Label Spotlight:  DS catches up with DIY label Pee Records

Label Spotlight: DS catches up with DIY label Pee Records

Every other day a record label is formed while another folds.  Australia is home to some great independent labels and in a quest to introduce you to some of the great ones out there, DS caught up with Pete from Pee Records. While originally starting out as a zine, Pee grew to incorporate a record label which has been steadily pumping out releases from the finest punk and hardcore bands that Australia has to offer.

Find out what makes Pee Records spin right here.  Sit down because you’re in for a chuckle or two.

Who and what are Pee Records?

PEE RECORDS is an Aussie independent punk hardcore label based in Adelaide that came to life after years of publishing a crap fanzine called PEE. I’m the guy responsible for all this mess, my name’s Pete.

What are you currently working on?

Packing and distributing the latest issue of PEE zine that I just picked up from the printers two days ago, there’s boxes everywhere – stacked up here in my office and on the kitchen table, which my wife wants back. 😉 PEE #46 should start showing up on the zine rack at all the best punk record stores in the next few days. As for the label, currently working on finalizing artwork and masters for the upcoming PART TIME KILLER album along with a couple of split releases featuring PEE REC bands which should all be coming out later this year and early next.

What are you currently listening to?

Right now? A 12” LP I’ve been sent to review from Spanish hardcore band WE RIDE. Prior to that I’ve been having trouble ejecting the new MILES AWAY and COMEBACK KID albums from the stereo, they’re both awesome records! I’ve also been giving the upcoming DRIVEN FEAR tracks from their split 7” with Singapore’s MOUTHFUL OF AIR constant spins here. That split is nuts!

When did you get started?

The first issue of PEE zine came out back in ‘96. The first PEE RECORDS release hit shelves in 2003.

Why?

The label actually started as a d.i.y mail order and distro for a lot of independent bands and small labels I’d met thru doing the zine that simply had no distro and asked if I could help get their record into a few local indie stores and available via a punk mail order. The mail order was modeled on the legendary South Aussie d.i.y mail order Spiral Objective which I was a regular customer of. I wanted to provide the same service for independent melodic punk and hardcore bands from both here in Australia and overseas cuz I loved getting my order in the mail from Greg and seeing all the extra free shit they’d thrown in like flyers, stickers, Slug and Lettuce zines etc. lets face it, who doesn’t like getting records and free shit in the mail!? It wasn’t that long before we decided to release our own records, with the very first being AWAY FROM NOW’s acclaimed Sic Semper Tyrannis EP, which has since seen the PEE REC roster grow.

What bands are on your roster?

Current active bands include BURNING FICTION [Perth], DAMN THE EMPIRE [Melbourne], DRIVEN FEAR [Brisbane], IN THE FACE OF WAR [USA], PART TIME KILLER [Finland], PROMISES [Gold Coast], PROVOKE [Brisbane], PURIFICATION [Italy], REMAIN OPPOSED [Melbourne], SILVERBACK [Sydney], STRENGTH APPROACH [Italy], TIME HAS COME [Brisbane] and YOUTHINASIA [Canada].

Previous bands no longer playing are AWAY FROM NOW, ANOTHER WAY, BAD DAY DOWN, FAUX DEFEATED, LIABILITY OF MY OWN, LINE OF DEPARTURE, LOST IN LINE, LOSTBOYFOUND, SIXLIP, THE OPEN SEASON, THE RESTLESS WORDS, THE SCISSOR FILE, THE STATE VERSUS, VICE PIRATE and WATCH YOUR STEP.

What releases have you been responsible for?

Hahaha you don’t want me to list all 38 releases to date do you? We’ve released 20 EPs, 12 albums, 4 compilations and 2 split CDs.

Of those, which is your favourite?

Tough question as I’m proud of every release the has a PCD catalogue number on it. I guess like any band who records something you kinda enjoy the most recent release the most at the time because it’s new and fresh… but then the old favorites will always remain just that. Did I dodge that question diplomatically? haha

What are the challenges and pitfalls as a small label?

Working with a very limited budget would be my biggest hurdle, especially when it comes to advertising. Promotion and advertising is a necessary evil to spread the word and buying ad space can be ridiculously expensive at times. I’d sooner release another bands record over spending thousands of dollars on a full page advert in a glossy music mag for example, and whilst I’m aware that advertising and promotion is necessary I lean towards advertising in fanzines and independent webzines and mags over the glossy newsagent magazine.

What are the perks of running your own label?

Dealing with dudes I consider good friends on a daily basis under the guise of ‘work’.

What does it take for a band to get onto Pee Records?

Good question, firstly is your band any good and can you actually play what you’ve recorded live? Secondly, does your band play the kind of punk and hardcore I release on the label? If so then put some effort into your demo submission and send it in. We don’t expect you to spend thousands of dollars on a demo recording and a slick foldout presentation, but if you’re demo looks and sounds like your 6 year old sister slapped it together then it will most likely end up in the bin. Our roster of bands all take pride in their work, and that includes presentation, so take pride in your shit! And most importantly, is your band made up of a bunch of egotistical dickheads? If you answer yes then save your time and money coz we’re not interested at all in dealing with anyone who’s going to cause us grief or problems, we’ve been there before. Chances are we know enough folks in your area who’s opinion we value and trust, so if they say you’re cockheads then that’s good enough for us. So please leave your ego on your bedroom floor, we’re an independent label who releases punk and hardcore bands so no one is splashing around loads of cash, but if you’re a hard working band full of guys/girls with awesome attitudes then that’s what we’re keen on.

Tell me a bit about the Pee Zine.

PEE zine began life purely as a promotional tool for the gigs I was organizing / promoting thru my weekly 2 hour punk radio show on community fm. I did the zine featuring interviews with the bands that would be appearing at my next gig, simply to raise the profile of the bands whilst also advertising my shows and featuring the usual rants and record reviews. I used to hand the photocopied b/w zine out for free at pubs, record stores and uni’s. I’ve since moved interstate [to Adelaide] and no longer do the radio thing but have continued to spew out PEE zine for just over 14 years now. We cover punk and hardcore bands from Australia and all over the world and publish 2 issues a year.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone wanting to start their own DIY label, what would that be?

Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, ie: you live and love what you do. If you’re doing it to make bucket loads of cash or gain some sort of scene cred then forget it. You probably won’t last more than a few years at best. If you even break even then you’re doing an awesome job, so it’s vital you’re doing it because you truly love the music, the folks you’re dealing with and the work you’re doing.

What are 3 things that the world should know about Pee Records?

We’re proud to be independent, underground and even a little unfashionable. For us it’s all about the music and the people, not the ego and fashion.

Any last words?

Thanks for the interview and being interested in our label Brittles! Keep up the great work with Dying Scene. Thanks to anyone who’s bothered reading my dribble. Support your local punk and hardcore bands, labels and zines! Better still, start your own!

Cheers!

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