Sniffling Indie Kids. Leaving a positive footprint through creativity and quality.

Just as fanzines and music blogs serve as the CNN of underground music. It’s the Independent Record Labels that provide the vehicle for which we enjoy much of the current music that comes out of our often thriving music scenes. For bands that cannot or do not wish to beg for crumbs from the all consuming music industry. Independent labels such as Sniffling Indie Kids serve as a home and comfort zone for many bands. In my years as co creator of United By Rocket Science and now with Document. I was happy to find that the D.I.Y. (Do it Yourself) ethos I grew up on was still alive and thriving. In a relatively short time. SIK has served up plenty of evidence and musical inspiration. I recently reached out to Frank and Eric to get an inside look at what makes this label such a integral part of New Jersey’s independent music scene. JD

Despite the musicality and quality of the labels releases. The name Sniffling Indie Kids as well as the labels logo have a very juvenile look and sound. What’s behind the term “Sniffling Indie Kids” and the logo?

1548103_475041302621830_2124325547_oFrank: I’m stealing a quote from Eric on this one…”The name Sniffling Indie Kids comes from the Hold Steady song “Positive Jam” and it very much signifies our perspective on life and music. Take the music very seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously.” Plus, being able to use the acronym “SIK” has been a lot of fun because we’re putting out the “SIK-est” indie records in NJ. Basically, the name sounded cool, funny and memorable so we just kind of went with it. As for the logo, we had one of our favorite cartoonists make it. His name is Steven Darden (http://www.stevendarden.com/) and he rules. We now however have a new logo that we are using that was based on the original text, but re-imagined by YJY’s Steve Sachs (http://cargocollective.com/stevesachs/).

You had attempted and somewhat succeeded to create something very inspiring with the Tiny Giants Collective. What became of that and do youn think there were any lessons to learn from the experience?

Frank: The Tiny Giant Artist Collective was more or less an experiment. It was an unbelievable learning experience. It was a friendship builder, a network expander, a musical opinion forum and a self destructing nightmare. Basically, we wanted to build a network to expand communication of great bands and people passionately involved in the music scenes throughout the tri-state area. We kind of achieved some of that, however in the process, the move towards attempting to be purely democratic somewhat destroyed it. When the original five people started it, it was very content driven, and held a high standard for quality as well as the people we would have involved. But as time passed and more people got involved, it was a standard “too many cooks in the kitchen” scenario which overall degraded the quality of the group. It also had become filled with too many people with a focus on “me” and not enough on “we.”

Sniffling Indie Kids is the direct punch back at what we initially tried at building. We now have jobs and some (not a lot) of money to work with, so we figured we could take the mistakes we learned from the TGAC and build something better with SIK as a record label instead of a collective. Not to sound like a pompous control freak, but I’ve always felt the three of us who run SIK have very good ears and more often than not are on the same page in regard to who we would like to work with.

2015 was a very busy year for SIK with a number of noteworthy releases. With all the urgency. Is there any fear or burnout?

Eric: No. Well maybe. Who knows? We are involved in a lot of musical projects ourselves, besides the bands that we work with, so there definitely is the possibility of burning out at some point. However, at the moment we are going to kick ass while there is ass to be kicked and let the future bring what it will.

You’ve been releasing material at a somewhat frantic pace. What is it about these bands, their music, or both that inspire you and makes you feel they need such immediate attention?

10556987_820880974704526_7296137088715908032_oEric: The majority of the bands are people that we have known in the scene for a long time in various other musical incarnations. Occasionally, we hear someone new that we want to work with, but it’s always organic as far as finding out about them.

Frank: Also, a lot of the bands we are working with are very prolific song writers. It makes it easy to continually put out new material when bands are putting out 1-2 full releases a year.

With the overwhelming amount of noteworthy acts in the current local scened. How do you maintain a quality over quantity?

Frank: Since we’ve known the people we work with for quite some time, we try to keep it a close knit family circle. The people currently in the circle have yet to disappoint our ears.

Eric: At the same time we won’t release anything that doesn’t align with our personal tastes.

Aside from yourselves, (Frank & Eric) Who else is involved, both creatively and monetarily?

