Knox Mitchell began Michigan-based underground noise label Green Records and Tapes in the summer of 2007. Thus far, the Green Records and Tapes catalogue has amassed to 14 releases in under six short months, which includes a burgeoning roster of such noise heavyweights as Realicide, Peoples Coke and Cauchy Riemann. Aside from running the Green imprint, Knox maintains an Andrew W. K. fansite [http://www.awkmedia.com] and releases his own noise music. Knox Mitchell is a Virgo…
(This is the "interview" portion of a very long AIM conversation that took place on a lazy winter afternoon in December. Knox had the flu...)
LESS_CUNNING: Firstly, how old are you?
KNOX MITCHELL: I am 15 years 3 months old.
L/C: Wow. You gotta be kidding me right?
KM: Not even joking.
L/C: So you are a sophomore in high school? Correct?
KM: Right on the money.
L/C: Wow. That's amazing. So you started Green Records and Tapes when you were 14 years old?
KM: Yep, I started it in...I think late July 2007.
L/C: So what was the impetus for Green Records and Tapes? How did you get started?
KM: Well when I started...I didn't really have any intention for starting a record label. The name was created for a CD-R I did, my first recording. I did ten copies and gave ‘em away to friends. I just made the name to stick on the album. After that, I made this series of tapes for friends that were on recycled cassingles I found at the Goodwill, such as a Nelson tape, or a Goo Goo dolls tape. I put the Green name on there too. So after two of those tapes I just decided to actually start putting stuff out. I made a myspace, and a guy named Warren contacted me, wanting to do a tape. He went under the name Peoples Coke and that was the first tape I did for someone else. I consider that the true beginning of Green Records and Tapes.
L/C: Hmmm. Interesting. When did you come to the conclusion that you could "do-it-yourself" instead of shopping your tape to other labels?
KM: When no one was willing to put my stuff out hahaha.
L/C: Did you send your tape to other labels?
KM: Yeah, my first tape was titled "Boy Meets World." I thought it was great, so I made five copies, and I think I sent two to labels, and the other three to friends. This was in April 2007. I don't remember both labels I sent it to, I only remember I sent a copy to AA Records. They weren't willing to put it out. I thought, "This tape is great, why don't they want put it out?” I realized a few months later, in July, that the tapes AA Records received were massively flawed. I listened to a copy I gave my friend Jeremy (he was on the cover) and I realized that the mix was all screwed up. Half of the stuff I had recorded was missing, because of the way I had dubbed the tapes. This led to the CD-R being released, with everything how I intended it to be.
L/C: Hmmm. So you attribute a badly recorded demo to the reason why AA and the other label did not express interest in Boy Meets World?
KM: Well, partly. Listening to it now, it's not that amazing of a recording. I think if they would've heard the original mix, they would've expressed at least SOME interest. I don't know if they would've put it out. I think that I was thinking a little too highly to believe that AA would put it out. But I was just starting out. I really had no clue as to what I was doing, all I knew was that Nate Young ran AA Records and i really liked Nate Young.
L/C: If you had to do it all over again, would you rather have had AA shown an interest in your demo or are you happy w/ the way things turned out w/ Green.
KM: I’m very happy with the way things turned out, I wouldn't change a thing if I had to do it again.
L/C: How was Boy Meets World recorded?
KM: Well, the recording started in January 2007. I really didn't intend to make an album. I just had this idea one night sitting in my room-this town is dead from December to March-to take some old CD-R’s I didn't listen to and cut lines in them with a key (later a screwdriver) and play them on my turntable and see what sounds they would make. The result was a crackling sound. So I cut lines in a pattern of sorts to get more sounds. I did thirty minutes of that for Side A, with probably twenty or so CD-R’s. Then I started Side B. All I did was play some records backward I think. I didn't want to do much with that side, because there was a really creepy sermon on that side by some dude. I found the tape in my basement. I just put that tape in a drawer until April, when a friend lent me his keyboard. I decided to add some stuff to the tape. On Side A, all i added was some sound from my broken mic (glitchy circuit bent jazz).
For Side B, I added tons: weird keyboard noises mostly. There is a lot of other stuff on there. I don't remember how some of it was recorded. There was this section in the middle of some robot talk that was on the tape when I found it. I recorded keyboard stuff over that. Towards the end I left the creepiest part of the sermon on the tape. I think the sermon might have been called, "Boy meets world," or maybe the sermon was read at some convention called BMW, cause that's the name written on the tape.
L/C: Hmmm. Gear-wise, can you be more specific? For "Boy Meets World" and for subsequent releases you've done?
KM: For Boy meets world, the basic gear was a turntable, CD-R’s, a keyboard, and I think one guitar cord. For other releases, I use a ton of stuff. For my second release Blastation I used a pencil sharpener and some radio static. Then I digitally desecrated it for release. I did a whole CD of me just experimenting with anything I could find. I think all of the gear used was a keyboard, a broken guitar cord, a Gremlins record, a drum machine, and a wah pedal. That CD will never be released in its’ entirety, I just use that for source material. These days, I use mainly a drum set, a guitar, a mic, and a small amp for internal feedback, ran through a multi-effects pedal. I rely heavily on internal feedback on my recordings these days.
L/C: What type of multi-effects pedal do you have?
