Horror and vinyl are two things collectors and enthusiasts go absolutely berserk for. It is entirely fascinating that both are bigger than ever, breaking through what some consider a niche market. The horror genre has become completely mainstream and vinyl sales have been climbing yearly to impressive numbers. But what happens when the horror and the vinyl combine? A synergy forms that shows no signs of plateauing. Death Waltz Recording Company, One Way Static, and Waxwork Records are the three main labels responsible for this storm of commotion, and for good reason. I recently headed a rare roundtable discussion with the three labels (Spencer Hickman of Death Waltz Records, Sebastiaan Putseys of One Way Static Records, and Kevin Bergeron of Waxwork Records), diving into what is sure to be each label’s most successful month thus far.
Bloody-Disgusting: Each of you is doing something unique — can you briefly describe how you got started?
Spencer: I’ve worked in the music industry for 20+ years and I used to publish a horror fanzine in the 90s called psychotic reaction and organize a film festival in London called nothing shocking… Most of my friends either work in the music industry or film industry. Seemed like a mix of two things I know and know well.
Sebastiaan: OWS started in June 2012, but we just released our first record. [That album], “Last House on the Left’” took about a year to get made. I’ve loved soundtracks from an early age and run labels half my life, so it was bound to happen.
Kevin: I’ve played and toured in punk bands for 15 years. I had just gotten back from a tour in Cuba and the band split. I wanted to continue releasing music. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I collect vinyl, and I’m obsessed with horror cinema and film scores. I’m a big fan Mondo and Death Waltz also. I thought it would be cool to start a soundtrack label that specializes in revisiting actual master tapes. Seeking out the original analog source. I wanted to involve people that created these films and soundtracks. I also love the analog recording process –being in the studio, etc.
Bloody-Disgusting: What was the first soundtrack you fell in love with?
Spencer: For me Star Wars. I was 8 years old blew me away. My dad bought me the vinyl with he giant fold out poster. Lights out.
Sebastiaan: Star Wars and Conan, those scenes with that music. I was sold!
Kevin: The first film score that I remember paying close attention to and being affected by is Tobe Hooper’s and Wayne Bell’s score to Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Nothing like it. I love it.
Bloody-Disgusting: Wow! Spencer, do you still have that?
Spencer: Yes. Totally. Still love it…[and] it’s in near mint [condition]
Bloody-Disgusting: I always remembered Conan being huge and epic. And Kevin, I totally agree with you.
Sebastiaan: There is no other word than epic for that Conan score.
Bloody-Disgusting: Do you think the resurgence in vinyl sales has affected you in a way where non-horror fans are discovering your catalog and falling in love with the genre?
Spencer: Yes, totally. I organize record store day for the UK. Vinyl sales in general are on the rise and people are rediscovering the format. But more importantly, younger kids are discovering the format and they are the future!
Bloody-Disgusting: I always get excited when you see younger kids getting into it!
Kevin: For sure. I think each label brings different elements to the table that attract new fans who may have never heard of, say, Zombie Flesh Eaters or Last House…
Sebastiaan: I think vinyl never went away, but there surely is a new crowd buying vinyl these days. Since part of our audience [consists of] ‘collectors’ who are not necessary horror fans, I think they are discovering and getting into it at a fast rate.
Bloody-Disgusting: It is awesome to see the increased interest in vinyl over the last few years.
Kevin: I want kids to find out about this stuff. Not just our labels. Just the format in general. It’s the best way to listen to music!
Sebastiaan: It’s the best possible format for the genre. Big artworks and all.
Bloody-Disgusting: The whole package.
Kevin: No lie!
Spencer: Seventh year in a row. It is the only growth physical format in the industry. And yes, while it accounts for a small percentage, it is growing.
Bloody-Disgusting: It’s funny to think how rapidly CD sales have dropped while vinyl is climbing.
Spencer: Jon, I can ping you over figures if you like. I have stats coming out my ass.
Bloody-Disgusting: Ha, send me those numbers!
Spencer: They are pretty astonishing if I’m honest.
Sebastiaan: There is still an audience for CD’s but 90% of my customers go for vinyl and I love it.
Kevin: I don’t know anyone that still buys CDs.
Bloody-Disgusting: Kevin – So you just arrived in LA for the DOTD convention, which begins tonight! How excited are you to release this record in an event with Romero and Harrison present and participating?
