BJ Rochinich Ancient Shores, A389
What is your name and band/label/etc?
BJ Rochinich/Ancient Shores/A389
What are your top five albums that were released in 2012? (In order 1-5)
- Neurosis - Honor Found in Decay
- Hans Zimmer - The Dark Knight Rises Score
- Burning Love - Rotten Thing to Say
- Sleep - Dopesmoker Reissue
- Full of Hell / Calm the Fire - Split EP
What band did you discover in 2012 (can be a brand new band or an older band) that had an impact on your life? What made them significant?
Absolutely has to be Thoughts of Ionesco. Seventh Rule Recordings also get the award for deal of the year with the 'Scare is Our Watermark" CD/DVD. The more I read about them, the more intense they seem. They have some of that single note riffing that I was not really into until I heard it in the way they present it. Once I backed up and did not push any expectations on them, I got more into their music as a full collaborative effort. I play guitar so I think my ear gravitates towards the guitar work but for a lot of what I listen to, and our own music, my favorite portions of it will always be something on drums. So there were parts of this bands music I was into and stuff that made me hesitate to keep listening, but the more I listened the better feel I got for what they were doing. There is some live video out there of these guys and they have music on spotify so give them a listen.
How will you remember 2012? (In terms of music)
Very diverse. I refined my ear for old country and folk. I developed preferences for it. In addition, I listened to more minimal music. The great thing about minimal stuff is that it is always very heavy and dense, no matter its sonic characteristics like volume or gain or an acoustic vs an electric guitar. These styles complemented well, music that I was more heavily into at the start of the year. One thing specifically about 2012 relates to Young Wids. I have a friend that rarely listens to "In and Out..." so to preserve it, but at the same time he knows it so well. It is 1 1/2 years since its release and this is how he still approaches the record. I really enjoy musical appreciation and this resonates that sentiment. If you play this record and drop him into it, he knows right where it is. Such a profound connection. This is how I wanted to approach our music writing in a sense.
What can we look forward to from you in 2013?
A389 (Baltimore) will be releasing a split featuring us and labelmates, Cynarae. Its a 12" with all new music from both bands. Andrew Crenshaw at Broken Press did the artwork based on a concept conceived by a member of Cynarae and it looks amazing. Low Existence Records (Brooklyn) will be releasing a split 7" with us and Minnesota's Mourner, who released a great record (the Rising End) in early fall of 2012. We have 2 new songs on our side and Mourner has a 5+ minute track on their side. We are playing Forward Fest in Columbus in April of this year and we would really like to play more fests and play overseas.
What records are you looking forward to most in 2013?
Astronomer 7" and 10" releases. Hopefully a new Bolt Thrower record. Left For Dead collection, new Withdrawal record, and the Ilsa re-issue (all on A389). New Queens of the Stone Age. New Young Widows. However many releases Full of Hell comes up with. Some new Worms Feed songs would make it a good year.
Fundraising sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have made a strong impact on the ability of artists to release music. Do you think this approach is a trend, or will it continue to shape how artists produce their material?
Artists have struggled to convince people to buy their music for years now. I think this donation fund approach leads to the same problem, just from the other end of the process. I do not see the difference between trying to get people to donate and trying to get people to buy the record. It is a gamble to donate, really, from a listener standpoint. In addition, just because someone donates to a record fund does not even mean they will listen to it later. It is a nice gesture, BUT it is each band's responsibility to keep their finances under control to be able to fund a new record. You could argue that the money to fund a recording comes from shows we have played or merch we have sold, which have been purchased by people who would might also donate for a new record. Or they might donate to that record fund instead of buying stuff at a show or in an internet store. Reliable arguments.
To me though, asking for a donation to record blurs that aspect of earning it. That is the most clear part of this for me. I appreciate the trust but if every band thinks they must have endure an expensive recording process to make an impact these days, then we should all relax. While recording has become increasingly important due to the saturation of the live show calendar (and thus lower attendance/lower payout/lower merch sales), it is not written in stone that you have to drain your bank account on a recording.
However all of these issues are interrelated and this is merely an answer to the above question. There is no answer or single best approach right now and there are many difficulties in answering this question in a big picture sense. I like what band camp does for ease of access and their layout is very inviting. I like what Wayne at Toxicbreed is doing by putting out unique comps, releasing new music, and motivating people to listen to music. Dom at A389 is the same way. He links the band camp to the store so that someone can easily listen and then buy a record. The efforts made to get people to listen to music are there and I think listenership is ultimately the goal.