Hey guys. Sorry for the lack of updates. My band recently went on tour and in addition to that I have a lot of research I have to do since I’m pursing a Ph.D in Biochemistry. But that is no excuse. I promise to keep this updated because I hated when this site died before. Just a reminder though, if you want to submit your music the best thing to do is E-MAIL ME [emosideproject2(at)aol(dot)com] or send me a message on last.fm (username is fadingthekisses) not post on the group or shout out box because I don’t read those often. Thanks.
Now for the fun part. I want to change things up a bit. I recently met up with my friend Jacob, who runs an independent record label, at the final Joie de Vivre show and decided I want to help him get a little exposure because I look up to everything he’s doing. So I decided to interview him. This is what came of it.
Keep It Together Records (KITR) is a small independent record label run out of Elkhorn, WI by this dude named Jacob. It’s rare to find someone with the passion for DIY music and lifestyle (as well as general taste for rad music) that Jacob has. Oh and dat epic beard. To commemorate my eternal respect for him I will post the interview I did with him in the hopes that people reading this will purchase a few, or all, of his releases. But first: we must enter the mind of a genius.
What was the motivation behind starting KITR?
I originally got involved with DIY by throwing house shows and letting bands sleep at my house. I went and saw Ghost Mice in Chicago at Toby Foster’s house and thought it was the coolest, most intimate shit ever. a couple of months later, Toby came and played a show in my apartment, and that ended up leading to tons and tons of shows. I couldn’t tell you exactly how many, but I pretty much had them weekly/biweekly for a year and a half. There really isn’t much to do in Elkhorn, and no DIY scene to speak of, so there wasn’t really that many people who came to shows (it ranged from 1-30 people). I ended up branching out into tons of different types of music and meeting tons of awesome bands. Near the end of it, I thought it would be cool to start a record label. It was a way to be involved with DIY music even though I wasn’t a musician (yet?). At the time I had a job and a really low cost of living, so I was able to put out the 12″ for Toby and Evan. Pretty fitting, as Toby pretty much got me into house shows. The second release was going to be a way that I could spread the word about DIY in Elkhorn. It was a bunch of awesome bands that had played at my house, and I originally had the idea to do a writeup with it and just hand them out to kids in Elkhorn for free; kids who didn’t know about the shows I did or DIY in general. About a week before the tape came out, the cops shut me down and told me that I couldn’t have shows anymore. So instead, the comp sort of became a homage to what I had done. After that, I just started asking bands who I had met if they wanted to do releases with me. Lots of them said yes. Thus, the label was born.
I’ve noticed that a fair bit of your releases are on cassette tape. Is there a specific reasoning for that?
The first tape I did was a comp, and I thought a tape was a good format for that because a) it was longer than a cd and b) you can’t skip any of the songs. a good way for people to sort of be forced to listen to new bands. In doing so, I learned that tapes are super cheap and you can do small runs. I love vinyl, but the cost associated with it (and having to make so many) is a killer for most small bands. With tapes, you can spend a couple hundred bucks and get a hundred copies of your new album and sell it for 4 bucks and not lose money in the process. I guess it just seems more practical for small bands, and more practical for me as a small label. I do this all myself. Also, tapes are fun and my last car didn’t have a cd player in it, so I had to listen to tapes all the time. Now that I’ve done so many, it’s just
sort of become my thing. I’ve only had one or two people ask me stuff like ‘why would you do tapes instead of a cd?’, but they just don’t get it. No one cares about cds. You buy one, rip it to your computer, and never touch it again. You can’t do that (easily) with a tape.
Do you feel like the label has been well received so far?
The start of it was super slow going, but as it’s went on I definitely think people are getting more into it. I’ve got quite a few releases under my belt, and I must say that I think they’re all pretty great. I don’t do any PR, barely any social networking (I have a twitter account for news), and no advertising. So at this point, I’m riding mostly on word of mouth and the quality of my releases. It’s going pretty well so far. When I started I really wouldn’t have
guessed that I’d already be up to release number 26. Crazy.
KITR is obviously involved in the DIY scene. How do you feel DIY helps the music community?
DIY is so important. Throwing your own shows, going to shows in people’s basements, supporting tiny bands, it all matters. DIY is so much more intimate than any other sort of music. There aren’t many other situations where you can see a band rock out and then hang out with them for the rest of the night. I’ve made more friends through DIY than I have through any other venture of my life. Some of my best friends were met through DIY. I just think it’s important for people to know and understand that there is more to music than 20 dollar concert tickets, 15 dollar cds, and bands who are ‘too big’ to meet you. DIY gets everyone involved and makes everyone important. At a house show, the people attending are just as important as the band playing. And I guess the DIY label is just another extension of all that.
What’s in the future for KITR?
For the foreseeable future, I’ll just be doing what I’m doing. Most of my planned releases are in the works already, so it really just sort of depends what comes my way. I always seem to find a way to keep doing something with it. So unless I have some radical life change, you can expect more of the same; releases from sweet bands.
When you’re not being a total badass and running KITR what do you do?
I work at a computer store fixing computers. It’s a full time job so I spend a lot of time doing that. When I’m not at work, I play a lot of video games, watch tv/movies, etc. Obviously listen to a lot of music. I’m sort of a media junkie I guess; I’m pretty much always on the computer.
What have you been listening to lately? (KITR release or not)
Lately I’ve mostly been listening to Tar…Feathers – Make Way for the Ocean Floor to Fall to the Surface and Dangers – Messy, Isn’t It?. Both albums are absolutely amazing. I put them on repeat constantly. Seriously, everyone should check those out. KITR wise, I listen to Your Neighbour The Liar quite a bit. When I’m driving, I mix it up with my extensive tape collection. I’ve got a lot of awesome emo/screamo/hardcore tapes that I’ve traded for over the years.
If Superman and Wolverine got into an epic battle who would win (note: Wolverine does not have access to Kryptonite)
Superman, obviously. Wolverine has the badass factor, but when it comes down to it he just wouldn’t be able to kill superman, end of story. Superman is still a lame super hero though.
Lastly, and most importantly, favorite Jeromes Dream song?
Lyrically it’s ‘a second grade art project’ (i cut off my arm, still didn’t compare to the shock of losing you), but musically it’s probably the four songs from the Orchid split. It’s hard to pick a favorite song though, I love Jeromes Dream.
Keep It Together website
Keep It Together twitter
Keep It Together bandcamp
Toby Foster / Evan Gornik Split
I.Witness – Southeastern Blues
Your Neighbour The Liar – S/T
Swear Words – No Blankets