This is an Interview with Greg from ROTP about Hardcore and his label, based in the capital of Australia. I had the chance to hang out with him during my time in the country and I decided to do an interview with him, because I like people with a passion and a quality record-collection.
Greg, first of all introduce yourself please. Give us a brief introduction of who you are and when you got into hardcore.
Hey! As you said, I’m Greg Thomo from Canberra Australia. I run a small label / distro over here called ‘Rain On The Parade Records’ that I have been been doing for a few years now. I think I was about 11 or 12ish when I experienced my first introduction to HC. My brother, at the time, was playing in a local Youth Crew style band who had just released a discography, while they were on the verge of breaking up. I also had another brother who got an Agnostic Front CD for Christmas. So it was from that point that I remember hearing these albums regularly, and getting pretty into it. This would have been in the mid 90’s.
Why you came up with this name for your label and when was it?
I started all of this back in 2010, and got the idea for the name from a ‘Violent Arrest’ song. They are one of my favourite bands, and that song especially rules! I just like the meaning behind it, because I’m an arsehole, ‘to ruin ones plans or aspirations’!
It is already 7 years ago, that you released your first demo of the band TREMORS from the U.K., why did you choose that band for your first tape?
I had heard the demo online and thought it was cool. fast and aggressive but in the style that wasn’t really being played that well at the time so it was kind of refreshing. I ended up emailing the band to see if they were interested in doing a few copies over here for an Australian release. Very weird though, I got a reply a few days later from a guy named Josh. As it turns out, he was a friend of mine that used to live in my home town, Canberra! I had no idea he was in the band, it was all just a coincidence that he had been the one to see the email and reply. Josh is good dude, he was the one that would sneak me into my first shows when I was about 16. I used to carry his guitar through the loading door into venues for him, because they were all 18+. Josh played in some really good bands when he lived over here, the band that stands out to me, and probably the whole scene at the time, was Hardluck. One of my early memories was when he snuck me into a Vitamin X / Hardluck show, it was insane, and still remains one of the best shows I have ever been too.
Over the last couple of years you released a bunch of good tapes, what is your favourite ROTP-release ?
I would have to say that all the ‘Violent Reaction’ stuff would be my favourite. I have always been beyond stoked to do anything with this band, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to be apart of it in one way or another.
Did you ever have a band that you wish was on ROTP?
Yeah, there would probably be a few bands I would love to release, and there still might be an opportunity do something for a band that I’m really interested in. But a lot of the bigger bands I’d want to work with already have good labels behind them, or prefer to do these things themselves.
How do you choose a new band for the label?
Generally the bands I approach are ones that I’m pretty into, and have thought at one time that it would be cool to do something for them. Other times the releases have been friends of mine, something that has only been released on vinyl and I have asked to to a small cassette pressing for all the tape nerds like myself, that are around. Even EP’s that were only put online, which I felt deserved a hard copy release.
Next to that, you run a small web-distro too, small selection of great current bands mostly from the U.K. Tell us something about your distro and your choice.
I started doing distro quite a while after the label, as I didn’t really have a lot of time to do both. But I am looking to expand the label and distro a bit more. Hopefully that will be eventuating soon, so to prepare I have been focusing more so on distro to try and get the name and idea out to everyone who might not be aware of it. For example, I’ve been given a quite a chunk of releases from Ola at QCHQ when I was visiting London earlier this year. Ola does really good releases, and I’m always happy to get it over here when I can. Because the postage to Australia is pretty expensive, I’ll usually get a big box of stuff, because it works out better price wise, and that way I can help out people over here, who stop buying records due to the fact that postage is a killer.
You played, next to the label, in a few bands too. Give us a short overview about your current and older bands!
At the moment I’m playing bass in a Ramones-esque type of band. I haven’t ever played in a band like this before, but I decided to start the band because of my love for the Ramones. I just wanted to play something different to what I had been doing previously. Something fast, catchy and with sing-a-long lyrics. We haven’t played any shows as of yet, but we will be recording soon, and shows will follow. Before this I was playing bass in U2K (urge2kill), we released a few demos, and had all intentions to release a 7″ that has been written, but I don’t think that’s going to happen anymore, with our guitarist moving to the UK, and things just generally fizzling out. For a number of years I sang in a band called Eye-Gouge!, EG! was kind of like straight forward power violence style tunes. We did a few 7 inches, tapes, and songs on various LP compilations. Around the same time I was playing bass for the first time in an Oi! band called ‘All In Brawl’. We didn’t do a great deal, but we did releases two demos and a full length CD/LP.
I am a real record and tape nerd, that’s why I like all your releases, because there is a lot of passion in all your stuff. What is the reason for and when did you start to collect records?
I think I started to collect records when I was on the tail end of 16, when I was leaving high school and going into college, and could actually afford to buy things for myself. Again, my oldest brother introduced me to hardcore, and the world of records and tapes. I would always go through his collection, and the limited releases always stood out to me. Hence why I like to do limited pressings of everything I do, or at least make it different in one way or another. Stamped, screen printed, tape versions of vinyl, alternative artwork, you name it. I’m not a fan of people doing half-arsed work on releases, if you make the effort to do something for someone, put a bit of heart into it.
One of your latest output is the Violent Reaction “Dead End” 7inch. You went to their last show in London in January this year, with a “Last-show-edition” in your luggage. How was your second Europe-experience in the U.K. and is VR one of your favourite bands?
