Antithetic Records Interview & Kayo Dot Competition!

Antithetic Records are relatively new kids on the block. After a beautifully packaged release from LURKER’s favourite release of 2009, Shawn’s label has gone from strength to strength. Focusing on vinyl, Antithetic’s upcoming release list looks more like my very own ‘releases that need to see the light of day on vinyl’ – with luminaries from these very pages like Terzij de Horde and Wildernessking (formerly Heathens) and our own favourite, Kayo Dot, leading the assault. Inevitable then, that LURKER and Antithetic became good friends.

With the pre-order for Kayo Dot’s latest EP on vinyl, Stained Glass, going live sometime this week (click here to place an order), which promises to be as aesthetically and sonically pleasing as anything Antithetic put their names too,  LURKER and Antithetic have put together a competition and a full article. Here I present an introduction to this incredible label, including a short interview with its creator Shawn, a competition to win a test press copy of the upcoming Antithetic release of Kayo Dot’s ‘Stained Glass’ and Shawn’s own biographies on the bands he has chosen to support.

Visit the Antithetic shop here. Browse the blog over here, and sign up to the mailing list for all latest news here.

-How did you make the move from fan to supporting and representing bands that you felt an affinity toward?

The transition came out of my somewhat recent affinity for collecting vinyl, and wanting to get some of my favorite albums pressed that were only available on CD.  The initial 3 releases I had hopes of working on were The Postman Syndrome – Terraforming, maudlin of the Well’s discography, and Irepress – Samus Octology.  I set out to see what kind of interest people had by sending some emails and waiting for a response.

The first reply came from Toby Driver.   He was interested in working with me, but there was a small catch at the time.  Dark Symphonies (the label who released the first three motW albums) would not release the rights for a vinyl license, so the only album on the table was Part the Second.  I decided to move forward with it, and the label was born.  I learned so much with that first release.  It was great having Toby’s help along the way.  I couldn’t have asked for a better person to work with or a better album to release as my first!

-Tell us about how you got into this music, what were some gateway bands, any moments of epiphany/realisation?!

When I was young, my favorites were Metallica, Tool, Pantera, Gwar, and the like.  I have an older cousin that got me into “real” music at a very young age.  This quickly evolved into extreme metal and everything in between.  The first true extreme metal bands I listened to were Strapping Young Lad and Dillinger Escape Plan.  The Albums were “City” and “Calculating Infinity”.  City was just amazing to me.  So brutal, yet so memorable.  I’ll admit that DEP were a bit too intense for me at first.  But, after time, I grew to love that album, and appreciate all the subtle characteristics that aren’t necessarily evident on the first few listens.

I was also very much into the early 2000’s hardcore scene with bands like Poison the Well, From Autum to Ashes, Skycamefalling, Hopesfall, etc.  This led way to more styles where there weren’t any clean vocals to speak of, and the emotion was felt in the pure intensity of the music.  I’ve always felt somewhat alienated by my love of this music, but I’ve found that there are plenty of people out there who share this passion, and I’ve only come to realize that I’m not alone now that I’m able to share this through the label.

-What’s your standpoint on artwork for releases? So many labels seem to settle for anything these days, from badly photoshopped/pixelated images cached from Google Images to redundant, overused black and white iconography.

I feel that artwork is critically important to the release, almost as much as the music itself.  When working on the Part the Second vinyl, I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to find a proper place for all of the art that was available.  Toby had a specific piece of art for each song on that album, plus the cover art.  He came up with the idea to use the song specific art for the vinyl labels, which turned out great in the end.

The artwork in a vinyl release plays a huge role in the overall package.  You’re working with a medium that is nearly triple the size of a CD jacket, and something you can look over and admire as you listen to the vinyl itself.  It’s a very tangible thing, and not something to be taken lightly.  I also like it when the vinyl release has different art than the CD version, it just adds another layer and makes it that much more special.

-What does the future hold for Antithetic? Any bands you’d love to work with?

Its hard to say at this point.  2011 was huge for us.  I seriously never anticipated getting so many great bands to work with us, and I’m so thankful for it.  I would like to continue to expand the roster and offer even more releases by bands that we enjoy.