KM: I think it's a Digitech brand. I borrow it from a friend. It has a built in drum machine, but I've only used that on non-noise recordings.
L/C: Is the Digitech an older model?
KM: Nah pretty recent. I think he bought it last year.
L/C: Like a RP-150?
KM: I’m not too sure... I don't have it right now. I gave it back to him for a little bit. I can tell you tomorrow or the day after. I'm getting it back to practice for my first show December 28th.
L/C: In Brief, explain the digital desecration of your recording process?
KM: Well, for the digital desecration, I first record everything to cassette with a 4-track recorder. I very seldom use anything but cassette. Once I have a recording that suits my need, I transfer it to my computer, and put it into a program called goldwave. There, I change the speed, tone and pitch, add delay if needed, and give it all sorts of effects until it sounds nothing at all like the original recording. I don't do that much anymore, because it was sort of a hit and miss deal. Sometimes it'd turn out great, other times it'd sound like crap.
L/C: Oh hey what type of tapes do you like to use when recording?
KM: Usually Maxell, pretty much all the time.
L/C: Normal or high bias?
KM: Normal I think.
L/C: That program you use, goldweave or goldwave, is it for Mac or PC's. And is it
freeware, shareware or does it cost dough?
KM: Goldwave's for PC. I dunno if they have a Mac version, but it's free for a period of time. I got a crack off of demonoid before it went down.
L/C: Ever use audio mulch?
KM: Nah never heard of it...any good?
L/C: Actually I never got to use it because the shareware ran out? But someone told me about it. It isn't that expensive either. It’s for making noise and stuff.
KM: Oh wow, i never knew there were audio programs for making noise. I'll have to check this out.
L/C: It's not designed specifically for making noise. But you can do stuff to make noise easy. Yeah it’s free for like 90 days or something. Fun way to waste an afternoon. PC program. Hmmm. What type of 4-Track is it? Tascam? Have you ever used a boombox to record?
KM: Yep, it's a Tascam Portastudio. I think it's from 1998. I've never used a boombox to record. I've always wanted to, but I can't find one that has the internal mic to record. Closest I've used to a boombox is a small tape recorder. I used that to record the first of side A for “Boy Meets World,” i didn't get the 4-track until April or May.
L/C: You haven't been able to get a boombox w/ an internal mic at Goodwill?
KM: Funny you ask that. I've bought 3 boomboxes from Goodwill; each of them had an internal mic. But all three had some defect so that they didn't work right. One of them could record, but it was so quiet and muffled you couldn't listen to the recording. Another simply didn't record to the tape. Another would eat any tape you put in. My dad found one at his work, and it even had speeded dub, but that one would eat tapes too.
L/C: Have you tried to get an older one?
KM: Yeah, one I bought was from...I think late 80s or early 90s. I have a friend who has one, we used to record us jammin’ on it, but I think he left it at his mom's house. I'm still trying to get that, the recordings were so clear.
L/C: The ones from the early eighties are really the shit. Tell me more about the thrift stores in your town?
KM: In this town (Marysville) there is one Goodwill. It’s not really the best Goodwill. The coolest things I've found there are a Nine Inch Nails tape, and an Ashlee Simpson shirt. In Port Huron-a town real close-there is a Goodwill, an awesome one. I've found some really cool stuff there and there is a Salvation Army and a St. Vincent Depaul, which is sorta like Goodwill.
L/C: Was this Ashlee Simpson t-shirt before or after the nose job?
KM: Oh way before. I think it was when she first started. I traded that shirt for a cool green Blink-182 shirt.
L/C: Ugh. You should have kept the Ashlee Simpson t-shirt. You gotta learn how to be "post-ironic." Anyway, do you hit up those thrift stores really hard?
KM: Oh definitely. I attribute it to my mom. She goes to every single one like every other weekend to buy books to sell on eBay. She makes like...man, sometimes one hundred dollars per week. But I’ve gotten some real awesome stuff. I found an Incubus EP at the Salvation Army, sold it for thirty bucks. Found this Michigan punk LP at Goodwill in Port Huron, sold that for like twenty-five bucks. And I've found half of my VHS collection at Goodwill and stuff… So many Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tapes…
L/C: Would you consider yourself a capitalist?
KM: Nah… I give away too much stuff.
L/C: Well, record label types are pretty shrewd people. Most times.
KM: Eh. I just try to make people happy. I do these ridiculous trades sometimes. Like, someone will send me two tapes and I'll send them back like four tapes and a CD-R. So obviously i'm not makin’ much haha.
L/C: Well. The success of your label, thus far, has been undeniable. Tell me, how did Thurston Moore come to hear about Green Records and Tapes? Did he write about a release for Bull Tongue in Arthur?
KM: I really have no clue how Thurston came to hear about Green. I'm still shocked. I just logged into PayPal and saw a payment from Thurston Moore. I don't think he wrote about it... Not sure how he liked it hah.
L/C: Oh. What release did he buy?
KM: Peoples coke...[GR004. Peoples Coke. Women Voters.] I thought that was a good tape, but the packaging was less than stellar.
L/C: What is your opinion of Thurston Moore, in general?
KM: Solid dude... I liked the Sonic Youth album Daydream Nation, but that's pretty much all I know of him. He was in the new Dinosaur Jr. video too, that was cool. How about you?