Yeah, a friend of mine screen printed 50 covers for me to take over for the last show, they turned out really cool, and sold very fast. The experience was great! Ola and Tom put me up at the Quality Control HQ for the week or so I was over there, and they made me feel right at home. I spent time with a few of the guys I know from Boston for the first five days of the trip, so that was cool. We just trekked around London, sightseeing. We saw some shows and I did some record shopping with Cooch from PKR. After they all left I spent most of my time walking around London, eating my way through and looking at other attractions. I even made it to the Jack the Ripper tour and museum eventually. On my last night in town I caught up with Jack Kelly, he was kind enough to get me an all access pass to the Slapshot / Dropkick Murphy’s show, and it was wild! Violent Reaction are definitely one of my favourite bands, and have been since their demo came out. Their last show was insane! Stage dives one after the other, everybody singing along and getting right into it. I got my nose broken, and my body was in so much pain for almost two weeks afterwards, haha. They let me sing ‘Evil’ by the 4skins as well, definitely something I will never forget.
Give us a short overview about the current hardcore-scene in Canberra/Australia…if you could change something, what would it be? Are there few things you can’t get along with?
At the moment hardcore is pretty quiet in Canberra to be honest. It seems like all the stuff that’s coming out at the moment is garage punk or indie style bands, some of its pretty cool, even if it isn’t really my thing, but I guess you have to take what you can get when living in such a small town. Australia itself has its ups and downs just like anywhere else in the world, there are good bands here, that’s for sure, and a decent amount who tour and play around constantly.
What is your favourite Australian band?
There are a heaps of Aussie bands that I love, and I’m not really sure if I could pick a favourite between them. AVO, Extortion, Hellbringer, Straight Jacket Nation, and early Toe to Toe are all up there. Also, a few other bands who weren’t around for very long, and may have only released a demo, that were definitely ruling.
What means Straight-Edge to you and did you think about in the past to release only edge-bands or was it never a relevant thing for you?
To me, straight edge is something you should do for yourself, and no one else. Don’t let anyone have input into what you want or do, or how you decide to live, whether you put a label on it or not. If it’s something you want to commit to, and you feel it’s the right thing to do, go for it. Nothing pisses me off more then when people decide to be straight edge and a year or whatever later go completely off the rails to the opposite of what they were so against cause they found a new trend that all their mates were getting into. If you can be persuaded that easily you never had it in you in the first place and deserve to be taken to hospital to get your stomach pumped cause you took too many pills But honestly, it wasn’t something I really thought about doing, I just wanted to put music out that I enjoyed, and I do listen to a lot of straight edge bands. But that wasn’t the way I wanted to go with the label at all.
Take a stand to following sentence in comparison to our current scene: “all was better in the past”
I don’t know how I feel about that, obviously a lot of 80s bands influence what’s happening today, but there are also so many bands now that are just as good as they were, or dare I say maybe better than some…? I think the things that were better in the past were that way because of how it was all taken in and absorbed by people, who had never seen or heard anything like it before, and that’s what got everyone so involved. Now though it seems that people aren’t that way inclined, and kind of back off at shows for one reason or another, and it sometimes puts a ‘dull’ feeling on it all. Or you just get weird vibes from bands, who can be quite stand-off-ish, it’s like they think they deserve more or something? I don’t know, in saying that I still think hardcore is alive and well all over the world, nothing will ever be ‘how it was’, but we just need to move on and make something of what we have now, something kids will talk about in 20-30 years, just like we do now with the OG’s.
BREAK DOWN THE WALLS or NOT IN THIS ALONE? Go…!
We’re Not In This Alone! This was probably my first introduction to Youth Crew, and the first Youth Of Today record I ever heard. I love this album from start to finish. It’s fast, catchy and positive in the most aggressive way possible. I still listen to this record regularly, and it is definitely in my top five favourite albums. It’s weird to think I was born the year this was released in 1988, so it’ll be 30 years next year!
Do you have any plans for the next months (label/personal?) I know you are going to the U.S. to see Battle Ruins and Boston Strangler again, are you excited?
Yeah, I’ll actually be heading over to Boston for those shows! Foreseen, Hammer and the Nails etc. at the Friday show, and Boston Strangler, Battle Ruins and Shipwrecked at the Saturday show. I saw a bunch of these bands in Sweden last year, but I’ve got to say, I’m most excited to see Boston Strangler because I missed seeing them last time I was over, due to DFJ getting arrested before the show, haha. It should be an awesome time.
I have actually started a side label to ROTP, for music I want to release that wouldn’t fit well with what I have on my current label. This new label is called Beat On The Brat Records, and has been designed to purely accomodate bands that aren’t straight forward HC. Think along the lines of catchy punk, à la Ramones, Vanilla Muffins etc.
I’ve just released a 7″ on BOTB Records from a Melbourne band called ‘Modern Fidelity’, which is similar to the style of bands I’ve just mentioned, if anyone wants to check it out it’s up on my big-cartel page.
As for ROTP there will hopefully be some releases within the next few months, but I will have to wait and see what happens. All info will be put up online, so keep an eye out.
Any last words?
Thanks for the interest mate, it was good to see you on your holiday over here, and I hope to see you again before you head back home. Remember, don’t hitchhike on the Hume Highway or accept any rides from people with the last name ‘Milat’, they might try and take you and Anna for a tour of the Belanglo Stare Forest… ; )
Based in Melbourne, Australia.