Kevin: When I had the idea to release Day, I had no idea that it would snowball into this big event with a screening if the film, Romero flying in, a Q&A with Harrison and Romero. It’s nuts. I love the score and just releasing it’s insane to me, but this whole event is mind blowing and really humbling. People are excited about this stuff, and for good reason. There’s an intimacy to it. A ceremony to the vinyl/analog experience. Romero loves collecting vinyl. I’m stoked. I’m eating BBQ with Romero tomorrow night. What the hell, ya know!?
Sebastiaan: I’d love to share some ribs with Romero.
Kevin: Appropriate, huh?!
Sebastiaan: Yes sir!
Bloody-Disgusting: I am one of those people who actually prefers Day of the Dead over Dawn of the Dead. It has a lot to do with the claustrophobic setting, mood and obviously the score. I have always wanted an in-depth re-release of this score. How long has this been in the works, and was the process much different than Re-Animator?
Kevin: Romero touches on the difference between the Goblin Dawn score and John Harrison’s Day score in the liner notes of our release. It’s really eye-opening. Day has been in the works since March 2013. LOTS of work went into it remastering, mixing, etc. The process was a little different for Re-Animator. We had to literally reconstruct Re-Animator.
Bloody-Disgusting: Are you familiar with band the Relapse Rec or the band Zombi? They sound just like Harrison’s scores!
Kevin: I am!
Bloody-Disgusting: Let’s talk more about this October. Spencer – Beyond Fest is coming up and it looks insane!
Spencer: Oh yes. It’s gonna be awesome
Sebastiaan: That lineup is out of this world!
Kevin: No joke.
Spencer: We have gone all out with our friends at Amity. Chris from Amity is my oldest friend. It’s awesome to be doing this with him. We have a bunch of secret releases lined up.
Bloody-Disgusting: Any particular night you are looking forward to more than others?
Spencer: Err…All of them, haha. Umberto doing a live rescore of pieces.
Bloody-Disgusting: Yeah, that is nuts!
Spencer: He’s done it once before and won’t be doing it again. Rock Action released his rescore, I love it, and Matt is awesome so it made sense. Also, we’re showing A Field in England and The Borderlands. It will be rad. Two UK films.
Bloody-Disgusting: I would die to see Onibaba on the big screen though.
Spencer: That’s gonna be awesome.
Bloody-Disgusting: Any updates on when [Assault On Precinct 13] will be available to the public or DW store?
Spencer: Yes. It goes on sale on the night of the 10th. And anyone attending the screening is getting something very special indeed.
Bloody-Disgusting: Seb- [Last House On The Left] is finally about to be released. I find it quite impressive that you are coming out with such a bang. How excited are you for your first release? And you recently responded to a skeptical content question on the forum the other day. Your response was impressive and fans couldn’t have asked for anything more. Now, will you be taking the same approach and efforts with The Hills Have Eyes?
Sebastiaan: Could not be more excited. Response has been amazing so really happy about it all. I’ve been watching/listening to Last House since I was like 15, so I’m honored I got the trust from the Hess family and Wes Craven to release it.
Spencer: Seb sent me a test pressing … Sounds awesome.
Sebastiaan: Thanks! Yes we put great care in all aspects of our releases. It takes time but the outcome is worth it. We’ll be treating The Hills Have Eyes the same way. Just got liner notes from Michael Berryman. He’s a hero and the nicest guy ever!
Bloody-Disgusting: Awesome! Any possible quotes from Dee Wallace? I love her.
Sebastiaan: Talking to Dee Wallace too, she’s an angel!
Bloody-Disgusting: Do you think after these two Craven film soundtracks you will be continuing with more Craven or 70’s grindhouse scores?
Sebastiaan: We will be doing a lot of things, both new and classic. There are a few other Craven’s in the making.
Bloody-Disgusting: Is that it for hints being dropped or can you expand with another?
Sebastiaan: Top secret.
Bloody-Disgusting: Are there any scores you’d like to see released by the other labels (since they might not fit your brand aesthetically)?
Spencer: Err…. I haven’t really thought about that if I’m completely honest. I tend to concentrate on DW. I guess I’ll wait and see. I know both of these cats have things I would like to have done so….
Sebastiaan: No I want to do ‘em all, ha! I really love the Maniac remake score Death Waltz put out. I’m jealous of it, but I think Spencer did a better job than I could have ever done.
Spencer: Aww shucks, thanks Seb.