L/C: I think Sonic Youth is amazing and I pretty much listen to their stuff on a weekly basis. The later stuff. I got into SY around Murray Street. Lately I’ve been kind of noticing the ubiquitous, heavy hand he seems to wield around the noise scene. Like two of my favorite bands he's either played w/ recently or is putting out their records. But obviously he's a major, important force, on the major, indie and noise scene. Very respected. For obvious reasons.
KM: Oh definitely respected... Did you know he's putting out an Aaron Dilloway album soon?
L/C: On Estactic peace?
L/C: Nope? But that's what I'm talking about. He’s like turning into the John D. Rockefeller of the noise scene.
KM: Yeah you're right... He's done something for everyone haha. But yeah, Aaron put this tape called Foul out on Hanson Records. About a month or two later, he stopped selling it, and said it was gonna be released on vinyl on Estactic Peace.
L/C: Yeah you're about one Bull Tongue review away from selling out you're back catalogue.
KM: Hah I can only hope for that review.
L/C: Well yes. Let's get wet, as it were. Would you consider the legendary Michigan noise scene as the main reason why you are into noise now?
KM: Pretty much, yeah... I'm really into the Hanson records stuff.
L/C: Do you have any older siblings?
KM: Yeah, 2 older brothers... One likes rap, the other likes H.I.M. I'm lucky I survived liking what I do.
L/C: Who is that?
KM: They're this band from Finland that Bam Margera likes I guess... I dunno. I don't watch much television. From what I have seen, Bam Margera likes them, and this is the reason my brother does.
L/C: Your older brothers, are they in college or still in H.S.? What do they do?
KM: They’re both way out of high school, they're 25 and 23. One is in the marines, the other used to be in the army, and now works at Spencer’s.
L/C: Oh yeah. What other music are you into? Do you not like rap?
KM: Nah I like some rap. Rap with meaning, not new crap like Soulja Boy. What the hell is "Crank dat Robocop" supposed to mean? I'm also into a lot of alternative, like Beck, Soul Asylum. I like Liz Phair too. Lately I've been really into the Beastie Boys and the Presidents of the United States. I like a ton of music…not really anything recent though.
L/C: Funny. I just listened to Paul’s Boutique & Hello Nasty last week. Great records. But even if you don't like certain "regional" rap, the specter of Eminem, Royce 5'9", Obie Trice et alia must loom large in Michigan?
KM: Actually, not as big as you'd think. Maybe because I’m not close to Detroit and those areas. But I only know a few kids my age and older into Eminem and that stuff. I don't think he's that bad, I like the Slim Shady LP a little bit.
L/C: Well. What do the kids at your school listen to?
KM: Not really sure. I don't talk to many people at school besides my close friends. Most kids at my school aren't worth talking to. I know there is a growing number of kids getting into this new "hardcore" or "grindcore" scene that I despise.
L/C: Oh yeah. Isn’t there like a big hardcore scene in Maryville or something?
KM: In this area, yeah. It's all really dumb and pointless.
L/C: Tell me more about Marysville, Port Huron and other surrounding cities. What's the landscape like? Why is it so dead from December to March? What industries are there? Any? Are there any dying automobile factories close by?
KM: Marysville is dead during the winter cause there’s pretty much nothing to do, nowhere to go. There’s nothing cool here. By me there's not any dying factories, but there is a Chrysler plant a few blocks away. The landscape is pretty much... I dunno, in Marysville. Marysville is pretty much your normal small town. You’ve got the Meijer store down the street, there's the high school, the middle school, and the three elementary schools...two parks...nothing else really. Port Huron is a bit larger. You've got the run down parts, the really nice parts...a mall, tons of fast food places.
L/C: So what do you do for kicks?
KM: Well me and my friends like to go mess with people, that's how we spend the majority of our time. Filming each other mess[ing] with people, and playing music
L/C: What about chicks?
KM: Marysville chicks SUCK.
L/C: No!!! Most of the Michigan girls I’ve ever met have been really really nice.
KM: Yeah I’d agree...but Marysville is different...there are probably, at the most, five Marysville girls i'm interested in, the rest are really stuck up. And it's only Marysville, too. Port Huron girls rule. St. Clair girls rule. It's just Marysville.
L/C: Is there a Diary Queen in Marysville?
KM: Nah, 2 in Port Huron tho.
L/C: Is there a Wal-Mart in Marysville?
KM: Nope, there is in Port Huron tho.
L/C: Geographically, where is Marysville located in Michigan?
KM: Geez...not really sure haha. Like an hour from Detroit...if you can figure from that out.
L/C: Oh it’s only an hour from Detroit? Is it like suburb of Detroit? Like Auburn Hills or something?
KM: Nahh not even close. Maybe an hour and a half actually. Nah, about an hour.
L/C: Maybe two hours?
KM: Hour and a half at the most.
L/C: Do you go to Detroit often?
KM: Nah not too much actually. Last time I was there for Magas.
L/C: How far is Marysville from any college town?
KM: Closest college town is Ann Arbor, it's like an hour and a half away
L/C: University of Michigan?
L/C: What is that town Ypsilanti?
KM: It's like the armpit of Ann Arbor
L/C: What is that town? Explain it to me?