For bands we’d love to work with, that’s a hard one.  I have a sort of “wish list” of albums that I would love to press/repress.  At the top of that list would have to be the last two albums by Hum, the self titled album by Tomahawk (such a huge Mike Patton fan!), and Cynic’s Focus.  I went through great lengths trying to get a license to do the Cynic album, only to find that another company has the rights to all vinyl reproduction for Roadrunner Records.  Maybe one day I can convince them otherwise!  The Tomahawk guys said they plan to press that album themselves at some point.  I hope it happens!

As for other bands to work with, I would certainly like to be involved with the next full length by Terzij de Horde, and anything that Kayo Dot is involved with.  There’s plenty of others out there, but I’ll reveal those when the time comes.

-There’s a pretty eclectic mix of bands in your release list. Is there any underlying connection?

Its funny that you ask.  When I first set out to come up with a name for the label, I asked a small group of friends for their opinion.  I got mostly joke answers, but one asked what styles I enjoyed most.  I said that I really enjoy music that features harmony, but I also enjoy music that is completely disorganized and almost noise.  Being that these two are opposites, he offered the name Antithetic, which means directly contrasted.  I loved it, and decided that was the perfect name for the label.

I grew up listening to several different styles of music, most of which have stuck with me to this day.  Classic rock, 70’s prog, 80’s thrash, 90’s alternative and grunge.  I’m a huge fan of all these styles, and don’t want to limit my label to one specific sound.  If it’s something I find truly interesting, original and enjoyable, I’ll be glad to promote it and release it.  I’ve had the privilege to work with some fantastic artists thus far, and can only hope that I get to work with even more in the future.

maudlin of the Well / Kayo Dot – I would imagine that most people familiar with our label are also familiar with these two bands.  maudlin of the Well being the amazing progressive and avant garde metal band from the late 90’s and early 2000’s, and Kayo Dot being the continuation of that band that has continued to morph into something altogether different, yet undeniably beautiful and awesome.  They are both quite abstract and difficult to categorize.  This is what makes them so special.  It has been fantastic working with them over the past year. (http://www.kayodot.net/ , Our interview with Toby Driver)

Terzij de Horde – This is a band that hails from the Netherlands, and they play an amalgamation of black metal with elements of doom and hardcore.   Their name comes from a line in the Dutch poem “Einde” by Hendrik Marsman.  They really connected with Marsman and his style, and felt that having a name in their native tongue would express their deeper meaning as a fierce and passionate band.  This passion is clearly evident in their music.  Their drive comes from the idea that there is nothing outside our reach, and we are to make every second count.  They are truly 5 of the coolest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of talking to and working with.  Johan and Richard in particular have been just great, not only sharing their artistic input on their vinyl EP release, but personal stories and the like as well.  I’ve even had the privilege of getting personally translated interviews emailed to me.  These guys are seriously  top notch, and aren’t to be missed. (http://terzijdehorde.blogspot.com/ , Terzij de Horde on LURKER)

The Postman Syndrome / East of the Wall – Where to begin.  The name changes have been plentiful over the years.  In 2002, The Postman Syndrome released Terraforming and even though I didn’t listen to it until years later, it still stands as one of the most important metal albums I’ve ever heard.  The majority of these players have morphed into the band we now know as East of the Wall, and they still exhibit many of the same attributes, while adding a few more that come with experience.  Their 2009 album Ressentiment was fairly controversial as it was the first album as East of the Wall to feature vocals, and quite a lot of them at that!  Their latest album The Apologist is their first to be written by the entire group in their current formation.  It promises to be more in line with the earlier EOTW releases, while continuing to expand upon some of the ideas and elements showcased on Ressentiment. (http://www.eastofthewall.com/)

Wildernessking (formerly Heathens) – I heard this band after reading a post made by Lurker Richard giving praise to their single “Morning”.  I was so impressed with this song upon my first listen, but it was only after several subsequent listens that I truly came to realize what potential this band had.  I contacted them about working with them in the future, and came to find that they were working hard on a full length worth of material.  They are pulling out all the stops for this album, from the mastering engineer to the cover art and the recording methods, it will be miles ahead of their recordings as Heathens.  I’ve had the privilege of hearing one demo from “The Writing of Gods in the Sand”, and it is crushing!  You’ve been warned. (https://www.facebook.com/Wildernessking , Heathens on LURKER)

