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Clockwise from top left: Kevin Blechdom, Singing Sadie, Suicidal Rap Orgy, Justice Yeldam Clockwise from top left: Kevin Blechdom, Singing Sadie, Suicidal Rap Orgy, Justice Yeldam
photos (except Kevin) by Sam Fox
My last tax-deductible expense for 2005-2006 was the entrance fee to record label and twisted empire DualpLOVER’s End of Financial Year Party (although I didn’t think it appropriate to ask for a receipt). The event not only celebrated the turning of pages on a ledger but also 10 years of survival for this most independent of independent labels.

I arrive in time to experience the extreme noise karaoke onslaught of Rank Sinatra—a dapper chappy with long dreads and shabby tails amiably screaming and growling like a metal frontman over some old time favourites of Frank and friends. Lieutenant Colonel Spastic Howitzer follows, literally blasting us away with his saxophonic, digitally enhanced version of Zorba the Greek and other deconstructed marvels. Boy-girl band, Naked on the Vague, seem almost a little too digestible with their post punk ditties but the way they stab and bang their instruments has a kind of charm. By the time Garry Bradbury, master of the epic electronic, plays it appears either the crowd is getting rowdy or the PA is dying, or a bit of both. But to those listening he’s still got it. The financial year is seen in with a video countdown collage of receipts, tax forms and other bureaucratic ephemera, and of course party poppers and streamers. It was too much excitement for me so I left Curse ov Dialect battling the by now seriously challenged PA, and slunk home to start on my BAS.

A few weeks later I caught the proprietors of DualpLOVER, Lucas Abela and Swerve AKA Stephen Harris, between arguments over fiscal strategies, and we talked about the secret of their longevity.

Over the years DualpLOVER has had 31 releases, their artist stable including Garry Bradbury, Sweden, Alternahunk, The Funky Terrorists, Singing Sadie, Nora Keyes, Toxic Lipstic, Suicidal Rap Orgy and Abela’s various manifestations. The label covers a schizophrenic mix of styles ranging from electronica, hiphop, folk and noise to some completely ineffable genres. On top of this DualpLOVER also includes a brokerage for CD and DVD duplication and print production. But it all began in 1994 with the recording of Lucas Abela’s beloved Kombi. Its dodgy wiring amplified any noise made in the van via the stereo. After spontaneous driving concerts he decided to record it. But no one seemed to want to put it out...


Lucas Abela: I showed it to the local experimental labels back then which were mostly in Melbourne—Dorobo and Extreme—but they weren’t really on the same tangent I was aesthetically or musically and I don’t think they really understood what the A Kombi album was. Many people still don’t understand the importance of the A Kombi record [laughs]. But 2 years later Damian released the Hiss album. It was a bit of an inspiration to me so I forked out the money and put out A Kombi and got some really good feedback. The first people to write back to me were Gregg Turkington from Amarillo Records, a mentor label to me, Merzbow and Yamataka Eye. Banana Fish magazine, which is like the noise music bible, wrote back to me for an interview and ended up doing a 12 page spread. So I decided to make a proper go of the label. At that point Swerve approached me...

Swerve: I’d just got back from overseas and I moved into a house with Lucas. I was in a noise band called the Burning Spastics. In the 90s we used to play at the Waterloo Tavern to about 3 people on average. I had to clean out my bank account to get on the dole so I said to Lucas, why don’t I chuck all this money in and I could be the shifty silent partner-slash-financial backer. And then we put out Alternahunk. It was around that time that we started the brokerage...

LA: Initially we just wanted to consolidate labels. There was Sigma Editions, and Jerker Productions with Oren [Ambarchi] were just starting up. I was doing Rebirth of Fool 1 and Peeled Hearts Paste, so we thought let’s put all those jobs into the factory at once and get a cheaper price...I guess news of that spread and more people started asking us and then we started doing things overseas. The CD and DVD brokerage side of the business has come to offset the label side of the business so that we feel we can take more risks in releasing music we are interested in.