Bloody-Disgusting: I was skeptical of the re-make for obvious reasons, but then when I saw it, the score was one of the first things that I fell in love with.
Spencer: Yeah, I saw it last August. I came out [of] the screening, grabbed Giles from Metronome and was like, “I need that score man.”
Sebastiaan: It’s top, and fits the movie like a glove. Some may not like the movie, but you can’t argue about that Rob score.
Bloody-Disgusting: Yeah, I enjoyed the movie, but that score is amazing. And DW’s edition blows Mondo’s out of the water. Have you heard similar feedback, Spencer?
Spencer: I love Justin and the Mondo crew.
Bloody-Disgusting: I love Mondo too, but your edition has something really special.
Kevin: I’m really impressed with the DW Maniac packaging. I mean, hot damn!
Spencer: I think they are different sides to the same coin. We went all out. Yeah, I admit that.
Kevin: DW – more Italian (City of the Living Dead). Love that stuff. One Way Static – more dirty 70’s grindhouse stuff.
Spencer: We got some super nuts Italian stuff coming. Like stone-cold classics. Super rare, never issued.
Sebastiaan: Always had a soft spot for the Italians. Loving it. Can’t wait to see Spencer.
Bloody-Disgusting: Speaking of going all out, tell me about this new and special packaging we will see for NY Ripper.
Spencer: We decided to change things up a little and include fold-out booklets and posters. It turns out standard sleeves were too slim for all the shit we wanna put in there. So my manufactures created a jacket for us, which is nuts. This thing is insane.
Sebastiaan: The prototype you showed a few days back looked pretty nuts indeed!
Bloody-Disgusting: Kevin – always wanted to ask you this…Re-Animator sounds great and huge! I noticed Alan Douches at West West Side mastered it. You must have been in hardcore/punk bands in the late 90s or early 2000s, is that true?
Kevin: That’s right!
Bloody-Disgusting: He was definitely the man everyone went to.
Kevin: Yeah, still so. He mastered the Misfits box set, tons of hardcore stuff; he even produced the Bill and Ted soundtracks. Too funny. He’s awesome.
Bloody-Disgusting: And while we are on the music tip…Spencer – I saw awhile back you love Texas Is The Reason! “Do you know who you are” is a classic! Are you a fan of any other early Revelation artists?
Spencer: Yeah! I was great friends with Sense Field. Toured with them when they played the UK. Spent a lot of time in NYC. So Quicksand, Shift, etc.
Kevin: Texas Is The Reason [and] is the best band name!
Bloody-Disgusting: Oh wow. John, right? He has a great voice, even when he was in Further Seems Forever.
Spencer: Bunch is awesome
Sebastiaan: I love punk and hardcore. I used to run Reflex Records in the late Nineties, we did a bunch of re-releases by DYS, Poison Idea, Government Issue… still love those bands.
Bloody-Disgusting: Seb, that’s awesome. I didn’t know that! I love Poison Idea. Seb – Are you planning on partaking in any special events for LHOTL or The Hills Have Eyes?
Sebastiaan: I’d love to run some events. I’m planning on doing a ‘year one’ retrospective for all the releases I’ve done this time next year. Too busy right now. We’ll talk about this next year…
I’d love to do some subgenre compilations, but again these take up a lot of time.
Bloody-Disgusting: I know I said it before on “Spin the Blackest Circles,” but House “On The Edge Of The Park.” *cough*cough*
Sebastiaan: House On The Edge? You never know.
Bloody-Disgusting: I need House on the Edge! Spencer – are the rumors true about Slumber Party Massacre?
Spencer: Yep they are! Any score whose sum total of instruments used is a Casio keyboard, a cymbal and [two] crystal glasses needs to be on DW.
Bloody-Disgusting: Haha, I absolutely love the minimalism in it. Is this for Halloween?
Spencer: No, won’t be ready. We are behind schedule and I’m laying off the gas for a little while. Give people a breather.
Bloody-Disgusting: Kevin – Talk to me about Rosemary’s Baby, and is it true about mysterious tapes in PA regarding Creepshow?
Kevin: Rosemary’s Baby is such a classic high profile film, and Komeda’s score is incredible. The tapes are from the late 1960’s so a LOT of care had to be taken in reconstructing, mixing, mastering. It’s an honor to be releasing Rosemary. I think it’s one of the best horror/thrillers ever created and one of my all time favs.
