Thursday, July 9, 2009

Magic Bullet Records featured as Vinyl Collective's Label of the Month

(Original article can be viewed on the Vinyl Collective site).


I am honored to bring you our July Label of the Month, Magic Bullet Recordings. Magic Bullet has put out so many incredible bands since their beginning in 1996 including Boy Sets Fire who “peer-pressured” Brent into putting out their first album. Since that first release, they have released records from a diverse number of bands from This Will Destroy You, Austin Lucas, Doomriders, Golden City, Boris, Ringfinger, and later this year, they will begin reissuing the Christie Front Drive catalog (stoked for this, used to see CFD back in the mid 90’s). Magic Bullet was started and continues to run on D.I.Y. ethics. And in their 13 year history, the label has long been releasing vinyl. Brent was kind enough to discuss what he looks for in a band, why he puts out vinyl, thoughts on variants, and much more.

Also worth noting is Magic Bullet’s recent announcement that they will be giving away much of their digital catalog away for free through a partnership with who shares ad revenue with labels and artists for their legal, free downloads.

Thanks Brent for taking the time to answer these questions. Everyone please take a second to check out the feature, check out the label, and hell download some of their tracks for free.

VC: When did your label start? What inspired you to start the label? Where is your label based? Do you do the label full time? What don’t most people know about you/your label?
MB: The label started in 1996 out of my sophomore year apartment at Penn State. I was inspired to start the label when some buddies named Boy Sets Fire peer-pressured me into it (in order to put out their first CD). It’s currently located out of Fredericksburg, Virginia and it is my full-time “job.” Judging by the mail/demos I receive, I’d say most people don’t know that it’s a DIY/punk-rooted label run by a singular dude hanging out at his house. Thus, it’s really funny when people send EPK’s… or when bands I work with go get a manager or three and have them try to play “fake music industry” with me.

VC: What active bands are on your label?
MB: The latest releases have come from Loser Life, Golden City, Disappearer, Golden Holy, Boris, This Will Destroy You, Lymbyc Systym, Ringfinger. Upcoming stuff includes stuff by Integrity, Forensics, the Paper Chase, Kaospilot, and more. This year I’ll also reissue the Christie Front Drive discography, Jesuit discography, and Engine Kid discography.

VC: Why do you press vinyl? Do you collect vinyl?
MB: I’ve never really thought about it. It’s just something that I’ve always done since starting the label. Vinyl has always been an important part of the DIY/punk/hardcore scenes, so there was never a second thought about it. The fact that I grew up listening to my dad’s LP’s exclusively probably helped shape that too. And yes, I have a pretty excessive collection of my own after all these years. I have a “listening room” set up solely for playing records.

VC: What do you look for in a band? Have you ever signed a band from a demo? What advice do you have for bands trying to get your attention? What band or bands would you kill to work with?
MB: I’ve never gone for a “label sound.” I’ve always just put out whatever moves me to do so. Generally speaking, I tend to work with guys and girls that are funny people who like to party. Those are the best people in the long run. If you can hang out with a band and immediately hit it off, it’s going to work out. I really enjoy looking at album covers of stuff I’ve done and just getting immediately flooded with awesome memories of hanging out and playing with all these people.

Advice for getting my attention? Presentation and lack of pretension. I like seeing a band’s whole “vibe.” I don’t give a shit who you “shared the stage with.” I want to see artwork, read lyrics, and be blown away by the music.

Bands I’d kill to work with… I can honestly say that I’ve been lucky enough to already be in that position (aside from the killing). Christie Front Drive is one of my favorite bands of all time, so I’m bouncing off the walls as we’re planning out all the reissues. And the hardcore kid in my is circle-pitting over the Integrity stuff that’s coming up. Too many bands to name… I’m sure that many more good things will come along the journey.

VC: What manufacturer(s) do you press your records through? Do you recommend them?
MB: I’ve been at United Record Pressing since day one. I recommend that people use plants close to their homes. It saves a ton in terms of the natural resources burned up in shipping. Plus, it keeps jobs and industry in your region.

