Modern Tapes founder Patrick Scott (My Lai, Kill Sadie) on 5 of his label’s key releases
Patrick Scott is a true underground music lifer. He's played in My Lai, Kill Sadie, V.Reverse, Locks, 97-Shiki, and more; released solo music as Unur and Verhalten; he's a recording/mixing engineer and a front of house engineer at various venues; and he also founded the (Static Station) label in the '90s, which shuttered in 2011, not long after he founded another label, Modern Tapes.
Modern Tapes has been going strong for over a decade and it continues to release interesting music from all across the underground board, like the LANA album we recently wrote about. "Extremes. Whether its Harsh Noise Wall or Lowercase sounds. I like to balance stark and abstract concepts with the electricity of the living," Patrick says of the music Modern Tapes releases. "I have varied tastes, and I don’t want Modern Tapes to be a one dimensional label. That may disappoint the genre-tied micro-label followers out there, but I think there is plenty for everyone to connect with if they actually listen."
If you're looking for a place to start with Modern Tapes' catalog, Patrick has made us a list of five releases that stand out to him for one reason or another. "Everything i’ve released on the label over its 10 years exists for a reason, not simply for the sake of itself. Most have a story that could be considered mildly interesting. Here’s a cross-section of artists and styles you’ll find on the label and some stories about how they came to be," he says. Here's his list...
MT001/ Staring Problem / S/T / CS
in 2009 I was in a really odd place personally. I had just folded the label I had run since 1996 which had various bouts of dormancy through its existence and was then collectivized right before its end. I met Lauren from Staring Problem when my weirdo punk band played with her weirdo punk band in carbondale illinois. My band crashed at her place and we became fast friends. One of the things we bonded over was a love for post-punk, goth and new wave (and prog, but I digress). She started Staring Problem around the same time I started recording post-synthpunk stuff as what would become Unur. She sent me a video of the band playing “Monster” as a crummy phone video from a practice and I said “I Want Everyone To Hear This” and that’s when Modern Tapes was started.
MT013 / Froe Char / Foreigner Skin / CS
Where to begin? The first time I toured Europe as Unur I stayed in a group flat in Paris with the people who had promoted and DJ’d the show. This was my introduction to a corner of the Parisian wave scene that is comprised of some wonderful people whom I absolutely adore. Froe Char/Christina is a huge part of that, she’s promoted shows, been in bands, DJ’d parties and makes incredible music on her own. We’ve toured together countless times through many of the weirdest circumstances in countries far and wide. I count Christina among my favorite people and as someone whose talent is unparalleled and whose voice is singular. While her Fossils LP is incredible I feel Foreigner Skin showcases her evolution toward noisier and more experimental territory while maintaining all the catchy bits that make her songs so good.
MT024 / Unser Verhängnis / Peace Is A Lasting Legacy When The Earth Is A Silent Grave / 2xCS
For most of its early days as a label Modern Tapes was kind of treated as a minimal synth and post-punk label with little flourishes of experimentalism from time to time (Guitar Party, Worker/Parasite). However, as the label continued I decided I didn’t want it to be locked to a single sound so I started letting my other tastes be more represented in the catalog and a large part of that is noise. I’ve always been attracted to noise, repetition and minimalism and kind of modeled the initial idea for the label off of a lot of the 80’s and 90’s noise cassette underground. I stumbled across Unser Verhängnis while in a bandcamp HNW rabbit hole a number of years ago. It was perfect. Ambient but not easy. Dark but not cartoonish. It was a black blank canvas to project ones own neurosis upon. I bought some music from Peter and mentioned being interested in putting out a release. We came up with the idea of doing a double cassette and everything just came together wonderfully. Peter and I have played a few shows together in Seattle and the label has since released two of his other projects, Scholl and Dosenöffner.
MT025 / Shaan / Notes From A Peculiar Time In Space / CS
Christina (Froe Char) and I always liked playing new places occupied by good people. Our friend Nicola, who records under the name Alone, had invited the two of us to come play in Belgrade, Serbia and as we do, we called his bluff and booked a show on the first tour by my Verhalten alias in Europe. The show was opened by Shaan. She performed with just a single sampler and managed to wring incredibly interesting sounds from it that all came from this inquisitive and intelligent place. The next day she and I wandered Belgrade and talked about art, life and sound. The following day we locked ourselves into a rehearsal room and improvised together for a few hours, her on her sampler and myself on modular synthesizer. It was a an honestly wonderful experience that led to me asking about doing a tape of hers for the label, it took some time (as releases on MT often do) but i’m really pleased with the resulting minimal, experimental electronics contained within. Looking forward to some new material she’s working on at the moment.
MT033 / LANA / S/T / CS
In 2015 I helped Froe Char and Cellule 34 come to the states to do a tour. Without getting too into it let me just say it was pretty epic. While in Orlando we met Sara Storm who had been, if I remember correctly, in the early-ish days of her outstanding project Nail Club. She and I kept in contact. Then, as I was booking some Verhalten shows in Florida in 2018 we got the idea to do them together. Sara and I drove around florida and eastern georgia together for over a week playing shows, raiding record and video stores and having a pretty incredible time. While on that tour she told me about this project she had been working on dedicated to Lana Tisdel and Brandon Teena. It was from Lana’s perspective as a set of Karaoke songs but the backing tracks were all distorted, hissy, synths and drum machines. I loved the idea and then the songs showed up and are amazing. Between this, the Nail Club LP on Hot Releases that just came out and the Latex Cop tape planned for later this year on MT, Sara’s having a rather prolific 2020.
You can check out way more of Modern Tapes' several releases at the label's Bandcamp.