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Volar Press and Interviews and stuff

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.

Letting the good times roll at South by Southwest

A dispatch from the festival in Austin, Tex.

By Peter Holslin

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 

I get a facebook message from Craig Oliver asking if I want to go to SXSW with him: a 22-hour drive from San Diego to Austin, both ways, to promote his label, Volar Records. We don’t have badges, don’t know where we’re staying, but says he’ll figure it out when we get there.
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. 


Here's a short, recent piece I did for the great Get Bent! as part of their coverage of Record Store Day:

(Volar Records)

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.


(And if you've gotten this far, here's an interview I did with the SD Reader last year):

Craig Oliver and Volar Records

Born in Guam, Oliver scuttled with his family to Colorado, then Arizona, by the time he was four. He spent most of his teens in Japan, where he got into PJ Harvey, skateboarding, and writing. In 1998 he landed in San Diego:

“Going to high school on a military base, I’d never been to a show in the States. I’d given up on playing music. The idea was to attend community college before going to film school in L.A. Then life happened. I was excited about coming here, mostly because I was obsessed with Drive Like Jehu and Clikatat Ikatowi. I came at a weird time, just after most of the Gravity Records and Cargo/Casbah scenes had died. Thankfully, the Ché Café was still going strong, and I was fortunate to see a lot of great bands — like Camera Obscura, one of my favorites, close to 15 times. When I was 18, they opened for Tristeza and Blonde Redhead — a totally perfect show. The Sess were always amazing, almost blindingly so, just a total force of nature. They had the same live approach as Camera Obscura — a pure, exhausting blast of energy from start to stop. And Hot Snakes were really great.”

Oliver ended up in South Park, which he calls “one of the last great communities in the city...its own little bubble of sanctity,” and playing guitar with Spirit Photography and Christmas Island.
How did Volar Records come about?

Okay, now that that's all covered, I'll have something up soon regarding the next six months or so of releases planned for Volar.  I'll leave you with this:


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Happy holidays, all, hope you get through them okay. I know this can be a strange time of year for a number of you, myself included. Happy to be here to share some mighty fine recent news in the land of Volar. Marc Riley, one of the originally songwriters in the Fall, has a BBC 6 show, and just last week discovered the debut 7" by Flat Worms on Volar. He says some very kind words here about the nine-minute mark, played them again the next day, and then included them in his best of 2016 show this past Monday. We're down to the last few of our black vinyl copies. Also this past week, Pitchfork put out its list of

Recent Volar Press

So we've had some very kind folks cover some of our recent and upcoming releases in the past weeks, and we thought we'd take the chance to collect those here in one place.

First off, among our slate of upcoming releases, we've got Vol. 2 of the Strange Mutations 7" box set, ft. new records by Lenz, Fine Steps, Cosmonauts, and Teenage Burritos, whose "Danya" 7" you can read about over at Lo-Pie.  Fuzz Drench has a little post about the Cosmonauts 7" here.  More on this set soon enough, we assure you.  (Check out Vol. 1, ft. new 7"s by Eat Skull, Beaters, Audacity/Big Eyes, Stalins of Sound, and Far Corners here)

Lo-Pie's take on "Danya":
by on Mar 27, 2013
Teenage Burritos // Danya 7″
Volar Records
3.7/5 Pies
Recommended Track: Danya
Teenage Burritos is a band whose name confuses the hell out of me. Is it referring to teenagers who eat burritos or the types of burritos that teenagers prefer to eat …

Debut LP and tour by Irish trio Oh Boland and debut 7" by Teach Me, solo LP by Matt Lamkin (Soft Pack)

STREAM/ORDER/DL the debut limited clear LP Spilt Milk by  Irish punk-slop-power-pop trio Oh Boland
Formed in 2012, the trio of songwriter Niall Murphy(Guitars, Vocals) Eanna MacDonnchadha (bass) and Simon McDonagh (drums/vocals) came together to form Oh Boland over the course of drunken pub crawls in their small town of Tuam, Ireland.The band eventually recorded a couple of EPs with Brian Kelly of So Cow, and began venturing out into Galway City, leading to involvement with Dublin-based collective Popical Island and their release of the Delphi split LP with fellow Ireland indie-poppers Me and My Dog.
The Delphi recordings brought them together with producer Mark Chester, who makes his own music as Ginnels and plays in No Monster Club. After the band realized they were sitting on a number of songs, they decided to go back in with Chester to record this first full-length, Spilt Milk, over the course of two days over Halloween weekend 2014 in a cottage in one of the most isolated parts o…