Phase! started in 2002 as a CD-R / tape label and fanzine by Panagiotis Spoulos. Focusing more on the Athens underground music of that time, soon enough started to deal with DIY artists all around the world. Within 8 years, more than 70 releases, a handful of momentary shows and countless hours of correspondence w/ identical minds are all trying to leave their mark on this feature.
Nothing more than the typical story of a young boy, who makes music, has some friends who make music too, and dig each other. Boy starts a DIY label to release his own music + friends' and does it w/ all he can offer and afford best.
It's sort of an emphasis when exploring something that has been there for a while but you never had the opportunity/luck to occupy yourself w/ it. Or more like an enthusiasm, maybe when you explore a real gem. I could give a cool kick-ass definition of why it's called Phase!, but I' m giving the truth instead: When I was young and started messing w/ a guitar I asked Pavlos, a friend of mine, which kind of effect was that spacey one I heard on a Smashing Pumpkins song. Told me it was probably flanger or phase. Then I came across a Boss Phase stompbox, put it through and what I was looking for was definitely Phase! It was Phase!
Phase! has been flirting w/ a lot of different genres along the way, so it's definitely not just drones or noise only. I dig and listen to all kinds of different stuff, and not only outsider music but mainstream as well. One certain thing I really do endorse though, is freak out noise and psych and punk jams. So, Phase! mostly cooks things around Feedback Punk if I could describe it like this – I really like this term! Some wicked examples of my endorsement are Slicing Grandpa
, Gang Wizard
, Postblue, Slasher Risk
, Reverse Mouth
, Human Adult Band
and Placenta Popeye
It's really difficult to be punctual concerning something which doesn't earn you a living while trying to convince yourself that it's not just a hobby. Add to it that I have to work hard to make a living, sometimes up to 15 hours a day! But on the other hand, I feel I'm getting a divine push on doing things even if I have to reduce my sleep hours. This is the inspiration for me. I'm really easy-going and manage to transform all the angst and hatred into something beautiful + creative like this. This and many interesting people give me power to go on.
I could name a couple I' m not proud of, a lot easier, haha. 90% of the Phase!trash was material I think it was necessary to be out and be heard. A tape version of Big Blood's “The Grove”
, Blastocyst's only full-length “True Tales for a New American Century” and “The Singer” by The Howlin' Ghost Proletarians
can be considered as label highlights and they truly are infinite spinners at the Phase!office.
Both of these formats are very suitable for home productions. Especially for an artist, it's very creative if you have a show the next day and you can make a release the previous night. And I mean everything! From music to duplication and handmade sleeves. I really really like both of these formats. Even if cassettes have a warmer sound and a cuter look, CDRs can look + sound way awesome, too. It totally depends on the music, in which format suits the most.
I guess it has to do w/ each country's culture. Probably different. There is also very limited legacy in experimental music history in Greece. Most of those artists didn't even live here when this was happening, like Xenakis or Jani Christou. There are a few people I met along the way who are doing really great things like
(the man behind Absurd), Nikos Veliotis
, Christos Karras (Overdub zine), Nokalypse
, Nektarios Pappas from Pop Art/Vinyl Microstore
, or Coti
and the whole thing seems to be expanding nowadays with artists like Adam_is
, Tasos Stamou
, Lunar Miasma
and with even more straight forward bands like Acid Baby Jesus
The last two are at late teens and really kick ass! I'm optimistic enough to consider them something more than worth a mention if you take for granted that there never was a fucking awesome Greek rock band. Ever! At least as my cup of tea...
There's not really much, but there's definitely some. If I was more crazy, like 20 releases a year that would be an insane amount of work! I'm still keeping it low, around 10 a year. I have to correspond w/ the artists, make sure of all the details since I want to discuss everything regarding their release. Then, there is some preparation, like designing the covers, getting the green light, printing them, starting the duplication. After it's ready, artists get their copies, I hopefully get some orders and send some promo stuff. That's it. Actually it's a fun procedure, mostly done after hours, drinking coffee, smoking + relaxing. And then I start cropping covers!
Planning to do some more vinyl in the future. In the works, there are two one-siders by Big Blood + DJ Mistakes plus a debut LP of my new solo project, Dead Gum
. Tapes and CDRs will totally rule, too. For real.
As an outsider label w/ unidentified taste in music! As a partially cuckoo publisher! I've released a couple of crazies like Silent Foetus' “Fade to Black Chronicles” (PHR-24). A group of teenagers gave me their demo back in early 00's and it seriously sucked! Story doesn't end here... After the 4 songs and a couple of minutes in silence there was a recording from a rehearsal. They were trying to cover Metallica's “Fade to Black”. After several unsuccessful attempts they played “Smoke on the Water” instead! Of course it made it into a limited 3”CDR w/ a different band name. Or at “Primary Music” by The Legend! Vs Shady Ladies (PHR-30) Eric Erlandson (yeah, the Hole guitarist!) shreds some guitar! Another cuckoo highlight was “Grandma Freedom – The 1967 Parties” (PHR-48), some archival reel-to-reel recordings of my grandmother and her friends singing a capella in the key of despair. I'm putting out next some recordings by “The 2 Euro” which is an underground transsexual duo of experimental prose.
I really don't have one! Just give me a shout at phasemag-at-yahoo-com and I' ll let you know asap (asap might mean weeks, though).
Bookmark Phase!mag blog
, Multiple Eyes On The Underground, the fresh digital never-ending issues of Phase!zine. Some gig reviews, some list recommendations, some jokes. Also, I' ve just started the Phase! Records Net Junk
, which hosts some free, digital-only exclusive releases.
-- Dave Miller (28 July, 2010)