Something you should know about me: I have trouble saying no to projects, which leads me to also having trouble keeping up with everything. I work a good amount at the Whistle Stop Bar; I'm in the middle of shooting a documentary with a couple of good friends focused on Larry McCaffrey, the godfather of Avant Pop, literary critic, fringe enthusiast, and desert worshipper (see trailer below); I play in Christmas Island and Spirit Photography whenever we feel like playing; I make music videos when I have the chance; I help my good friends when I can with their literary arts organization So Say We All, which includes this crazy Far East Project undertaking (including a recent video I edited for a story in Huffington Post); I recently started a film series at Space4Art called Burn This Image; and then, you know, I try to have a social life and stuff, too. The reason I'm putting this all out there is because, you know, it can be a little difficult to keep up with things sometimes, and I'm always catching myself slipping when it comes to communication and the like with the label. But I'm trying. Volar has lots of exciting stuff in the pipeline (I'll have a post regarding all of that very soon), but for now, I wanted to post a couple of articles and interviews regarding the label.
Trailer for Make It Speak:
First up is this piece from my buddy Peter Holslin, music editor at San Diego CityBeat. He hitched a ride with me out to SXSW this year, and we ended up hanging out quite a bit while we were there. You can read a bit below and continue on to the article if you're interested.
A dispatch from the festival in Austin, Tex.
Wednesday, Mar 21, 2012
It takes about 22 hours to drive from San Diego to Austin, Tex. On the way, you pass through rocky moonscapes and flat desert scrub, no-name towns and quaint tourist traps, nondescript gas stations and rest stops with signs warning of poisonous snakes. As adventurous as the trek might feel, though, it hardly compares to the churning jamboree that is South by Southwest, Austin’s storied music festival and media conference.
Last week, I traveled to Austin in a four-door sedan with Craig Oliver, head of San Diego-based Volar Records, and writer / photographer Ryan Bradford. As soon as we reached the city at around 3:30 p.m. last Wednesday, we stopped by Trailer Space, a record store in the hip enclave of East Austin. A big cooler was sitting at the front, glistening with free beer; Oliver and Bradford both cracked open cans of Lone Star, the Texan hipster’s version of Pabst Blue Ribbon. In short order, Orange County’s Cosmonauts kicked off an enthralling set of droning garage-rock, and my five-day adventure had officially begun.
My good buddy Ryan Bradford also came out to SXSW with us, and wrote a great piece about his own experience (also, find pictures here):
March 23, 2012
He sends me the message two days before we’re supposed to leave.
“What do you think?” I ask my wife, Jessica. “It’s kind of short notice and I know Craig, but I don’t KNOW know him. Plus, I got plenty of stuff I need to do.”
Jessica, newly-tanned from a week-long cruise—a Girls’ Trip but one I couldn’t afford anyway—looks at me with disbelief. “Things to do?” she says. “Like what?”
She has a right to be incredulous. I’ve spent our entire married life—about six months—unemployed.
I’ve gotten weird.
I justify not leaving the house so I can finish my Black Metal screenplay. I eat an abundance of apples and apple-flavored Nature Valley Bars to somehow compensate for my lack of exercise. Upon Jessica’s return from the cruise, she found all our reusable grocery bags in the fridge.
“You should go,” she says. “It’ll be a better opportunity than any listing posted on craigslist this week.”
This is her really nice way of saying: you need to get the fuck out of the house.
READ MORE HERE
CRAIG OLIVER ON BEING AN INDIE KID IN JAPAN
1992, twelve years old, moving from Irvine, CA to a military base in Japan, a well-worn copy of Nirvana’s Nevermind cassette in my hand. The disconnect of living overseas and estranged from American society meant that things typically went like this: buy Rolling Stone/Spin/Alternative Press every month and devour each issue. Save up for the multitude of Nirvana bootlegs at various Japanese CD shops. Find used copies of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and Isn’t Anything at one of these shops. Track down Is This Real by the Wipers at the Virgin Megastore in Hiroshima. Take a trip to Okinawa for a drama competition (yes, I did these sorts of things) and come across a copy of Show by Jesus Lizard. Receive tapes from friends of all the Pixies albums. Eventually work at the CD store on base and pick up everything from every label I’d come to trust—every compilation from Kill Rock Stars, Sub Pop, Matador, K Records, Dischord, Touch and Go—and seek out the bands I dug from those comps. Find everything possible recorded and played in by Steve Albini. Track down Generic by Flipper. Check out anything mildly interesting looking from the library, which led me to Yank Crime by Drive Like Jehu. Pick up every compilation with “alternative” or “independent” or “underground” in the title. Fall in love with Clikatat Ikatowi, find their LP on vinyl for ¥200 (about $2) at a small record shop in Tokyo while on my Senior Trip. Buy a VHS copy of the Fall’s Perverted by Language because I heard they were cool. Wear out said copy. Have my brain constantly exploded by all the amazing, uncompromising shit that I could my hands on. Graduate from high school, move to the States, and repeat in some form or another POR VIDA. Start a label, try not to fuck it up too badly, and realize that I’m still basically doing the exact same thing, searching for hidden gems, looking around every corner for a surprise or two, except this time, I get to share.
And lastly, here's an interview conducted by Get Bent! back in February and published a week or so ago:
Interview: Volar Records Takes Flight
by Mariana Timony
Back in the early 90s, Slim Moon started a small indie record label out of his home in Olympia, Washington to put out records by local bands because nobody else was doing it. That label, Kill Rock Stars, remains to this day a model for upstart indies everywhere. One would think after 20 years, in the age of the Internet, creating a label in the mold of KRS would be easier than ever. After all, prospective owners can now contact artists, promote new releases, and send mp3s all over the world at the click of a button. But, for Volar Records’ Craig Oliver, it’s been a bumpy road to indie labeldom.
Like Kill Rock Stars, San Diego-based Volar was started in 2009 as a way for Craig to release a 7-inch by his own band. He took the name from a Spanish word which means both “to fly” and “to blow up”, and made the logo a scowling cartoon picture of his cat, Anton LaVey. He had some label experience having worked for Cargo Music, the small San Diego label most famous for putting out Blink-182’s first record. But Craig’s heart was always in the underground.
READ MORE HERE
(And if you've gotten this far, here's an interview I did with the SD Reader last year):