Yes, we will be releasing Creepshow. We tracked down the master tapes in PA. They were thought to have been lost for 30 years. With the help of John Harrison, we found them and are using them as the source for our Creepshow release. They were in remarkable shape.
Spencer: I was out with John last week he told me that story Kevin. Pretty rad
Kevin: Romero and Harrison are on board for Creepshow. Let’s see if we can get Stephen King!
Bloody-Disgusting: So it is true! That’s sick!
Sebastiaan: Looking forward to Creepshow, classic!
Bloody-Disgusting: “Something To Tide You Over” is a track I blast regularly in my car. Can we get the lost tapes from Rick Wakeman or Harrison for Creepshow 2 as well??
Kevin: Perhaps!! Very cool, Spence. John Harrison is so nice.
Spencer: Yeah he’s a fun guy
Bloody-Disgusting: Have you heard of any other new labels trying to get in the mix?
Spencer: Not that I am aware of.
Sebastiaan: Unseen Forces did a good job on the Evil Dead 2013 soundtrack. It’s worth checking out. Other than that, not really seen any new cats pop up.
Spencer: One of the year’s best.
Sebastiaan: It’s an A+ score. It deserves people’s attention.
Bloody-Disgusting: Since we all are fans of 70s grime and Italian sleaze, what are some of your favorite soundtracks from that era? I actually love the Ennio Morricone film “Who Saw Her Die?” LP. Totally creepy.
Spencer: All The Colours Of The Dark. Beautiful
Bloody-Disgusting: Yes, I need that LP but that is impossible to find.
Bloody-Disgusting: Are you are hinting at something, Spencer?
Spencer: You never know my man. I want that, I don’t have the original.
Bloody-Disgusting: Well, I’ll just read between the lines and tell you that you made my day.
Sebastiaan: Seventies: Texas Chainsaw score creeps me out always. And of course I don’t need to mention the Goblin stuff.
Spencer: Spasmo score
Bloody-Disgusting: Yes, that piano melody! I was curious to know if either of you were surprised by your success?
Spencer: Are you kidding? It’s nuts. We made the front page of Pitchfork! I was nearly crying!
Sebastiaan: It’s crazy to get all that amazing response and work with all those composers and directors. Really happy this is going places instead of just sitting on shelves.
Spencer: I guess the only negative has been such a huge growth has put a strain on us from a customer service perspective. It’s been so unexpected that dealing with that upsurge has been hard. But we are learning all the time and growing up in public.
Bloody-Disgusting: You never really do realize how many people are out there just like you, ya know?
Sebastiaan: At first I thought I was one of the few who were into this, then I talked to Spencer and I knew there were at least two of us. It turns out there is a good crowd who appreciates what we are cooking up.
Spencer: Yeah, that is weird.
Bloody-Disgusting: Spencer – are there any releases from your catalog you feel more emotionally attached to than others?
Spencer: Well, I guess Zombi because it was the first. But I wouldn’t release anything I didn’t totally believe in.
Sebastiaan: You never forget your first!
Spencer: Haha, Seb.
Bloody-Disgusting: Backtracking to talking about others like you – When you announced Halloween 3, I was so pumped because my first thought was, “There are people out there who love H3 as much as I do??” Criminally underrated in all aspects.
Spencer: Oh man, I’ll fight anyone that disses H3.
Bloody-Disgusting: Tom Atkins for life!
Bloody-Disgusting: October is enormous for both of you and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead. You do deserve all the success coming your way.
Spencer: Thanks Jon. I’m trying to push the package quality into new realms.
Bloody-Disgusting: If Maniac and The Fog were just glimpses of what’s to come regarding packing, then I can’t wait!
Spencer: Yeah wait till you see Assault On Precinct 13.
Bloody-Disgusting: I can’t handle it!
Kevin: Everyone support DW and OWS. These guys fucking rule. No joke. I’m just happy that Waxwork is part of the “unholy trinity” of reissue labels!
Sebastiaan: Thank you to all the fans who support this. Come talk to and with us on www.spintheblackestcircles.com and you’ll find out you are not the only one with a taste for creepy sounds.
DW, OWS and Waxwork all have amazing releases coming out this month that need your immediate attention and support. You can order each of their respective releases on their homepage links below. Because of high international shipping charges, I recommend placing an order with Light in the Attic for the US folks per DW and OWS releases. And as Sebastiaan stated, please come talk horror vinyl and film scores with all of us at www.spintheblackestcircles.com. You can also contact me on that forum under @Strangevices.