Young And In The Way – This is a band that hails from North Carolina, and draws some comparisons to the likes of Cursed, Converge and Trap Them.  These are some big names to live up to, and they do so with ease.  These guys are just punishing.  Their 12” “I Am Not What I Am” quickly became a favorite of mine, along with many others who I’ve shared it with.  I went out on a limb contacting them to see if they would have any interest in working with my label in the future, and they happened to be in the midst of writing material for a new EP.  We discussed a few details about the physical package to be put together, and another great release was born.  Due by the end of the year, expect nothing less than an absolutely raging set of songs from this talented group. (http://www.youngandintheway.com/)

Kayo Dot – Stained Glass competition:

COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED. Congratulations to Brad Cryan.

Please get in touch Brad: lurkerspath@gmail.com.

You'll find me in the vast wilderness of British Columbia, talking metal at LURKER, or working in publishing and front-end web/eBook development.

24 Comments

  • Reply June 26, 2011

    matt finney

    i heard about Antithetic through twitter. he started following Heinali and me out of nowhere and i’m really glad he did. i checked out his label and i was really excited about what he was doing. Heinali and me are both huge Kayo Dot/MOTW fans so those albums finally getting the vinyl treatment is great. we started talking and he’s genuinely one of the nicest/friendliest people i’ve had the chance to talk to. i’m glad to call him a buddy of mine. i’m excited about the Stained Glass release but the others that i’m looking forward to include The Postman Syndrome/East of the Wall and Young and in the Way. the entire roster he has set up now is amazing and i’m sure i’ll pick up each release when i’m not so ridiculously broke. regardless of who wins, we’re lucky to have someone like Shawn running a label that puts as much love and care into the releases as the bands do. support his label and keep and eye out for what they’re doing next.

  • Reply June 26, 2011

    Matthew Lefebvre

    I first heard of Antithetic when the maudlin of the Well – Part the Second vinyl was announced. Up until that point the album was digital only, I’m a pretty big record collector both vinyl and CD so I was excited about a physical format release for the album. I love that album, what an incredible record to have as a first release for the label.

    My most anticipated release is Kayo Dot – Stained Glass, I’ve been refreshing the page over and over again! I also have to mention the remainder of the maudlin of the Well discography. The companion albums Bath and Leaving Your Body Map are incredible and they aren’t easy to find on CD. I’m really excited that they are finally going to be available on vinyl for the first time, and as a set which they were intended to be. My Fruit Psychobells… A Seed Combustible which completes the maudlin of the Well discography will be coming in 2012, I believe.

    Big thank you to Shawn at Antithetic for putting out such amazing records!

  • Reply June 27, 2011

    Sean Mills

    via mia on fb

  • Reply June 27, 2011

    Radoslaw Wlodkowski

    I first heard of Antithetic when I preordered Part the Second vinyl. I’m anticipating the motW Bath and LYBM vinyl box 🙂

    Thank you for all your great work!

  • Reply June 27, 2011

    Travis Kirk

    I heard of Antithetic when my GF ordered PtS on vinyl as a Christmas present for myself. The motW Bath / LyBM box set is what I cannot wait for.

  • Reply June 27, 2011

    Alex Martin

    Probably on the KD board, and ordered Part the Second. Stained Glass is my most anticipated, but will always check out what they are putting out.

  • Reply June 27, 2011

    andi

    first i heard of antithetic when they put out MOTW – Part the second. heard this album over and over again as mp3 and started thinking someone HAS to bring this on vinyl … and there it was. big thanks for this. also looking forward to the box.
    over the last few weeks or so i checked the site regularly, mostly a few times a day, cause i won’t miss out the stained glass ep (and a chance to win a testpress).
    also i read about antithetic on dead format cause shawn posted there i think.
    my most anticipated release so far is the MOTW part the second. realy good music in the best format with incredible artwork. this is also a reason why i’m looking forward to stained glases. shawn does some realy, realy great work here on the MOTW and so he will do on the Kayo Dot i believe. its obviuos that he puts all his heart and soul in this. the music that he (and obviusly a lot of other people) loves.

