Label of Love: Aarght Records

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Chloe Mayne chats to Rick Stanley of Aarght Records ahead of their upcoming Label of Love showcase:

Roll up, purveyors of sonic independence! The Abbotsford Convent is set to worship a fresh set of deities over the coming weeks, as the Shadow Electric Bandroom plays host to a string of out-of-this-world celebrations. The first of our eleven prized madcaps is the legendary Aarght Records, a faceless beast with roots working down into the wriggly guts of Melbourne’s pulsating core. They’ve helped birth over thirty auditory gems from the likes of The UV Race, Total Control, Super Wild Horses and Eddy Current Suppression Ring, not to mention a head-spinning current rotation that includes Nun, Ausmuteants and Leather Towel. Ahead of their romp into the darkness this Saturday, here’s the lowdown on one of Australia’s finest sovereign labels…

First of all, would you like to introduce your label?
Aarght Records began in 2007 by a few of the members of Ooga Boogas while Mikey was working in the old Zenith vinyl pressing plant, Per was at JB Hi-Fi and Rich (that’s me) was in Exile on Smith St. Jonathan Wilmott had yet to be admitted to the bar but he jumped aboard soon after and began our prosecutions division.

How did you get started out with this adventure? Why did you decide to start an independent record label?
Mikey and Per heard the Dead Farmers song “Violence” and thought it had to be on a 7″. I had been running Dropkick Records and released the first Eddy Current Suppression LP with a lot of input from Mikey, so we all decided to do it again and do it right this time. I think we might have got it wrong, though. It’s hard to tell. There were and still are stacks of local bands that aren’t getting their records released. There’s always room for more new record labels.

Why does your label bear this name, is there a tale behind the choice?
When I was living in Brisbane in the ’90s I used to spend a lot of time with Phillipa Berry from Rocking Horse Records watching spaghetti westerns, Hammer Horror movies and talking about “Aarght, daarghling”. She said it first.

What was the first creation that your label released?
The Dead Farmers’ Violence 7″. 250 copies sold out pretty quickly. It’s a scorcher of a single.

Is there a project you’re involved in at the moment that particularly excites you?
The new Hierophants Parallax Error LP, it’s always the newest record you’re putting out that excites me most particularly.

What are you looking for, or what grabs you, when you decide to work alongside/support an artist/band?
Bands that have a sense of psychosis and/or absurdity, and that would never accept a management deal.

What’s your preferred method of release (CD, vinyl, cassette, digital, zine, other) and why?
Vinyl. I started buying singles on Thursday late night shopping (back in the early ’80s when shops in Brisbane were only allowed one late trading night a week, thanks Joh) and I never really switched to CDs. All formats have their pros and cons but if I’m in a band it doesn’t feel like we’ve released something unless and until it’s on vinyl.

Could you tell us about some of the more challenging or unexpected aspects of starting and running a label, from your experience?
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, everything is really easy.

What is it that you love/enjoy the most about managing your own independent label?
Watching a band like Ausmuteants come from being a totally unknown band that no-one gave a shit about, to touring the US and Europe and blowing everyone away.

Is there any advice that you’d give to somebody hoping to go down a similar path?
Think about how many ordinary records there are filling used bins everywhere, that you bought and listened to once or twice and filed away forever. The world doesn’t need any more of them and we’re drilling enough oil as it is. You can’t be afraid to piss your friends’ bands off by saying no, but if you are going to spend three months and three grand on something, you have to REALLY like it and want to tell EVERYONE how good it is.

Who’s playing at your upcoming ‘Label of Love’ gig and what can you tell us about them?
Whipper are three guys from Bits of Shit, Cuntz and Beat Disease playing simpler punk rock than their other bands. Slab Knackers is Brad Barry from ECSR doing rapping over beats by Mikey. Rites Wild is one of Stacey Wilson’s several solo projects, we’re hoping to do a 12″ with her soon. This will be my last gig with Exhaustion; we’ll play a “rock” set with Alison Bolger joining us on sax for a song or two. Hierophants are those Geelong characters who variously play in Ausmuteants, Orb and other excellent bands. Nun take things from punk, industrial music, pop, minimaldarkgothwave and play a mash of it all with synthezsizers. Something for all the nobodies!

The Aarght Records gig on July 4 comprises the first segment of the Label of Love series, which is happening soon at the Shadow Electric Bandroom in Abbotsford. Grab your ticket and find more info about the Aarght show here

Tickets to all of the below are on sale now. Stay tuned for more independent goodness!

Saturday 4th July – Aarght Records
Sunday 5th July – Breathlessness & Wigwam Records
Thursday 9th July – Catch Release Records
Friday 10th July – Big Village & Rawthentic Records
Saturday 11th July – Rice Is Nice
Sunday 12th July – Remote Control Records
Thursday 16th July – Poison City Records
Saturday 18th July – HopeStreet Records
Sunday 19th July – Butters Sessions
Saturday 25th July – Lost and Lonesome Recording Co
Saturday 1st August – Bedroom Suck Records

Chloe Mayne


Interview by Chloe Mayne.