I was recently privileged with the opportunity to ask Cory and Taylor of Carucage Records some questions. Carucage is a small diy record label ran out of St. Louis, MO / Memphis, TN by a group of friends with a passion for music. They’ve been extremely successful so far, releasing Innards / The Reptilian 7″, Innards / Two Knights 7″, and Adaje / Shark Bait Split Tape. There are many more in the works. To top it off they’re amazing dudes, so support them when you have the chance.
Check them out here:
SYLO: How did the label get started?
Cory: Taylor and I started a label when we were back in high school, but lack of communication and distance kind of left us on different pages. So I decided to start up a new label and sort of be label buddies with Tay. He visited one weekend and we got to talking, and decided that we could do much better as a team, and decided to combine. Then we stuck with the name Carucage and it kind of happened from there.
Taylor: Cory and I started a label called Birdseye Recordings in winter 2008. Due to inexperience and an unintentional habit of working with inactive bands, it failed miserably. Early last year, Cory informed me that he was starting Carucage and we made the decision to team up and give running a label another shot. Not long after our first release, my friend Zo, who plays guitar in Adaje, decided to start helping out.
SYLO: Where did you get the name “Carucage”?
Cory: When I started the label, I wanted a name that I thought sounded cool, but I couldn’t think of anything that stuck or was interesting. Luckily that day, Wikipedia’s featured article of the day was on Carucage, which is a British land tax implemented some hundreds of years ago. I thought it was sweet as hell and just kind of took it from there. Most people (99.9%) probably have no idea what it means.
SYLO: What was your first physical release and how well was it received?
Cory: Our first physical release was a tape, the Bigfoot “Folklore and Myth EP.” That was the release that sort of started the new label. I guess it was well received? I mean, Jordan Fein (Bigfoot) never played shows so nobody really got familiar with him or his music. They didn’t sell much, we mostly give them out for free now. But every once in a while someone buys one, which rules.
Taylor: I think that the tape was received fairly well. We had a couple of orders when we first released it, and people still seem to randomly tack it on to their orders.
SYLO: You’ve also released some things as “digital only.” Why digital only?
Taylor: The digital only releases are basically stuff that we put up for download on our Bandcamp, but can’t really call a real release. So far, it’s just been my old band Close to Me’s discography, Mouth of Man’s discography with songs that our old label was going to release, and demos Bigfoot recorded before Folklore & Myth.
Cory: I think it’s great. We can’t afford to put out everything, especially when bands break up and it’s hard to get the albums around. And the releases we have as download only (aside from the Bigfoot demos, which are just kind of an add on to downloading his EP), we would want to press on vinyl, which is so damn expensive.
SYLO: There are a couple of members in the label. That can be a good and a bad thing. How do you balance what each member wants to do? Are there communication issues?
Cory: I hate them all. Just kidding, it works out really well. Taylor and I talk all the time anyways, so we squeeze label stuff in to our conversations. As for Zo and Will, I rarely ever talk to them. But somehow it all just works, you know? Sometimes we might not be 100% in the same place but we don’t let it really affect us.
Taylor: Cory and I are cousins and have been really close throughout our lives, so it’s super easy for us to communicate. Zo has been one of my closest friends for the past four years, so we communicate very well. As far as releases go, the three of us might not always agree 100% on everything, but we respect each other’s needs and opinions no matter what. The three of us have a similar understanding and taste when it comes to music, so it’s very rare that we don’t see eye to eye. I wouldn’t want to run a label with anyone else.
SYLO: Do you release one specific type / genre of music (i.e. screamo/emo)?
Cory: We will release anything. Granted, we do have more emo and screamo acts right now, we also have some folk punk, some indie acoustic stuff, some retro 80’s Depeche Mode sounding jams; we really don’t care, as long as we like it. That’s why we started the label ultimately: to have physical releases of music we love.
Taylor: Yeah, the three of us listen to a lot of screamo and emo bands, so we’re somewhat partial to those styles of music, but we’re honestly down to release anything.
SYLO: How important is “DIY” to you? Does a band have to be “DIY” to be on your label?
Cory: DIY is very important to me, because it’s really opened my eyes to a new world of music; bands who love what they’re doing enough to be broke all the time and who put so much effort into their music as well as their scene. DIY is a big fucking family, and I think that’s the closest of any scene of music out there. A band doesn’t have to have a DIY ethic for us to like them and want to work with them, as long as they’re passionate about their music, and not just trying to use us to make money. That’s never cool.
Taylor: I really enjoy the sense of community and humbleness that comes with everyone involved in the DIY community. It really makes me happy that people are making honest music and involved in music for the right reasons. A band doesn’t have to be DIY for us to work with them, but the three of us like to see bands that take a sense of responsibility, play honest music, and don’t see music solely as a means of monetary or popular gain.
SYLO: How do you choose what format you want a release to be on?
Cory: Whatever we can afford at the time, how many other labels are on board, etc. Personally I like tapes, cause they’re cheap and they’re practical. Vinyl is much more expensive, harder to ship, damaged easier, and can just be difficult. I guess the deciding factors are the bands work ethic, the amount of money we have, and just those types of things, really.
Taylor: It’s really dependent on each individual’s financial status at the time any given opportunity arises. The band’s work ethic is also a huge factor. We feel like a band should be able to hold their own weight if we are going to dedicate time and money to their music.
SYLO: What are your favorite current releases?
Taylor: I honestly like everything we have put out so far.
Cory: All of them. They’re like children to me. I love them, I’m proud of them, and they all put a huge fucking smile on my face.
SYLO: What are some releases that are coming up soon?
Taylor: We should have the Innards/The Reptilian split 7″ and the Adaje/Lizards Have Personalities split 7″ out within the next few weeks.
Cory: We also are planning a Tubetops EP, along with Dads and Loud? tapes, then two tapes from Sailor Heart, Old Gray/Girl Scouts split tape, Family Might, Montpellier’s self titled EP, and a few others. Time will tell!
SYLO: Anything you want these SYLO nerds to know that we didn’t touch on?
Taylor: Everyone check these labels out:
Sea of Tranquility (http://seaoftranquility.bandcamp.com/)
Sometimes I Get Drunk (http://sometimesigetdrunk.blogspot.com/)
Ash from Sweat (http://www.ashfromsweat.com/)
Count Your Lucky Stars (http://www.cylsrecords.com/)
The Ghost Is Clear (http://theghostisclearrecords.com/)
Stiff Slack (http://stiffslack.com/)
Flannel Gurl (http://flannelgurl.com/)
Lilla Himmel (http://lillahimmel.wordpress.com/)
Strictly No Capital Letters (http://sncl.collective-zine.co.uk/)
Keep It Together (http://keepittogetherrecords.com/)
State of Mind (http://www.stateofmindrecordings.com/)
Square of Opposition (http://www.squareofopposition.com/)
Fat Sandwich (http://fatsandwichrecords.com/)
Tape Deco (http://www.tapedeco.com/)
Black with Sap (http://blackwithsap.wordpress.com/)
Plastic Smile (http://plasticsmilerecords.tumblr.com/)
Cory: We love you if you read all this or if you like/support our label. Feel free to send us your music, we’re always down to plan new releases! And thank you Andrew, we love you most of all.