VC: What release is your best selling record? How many has it sold?
MB: Probably the Boy Sets Fire “This Crying, This Screaming, My Voice is Being Born” CD, which is the first thing I ever put out. It sold many tens of thousands… I guess in some ways you could say that it’s all been downhill from there? Ha.

VC: There are lots of opinions with regards to pressing numbers and number of variants with vinyl. I personally prefer to press 1,000 copies initially over 2 variants (300 of one and 700 of another). What is your thought on number of variants and pressing numbers? How about with represses?
MB: I just go with whatever the band wants. If they don’t have a preference, I’ll take a look at the band and what I perceive to be their audience (as well as the color scheme of the artwork) and work something out that way. For some of the more “serious” bands, it would just seem kind of weird to do anything but black or simple solids. As a collector/listener, I personally prefer black on everything in my personal collection. So I tend to have at least some of the pressing on black. I guess it’s a case by case basis. Generally speaking, I try not to go too overboard and keep it classic/simple… I feel like to much hoopla over the variants and splatters, etc. can detract from what we’re really trying to push: the music itself.

VC: Who handles your distribution?
MB: Naturally, Vinyl Collective has been helping out. Thanks Virgil! I like doing a lot of mailorder, so I push that a bit. Dischord handles a lot of store sales. I’ll also be working with some friends via a new thing called ILC. Overseas, Shellshock takes care of a lot of UK/EU sales and Disk Union brings stuff into Japan.

VC: What do you see as the future of music sales?
MB: Give it away for free on “officially licensed” sites, have corporate America foot the bill via movie trailers and commercials that the consumer sees while waiting for their downloads. The end user pays nothing, the label and bands get ad revenue.

VC: What is your stance on bundling mp3 coupons with your vinyl? Do your releases come with mp3 coupons?
MB: I’m way into it. Consumers are way into it too. Anybody who’s not doing this currently needs to catch up or sink.

VC: If you could tell the world to buy one release on your label, which one would you tell people to purchase? Why?
MB: That’s really a tough one since there’s around 125 things to pick from. I’m thinking Majority Rule’s “Interviews With David Frost” LP. Solely because it serves the functions of reminding me of a very pure and exciting time in my life while holding up musically.


Magic Bullet and GimmeSound featured on Village Voice blog

"Another Indie Label Goes the Totally Free Route"

Click the above link to read about the Magic Bullet/Gimmesound partnership on the Village Voice blog.

You can download full Magic Bullet albums at:



Notes on Integrity "Vvalpürgisnacht" : The recent vow of getting the label back to its early roots in spirit, packaging, and more "lifer"-oriented bands continues on, this time in the form of a very special release from a band that needs very little introduction: INTEGRITY. After being put in touch via mutual friends, Dwid and I exchanged several emails about some cool projects that we could work on. Given our mutual appreciation for hardcore music, skateboarding, DIY, and the efforts of artists like Pushead, ideas flowed and things fell into place very quickly.

First up is a very special CD to kick things off right. In many ways a tribute to Pushead's days running the Bacteria Sour label, "Vvalpürgisnacht" features hand-screened cover art, a hand-screened skull logo patch, an insert featuring lyrics and an illustration from Florian Bertmer, the two tracks that comprised the 7" on A389 Records, plus two SEPTIC DEATH covers thrown in for full homage vibes. A stamped and hand-numbered edition of 666 copies is now available from my webstore and will be with the band at future shows. Non-numbered copies will be available in independent stores this month.

Fair warning: in the coming days, I will be offering this CD in a limited box set (100 made) with a t-shirt featuring Florian's "Sandra Good" illustration (a collaboration with friends at Shirts & Destroy) as well as a "Vvalpügisnacht" skateboard deck that will come with a free copy of the CD under the shrinkwrap. A separate/stand-alone "Vvalpügisnacht" shirt will also be made available in the coming weeks. So if you intend to pick up one of the box sets, a deck, or shirt, feel free to hold off on ordering until those items are in stock.


- 2 new INTEGRITY songs and 2 exclusive SEPTIC DEATH covers
- All copies feature silkscreened cover artwork
- Special hand-numbered/stamped edition for Magic Bullet mailorder and INTEGRITY shows (numbered to 666)
- All copies include silkscreened patch and offset insert featuring artwork from Florian Bertmer
- You can try out/download the entire recording for free at
- PLEASE NOTE: we are issuing both a CD/shirt box set very soon AND a CD/skateboard deck package soon. Just a heads up so you're not like "awww fuck" later...