KM: Kinda like Ann Arbor, but no college...nothing really special about it.
L/C: Why do I keep seeing that name? Isn’t everybody from there?
KM: Yeah a few people are...Fred Thomas, raven strain.
L/C: Isn't Awesome Color from there or something? I think I need to do some googling.
KM: Hmm...never heard of Awesome Color.
L/C: Think they are on Estactic Peace too. Rock band though. They moved to Brooklyn. They are on Brah or Estactic Peace. But from Michigan. Moved to Brooklyn.
KM: Actually name sounds kinda familiar.
L/C: You into drugs yet?
KM: Nahhh, a few of my friends are, but it's all just too much trouble for me. I've tried, of course, and it didn't appeal too much.
L/C: In light of the fact that your older brothers are or were involved in the military, how do you feel about the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
KM: We need to get out of Iraq as soon as we can. I cannot wait ‘til [President] Bush is out of office.
L/C: Well. I mean what you think would happen in Iraq if the U.S. military pulled out tomorrow?
KM: Well...there lies the problem. Iraq would fail to pieces. They don't want to live in a democracy, but we just can't keep on spending the amount of money we do on the war, so it's a double-edged sword.
L/C: Well, what would you do to fix the problem in Iraq?
KM: Not really sure… I'd want to find some way to have most troops back here, but still have some control over what’s going on over there.
L/C: You know, its almost next to impossible to exercise "control" in Iraq w/o there being some sort of military presence.
KM: Yeah, so I really have no clue what I'd do...but I'm sure things can be handled better than they are right now.
L/C: By whom? Democrats?
KM: The President, mostly...The Government as a whole.
L/C: So do you feel that the President has been doing a bad job?
KM: Basically, yeah...he blames all his problems on congress.
L/C: Okay back to Green records and tapes? How would you describe your label, in your own words?
KM: Hmm...I'd describe it as eclectic and surprising, maybe funny.
L/C: Well. I mean it could describe as a limited-edition boutique/in-house/vanity noise label from Michigan. Right?
KM: That’s a good description. Not sure if I can explain it any better. It's a label geared towards people like me.
L/C: Well. Are you still making tapes & CD-R’s for friends? I see GR014 is limited to 1.
KM: Yep, I still do that from time to time. For special occasions, sort of. GR010 was a birthday present. GR014 was a congratulatory present for a friend who just released his first tape on his new label.
L/C: Yeah that's a funny title for GR010 I Hate you Jeremy Durham.
KM: Hahaha funny story about that.
L/C: Do tell.
KM: Not sure if this is exactly correct. He was on a soccer team with this kid, I think his name was Ben, and they were at some party, and Jeremy had a squirt gun filled with lukewarm water, and so he sprayed Ben, and Ben went crazy and was screaming "I HATE YOU JEREMY DURHAM!"
L/C: Ha. That's funny. Speaking of those releases, most of the stuff you put out is short run, limited-edition releases, and some are out-of-print. How do you feel about the small run, out-of-print, limited-edition noise label? Would you ever repress the earlier releases on Green?
KM: I think small run labels rule. It gives people something to search for. I’d definitely repress stuff in the future if the demand were there.
L/C: Yeah I mean is that the major issue there, demand?
KM: Yeah...like, I'm guessing no one would want to find a copy of the tape Blastation, it kinda sucked. But maybe in a few years, people will be looking for the Peoples Coke tape. It was his first release, and he's already getting popular. Same with Terrortank.
L/C: Yeah. You're starting to put out some pretty heavy releases. There are some nerdyrecordcollector dudes that in a few years MIGHT pay tooth and nail for GR005.
KM: Hahaha. I kinda wonder about stuff like that...like, there are people who will pay hundreds of dollars for recordings that the artist themselves say aren't that great... I mean, I'm a collector, but c’mon, that's insane.
L/C: Have you ever thought of putting out vinyl releases in the future? Or are you going to keep it strictly confined to tapes and CD-R's? Have you considered pro-pressed releases?
KM: I’m actually working on putting together a compilation 7". I just need to find the money. Money is also the issue with getting stuff professionally pressed. I just don't have enough cash.
L/C: Well. How do you fund the label?
KM: Truth be told, it's luck, I don't have a job. I buy materials with money from holidays, birthdays, and selling things on eBay.
L/C: What exactly is Green records and tapes: Is it just you, A CPU, a myspace account and a printer? What are the materials involved? Because it always varies from label to label.
KM: I print the colored covers here, and my mom runs off black and white ones at the school she works (if you can do something, might as well do it free and get your tax dollars worth, right?). I buy tapes from tape.com. For the last few releases, i've been spray painting ‘em, and i dupe all of the tapes on a stereo with speeded dub. I'm lookin’ around for a cheap dubbing system better than what I have now.
L/C: Would you say that Green say a particular design aesthetic? Or are you working that out now?
KM: Still trying to work it out... It's coming along though, definitely.
L/C: Yeah I really like the Knox Mitchell/Antler Piss split, the design of that cover: minimalist, w/ a black & white photo of a beautiful womyn sitting in a wheelbarrow. I really like that photo. Tell me how you can up w/ that?
