Thursday, September 22, 2016

Exact Change Fanzine Archive: Harm Reduction Records Interview (2013)

This interview is with Jami Morgan, drummer and vocalist of Code Orange and co-founder of Harm Reduction Records. Again, this interview was conducted in the Summer of 2013, in the parking lot of Backbooth in Orlando after Code Orange's show with Madball. Originally supposed to appear in the unpublished Listen Magazine #3, this interview took place before Harm Reduction had formally put out any releases. Thanks to Jami for his time and enduring generosity and Christian Costello for again helping me record the interview. Though a bit dated, I didn't want to see this one fall through the cracks.

Exact Change: The last 4-way split that Code Orange Kids contributed to gave a softer, dreamier track. What can we expect on the next release seeing as it's a heavier track with harder hitting bands... Hounds of Hate, Heartless*...

Jami: It's nothing similar to that song. I don't think we'll ever do a song similar to that song. We try to do different things to stay interesting and have fun. It's a heavy song, it's in the vein of what our next record is going to be like... It'll probably come out before our next record, so it'll give a preview of that.

Exact Change: I've heard of Heartless and Hounds of Hate, but I haven't heard about the other band on the split, Killer of Sheep. Could you talk about them a little bit?

Jami: They're just a punk rock band from Pittsburgh with a bunch of guys who were in bands in the early 2000's, some of them were in bands in the 80's and 90's, they've been around forever. They don't tour a lot, but they play local a lot, so we thought why not.

Exact Change: Seeing Axis on the roster of releases got me excited since they're a Florida hardcore band. How'd you hear about them and decide about doing a release with them?

Jami: That one wasn't really my thing even though I'm super down with them, I think they're awesome, but Patrick just asked me if we would do a split with Self Defense and Axis...I was like yeah, they're fuckin' sick, he showed me some newer songs that were awesome, they were awesome live. I love metalcore in the vein their going for, 90's and early 00's. They sound like Turmoil, it's cool, I like them a lot. That wasn't one of my picks but I'm 100% on board.

Exact Change: The label is described as aiming for "smart metal" for "non-aggressive people", what is it exactly that you're looking for on the label?

Jami: Well, the description was written by Patrick. While I agree with it in a way... when he says "smart metal", I think he meant more that we want to do stuff that's heavy, but that's not excluding in any kind of way in trying to be too over-the-top "smart" or whatever so it's not hardcore, but at the same time gives you a little bit more than an average hardcore band.

I'm an aggressive person, so I don't totally agree with that in itself. We want to put out records that aren't necessarily records that people think are super cool right now but are heavy, you can fuckin' mosh to, but at the same time there's something there more than that. I feel like there was a lot of that in the late 90's and early 2000's and that's not really around much anymore.

We're looking for anything. If something's cool, we'll talk about it and figure out. I want to do what I like, metalcore shit in the good way, not in the shitty way it's used now. He wants to do other types of heavy music, we're just collaborating on different kinds of bands that we like. It's already not turning out originally how we described it. It started off by us seeing other labels and being like, "I think we can put out some cooler bands than this." There's tons of great labels, but not a lot of shit I'm super into.

Exact Change: Is this label more of a priority or a side project to your bands?

Jami: It depends how it goes. The goal is to just get records to sell whatever press that it is over time and try to put out good music that we like, that we can eventually get out to enough people to make our money back. We don't want to sell a bunch of records. It's not our main priority so that means we can put out bands that are cool, bands we actually like, not bands that are gonna put food on our table.

Exact Change: Anything else you want to add?

Jami: Not really. He (Patrick) probably has different opinions on ALL this shit than I do. I don't fuckin' care! I wish we were playing Transitions.

*Question was about a 4-way split scheduled to be released on Harm Reduction Records that never came out, which you can read about on their blog here.

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