Cassette Store Day: Consider The Tape

You're more than likely familiar with Record Store Day. It's the holiest of high holidays here at DC9 At Night, in which we all face east and pray toward Good Records.

What you might not know, is that vinyl's plastic, two-reeled cousin has a dedicated spot on the calendar too. This Saturday is International Cassette Store Day. In honor of the occasion, Pour Le Courps and Good Records are throwing a party. Naturally, you can expect fantastic live music and a bevy of new releases. We sat down with Dallas Distortion Music, one of the event's participating labels, to get the run down.

Evan Henry is a teenaged Dallas music scene wunderkind and co-founder of Dallas Distortion Music- a local blog and cassette distro.

How did you and Matt arrive at the decision to become a cassette label, of all formats? Months after starting DDM, we got so into the many local acts rocking the metro, so much so we wanted to release a compilation with the intent of releasing it on vinyl. So to raise money for the comp, we threw shows with bands that were on the comp. It was the summer of 2011, and we threw three shows. After those three shows, we came up with just under $500, nowhere near enough to press a bunch of 12" records. and before that, I made 50 copies on CDR, entirely by myself.

I burned the discs, printed the covers and assembled all 50 myself. it was a fun experience. So the summer had ended and, without too much money, we came to the realization that releasing cassettes would be the cheapest, most efficient medium. I had just heard about Burger (Records) and New Fumes had a couple tapes out. Plus i'd always see tapes for like a dollar a piece at Half Price and at thrift stores. Basically, the things were so cheap and Burger's stuff had always sounded so clean, so I thought, why not?

Why are cassettes still important in 2013? It's not that they're so important per se, but it's that they're so cheap to manufacture -- through National Audio Company of Springfield Missouri, we can press 120 or so copies, complete with cases, custom covers and imprinting for just under $200. Plus on the customer side, you can get yourself a whole album for $5 to $6 and still get the download.

The vinyl's like $5 to $10 more. For the price of one record, I can typically get two tapes! Sometimes, too, if you want, you can record your own music onto them with almost no problem! There's also the idea of a tape being so limited edition; rare and exciting, if you will. And they're so easy carry! They just fit in your back pocket and you're ready to rock!

How many cassettes do you own, in your personal collection? How long have you been collecting? Oh dear! I'll say this, my cassette collection is a third larger than my record collection. Though three months ago, I counted, it was just over 300 tapes. I'm sure as summer's past, that number's closer to 500. Yet have been accumulating them since mid-2011. And last year, I'd be buying tapes directly from Burger Records' online store, two, maybe three times a week. That's really where the bulk of it comes from. My favorite label, and one of handful core inspirations, Fullerton-based Burger Records! I swear! They've been putting the best stuff! Just have a look at their catalog!

What is the oldest cassette that you own? Well, when searching through Half Price and a variety of thrift stores, I find a lot of tapes dusted, deteriorated and doused in love from the previous owner(s). Some just left for scraps & played to death. Though, after searching pile after pile and box after box, carefully reading each copyright date, I've come to the realization that the oldest tape i own is an original pressing of The Who's "Quadrophenia" from 1973, which i got as a from my grandmother on my dad's side two summers ago! Oddly enough, it still plays fairly well. Just dusted here and there. For its age, I'd say it's held up pretty well as the cover and the case are damn near mint.

What's your most recent cassette purchase? The last few months I've been spending more of my money making sure I have food in my stomach and gas to go places rather than tapes. Though a couple weeks ago, I went down to Austin with some friends to see that Red Bull presented Tobacco show at the Mohawk. And instead of heading back to Dallas early the next day, we decided to just hang out in the area. And because we had a little bit of extra money, we headed on over to End Of Ear Records. That is where, for $7, I purchased the self titled from Austin's S U R V I V E on Holodeck, instead of paying $22 for the lovely vinyl edition. Needless to say, I left Austin mega happy! I came back with an album I only paid $7 for.

If you had to pick your top three prized cassettes, which ones would you pick? Well, if I really must pick three tapes out of the nearly 500 I own, I'd have to grip my copy of The Garden's "Life And Times Of A Paperclip," the Sealion tape we put out earlier this year and the bootleg of the latest No Age album I dubbed at home complete with a hand painted, hand cut and hand printed cover. Though if you were to ask me this just hours from now, I assure you that answer will change, as I love all my tapes in my collection.

Could you tell me a bit about DDM's cassette day release? This will be our eighth release and first collaborative release with Pour Le Corps. Sean hit us up soon as he caught wind of this whole 'cassette store' thing. Asked if we, for the occasion, wanted to collab, and by all means, we were down. And so we picked one of our bands, Son Of Stan, and one of theirs, Eyes, Wings, And Many Other Things to be on opposite sides of tape.

Our side, with Son of Stan, is a collection of B-sides from his upcoming full length on his label Wizardvision, one of which made it onto MTV or something huge. And I believe Eyes' side is also a collection of B-sides and extras from some other of their newer stuff. In true cassette fashion, the split between us will be limited of 100 copies on some sweet colored shells. We all love the tracks and can't wait to share it with everyone!

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Vanessa Quilantan