    !!!a big thank you to him!!!

  • Reply June 27, 2011

    Philip Tabaka

    1) How you heard about Antithetic Records?
    (answer) I heard of this great label through Toby Driver, in regards to motW: PTS being put out on vinyl. Which in turn made my heart flutter since I am such a huge vinyl collector. Plus after contacting Shawn about the release, and trying to support his cause as much as I could by getting the word out to as many people that would care. All I can say is that Antithetic Records is out of the gates at a running start, by putting out great releases, with absolute quality in: vinyl color, limited pressings, making sure that the artwork is taken very seriously as being a VITAL part of the vinyl process, and the end result. Having had numerous chats back and forth with Shawn, I can honestly say he is a really great dude.

    2) Most anticipated release?
    (answer)Well…after reading in this interview. I would love for Shawn/Antithetic to put HUM out on vinyl! AND…of course I can’t wait for Kayo Dot – Stained Glass, and the motW box set!?! I mean what phenomenal releases! Along with everything else he has in the works for the rest of 2011, and early 2012 gives me hope that a great label can still exist.

    Lurkerspath! Great interview!

    Phil

  • Reply June 27, 2011

    Stepheb

    I heard of these guys when a member of progarchives posted that a new label was releasing part the second on vinyl. I preordered it ASAP and have been following since. Currently my most anticipated is the upcoming motW double release.

  • Reply June 27, 2011

    Michael

    I found the label from by pre-ordering the ‘part the second’ vinyl and my most anticipated release has got to be the rumoured maudlin Of The Well boxset

  • Reply June 27, 2011

    Marco Mayer

    I heard of Antithetic Records when I searched for “part the second” on Google. I love that album to death; as I was immensely satisfied when I found out about Shawn’s vinyl release, I bought it immediately. Even though I had to pay some ugly taxes (I live in Brazil) it was still worth it. Best independent store ever; will buy from Shawn again.

  • Reply June 27, 2011

    Barbara

    From Mia.

  • Reply June 27, 2011

    Matthew Serra

    I suppose I first heard of Antithetic Records because of the close eye I keep on Toby Driver projects; he’s long been one my very, very favorite musicians, and the vinyl releases of the motW material is exciting to see. I would have to say that with the exception of the motW and Kayo Dot releases, I’m pretty excited about the East of the Wall release; it seems a really accessible blend of psychedelic leanings and outside prog metal, with various influences thrown in where seen fit. Almost metalcore at times, but for once not in a lame way. serra.matthew@gmail.com

  • Reply June 28, 2011

    Cryogenic Husk

    I heard about Antithetic about the same time I was browsing this site coincidently. I saw a recent follow via Twitter, and made a note to look into them later… the universe must have interpreted that “later” meant within 24 hours because when surfing the internet-google-box-machine and coming across your site, there was mention of Antithetic front and center! 🙂 Honestly, Kayo Dot is one of those bands I’ve ALWAYS heard about, but snoozed on, there’s just too much music to keep up to date with. So I’d say I’m eager about their upcoming release so it’d help break the ice for me.

  • Reply June 29, 2011

    Sean Dobbe

    I stumbled upon Antithetic Records by chance while trying to find info on Animals As Leader’s self-titled vinyl release (at the time, Antithetic was supposed to have the rights to it). I noticed the pre-order for Maudlin of the Well’s Part the Second in the webstore and thought I’d give it listen. I streamed a few songs, not expecting anything special, but I was BLOWN away! It was so beautiful and unique, I’d never heard anything like it. From there on forth, I became a diehard MOTW fan and started eagerly following Antithetic Records.

    I’m really surprised and impressed with the upcoming releases list, but I have to say that I’m most excited for the MOTW boxset. Thank you so much for the time and care you put into putting these quality records out, it means a lot. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for Shawn and Antithetic Records! Cheers!