KM: I was on Youtube, and this girl's video caught my eye, I don't remember what the video was even. I check out her page, and it had a link to her deviantART page. So I went there, and saw the cover photo. I immediately thought, "This is going to be my cover." I emailed her, worked everything out, and [it] made the cover.
L/C: What exactly do you use? Photoshop? Gimp? MS Paint?
KM: Photoshop all the way. Great program
L/C: Oh yeah, one more thing. How do you market Green releases? Is it just confined to the I Heart Noise Message Board and Myspace?
KM: Those two and I also post on the Hanson/American tapes Yahoo group.
L/C: And that's it.
KM: Yep that’s it.
L/C: How do you plan to spread the good new of Green Records and Tapes?
KM: I've got some good ideas: playing more live shows, placing fliers in library books, rental videos, clothing in the mall, anywhere, putting stickers on moving vehicles, such as buses and garbage trucks.
L/C: Oh yeah. Explain to me Warren and Peoples Coke? That situation? Where is he from? How did he contact you?
KM: Warren's from Alberta, Canada. He just contacted me one day on myspace and asked if I’d check his stuff out and release it maybe. It was really minimalist, and I loved it, so I said of course. He was the first Green Records artist besides myself. His project is called Peoples Coke. The art for that release inspired me to do cut ups.
L/C: What would you say would be your most successful release on Green?
KM: Hmm...selling-wise, Peoples Coke. The Realicide tape did ok too.
L/C: How many did you do of the Realicide?
KM: Thirty-three, I gave twenty to Robert from Realicide. I had the other thirteen. I've got three left.
L/C: How many of the Peoples Coke?
KM: Twenty. They're all gone.
L/C: How many artist copies of the Peoples Coke?
KM: I sent him...I think five.
L/C: Was that People's Coke really good? Honestly, I haven't listened to the myspace yet.
KM: Yeah definitely, I usually don't like minimalist, but it was great.
L/C: What are your thoughts on file sharing? One of the cool things about something that is out of print or hard to find is that it usually turns up on Soulseek or something.
KM: I love file sharing...file sharing FOREVER.
L/C: I mean most of Green releases are sold out or on their way to being sold out right? The only way I would be able to hear anything would be Soulseek right?
KM: I guess, if other people were to rip them...I don't really have any of that stuff on my computer, it's all on CD-R’s and tapes in a drawer. So I wouldn't care if someone else shared them, I'm just not going to.
L/C: So in order for Green releases to enter into the file-sharing ether, someone has to rip them and put them on some sort of file-sharing network?
KM: I guess you could say that...if the need was really great, I'd put em up, but I just don't have the space on here to store all of those tapes.
L/C: What about pricing for Green? Four dollars postage-paid seems pretty fair and reasonable for a tape. Five dollars for a CD-R seems reasonable also? How exactly do you come up w/ those numbers?
KM: I just kinda guess-checked those...I first wanted 3 bucks a tape, but that wasn't reasonable for shipping. So I just thought a solid 4 would be sufficient, and [would] go along with current postage prices. International orders cost more to ship, and I don't require more money for them, but international orderer’s are usually really cool about chipping in a little extra.
L/C: How has the recent change in the Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar effect pricing at Green?
KM: It doesn't haha.
L/C: Do you receive any Canadian orders? International orders?
KM: Yeah I've received a bunch of both...pretty common.
L/C: Well. For Canada it probably does not add up to that much of a difference. Maybe a few pennies on the dollar? But the Euro? The Pound?
KM: I guess i've never really thought about it...I just ship em out, I don't think about shipping. I’m probably a few dollars in the hole haha.
L/C: No I'm talking about the actual price of the release. Excluding shipping.
KM: Ohhh yeah.
L/C: A Green release might cost an average American consumer $4 but might cost a Canadian consumer I don't know $3.90 and maybe someone in France $2.80. Excluding shipping.
KM: Well...then you're pretty damn lucky living in France!
L/C: Oh do you like Demons?
KM: Yeah they're pretty good... I was gonna buy their Frozen Fog LP last month when I saw Magas, but I opted for Aaron Dilloway's Concealed.
L/C: You saw Magas. The Detroit techno dude?
KM: Yep, November 23d.
L/C: Oh I mean he's from Chicago but he's on Adult.’s label.
KM: Yeah yeah… But not to get technical, he's from Michigan.
L/C: I’ve heard this theory that like Magas and the dude from Nautical Almanac basically founded the whole noise scene. [an email response from Magas: “My role in the early Michigan noise scene was in founding the band Couch and Bulb records. I wanted to make noise, but I don't think that's exactly what it was. Maybe a coupla times. Am I a founder of the contemporary noise scene? Nah. People did it before me/us...Triple R Ron was doing it way before, as were Macronympha and so forth. It's like asking "Who invented rock and roll?" Cuz there was plenty of rock'n'roll in early R&B records, but along came Elvis & took all the credit. I think most American noise acts were influenced by the Japanese noise scene. I just consider myself a contributor, part of the dialogue.”]
KM: Twig? Wow, explain!
L/C: Oh this crazy thing I read, I gotta find it. Maybe it’s on Magas bio somewhere. He was in some bands w/ some people before he started Magas. Like he was in some band w/ Twig before Twig was in Metalux or something like that.
KM: Man, if you dig deep, you'll find out all of those dudes were in bands together...it's crazy.
