A Gloriously Noisy Hoedown [2019-01-28]One of the more curious, varied & creative noise releases to appear in recent memory was lasts years Proud Trash Sound- the debut album from US project Buck Young. The project is centered on respected Oakland, California noise-maker Jason Crumer & NYC based Zoe Burke- with other collaborators dropping in along the way. Proud Trash Sound appeared on Jason own label No Rent records- and it’s noise release that’s literally knee-deep in sonic Americana. The ten track album is a scatterbrain, but mostly fairly coherent mix of formal noise elements such as jarring electro noise stretchers & sears, noise guitar chugs & sudden feed-back engulfed vocals elements- with all manner of western/ American sound elements such as a galloping guitars, yea-ha vocals( both male & female), pig grunts, yodelling, gunfight sound effects, horse glip-glops, speed-up 50’s easy listening music, etc. I tracked down Jason for an email interview- first discussing Proud Trash Sound, before later moving on to discuss No Rent, where the label's manager Rose drops into the chat.
M[m]: Tell us a little bit about how & when you & Zoë first met?. And how/ when did the idea for Proud Trash Sound first come about?
Jason -We met in Baltimore, shortly after I moved there in 2009. It’d be hard to pinpoint when the idea for Proud Trash Sound came about- I’ve been thinking about it in some form for over a decade.
M[m]: So what has intrigued you about doing the project for so long? And had you done any dry runs before Proud Trash Sound?
Jason- I wanted to do a noise project that was explicitly American- referencing American experimental artists like Conlon Nancarrow and John Cage but also referencing country music. The idea wasn’t fully crystalized until I began the recording process, but the idea existed like something I would talk about for a long time. I don’t think there’s
anything I’ve done that was an explicit “dry-run” but Zoe and I had worked together before on Reverse Baptism so we had an extent working relationship.
M[m]: I’m guessing you dealt with the noise & composition
elements, and Zoe with the vocal & atmospheric elements of the project- I’m incorrect in my assumptions or is it not as clear cut as that?
Jason- Incorrect. Zoe has a full co-writer credit on the album, and deservedly so. Even on the pieces, she didn't participate in recording, she was instrumental in sequencing, editing and otherwise finessing them into their final form. As indispensable as vodka was to the making of this album. I should have made that clearer in the notes.
M[m]: Ok, fair enough So could you define your role on the album? And vodka, was this the only artistic simulate involved in the album's creation?
Jason-I feel like I define my role in the album in a bunch of these questions and the vodka thing was mostly a joke, sorry if it didn’t translate through the keyboard. Think we were actually mostly drinking gin.
M[m]: Please discuss how long it took you to write, then gather the sample elements for Proud Trash Sound?. And were any sounds that were more tricky to source than others?
Jason- Very little of the album was sampled. Most of the sounds you probably think were sampled were recorded Foley style: microphone, editing, layering, reverb. The "elemental" sounds are things I make on almost all my records that people mistake for "field recordings." The
sampled parts in the intro are from “American Anthology of Folk Sounds"; that was hard to do because it was essentially a DJ track / scratching two of those records and I'm awful at that, tactically speaking. The gunshots were the easiest, claps with reverb preverb and offset layering. The 'reflection' literally being vocally going "pew pew" into a mic. Anything that sounds like what it is - probably
is that. Very direct one plus one approach to Foley work on the album. If you've ever found me intimidating simply picture a man in a basement scratching country LPs making gun sounds with his mouth.
M[m]: The albums liner notes list a few guests/ contributors Matthew Schuff, Christian Mirande & Alan Jones- what did each do on the
Jason- Matt was the original co-writer but quit shortly into the overall process. He helped inspire the record to move from concept to reality as well as played guitar. Mirande played the guitar on the song he’s listed on, Alan Jones played slide guitar on the songs he's listed on as well as mastering. It says "players" in the liner notes because I
was attempting to present this as a country album, where you wouldn’t consider the bass player a "contributor" or "guest" but just the bass player.
M[m]: Proud Trash Sound is a varied album in both its mood & type of track - when you started the album was that intentional or did it just work out that way?
Jason - Intentional. I've long defended my narrative-arc obsessed approach as compared to people who make one sound for an hour and call it an album. That approach to me is almost always a mask for bad writing, as opposed to the assumed signifier of deeper introspection, knowledge or
understanding. The core element of anything I've worked on is writing, where it goes. If the whole is dark the segues are funny, sloppy or playful to keep it rooted in reality and believable.
M[m]: Clearly you're a fan of westerns/ Americana- are there any books, films, or documentaries that were particularly impactful on you? And please explain for each what you got from them.
Jason- Buck Young is an audio project- influences for it are largely sonic as opposed to other mediums.
John Cage’s “Roaratorio: An Irish Circus on Finnegan’s Wake” is impactful in the sense that the recording process had similarities although obviously, I was looking to use American sounds as opposed Irish ones.
M[m]: Do you plan more releases for the Buck Young project, and if so any ideas what we can expect sound wise?
Jason-Yes. A lot darker with a hopefully memorable scene where the protagonist begs for his life through the noise. Also a train robbery. This one will feature Joseph Hammer and Waylon Riffs as well as people from the first and is tentatively titled "BUCK TWO: Where Do You Want
M[m]: Oh, neat when do you hope to get this completed by? And what format are you planning to release it on?
Jason- It’s finished when it’s finished. LP or double LP
M[m]: your label No Rent Records has become one of the most popular labels within the noise scene- what do you think has been the reasons for its success?