• To order this CD online, please visit the Magic Bullet Webstore
• If paying by cash or money order, write for instructions


Notes on Forensics: Sonic Victimization Unit "Deathscream" : Out here in Virginia, we have this annual festival called Macrock. It's been around for a while and changes hands every 3-4 years or so. Anyway, depending on who's in charge for any given year, we'll either get asked to play it or we'll have to apply to play it. Last year was an application year, so we put in the application and just kind of forgot about it. A couple of weeks before the event, they finally announced who was playing. In true bass-player fashion, our guy Andy figured we weren't going to do it on such short notice and went off on a snowboarding expedition. Not being one for canceling and seeing that we were slated for the "metal showcase" (kinda notorious for being in oversized, off-site venues with not nearly enough bodies to fill them), the idea was hatched to do an alter ego set with guitars, electronics, and all kinds of circuit-bent goodness.

So myself, Graham, and former Magic Bullet intern Daniel Bachman got together one spring weekend and jammed on some material that we'd play the following Friday at Macrock. That rehearsal session was recorded and edited throughout the week for a C-45 that we made 50 copies of for the show. After playing 30 minutes in front of like... 12 people, we came home and got rid of the remaining tapes in a couple of days via the webstore. After getting enough "awww duuuude, I wanted one"s, it's now being issued on CD with a hand-screened cover featuring art that I signed and numbered.

Some of the covers came in with some slight imperfections, so they're not included in the signed/numbered edition. Instead, they're being sold as a "DIY edition" for $5 ppd for anyone who doesn't care about the whole signed/numbered/pristine aspect and just wants the jamz.


- 4 songs, 28 minutes of material created for a special alter ego noise set at Macrock 2009
- All copies feature silkscreened cover artwork designed by band member Brent Eyestone
- 2 editions: signed/numbered (out of 88) vs. DIY (no signing/numbering, slight silkscreening imperfections)
- All copies include silkscreened patch
- You can try out/download the entire recording for free at

• To order this CD online, please visit the Magic Bullet Webstore
• If paying by cash or money order, write for instructions


Notes on "Sticky Icky" : Every couple of years, my brother Mark (who owns the local skate shop) and I collaborate on a new skate DVD that documents all of the rad kids who rip in this surprisingly fertile tiny town we live in. This year's video is definitely my favorite... mainly because the kids in it are just so talented and so ambitious. This thing took us into more countries and onto more continents than any of the previous. Pretty much the only places not hit were Antarctica and Africa... haha. Anyway, this one runs about 40 minutes and features all kinds of Magic Bullet bands and friends. And at $6 ppd, I hope you'll enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed putting it all together.


- Third collaborative DVD between Magic Bullet Records and Fredericksburg Skateboards documents modern skateboarding across multiple continents and countries
- View the full trailer at YouTube
- Soundtrack features JESUIT, LOSER LIFE, RINGFINGER, AUGHRA, and many more
- Hand-built packaging features custom-made stickers and reclaimed/recycled kraft digipaks

• To order this DVD online, please visit the Magic Bullet Webstore
• If paying by cash or money order, write for instructions


Notes on Loser Life "I Have Ghosts and I Have Ghosts" : I think it's been a couple years since I've had this LP in stock... way too long. It was a split with 16oh and Mism (who still have copies of the OG press). Anyway, the band really wanted as much merch as possible for their extensive tours of the U.S. and Europe this summer, so I put together a new tour/mailorder cover design to distinguish it from the original. Only being sold on Loser Life summer 2009 tour dates and in the webstore... 175 on gray-ish marble and 25 on red marble. This thing still rages.


- Second pressing: 175 on mixed marble, 25 copies on red marble
- Brand new design features silkscreened cover
- Coupon for free downloads included in every jacket
- You can try out/download the entire recording for free at

• To order this LP online, please visit the Magic Bullet Webstore
• If paying by cash or money order, write for instructions


Thank you. (FREE full-album downloads!)