    Also: If my vote means anything, I think Phil Tabaka (his comment is a few above mine) really does deserve to win this contest. He messaged me and introduced me to Kayo Dot and some other fantastic music after seeing a post I made on Antithetic’s Facebook page. He’s a great dude and a devoted MOTW/Kayo Dot fan. Help him complete his near-perfect collection!!

  • Reply June 29, 2011

    Rowan Noel

    I heard about Antithetic Records when some guy on YouTube made a comment that PtS was going to have a release on vinyl. As a new, though avid, motW fan I immediately bought the album at a very high price (damn you border taxes). I received my copy, but it was damaged somehow. The vinyl was dent and slightly curved, often making the ending of “Laboratories of the Invisible World (Rollerskating the Cosmic Palmistric Postborder)” sound like the soundtrack of a horror film. Perhaps I should have sent him a note about it, but it’s been almost a year now.

    Anyway, I’m still very much excited about Bath and LYBM! I’ll have to save up a lot of money for those preposterously high border taxes.

    Also, if you guys like this label, perhaps you’d like to check out a similar label: Zeitgeister Music. It’s a German group of five musicians who make their own music and release their own music – all for the sake of making music. It’s labels like Antithetic Records and Zeitgeister Music that make the music industry seem less soulless.

  • Reply June 30, 2011

    Brad Cryan

    I learned about Antithetic Records from Kayo Dot’s website, when they released maudlin of the Well’s Part the second on vinyl. I’d been listening to that album pretty much nonstop for months at that point and when i saw there was going to be a vinyl release it was pretty ridiculous how excited I was. I preordered myself one of the blue ones as soon as I got the chance.

    Right now I’m pretty psyched for Stained Glass. And plus a bonus remix on the B side? Dayum that’s classy.

  • Reply July 2, 2011

    John Hickey

    I learned about Antithetic Records through Kayo Dot. It’s so exciting to see new record labels supporting so many artists with high quality product. Who would have thought that in the digital age packaging and presence would become so important again. There is such a great underground happening right now.

    I’m most excited for the new Kayo Dot of course.

  • Reply July 5, 2011

    rust

    i have kayo dot’s stained glass,bought it from their website,such an amazing record…there was this passage in kayo dot which formed a loop in the middle of the night but the cd was not playing…

  • Reply July 6, 2011

    Christian J. Blasco

    I too, learned about Antithetic Records via Kayo Dot. Happened across the label’s first release while wandering around kayodot.net, and immediately looked up the label and began following Shawn’s actions on Facebook. It’s exciting to watch a small vinyl only label start out with such quality output, and I eagerly anticipate Antithetic’s future as well. However, the releases I am most anticipating are, surprise, the motW box sets. 🙂

  • Reply July 6, 2011

    Ömer Akpınar

    I heard antithetic from Progarchives. A topic was saying that they would release ‘part the second’ on vinyl which really got me excited. As soon as I read the article I went to their store and ordered it. Now I’m playing it on my turntable with a smile on my face 🙂 And of course I eagerly anticipate the motW box set to be released in a short notice.

  • Reply July 8, 2011

    Fred

    Hola.
    I was googling the Postman Syndrome Terraforming vinyl. Just on whim. Just because its one of my top three favorite albums ever. I saw Antithetic’s blogspot url and checked it out. As i read, i was emotive, to say the least. My weed high does not even compare to the joy and jubilation i am still processing. Sadly I am tired from work so i can’t jump in the air. But Im blasting the cd right now. And badly want to time travel. Thank you dude(s)! Today is a great day. – Fred

  • Reply July 10, 2011

    Jens Bishop

    I first heard about Antithetic Records on DeadFormat.net when Part the Second came out, and I still need to pick that up. I wish I could have scored a sunburst copy, as those look rad.

    I also read about the Stained Glass record on dead format, and then again at They Still Press Vinyl theystillpressvinyl.wordpress.com. (TSPV has some great record reviews and pictures.)

    I haven’t heard Stained Glass yet, and am looking forward to giving it a spin. I pre-ordered it with the quickness once I saw it on DF.

    I got to see Kayo Dot in Denver a few years ago, and it was incredible.

  • Reply July 26, 2011

    Richard

    Brad, you won dude. Speak.

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