Few contemporary underground labels can match the sheer force of Caligari Records. Primarily focusing on metal and its numerous mutations, the American imprint has become one of our favorite places to find some of the most brvtal artists today. From the crushing works of Puerto Rico’s BLOODSOAKED NECROVOID to the blackened arts of Italy’s Devoid of Thought, the label releases some of best tapes from across the globe. Today we speak with the founder of Caligari and examine some forthcoming releases on the label.
Q&A with Caligari
The Brvtalist: Tell us a brief history of the label and any background about you as well.
Caligari: Caligari Records has been active since 2013, which means that this is the label's sixth year, which is crazy because if you were to ask me when the label started I would probably say 3 years or so. Anyway, time flies when you are having fun and you stay busy.
The label was started out of a desire to support the music I have always been passionate about. I had been writing about records for a few webzines for some years and that got stale after I felt like I was repeating myself way too much, so the label was a way to continue being involved in underground music. It was also born out of a desire to stay busy and not to become a fucking vegetable.
TB: Caligari has an amazingly diverse array of artists. It's not just limited to one genre or geographic location. Talk about how important that is to you and how you determine what you will release?
CR: It is very important to me to keep it colorful and entertaining. It is for my own sake really. I don't just listen to death metal or black metal, so to me the label is an extension of what I tend to listen to when I am in certain mood. I am huge dub reggae fan but I wouldn't go that far with Caligari Records, if you know what I mean. To me, two things are important (save some very counted exceptions): 1- that the band is new and 2 - that they do something rather heavy. The word 'heavy' can be interpreted in several ways. Geographical location is of no importance to me.
TB: You refer to a lot of label's music as "unloveable", which I think is an appropriate term in a lot of ways. Yet I'm constantly amazed by the constant and prolific output of the label. Have you noticed more interest in this type of music in recent years? Do you attribute it to any factors.
CR: Good question. I don't know at which rate the scene is growing but I would say it is growing and it has been for a few years. I tend to make fun of bands like Slipknot or Limp Bizkit, but you'd be amazed at how many cool current death metal bands feature people who got into music because of those shitty bands. Anyway, in my opinion underground music is going through an amazing and exciting era and it is obvious that we owe this to the internet. Now, I often wonder how big can underground music get or at which point the 'booming death metal scene' will grow stale like it did in the 90's. I think about this way too often, it is pathetic. Anyway, as metalheads, some of us may tend to be nostalgic about the 'old tape trading days', but the truth is, you can still fucking trade tapes today and not have to wait two years for the other's part of the trade to arrive and to me that is a positive. We are all connected now, people who have never met each other in person call each other 'friend' and we congratulate and give our condolences to people we may never really know which is rather bizarre. So yeah, the internet, connectivity and reality has changed a great deal. It has not only changed how we interact with music and art, but with each other as well.
TB: Tell us about some releases you’ve got coming up.
CR: I am working now on the US version of Maggot Heart's Dusk to Dusk, which is a rather brilliant post-punk recording from 2018. I say post-punk, but I think that tag doesn't quite identify what composer Linnea does, which is rather rocking and very guitar-driven. I think this woman is a force to be reckoned with and I am thrilled that I can play a small part in sharing her art.
Besides this, I am currently working on the second Devoid of Thought demo, the full-length by Dipygus and the first Cosmic Putrefaction record.
TB: Closing thoughts?
CR: Thanks for reaching out and the space. Appreciate the support. Do not become a vegetable and do something!
Thanks to Caligari for taking the time out. Below we look at some of the new, aforementioned releases. For physical and distro please visit: http://caligarirecords.storenvy.com/
Maggot Heart - Dusk to Dusk
A good example of the label’s eclectic tastes, Maggot Heart is heavy rock fueled by post-punk, metal and more. Dusk to Dusk is Linnea Olsson's (The Oath, Grave Pleasures, Sonic Ritual) tribute to the night and everything that happens in it. Released as a nine track tape in addition to a split CD with City Girls, Dusk displays an irreverent take on the past and future, fusing heavy with melodic in a release that is as black as the night which inspires it. From the rawness of “Scorpion Time” to the thrilling “Blood Envy” and the ominous conclusion of “Buried Songs” there is much to like on this release. Also be sure to catch Maggot Heart live in Berlin this Friday. More info here. Dusk to Dusk is out April 24th.
Cosmic Putrefaction - At The Threshold of The Greatest Chasm
Another release we’re excited about is the new tape from Cosmic Putrefaction. The solo project of Italian multi-instrumentalist GG, Cosmic Putrefaction crafts otherworldly atmospheric black and death metal. A harbinger of terror and a narrative of the ancient, this release is a spiritual awakening of unknown evils. Out April 19th on cassette.