Stay harsh! And praise the unlovable music | Interview with Ignacio Brown / Caligari Records

Underground Label Dedicated to Harsh and Unlovable Music

If you are the fans of cassette-tape format and definitely the gravedigger of the analog sound, you probably might recognise a label that hailing from Tampa, Florida.. CALIGARI RECORDS. There are plenty of good and some "wicked" tunes release out from this label featured some unknown Underground-bands that will be nice on your tape collections racks. I talk with Ignacio, a man beyond the creation of CALIGARI RECORDS and spare some times to dig how this record label established back then and what happen around this "house of analog-record" right now. Enjoy!

MIKA ROTTEN - First of all, thank you very much for accepted this interview Ignacio! It’s an honor for me. How life’s dwell this recent day’s?
IGNACIO - An honor? That's nice. Still wondering whether you got the right guy. Anyway, life is hot. I live in Tampa so I spend most of my days sweating and working and driving and hanging out with my family and trying to keep it metal. Life is good overall. Hope you are doing good too buddy.

MIKA ROTTEN - How Tampa-Florida underground scene look like today? In general, Florida always a nice place and city to find many interested and devastated DEATH METAL germs!
IGNACIO - I think the scene looks good. Small but good. But I think people have to keep in mind that all those Tampa bands that made the Tampa scene great are not really part of the current scene. And by scene I mean, every time I go to an underground metal show, those dudes are nowhere to be found. Which leads me to believe that they have grown up. And years have passed so I understand. Mike from Nocturnus shows up here and there, which I think everyone appreciates. All the other old school death metal Tampa dudes, I guess adulthood took care of that. Or maybe they have nothing else to learn since they wrote the book. Regardless, I think there are some great bands in Tampa right now, one that surprised me was called ASGa, another one is Grave Ascension. And there are some cool labels like, Greyhaze and Wohrt. Great taste, must have releases.  Record stores, Steelworker Records, perfectly curated. If you love your metal or just plain great music, you'll walk out broke. Anyway, I saw Obituary on the Decibel tour, they were excellent. Just saying, there are young death metal bands around, but the forefathers are nowhere to be found. Not that anyone cares, but you asked....

MIKA ROTTEN - I’m sure that the reader of DISCARNAGE already heard about the existence of your label. How and where CALIGARI RECORS started and end up using this name? Based on your label records name’s, I’m pretty sure that you are one of the horror-classick movie maniac.
IGNACIO - I am a movie maniac but not really a horror classick maniac. I love the aesthetics of German expressionism so I figured I would steal some of that. It is dark and connects with my taste so I figured there is a connection with metal given the visuals. I love horror movies too, but mostly just stuff classics like Suspiria, or Rosemary's Baby, or Deodato movies. I am not really a horror freak because some of the camp aspect of it makes it more passable as a jpeg than it does as a 90-minute experience, I think it works against the movies in some cases, not all. I love Woody Allen and Aki Kaurismaki, if that tells you anything. Anyway, yeah, I figured Caligari was a good solid reference people would get and was not cliche metal stuff.

MIKA ROTTEN - I guess, CALIGARI RECORDS focused on tape release only. What make you decide to choose this old primitive format release back then? Can we see something different crawling out from your label in the future like a vinyl or Cd format.
IGNACIO - What made me decide was that tapes are cheap and cool. I grew up collecting cassettes. As far as I am concerned cassettes sound great, but you have to take care of them and your deck has to be clean. That's kind of it. I love metal and music in general. I have always wanted to be involved in metal in one way or another. Cassettes because of their costs and other factors provided an entry point so I made a little investment and took a chance.  

I'd love to do vinyl but I would have to co-release something with another label or take the plunge, which I may anyway if the opportunity presents itself. Caligari Records has been active for over three years because I owe nothing to anyone and because every month I have enough funds to pay for my next release. It is a lot of work but I am not that young and I am not single so if this doesn't pay for itself, then a niche record label that is nothing but a money pit is a stupid romantic idea. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but I got responsibilities.