L/C: What do you want to do as you get older? College? The Marines? What do your parents do?
KM: I plan to move out of Marysville and find a job while still making music and running Green. Maybe go to college. My mom is a high school teacher. My dad works for the road commission, and works part time for a cleaning company.
L/C: What about touring? Have you ever considered touring?
KM: Maybe after high school, or at least during the summer. I need a car first, or a license… I only have my permit.
L/C: What’s the story with the Alex T. Open Call w/ Green Records & Tapes release? Apparently, he's Italian? I found some weird myspace that said indicated he’s from Turkey?
KM: Alex is a complete mystery to me.... God, I could go on about that dude forever. He's Italian. I think he works in "a commercial center" in Italy. I had this myspace page once that belonged to him, but he denied it did. He can't speak English either. Apparently, he is a musician, not of noise. I think he's 19.
L/C: Ha. So how does an artist end up on Green? Do you solicit work or do you get demos? Or both?
KM: People come to me with music usually. The only tape I've done by asking to was Realicide. I saw ‘em live and really like ‘em. Usually they just say, "Hey man, checkout my jams," and I do. And if I like it, I’ll release it.
L/C: What are your thoughts on younger people in noise? Do you feel they are taken seriously?
KM: I think they aren't really taken seriously, but I think they should be. Younger people are the ones who will carry the noise torch when the big boys now are gone! We are noise's future!
L/C: I really didn't know you were as young as you were until I zombie thread hunted the I Heart Noise board and put two and two together.
KM: Yeah, everyone gets a kick out of that haha.
L/C: Besides you, who are some younger kids in noise? I know there is Tarantula Princess and Kristin Calvarese. Well Kristin Calvarese is older, but she's under 20 I think.
KM: Never heard of them before... I don't know too many younger people in noise actually. There’s this group of dudes out of Detroit called Ovoid, they're under 20, and there's this dude from Germany I think, he's my age, I don't remember his project's name.
L/C: Well. Tarantula Princess, both her parents are noise artists. This was discussed on the I Heart Noise board in the So-Cal Noise Fest thread. And Kristin Calvarese, she’s from Florida but she just recently moved to the ATL. She’s kind of an old 19. She chain smokes and drinks beer and she probably does meth and has unprotected sex or something.
L/C: But you know I think she gets it double-hard because she's young and she's female. It’s really kind of fucked up actually.
KM: Yeah it kinda sounds like it hah.
L/C: Well. You've done a lot so far: fourteen releases in six months, Thurston Moore has bought a release, and such, you're only 15 years old, and you haven't even played your first show yet.
KM: I'm not even sure how I've done it!
L/C: Quite an achievement. So how do you think you're first show is gonna be?
KM: I’m not too sure how it's gonna be? I'll be playing among friends, so it'll be cool, I definitely will need to practice though.
L/C: What is your set-up gonna be like for your first show?
KM: Guitar, feedback loop (ran through multi effects medal), mic, and my man Derek on drums.
L/C: Quite an achievement. So how do you think you're first show is gonna be?
KM: I’m not too sure how it's gonna be? I'll be playing among friends, so it'll be cool, i definitely will need to practice though.
L/C: Who are some of the bands you like now?
KM: Jane’s addiction, Weezer, Realicide, Ron of Japan, Saturday looks good to me, 25 Suaves, Everclear, Nine Inch Nails, Third Eye Blind. To name a few.
L/C: Not that many noise bands on that list.
KM: Well those are my main favorites... For noise, I like Mini-Systems, Nautical Almanac, Beast People, Cauchy Riemann, Fossils, Planet of Id, Sightings, Danse Asshole, Temple of Bon Matin, Wolf Eyes, and many others.
L/C: So you like NIN. Are you into any other industrial music? Or "power electronics?"
KM: Eh not really.... NIN is pretty much it.
L/C: What's your favorite NIN record?
KM: Probably Broken or Pretty Hate Machine. Yeah, Broken.
L/C: How do you regard Trent Reznor as a producer? I mean, his earlier albums, I’m surprised at how effectively he uses a drum machine.
KM: I think he's a great producer... [He] knows what he's doing.
L/C: Oh hey what CD-R's do you use.
KM: Usually HP.
L/C: How much do those cost? I usually get Maxell at Wal-Mart. TDK if I can find it.
KM: At Big Lots (this real cheap closeout store) they’re 10 for a 50 pack.
L/C: Oh no they have big lots down here. There’s one in the town I live in. I bought a cheap bookcase there a year or two ago.
KM: Ahh ok, yeah, check out the multimedia section, if yours is anything like ours is, there should be cheap CD-R’s
L/C: Why did you name choose the name Green? Was it arbitrary?
KM: My walls are green.
L/C: Ah. The walls in your room.
L/C: That’s fucking cool.
KM: I used to joke with friends that my room was "Green Studios." So I just made it green records hah. The front cover of Alex [T. "Open Call w/ Green Records & Tapes.” GR008.] is [a photo of] my closet door.
L/C: Yeah i was wondering where you got that. That's you closet door?
KM: Yep. I was gonna use my front door of my room, but the picture wouldn't work. So the front is the closet door, the back is the back of my front door.
