s when our parents would just let us ride around town on our bikes unsupervised. I would buy lots of cassingles. I definitely remember getting Smart E’s “Seasame’s Treet”… oh wait, which now is bringing back the memory of an early album I bought: Messiah ‘Twenty First Century Jesus’. I know around that time though I also bought albums from Monie Love, Bel Biv Devoe, and MC Hammer. I pretty much was just into anything I could dance to. Allen, myself and some friends would make dance routines and perform them at recess in 6th grade.
q: What is the best and worst thing about being based around LA?
I’m based in Santa Maria, three hours north of LA, so essentially I removed the bad parts of LA from the equation. I still stay in LA about 1/2 of every month – writing and recording music with other musicians and working on projects that the label is putting out. When I lived in LA I think I was more of a hermit than I am now living in the middle of nowhere. Time is more precious currently, so I make sure to spend it well and not cave in to the weird isolation that the urban sprawl / traffic of LA can contribute to.
q: Now that you’ve been running a label for 20 years, is there any advice that can be drawn from that experience?
Only that if one is lucky enough to find a thing that are insanely passionate about, to do whatever it takes to keep doing it. I lived in my car for years to just barely pull this shit off. Lately it has been more of a true “job”, but that could always go away and I’d still be doing this. I think I’d be doing Deathbomb Arc even if I got stranded on a deserted island. People in the future would find my dried out bones surrounded by music notation carved into strips of palm tree, with instructions on who should perform what parts and how it needs to be released.
q: What is the first thing that pops into your head when asked about Deathbomb Arc’s DBA001?
You might be only the 2nd person to even ever ask about DBA001. Honestly, the first thing that pops into my head is a curiousity what YOU think about it. It’s on the Deathbomb bandcamp, so no one has an excuse not to find out where everything started. Also of note though, DBA001 was the first release on Deathbomb that I scheduled, but it didn’t come out until 2000. In 1998, the label got its official start with the release of DBA002. DBA003 also came out before DBA001 actually did.
q: Is there one album in Deathbomb Arc discography that you wish had reached a wider audience?
Absolutely. The rRope triple LP complete discography. Even with a nice interview with them in Pitchfork, this flew way too under the radar. They were brilliant in the 90s when they recorded this material, and even when Deathbomb reissued it all, reviewers described it as still sounding futuristic. This band should be as big as My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth.
q: What should we know about the False Positive Crew?
The name is a little bit a joke, based on the name of the True Neutral Crew “band” I was in. Eventually I realized that True Neutral Crew was just kind of a playground for all the artists on Deathbomb to come and collaborate in. This has been a common practice at Deathbomb over the years anyway – and my roll as producer has often been about finding the right combination of people to work together. So after True Neutral Crew did ‘soft rules’ it just felt right to me to bring things full circle, back to the idea that the entire label itself is a sort of band / music workshop. The timing eventually felt right to coincide with the anniversary, and so here it is.
q: How did the collaborations on the mixtape come about?
Pretty much I just suggested each combination of musicians and, if people liked the ideas, they went for it. Simple as that.
q: Any DBA 20th Anniversary celebrations planned?
Yes. There will be a series of anniversary releases that people can subscribe to. This will be in addition to the normal releases for the year. Plus a few more big surprises. This celebration will definitely continue all year round.
We’ll announce the first part of this stuff on Feb 16!!
And here is the latest Deathbomb Arc release: Veteran by JPEGMAFIA
Deathbomb Arc is on the internet
Deathbomb Arc is on Bandcamp
Deathbomb Arc is on Twitter
Deathbomb Arc is on Tumblr
Deathbomb Arc is on Youtube
Deathbomb Arc is on Soundcloud
Deathbomb Arc is on Big Cartel