steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

20 questions
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with hundebiss records' simone & barbara

Vernasca, Italy's Hundebiss Records, run by astute noiseheads Simone and Barbara, puts out beautiful works of art that moonlight as music releases. With only three discography items to their credit, they've carved out a respectable role on the experimental scene, releasing two impeccable records by Olyvetty and Hair Police, as well as a limited-run cassette by Dracula Lewis. And they distro, too! I jumped at the chance to grill them on their record label habits and animal resemblances, and although I let one ethnically-themed faux-pas slip through, I think the results offer a nice glimpse into their lives as label owners and generally cool people. Plus, there's a picture of a dog riding a human being. Case closed!

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1. First of all, where did the name "Hundebiss" come from and what does it mean?

Hundebiss means "dog's bite" in German, so it came from our love for dogs. We support the animals' angst against the human race.

2. How did Hundebiss come together?

From our love: we're a team!

We found that we each love the same music (almost) and we tried to put our love into concrete form, so the label was born!

3. Your releases are works of art both sonically and visually. How important is the packaging to the release?

Fundamental. It's a sort of split release between the band and us: the band creates the music and we make the artwork around that.

4. How has the response been to the label so far?

Good we think.

5. Tell us something interesting about Vernasca, Italy.

Vernasca is a small village on the hills, surrounded by woods and beautiful landscapes.

Here we're quite a bit out from the civilization and for us it's like a refuge.

Basically is a town of hunter and migrants, so we're the weirdos. And the villains.

6. What attracts you to noise?

Honestly? The "punk" side. DIY attitude, non-music concept, luddite use of technology, the spirit of community. In the last few years these things have become more vivid. We think that, nowadays, there are no other scenes that are exciting like this.

7. What is you favourite type of pasta and why?

ST is pasta and pizza addicted, Barbara doesn't love pasta too much; she prefers salad and freedom fries. Our brand new favourite pasta is Mezze Penne rigate alla carbonara vegetariana (eggs, seitan, black pepper, cream). Barbara invented this, she's a great chef. We also really love Pesto and Salsa di Noci.

And we are a fan of pasta ripiena as Tortelli with Burro & Salvia.

A question to an Italian label about pasta is quite stereotype-oriented. We mean, maybe you wanna know more about mafia?

8. How did you become involved with Hair Police?

We were in love with a lot of Hair Police records, in particular with Constantly Terrified, a masterpiece of new American noise. When we started Hundebiss Records, a Hair Police release was a priority.

Dominick, a friend of ours, introduced us to HP. Amazing guys.


Hair Police's beautifully-designed Totaled and Stranded LP

9. What are some fellow labels you particularly admire?

Vermiform, Ultra-Eczema, Second Sleep, Hospital, No Fun, Free Matter for the Blind, 8mm, Qbico, AA Records, Sound Pollution, Slap A Ham, Ebullition, Crass Records.

10. What is the ultimate driving album?

Top ten best driving albums ever:

Assuck - Misery Index

The Adverts - Crossing the Red Sea

Orchid - Chaos is Me

Woods - How to Survive in + In The Woods

Wolf Eyes - Burned Mind

Oblivians - Soul Food

Indigesti - Sguardo RealtÓ

Municipal Waste - Hazardous Mutations

The Destroyer - Live @ DBoy 1994

The Germs - (G.I.)

The Misfits - Static Age

Oops, it's eleven.

11. Your five favourite movies - name them.

Riti, magie nere e segrete orge nel trecento - Ralph Brown, 1972

Non aprite quel cancello - Tibor Takacs, 1987

Gummo - Harmony Korine, 1997

Ecce Bombo - Nanni Moretti, 1978

The Goonies - Richard Donner, 1985

pi - Darren Aronofsky, 1998

Oops, it's six.

12. How do you select what to put out on Hundebiss?

There's no real selection. We work with the bands - artists we contact for the releases. So, please, do not send any demos.

13. Who is creating truly exciting and groundbreaking experimental music these days?

Mudboy, Jason Crumer, Hair Police, John Wiese, Francesco Cavaliere, Kevin Drumm, C. Spencer Yeh, James Ferraro and The Skaters.

14. What I've heard from Olyvetty has really impressed me. How did their single end up as your first release?

Olyvetty's guys are friends of ours, and when we saw their incendiary live-set in Florence two years ago we fel; in love and we start talking to them about our label project. We think Olyvetty could represent one of the few new attitudes coming out from the youth-mass-migration to Berlin. The insane mix of various sounds, from minimal techno to harsh noise, could be a starting point for some new crossover languages. In another point of view, Claudio and Riccardo represent the point of no return between two generations of artist-musician-noisers from the Italian underground scene. And the natural conflict between these two attitudes is apparent during their gigs.

 

15. What animal do you most resemble?

Obviously the dog! And the wolf, but only when we're angry..

16. What is your strategy for getting Hundebiss releases distributed and promoted?

We know the main distributors and simply ask them to distribute our stuff. Some distributors are friends. We used to do the promotion.

17. What is your favourite colour? Justify your selection.

Black, the sum of all colours.

18. Do you guys break even on your records?

Yes. For some releases we reach the sum in few weeks; for others it takes more time, but at the end we even have the money for the next release.

19. Who is your favourite novelist, and why?

We prefer to watch the figures.

20. What's in the future for Hundebiss?

Many releases, gigs in a special place we're trying to create, and making friends all over the world!


A picture Simone and Barbara sent me
(draw your own conclusions)

interview conducted by Michael Tau
March 2009
published June 3, 2009

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