I have also released three CD's so far, which goes to show that I am doing a really shitty job on that side, since apparently you didn't even know that.

MIKA ROTTEN - I’m also the tape analog worshipper and I’m really loved to dig the raw and obscure sound that coming from this format. Lately, we can see many record label are back to this version, and also we maybe heard that the tape publication already dead few years ago and it’s back again. It’s like a recycle of life! Why do you think the tape format still relevant for the underground scene?
IGNACIO - I think it is partly just a fad. And then there are all those people that just worship music and cassettes are just one way to consume it. I have never seen so many labels and so many bands going at it which makes me think that this is just a bubble and people are going to get sick of it sooner than later. Nostalgia may be part of it. Collecting is another aspect of it and there is nothing wrong with that. But let's face it, there is a lot of skepticism and criticism out there and we would not be talking about cassettes if it was a shitty format.  

MIKA ROTTEN - To publish the tape format in my country totally earns you a big cost of money. And I can say, there only one factory on here that run this business. Compare to other format, it’s really worth for you to release this format between other?
IGNACIO - I think it costs just as much to manufacture tapes as it does CD's. The difference is that you can manufacture less tapes than you can CD's. The minimums at the manufacturers are more flexible for tapes. But the cost per unit is the same or pretty close. 

There is obviously no comparison with vinyl because that is a lot more expensive.

Is it worth to release tapes? My answer is 100%. There is a captive audience for that format. If you can capture it, you can even break even. Will you be able to make a lot of money? The answer is NO!

Another cool stuff to be dig out!  

MIKA ROTTEN - Please brief us what happen in CALIGARI RECORDS “HQ” right now? Maybe a little hint about the upcoming release from your label.
IGNACIO - Right now I am working on the new recording by Mindkult, which is shipping already. Then, I have the new Huoripukki recording, Finnish death metal that doesn't mimmick the Swedes. Besides that at this point I am working on the CD version of Rope Sect's Personae Ingratae, but it is going slower than I'd like to. And then I have two other releases to take care of; one is the Shaman Ritual tape, which is a Finnish death metal band in the vein of Dissection and another one is the new recording by Chile's Uttertomb. There are plans beyond that, but nothing is certain, only death and hopefully, lunch. 

Voima On Oikeutta by HUORIPUKKI. The most demented horde from Nokia are back with four blasts of pure death metal lunacy. Out on tape right now!

MIKA ROTTEN - I thought you also received plenty of trade requests around the globe. Did you ever faced the “rip-off” issue / problem before? (And why not to wrote their name’s on here)
IGNACIO - I have never been ripped off but I have been contacted by at least one rip off. His name is Christian Paucar Toledo, he is from Peru, he is a total idiot, he is a hilarious clown that has been at it for over a decade. His work is well-documented and there is no chance you should get ripped off  by him if you perform a simple google search. I have had orders that have never made it to their destinations and I have had to refund the orders which makes me feel like I have been ripped off, but that is mostly because the postal service in some countries is iffy.

MIKA ROTTEN - What are the most important features and (maybe) sound you look for in a band and to be signed on your label records?
IGNACIO - Good songs. Plain and simple. I care not about the style. Just talent and what I would consider good songwriting. Dedication shows through the music and artwork. 

MIKA ROTTEN - I need your view about how important the Internet help a band promoted their release this recent day and which kind of way your spread your label release. I thought the existence of Internet, and a lot of social media platform like the “old-rotting” Myspace or Bandcamp already help a thousand of band out there to spread their madness.
IGNACIO - The internet is great, it has leveled the plainfield, however, quality still reigns supreme. With Facebook and social media in general you can spread the word pretty cheaply, however, that doesn't mean that your band will catch on and you will send 1,000 records just because you are online. It just means that you can expose and bring awareness to your band without having to pay  a lot of dough for advertising in a magazine or wait a year for a fanzine to come out. Now, there is a difference between awareness and people wanting to buy your recording. MIKA ROTTEN - Thank you for sharing your times with us. Stay harsh! And praise the ugly release!)

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