Frank: So the label is run by Eric Goldberg, Joe Lanza and myself (Frank DeFranco). At the same time, the label somewhat operates in the collective way that TGAC did with people pitching in here and there to help further achieve our goals (like Steve with the logo).

Eric: Also, there have been multiple blogs (such as this one) that have been loyal to helping support our cause. Jim from CoolDad Music was gracious enough to go so far as co-hosting an Indie Pop Winter Formal with us in Asbury Park.

How hands on are you with the recordings and mastering? Who else, besides the bands themselves, are involved with the process?

Frank: So as far as recording, often Joe will lend out his hand in helping get music tracked for anyone on the label. There are others involved such as Max Rauch (LKFFCT & NGHTCRWLRS) and Erik Romero (Dollys) who are in bands on the label who record/mix/master a lot of other bands involved with the label. Additionally, our long time close friends Jeremy Cimino and Skylar Adler have played a behind the scenes role in making a lot of the records released on the label sound as good as they do. We ourselves tend to not get too involved in the making of the records (except if Joe is involved), however we do make sure that all of our releases are held to a certain standard of quality.

You recently celebrated your first vinyl release with Rocky Catanese’s “New Day Old Night”. Was there something special or unique that influenced you to go the extra mile by pressing it on to vinyl?

rcatc-digital-album-coverFrank: Obviously we dug the record, but besides that, there’s a few reasons why we did. One, he really wanted to do it, so much so that he offered to put up half the funds to help make it happen. Two, we wanted to put out something on vinyl in our first year of existence. Three, we’ve known Rocky for a long time and he was a reliable person to do this with. Four, we knew that when Rocky said he would be playing out a lot and touring to support the record, we could trust his word. If it were financially possible we’d put out everything on vinyl, but that just is not an option for us at this time.

Eric: We look forward to doing more vinyl releases via our upcoming limited edition Sniffling Indie Singles series. These will be 7″ lathe cut splits of two bands on the label.

You mentioned that while you’re not seeking out bands to sign. You definitely have plans in place for future releases. Care to fill us in? Or is it a deeply guarded industry secret?

Eric: Our next release is Delicate Flowers in April. The rest is a closely guarded secret.

To order or find more information about Sniffling Indie Kids. Click the link below.

http://www.snifflingindiekids.com/

 

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Dahlia Seed; Memories Unboxed

Like most, I have a few boxes full of music related mementos I find myself rummaging through from time to time. These boxes serve as somewhat of a time capsule, often revealing my history of passion and obsession with music. Pictures, stickers, band art and ticket stubs serve as a GPS tracking my journey in life. As I’ve recently taken to pulling  boxes from the shelves of my living room closet. I’ve come to find some of my earliest musical influences, outings and missteps.

Dahlia Seed (1992-1996) was and is a perfect example of how it was always the lesser known bands that left the biggest impression on me both musically and personally. The ones that carved out their reputation playing VFW Halls, the basements and homes of friends even more often than the stages of local clubs, dive bars and venues. While I was able to catch Dahlia Seed live numerous times at places such as Maxwell’s, Tramps, ABC No Rio and a few scattered basement and VFW shows.

My interaction with the band often focused on singer Tracy Keats Wilson who I had interviewed for a never published fanzine. Aside from the interview and a scant few exchanges at shows and her employment at the not so local, yet thoroughly awesome Flipside Records in Pompton Lakes, NJ.  That was it until years after Dahlia Seed disbanded.

During the years of Dahlia Seed’s very influential existence. I consumed every release, wore the shirts and even had one of my images of Tracy adorn the cover of their split 7′ inch with Greyhouse. While each remain vital to both my wardrobe and ears. It’s the little, makeshift piece of art created and passed to me by Tracy herself that remains most special to me. Maybe it’s because neither myself nor it’s artist have any recollection of how or why it was made and just how it came in to my possession. Questions that remain unanswered. Ones that perhaps best remain unanswered in order to preserve a hint of mystery. Needless to say, pulling this from a random box brought back a lot of good memories. A scan of it shows it in it’s almost original condition some twenty years later.

Years later I’ve remained in contact with Tracy while forming friendships with former members Darin, John and Chris. Dahlia Seeds music still inspires me and Tracy remains the one and only performer who can give me the chills while making the hairs on my arm stand on end. That’s pretty damn impressive. J.D.