L/C: It's a cool photo. You can really see it better on the photo you have on the I Heart Noise Message board. I didn't realize that was a door until I looked at it today. Is your whole room is that color green?
KM: Yep. Yep.
L/C: That brown door, what is that from?
KM: That's the back of my front door to my room.
L/C: The front door is green and the back door is wood?
KM: Hah yeah. Wait. No. I was wrong. The front is wood. The inside is green. There we go.
L/C: Or is the front of the front door green and the back of the front door is wood?
KM: Other way around, I was confused.
L/C: What about those door handles, are they brass?
KM: Nah I think [it's] cheap gold metal.
L/C: Are your floors hardwood?
L/C: Describe your room, in general. Does the entire recording process happen in your bedroom? Is all your equipment there?
KM: Green walls...kinda small...bed...television...guitar...huge shelf with music, movies, all that stuff. Yeah all except the drum set
L/C: The drum set is where?
L/C: What type of guitar do you have? Amp?
KM: i had a Fender Strat and some real shitty amp.
L/C: You don't know the name of the amp?
KM: i think it's excel or something.
L/C: Where did you get it from?
KM: This guitar shop that used to be down the street. I got it with my first guitar. I axed that guitar though.
L/C: What happened to that guitar shop?
KM: The dude (who was AWESOME btw, he played in a band with David Lee Roth and Eddie van Halen in the 70’s.) was having money trouble. So he decided to stop sellin’ guitars and just do lessons (I took lessons from him for 4 years) but he had medical problems so he had to stop. I still see him now and then.
L/C: Oh man Van Halen played some shows this year.
KM: Hah yeah a few friends of mine went to see ‘em.
L/C: I bet'cha that shit ruled. You ever see Heavy Metal Parking Lot?
KM: Nah i've heard a bout it i think tho. Was it good?
L/C: That shit is fucking hilarious. Anyway. How do you get obtain the majority of your gear from?
KM: Friends. Ebay.
L/C: I mean, friends just give you gear?
KM: Nah I borrow a ton, usually return it quickly.
L/C: What are some of your eBay gear finds?
KM: The Tascam, and this sweet fuzz pedal from the 70’s.
L/C: Yeah that fuzz pedal. What was it?
KM: I think it was a Crestwood. Yeah, it was.
L/C: Why were you looking for an old Fuzz?
KM: Eh, I really wasn't, it was cheap, and I bought it.
L/C: And you got it and it’s awesome right?
KM: Yeah it was great, but I needed money and sold it to a friend.
L/C: Do you like for anything in particular when on eBay.
KM: Hm... Mr. Velocity Hopkins Recordings. Hah.
L/C: Oh that went over my head.
KM: Nah i just scour eBay for anything cool.
L/C: I usually end up looking for specifics things.
KM: Just Hanson records releases usually.
KM: Ohh gear wise... Lately, I haven't searched gear on eBay. Last thing I was scopin’ out was a pitch shifter/delay pedal.
L/C: What is your favorite piece of gear? Like indispensable? Pitch shifting & delay?
KM: Yeah...that'd be my favorite piece of gear
L/C: That you have or you want?
KM: Want. Those things are costly hah.
L/C: Doesn't Boss have one?
L/C: So you can pitch shift and delay at the same time.
KM: Yeah.. I'm really interested in pitch shifting.
L/C: How does pitch shifting figure into your work?
KM: I just like to pitch shift things around...I also play guitar and sing, so i wanna shift my voice.
L/C: When going from tape to CPU, what do you use?
KM: The 4-track there's no other way to get all of the tracks.
L/C: You plug the 4-track into the CPU?
L/C: How? With a USB cable? Firewire? Something else?
KM: I use a stereo audio cable, real cheap from radio shack. I use an adapter to put one end into the 4-trac's headphone jack. And the other end goes into the computer
L/C: The stereo audio cable is it 1/4 or 1/8?
KM: 1/8 that’s why I need the adapter to plug into the 4-track.
L/C: Sweet. I’ve been thinking about doing that so I can get some tracks onto CD via audacity, but there is this USB to 1/4 that I've been eyeing also.
KM: Ooh awesome...I've been thinking about getting a USB turntable actually (kinda unrelated).
L/C: Oh no me too. It’s supposed to be good for getting tapes and vinyl onto the CPU. I need another decent TT anyway.
KM: Mine is shittin’ out, will only play 33 some of the time.
L/C: Yeah my last TT was like that. Played 33 RPM at 45 RPM. But at a slightly faster pitch. The belt was off and I can't fix that stuff.
KM: Yeah I need to learn how to do it.
L/C: To me its difficult. Like just take a turntable apart. I could never figure it out. I'd have to get another one. It’s always good, for the long run, to invest in decent turntables. Preferably direct drive.
KM: Oh definitely...I got mine, with huge speakers, at none other than the St. Vincent Depaul. I mean Salvation Army.
L/C: Tell me about some of your friends that you give tapes to. Steff and Christine and the others.
KM: Christine was my girlfriend. Devyn was my girlfriend. Steff, he's Terrortank.
Nate is green records' right hand man.
L/C: Really. What is his role?
KM: Well, we've been friends for a few years. He first encouraged me to do noise. He's been there since the beginning. He made the Green Records homepage, the non-myspace one.
L/C: Does he go to the University of Vermont?
