Guest Columnist #73 - Fernando

Do You Really Support Punk/Hardcore?
    This is my second contribution to S&L.  I’m writing from Mexico and I want to share with all of you something that I think is important.  We have a label-distribution and record-book-info store. It is very hard to do this kind of work in Mexico, but with the support of nice people around the world, and a never ending struggle, everything is doing well.
    Making things work is much harder than in the USA.  We only have one vinyl pressing factory in Mexico city.  Mostly people prefer tapes. Mexico obeys the mandates of technological imperialism, so turntables are in extinction to make way for the introduction of CD players and the consumption of the new technology.  But everybody in Mexico has a tape player, so for that reason, our label keep putting out tape releases: full length, original and professional quality tapes.
    We like to spread out stuff out of the country—send it to be reviewed in zines, for trades and or to sell.  Something that we’ve been facing since we started the label is a negative attitude against tapes.  Cool labels and distributors self-called DIY folks don’t accept to trade, receive for a review, or even buy tapes.  So my question is why people in the USA or Europe, who have the resources to make their work in Punk/Hardcore, and have the capacity to help other labels, distributors or bands doing trades, or even accepting tapes to review - don't do it?
    There ARE important, cool, DIY bands interested in making tapes of their stuff: Los Crudos, Harum Scarum, Kontraattaque, Petrograd, Larm, Seein Red, Sin Dios, etc... because they know that there are people in many countries who don’t have access to vinyl or CDs, and they want to spread their work by all means possible.  I’m not talking about if you run a label, you have to put out tapes. But you could help a lot by giving us the chance to trade, or buy, or receive our tapes for your CDs or vinyl. By buying tapes you can help make it possible for Mexican bands, or bands from other countries, to spread their music and ideas to more people.
    I really don’t like CDs.  I love vinyl.  But let me ask you a question: how many of you have traveled on tour with your band, or with your label selling stuff, listening to tapes on the road?  How many of you discovered that great band, from that far away country, listening to a tape passed on from a friend or sent you by mail?
    Running a label in Mexico isn’t very easy and in my case, our label-distribution-store is not a hobby. So what I am trying to tell you is after that all the effort to keep a label, a band, a distribution, etc... you then have to face people who are not interested in tapes.
    Another wrong thing with tapes is that people think tapes are only for demos. Some zines even have a review section for tapes that they call “demo reviews.”.  It’s looks like there’s a hierarchy between formats. I know there are a lot of bands who put out their first release—like a demo, on tape, but also there are lots of bands that put out their first release on a full length tape, recorded professionally, with cover inserts, and sometimes they also include the translation of the lyrics, something that most of the US bands don’t do.
    It’s like when you read a zine and you’re interested in contact, and you only see an email address.  But not everybody in the world has access to computers, or do we have to have a computer to be in it?  But this is another theme for a future collaboration.
    Punk/Hardcore is alive around the world, thanks to the support of each one of us, thanks to the effort of bands, zines, labels, distributors and individuals.  It’s great to count with a friend in a far country and send him or receive stuff.  This is a part of the DIY ethics—actually living DIY, gardening, home-schooling, punk parent, etc.. in conjunction with Punk Hardcore music.  This is great because it will no longer be just about music. Now it is about how to live by ourselves creating our sustainable resources to not depending on a wrong and rotten system.
    I think we’re going in the best way punk ever has before, so these kinds of stupid attitudes are only of benefit to all those hundreds of big and perfect label-companies.  So this is a calling for everyone involved in punk/hardcore and it’s simple: if you don’t accept tapes in your zine, your distro, your record store, your radio show, etc... you’re destroying an important means of expression.  In other words — you’re against what punk/hardcore is all about.
    Thanks for you time and for reading this.  We’ve got a small record-book-info store in Monterrey, so if you’re interested in spreading your stuff here, please send wholesale rates of your vinyl, CDs, tapes and books, or if you can trade for tapes - drop us a line.
PS. I sincerely want to thank all of the S&L staff of columnists and of course the editor for making punk/hardcore different, for sharing thoughts, teachings, experiences, friendship, ideas, love of an intense manner that inspires me every time I read this paper.  I’m always waiting for the new S&L issue. Congratulations for all the great work, and keep going with la lechuga! Fraternalmente: Fernando Lozano/ Apdo Postal 1946/ CP 64001/ Monterrey NL/ Mexico.