Check Dahlia Seed out Here

DS

 

Archie Alone Post Two New Tracks from Their Upcoming Split 7′ Inch

Essex County’s Archie Alone have posted two stellar tracks from their upcoming split 7 inch with a mystery west coast act. While there is no telling when the split will be released. Or on which label. The two songs “Broken” and “Mend” do an amazing job in displaying the bands power and ability to blend post core power with emotive lyrics and heartfelt vocals. Having seen the direction the band has been taking it’s sound. This just might be their best material yet. Don’t sleep on this. JD

Available Here

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Unboxing the Past

While American Hardcore showed up on my radar in 1984. It wasn’t until 86′ when I old enough to trade in getting turned away at the gates of CBGB’s to actually getting in and participating. While my earliest shows there included the likes of 7 Seconds, Jodie Fosters Army and Blast. It was the local bands I felt most closely aligned will. As I had gone from trips to Manhattan’s Tower Records and Bleeker Bob’s to seek out records from acts such as the Circle Jerks, Black Flag and The Dead Kennedy’s as early as 84′. It wasn’t until my first visits to nearby Some Records that I really found out what was happening in my ever expanding back yard. Those early trips to Duane’s basement refuge allowed me to get to know the bands and people involved in what was a very communal scene. One of the bands I caught on to early on was the N.Y. Hoods. The Hoods, along with a handful of bands like Krakdown, Side By Side, Sick of it All and Token Entry filled my ears while guiding me on a course I’d follow for years to come.

N.Y. Hoods (1 of 1)

Years later I would sell all my original demo cassettes and first pressings on Ebay. While the monetary returns seem great at the time. The regret I would later feel, far outweighed my choice to sell. Years later, the demo was reissued as a 7′ inch EP, but in all honesty. The reissue could never replace the feeling that little cassette tape gave me. That was until my neighbor and friend knocked on the door. Once again bringing me a blast from our shared past. And while the reels may never again scream out “Mirrors of Reality”. The image itself will allow me to have tangible evidence of a part of my past I am still very fond of. Here’s to the next knock on my door. J.D. 

N.Y. Hoods Lyrics (1 of 1)

Sticker Shock; Crippled Youth / BOLD

By now I should be used to my neighbor and good friend stopping by with a little gift or surprise every now and again. What initially started as an invite to lunch for a few freelancers in the building a little over a year ago, quickly burgeoned into a friendship that has continued to flourish as my first year here has come and gone. So when he knocked on my door moments after we returned from a weekend trip. I can’t say I was a bit surprised. When he brought his hand out of his back pocket to reveal a Crippled Youth sticker. 3-0001It’s easy to say, I was grasping for the words to express why I was taken back almost thirty years ago when I first purchased my Crippled Youth “Join the Fight” 7′ inch and accompanying sticker at the legendary Some Records. While by no means were Crippled Youth one of my favorite HXC bands. They played one of the first Hardcore matinees I ever attended. Soon after, perhaps due to the urging of friend and Youth of Today frontman Ray Cappo. They would change their name to BOLD and go on to release one full length “Speak Out” and a self titled 7″ on Revelation Records. As I mentioned before Crippled Youth / BOLD were never personal favorites. However, being that “Join the Fight” was one of my earlier Hardcore records and more important, how I lost it when a close friend who had borrowed my copy just weeks before when he unexpectedly went to prison for a vicious murder. It remains ever-present in my mind as part of my history. Seeing that sticker for the first time in more than twenty-five years jogged a lot of memories both good and bad. Being that it came from someone who has become such a good friend brought a sense of closure. Amazing how often people with shared common interests and histories can be found just down the hall . Thanks Kevin. J.D.

Closely Related

Brooklyn’s Courtesy Tier Announce New EP

Brooklyn’s Courtesy Tier have announced their new EP “Little Rock” which is to will released on Beverly Martel Records on November 6! Pre-order is now available on iTunes: Available Here Having followed the band for some time now. (More than four years now) I can’t help but be excited. I highly recommend seeking out any and all material they’ve released as well as experiencing them in a live setting. J.D.

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Courtesy Tier