Jason - I'm going to defer all label questions to Rosie who handles much of
the label business.
Rose-It’s always funny to hear other people describe us as “big” or “popular” because it’s honestly sort-of incongruent with the actual genre- how popular could a label really be if it’s only doing editions of 100? But if I accept the premise of the suggestion, I guess I’d hope people like us because our curatorial lens is a bit broader than most other noise labels. We try to be difficult to pin down, both aesthetically and sonically, and in some ways that make the label more accessible than ones occupying a smaller and more specific niche.
I’d guess that there are probably less completionist-type collectors of our stuff because of that, but maybe more people overall have found something to appreciate in our catalogue.
M[m]: Do you hope to increase the number of copies your making in the future? Rose Not considering that at the time being. All of our material is available for free on Bandcamp after physical editions sell out, so it’s widely accessible already.
M[m]: And what has been your most popular release thus far?
Rose In terms of sales and downloads digitally, Koufar My Name is My Name, both releases from Vanessa Rossetto, Buck Young, Graham Lambkin Two Points on the Angle, and Samantha Glass Introducing the Confession are
at the top for us.
Rose It’s interesting because there are different metrics for success- somephysical releases sell out on day one, and they won’t necessarily be the same ones that continue to be downloaded and streamed for a long
time after they’ve sold out physically.
M[m]: since 2011 the label has released nearing 100 releases- please selection ten of your favourite releases, and explain why theyare?
Rose-I want to clarify that although the label has technically been around for much longer, we’ve only been releasing regularly since 2015. That said- in order of release:
NRR18 Sapphogeist S/t -This is maybe a pander-y answer because Zoe’s covered in this interview, but I feel like this tape is an early example of the best intentions of the label: it was a solo debut, it was excellent and different, and it was successful in creating a larger platform for her music.
NRR20 Radboud Mens Cycle – Radboud is this absolutely brilliant ambient artist who’s like weirdly forgotten while still being active. It felt really good to release something this beautiful and overlooked.
NRR31 Taeter Glorious Paraphilia – this is to-date the absolutely filthiest thing we’ve ever released. We basically listened to this tape for an entire summer, learned all of the words to all of the songs, and still periodically quote it- especially Nicola’s depraved sounding “let me watch” (from the song “Anal Anthropology”)
NRR36 Network Glass 100busy – this was just such an over-the-top way to present this album. It was a double cs where one tape was a C22 and the other one was a C10, and the music was already so minimal, so it’s this like aggressively indulgent way to present something so intentionally sparse. It’s also one of only two 2-CS releases we’ve done, and it was the first.
NRR46 Okha Power Cannot Conquer Heaven – This is the first reissue we ever did, and it was cool to get to do for a couple of reasons; aesthetically it was an interesting contrast to the harsh noise that’s being made now, and where it fell in the catalog made it easy to invite those comparisons. We thought when we released it that nobody
would be all that interested in a reissue of something 15 years old that most people hadn’t heard but it wound up doing really well and that was exciting in the sense that it was an early sign of our listeners starting to trust the narrative voice of the label.
NRR55 Bucket of Piss S/t – Always wanted to do a Bucket of Piss tapeon No Rent, and we sat on this master for a while, trying to figure out the smartest place to put it- where people would be able to take it seriously. It wound up being a whimsical left turn from a longer run of fairly academic releases and it was well-received and made a bunch of people complain about how expensive our tapes are, which
ultimately sold more tapes.
NRR70 Forest Management Biqui – I felt like we hadn’t really released any pure ambient music in 2017, and this release is such a lovely example of the form. John Daniel is one of the most exciting younger people making ambient music currently.
NRR73 Cold Electric Fire The Alchemist – This double tape included the entire Cold Electric Fire discography. This was something we’d planned on doing since 2015, and finally got it together to release this year. It’s a beautiful object, it’s really astonishing musically, and its something I feel proud to have been able to put into the world.
NRR74 Total Mom We Fed the Pig my Music – to get to follow a“complete-recordings” double tape like the CEF with harsh noise made by a 16 year old was curatorially immensely satisfying, and felt really demonstrative of the scope of what the label tries to present.
NRR90 Deterge One for the Gipper – we just put this one out, and it was one of the more deluxe sets of packaging we’ve ever done for a release, deservedly so. Essentially American, extremely fun to listen to.
M[m]: what’s lined up from you in 2019, and on No Rent records?
Rose -From No Rent in 2019 we’ve got releases coming up from Interior One, Mukqs, Stekkerdoos, Skin Graft, Straight Panic, Rusalka; a Candy Ricotta release on 10-inch lathes, and if that process isn’t too punishing you might see more extra-limited lathe editions of things in the future. More Buck Young, more FFH, a whole lot of other stuff. We did 30 releases last year, trying to do even more this year.
M[m]: Any recent or new sonic discovery you’ve made of late- noise, or otherwise?
Rose- My friend brought me back this tape from Australia- a project called PVA in Hair (the tape is Sumptuary Law) that reminds me of “The City Wears a Slouch Hat” except for Australian and shorter. It’s annoyingly available nowhere online but worth a listen if you can track one down.
Thanks to Jason (and Rose) for their time & effort with the interview. Proud Trash Sound is still available in both vinyl & digital from No Rent Records- so head to here to pick-up direct.
Pic credits: first two pictures of Jason & Zoe, last two from the Proud Trash Sound artwork by Brian blomerthRoger Batty