First we released bigger overseas acts like Merzbow and Yamataka Eye who I love dearly but who [now] I don’t feel I need to promote. As a label I am more interested in things nobody knows about, bringing new things into the world.

What attracts you to the artists you release?

S: They’re not some carbon copy of something else. Sometimes they are trying to be something else but they’re just not and that’s pretty cool.

LA: Acts that have a certain sense of otherness to them. They don’t really fit in with the scene generally. I like things that sit outside movements, or even if they are in a movement they are a step aside of it. They are doing something new with it, or they’re trying to fit in but they can’t.

How much does shock value play in it—what is the ratio of shock value to sound?

LA: Depends if it works with the act. Suicidal Rap Orgy is pretty much the most shocking act we’ve put out—penises on stage, wanking, the most revolting lyrics you can possibly think of...

S: ...microphones up arses...

LA: Quite disgusting debauchery. But we didn’t pick it for its shock value. I just thought it was funny. The reason I was attracted to Suicidal Rap Orgy is because there was nothing else like it. There still isn’t!

S: The most shocking thing at any of our gigs is the audience. People get so fucked up... they go berserk... all manner of chaos and the feeling that we’ve totally lost control, just whipped them in to a frenzy.

Why do you think your style of artists do that?

S: It’s uncharted waters. People can’t find anything to cling onto and go, ‘Ah this is like a rock gig where I stand there and rock on my heels, this is somewhere where I go and dance, or this is somewhere where I sit on the floor and listen.’

LA: I think we’ve got an intelligent audience as well. In terms of experimental or new musics in Australia, we put on the only shows that are highly visually entertaining and I guess that, as well as the audio being really good, brings a new dimension to the way they react to a show. I always try and book colossal line-ups. A gig is a festival to me.

What is the future for DualpLOVER?

S: The very, very far future, the end, will come when one of us dies, ‘cause we’re both stubborn...I’ve started organising this zine fair along with a guy from the Goulburn Poultry Fanciers. It’s 2 fairs old now, but with the next one I want to put on a drive-in theatre and, if that works out, then we’ll start having a short film festival...

LA: Rebirth of Fool 4 is going to be a DVD, so people can send strange, weird footage to us, found footage.

S: A CD-R label as well. Instead of doing 500 runs of the more accessible music that we release (laughs) we could do short order CD-R runs.

LA: We’ve just published Swerve’s zine, probably doing more zines and publishing. I’ve made one film. I want to make more films...whatever we do creatively will be done as DualpLOVER, so it’s not just a label it’s a family of businesses.

In the near future we’ve got the Kevin Blechdom tour. She’s a singer songwriter [USA] with electronic backing and banjo and keyboard accompaniment and one of the best shows that I’ve seen. Really good songs. If she wasn’t on Chicks on Speed I’d sign her in a second...she’s doing electronic music so differently to everyone else.

S: Making it really human.

As an afterthought, I emailed the lads about how they saw the future of music, with the rapid development of MP3 download culture.

S: I think downloadable MP3s are probably only around 5-10 years off as far as taking the majority market share. But during the transition I think people are going to be doing shorter runs at home on CD-R to begin with and moving up to the 500 minimum for pressed CDs. This is for the market we work in, which is pretty small.

LA: It’s hard to say. Some people will always want a tangible product but that mindset is quickly disappearing with a new generation of kids raised on downloads.

The future of music is, as always, live music. That can’t be downloaded so we’ll keep moving into touring acts and promoting as well as doing the label, which may become completely digital one day soon.


Kevin Blechdom is presented in association with Straight Out of Brisbane (SOOB) and, August-September, will be touring Brisbane, Lismore, Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Wagga, Wagga, Medlow Bath, Wollongong and Canberra supported by various dualpLOVER artists including Justice Yeldam (Abela). www.dualpLOVER.com

RealTime issue #74 Aug-Sept 2006 pg. 51

© Gail Priest; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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