Thursday, January 31, 2008

Punknews Talks to Paint it Black's Dan Yemin (again!)

huge thanks to Ben, Brian, Aubin, and the entire Punknews staff!

You're the lucky reader of the 27th edition of the Vinyl File. This column aims to keep you informed with upcoming releases as well as spotlighting interesting releases, your favorite bands' own collections and labels with a history of vinyl releases worth talking about. As always, Vinyl File is brought to you by Ben Conoley.

This week's Vinyl File is the first of a two-part interview with two members of Paint it Black, who have a new album, New Lexicon ,dropping in early February. This week we talk to vocalist Dan Yemin. Next week we talk with Andy Nelson, the group's bass player.


Are you enjoying some time off before you start pushing The New Lexicon?

This is time on. It's more time off when I am touring. I can only play about six weeks a year. We play weekends and stuff, but by American standards I take a shit load of time off. We will go out the weekend after the record comes out we will play Friday, Saturday and Sunday, go back to work, go play some shows with Strike Anywhere, go home.

I saw you play with Municipal Waste at The Fest and it was a pretty wild show.

The Fest has become a no miss thing for me, I make sure I go every year.

The New Lexicon is coming up pretty fast. You recently had some record release shows for it and gave everyone who went a free 7", which is something people seemed to get excited about. You've also done it with other projects, is it something you make an effort to do?

Part of it was, I think it's cool to do stuff like that and as a special thing to do for people for shows. Andy wanted to create a situation that encourages people to trade records from one scene to another, say someone in California couldn't make it so they had to connect with someone in Philly and make it happen. That's what's special about punk and hardcore, it's a subculture with little things like records and building bridges and connecting people. Real collectors, it's like there's a real honor about it. If you do right , people will do right by you. Andy has some great stories about randomly starting to trade with people in Japan. I have never been an obsessive collector or trader. I used to mail order, but I just love vinyl. I don't obsessively collect anything in particular.

As far as I know, nearly everything you've released in any of your bands has been available on vinyl. How important is that to you?

I would never do something that didn't come out on vinyl. I love vinyl and I still think it's the ideal format in music. Anyone that can be real honest with themselves and has a good set of ears on them knows that it has a dynamic range and is definitely superior to CDS. If you have a good turntable and a good stereo, vinyl just sound better. I'm an old schooler, so it's still a normal format. The art’s all shrunk down on CD - it’s like a mini cover. Although I do own a lot of CDs, had to succumb to that. The turntable in my car skips and I do most of my music while commuting, so I have a lot of CDs but I still think of CDs as the exception rather than the rule and they are going to die out. Tower and a whole bunch of similar stores have died out. It's kind of ironic because people have allegedly been singing the death nail for vinyl for a long time, but look what is going on. CD sales have been declining dramatically.

One of the reasons we are doing vinyl through Rivalry is that Jade Tree is not really invested in doing vinyl. It's where they've been losing money, but it seems like vinyl is becoming even more of a stable thing to sell. I mean I understand why they are moving away, because for them it means making a commitment to keep it in print indefinitely. They always made 2,000 and sold them, and then it slows down but you can't press less than 500, so then you're committed to keeping it in print. You don't get terms at the vinyl pressing plant. At the CD plant you get six months to pay, but with vinyl you pay up front. They pay three grand up front to press it and at some point it sells really slowly and then they are taking on this pretty large financial burden to do something.

It seems that Jade Tree hasn't kept Kid Dynamite or Lifetime stuff in print, though That's interesting. At some point I had a whole box of Hello Bastards that I was just trying to donate to people who were having flea markets that were benefits and I couldn't get rid of them. For a few years I had a whole box of them.

Do you still collect records personally?

Yeah. I got a huge pile of records last week. I actually buy vinyl faster than I can keep up with listening to it. What did I just buy? The hip-hop record store in town is going out of business and they are having a 50% off sale. I got an Ultimate Force record, a Ghostface 12." I got the second Organized Confusion record, an MC from Staten Island that was kind of with Wu Tang when they first came out, I got his album. What else did I get? I found the Deep Wounds full length, which was the hardcore band that the Dinosaur Jr. guys were in '83, but it's probably a bootleg. I love old girl groups, like Motown stuff. I am always just looking in record stores, flea markets and shows. I have been buying records since the '70s.

Some of the hardcore stuff I have got recently is the drummer from Government Warning does No Way Records and his stuff is consistently awesome. They had a 12" from a group called Double Negative, which is fucking, amazing. Destroy LA is another one that I got recently that is really good. There's a lot of stuff that I got lately that I never had a chance to listen to. I pulled out my Ink and Dagger 7"s the other day. When my wife moved in two years ago - she's an old punk - our record collection got about 90% cooler. She had all the riot girl stuff that I didn't have and garage stuff and every version of everything Los Crudos ever did. I haven't even looked at everything she brought to the house.

Can you tell us what is in store for Paint it Black or your other bands as far as vinyl goes?

My game plan for Paint it Black is to just do 7"s from here on out. I love doing albums and I take myself seriously as a songwriter, maybe too seriously. I was always saving my really good songs for the next album. But now I am like, "we're a hardcore band and we have done three full-lengths. How many hardcore bands have done three good records?" 7"s are great and are the ideal format for hardcore. There are a lot of record labels that I have talked to that would be into it. I would like to do three 7"s with three different labels.

On the No Idea website, they have Lifetime's self-titled album as slated for a 2008 release. Are they re-releasing it on vinyl?

Yeah, we wanted to license it to them. The label that did that record, I think they could give a shit about vinyl. Once we kind of realized that, I was pretty unhappy with the way that came out the first time. It was late and didn't have an insert and we were furious. We said, "we need to do an insert and it has to get mailed to all the people that ordered it online," but that didn't happen. No Idea are my friends, they do the Fest every year, they are a great label that really cares about vinyl. The vinyl would be really at home on No Idea and we were really pushing Var to make it happen.

Yeah, I remember when that came out. It was supposed to come out at midnight, but it was hours late and they had only 250 red copies that sold out in minutes.

They only did 1,000 of them, which is crazy, but it's like repress it or license it to someone that will. They just wanted to worry about selling CDs. I was like, alright, I see where this is going. I don't want to talk shit, but I don't see why you can’t sell CDs and keep vinyl in print