KM: Yep yep. He did the site for a project and gets free hosting ‘til he graduates.
L/C: So he handles the web-side of Green Records and Tapes?
KM: Yep, I do the myspace, he takes care of the site.
L/C: Would you consider any of your girlfriend's your muse?
KM: No, Devyn was a bitch when it was all said and done. Christine hated my music hahahah. I made that tape to fool her. I asked her out at a Wolf Eyes show too haha. Devyn was really into not letting me be alone ever, that sucked.
L/C: Did you ever do it to these chicks?
KM: Nahhh didn't last long enough.
L/C: Well I mean, you made releases specifically for these girls. I mean it’s a part of the Green Records and Tapes catalog.
KM: I made em real late at night. I was bored, so I thought, "I'll make tapes," then chose who they'd go to. So they weren't made with anyone in mind.
L/C: So what is your inspiration then? What drives you to create? Boredom?
KM: My inspiration is life
L/C: That’s deep.
KM: Pretty much, yeah.
L/C: What is it about life that you find inspiring? A lot of people hate life and sometimes they use that hate to fuel the art they create.
KM: There are so many people that don't like what I do, and they don't think it's good. So it's to prove to me that i'm doing something they'll never do, and I'm doing something they'll never be able to do. That aspect. And also with life, the cool things that happen. Just doing it inspires me... I'm doing something cool. So it just inspires me to keep doing this.
L/C: So even in Michigan there is this notion that noise is not cool?
KM: Everyone here thinks I'm a moron for doing it.
L/C: Oh I definitely how inspiring making your own music can be. It’s really fun.
KM: It definitely is.
L/C: Besides your parents, do you have anyone you really admire? Heroes? Artists whose you work really influence yours?
KM: Aaron Dilloway, Fred Thomas, Nate Young, J. Mascis, Beck.
L/C: Who is Fred Thomas?
KM: Fred Thomas is owner of Westside Audio Labs/Ypsilanti Records
L/C: So these are your primary influences?
KM: Yep that’d be it, and this guy named Derek Jones...he goes under the name Planet of Id, his stuff is incredible.
L/C: How do you see their respective works influencing yours?
KM: Well, their noise is what I started off listening to. It’s what I strive to be as good as.
L/C: Hmm. what's your favorite Dinosaur jr. album?
KM: Where You Been, all the way. That or Hand It Over. They're all awesome.
L/C: Do you know any of the historie or background regarding Dinosaur Jr.?
KM: Yeah I know it pretty good, I'm a pretty big fan.
L/C: Oh no I ask because I just read Our Band Could Be Your Life. The Dinosaur jr. chapter is really interesting.
KM: I've never read that book, I have heard it's good though.
L/C: Oh there is a Dinosaur jr. messageboard too I think?
KM: Yeah freakscene.net Oh, did the book detail how much of a dick J. could be?
L/C: Yeah pretty much: like his asshole-ness was the reason the band broke up, because Barlow couldn't take it anymore.
KM: i've got the audio recording of the fight they had on stage somewhere haha. The only video footage of it is in none other than a Sonic Youth video haha.
L/C: Oh word? Ha ha. J Mascis played on that Thurston solo record? Have you heard it?
KM: Nah haven't actually.
L/C: Some of it is actually pretty good. It makes me cry and stuff. A great fall record for driving a Volvo around New England.
L/C: Do you eat at McDonald's?
KM: Yeah when I don't have time to get to Burger King.
L/C: Oh you like Burger King over McDonald's?
L/C: Please explain.
KM: Burger King is the shit. They have the quad stacker, and there is less grease in their food.
L/C: Do you like those commercials w/ that weird Burger King dude?
KM: Hahaha I like em cause they're creepy.
L/C: Yeah those fucking commercials creep me the fuck out. You see the one w/ the Moms trying to assassinate the weird Burger King dude?
KM: Hahaha nah I haven’t.
L/C: These Mom's try to run over creepy Burger King w/ a van. It’s fucking hilarious.
L/C: You ever play that video game? Like you buy five whoppers and you get a free Burger King game of creepy weird Burger King man driving a go kart or something?
KM: Hahahaha I've seen the game, haven’t played it tho.
L/C: I haven't played it either. I want it now though.
KM: Hahha, it looks sweet.
L/C: Anyway. I was going to ask you about the McSkillet. You have that yet?
KM: Nah I haven’t...what’s in it?
L/C: It’s like a breakfast burrito or something.
KM: I stick with the Mcgriddle hah.
L/C: I haven't been to Burger King in a minute.
KM: I've haven’t been there in a day. I was there yesterday.
L/C: Wow I mean do you eat Burger King on a daily basis?
KM: Nah, it's weird...I'm usually there twice a month, but I’ve eaten there Friday and Saturday.
L/C: Hmmm. So what does the future hold for Green Records and Tapes?
KM: Well I've got a few splits coming out soon. I’m playing my first show on December 28 and on January 24 or 25. I'll be playing at a Noisefest in Lansing. I’ve got many ideas. I just have to figure out how to execute them.
L/C: Anyway. Thanks for this interview. It was really awesome. Especially considering you have the Flu. I didn't mean for it to be this long?
KM: Oh no prob dude, I liked doing it. It was a lot of fun.