Monday, 20 June 2011

Q and A with Conan Roberts ( Italian beach Babes label and Mazes)

Conan Roberts runs Italian Beach Babes he put's out some of the radist records and tapes by bands like Fear Of Men, Graffiti Island, Dirty Beaches and many more. He plays bass for Mazes and is from Oswestry. Caught up with Conan before Mazes hit the road for a U.S tour.

What made you start up IIB records and what advice do you have for those who are just starting up their DIY labels

I managed to blag a box of about 200 cassettes from a studio that was chucking them out a few years back. They sat around for quite a while and it was around the time Male Bonding, Pens and Graffiti Island were all starting up. So each band get a couple tracks recorded and i made 100 cassettes with those 3 bands on. I just dubbed them on the cassette played i had at the time. They came out really quiet and i even managed to make about 20 copies play completely backwards.
There so much truly AWFUL music getting released now days, especially in London that it kind of feels like a duty to put out some bands who i think are great and believe in.

ITALIAN BEACH BABES from Conan Roberts on Vimeo.

How did you get involved in bands vids you seem to have all creative fingers not just on the bass right now?

Well apart from being in bands and doing the label I freelance as a cameraman/ video editor. Its what I studied and have done as a day job for a number of years. I worked at MTV for a while and have always been massively into music videos. So I guess its kind of natural to be involved in making a few ourselves. To be honest though, as much fun as it is it is also a total nightmare most of the time, makes you NO money and there is very little recognition for your efforts. I would dissuade anyone from getting into them!

Vimeo page - Link

Novella- The Things You Do from Conan Roberts on Vimeo.

You played Off Set with Graffiti Island last year will their be anymore show’s/Records in the future?

Ha yeah. We recorded 4 new tracks at the end of last year but Pete is still to put the vocals on them. I think when i get back from this Mazes tour we may work on them a little and try get them to a point of being released. As for anymore shows I don’t know. Everyone is very busy with other stuff but if the right show comes along we may do it. 

Tope five players on your I pod right now?
Catherine Wheel- Ferment
Dead Moon- The Graveyard 
V3- Photographic Burns
Boneyards- IBB cassette (will be released in August)
Codine- 1992 Demos

A band to look out for right now?
In my eyes there’s a wave of great new bands coming out of London right now. There seemed to be this little scene around 2009 of like Male Bonding, Fair Ohs, Graffiti Island Pens etc.  Everyones kinda progressed a bit now, split up or got on bigger labels, doing LPs etc which is amazing but its really nice to see younger kids doing new amazing bands and starting to play shows. Id say there’s a few of note

Old Forest
Vision Fortune
Gross Magic
Fear of Men

What’s been the most proudest moment so far for you?
As a label, im just super proud of everything i put out. Im never gonna put out a band im not totally into so im proud of everything. Its great to see other people into it too and kinda follow the label and trust that if i put a record out there gonna like it just cause its on IBB. Kind of like labels such as Dischord, Burger, Art Fag etc the music is varied but generally its always amazing. Also recording and playing in Mazes has been unbelievable. Its nice to take a step back now n again and appreciate what we’ve done as a band, doing an LP people love, playing all over the world. Im super happy with it and really proud of all of us in the band for making it work together. 

And the worst?
No Regrets

If you had to choose Skate or music? 
Right now, music. Its facilitating me not having a proper job and travelling the world. Skateboarding will forever be one of my main passions but to be honest my knees are fucked and its getting harder and harder to skate everyday.

jazz cigarette 2 from Conan Roberts on Vimeo.

I see your from Oswestry what was your experience like music wise growing up there? How did you get records,hear new stuff.
I had a great time. My entire musical background is tied into skateboarding and my youth there. Watching skate videos and finding out what songs were on them then scouring record stores to get the records. I had no Internet then so it was all just looking at linear notes in records, finding fanzines etc and asking older guys. 
Through skating pretty much every weekend id get on a train and travel to either Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool or somewhere to skate and buy records. I remember always hitting Tempest in Birmingham and getting so much US Punk stuff every week. That’s where I bought all my first US Hardcore records. 

Best Pizza Restaurant ever?
Well I’m no Pizza snob, there is a pizza place opposite my flat. Yesterday I picked up a 12" with 3 toppings for £4. Its so cheap its amazing. But I’m looking forward to being in Chicago in a week or so and getting a proper deep pan there. 

Mazes are crazy busy right now it looks as tho you are playing everywhere .You looking forward to heading back to Us and how do they compare to the UK show’s?

Yeah so excited for the US tour. I love being on the road and touring. If it were up to me we'd be doing a hell of a lot more but its not so I have to take what i can get. As Mazes we only played in SXSW before so haven’t really done any proper US shows. The venues are all pretty big as the tours with White Denim so I’m excited for a whole bunch of new people seeing us and having bigger stages to wander around on.

Mazes - Most Days from matt layzell on Vimeo.

Mazes - 'Wait Anyway' from Bowlegs on Vimeo.

And finally what are your top 5 records that changed your life (If you can add a reason to)
Beastie Boys- Ill Communication (Got me into so much amazing music from Hardcore to Hip Hop to Jazz, i saw them in '94 with my dad and i can still remember it to this day)

Prince- Love Sexy (Prince was the first gig i ever went to on this tour, i was 11 and had my mind blown)

Minor Threat- Discography (got into this after Beastie Boys covered Screaming at a Wall, changed my whole outlook on music and life leading me to be straight edge for 8 years and spend most of my 20's driving around the country to hardcore shows every weekend)

Lungfish- Indivisible (I first heard Lungfish on Consolidated skate videos. Scott Bourne would have their tracks on his sections regularly and it always struck a chord with me. Took me a while to track down any of their records but as soon as i did it was an instant obsession. Its hard to pick a favorite as all 9 albums are equally perfect.)

Mazes- A Thousand Hays (Ha, kind of weird picking your own bands record but being in this band has changed my life and made it infinitely more fun and interesting)

More info 

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