Label Love: Shit Music For Shit People

Depending on your age, you may or may not have indulged in the wonder of the cassette tape. If not, there's a record label that are wanting to let you know all about it. Let Bearded introduce you to Shit Music For Shit People.

Label Love: Shit Music For Shit People Perhaps one of the forgotten and most misjudged musical formats is far from dead, thanks to the hard work from an exciting new label. Shit Music For Shit People are releasing specially limited, delightfully crafted cassette tapes, not to mention vinyl to an ever increasing, and welcomming, audience. Based out of Portugal, Bearded caught up with one half of the label, Tommaso Floris, to find out what they're all about.

Hello. Firstly, who are you and what do you do?
Two outsiders, out of the world and inside theirselves. Ângela Monteiro is a graphic designer and we both play in Two Bit Dezperados.

Where does the name Shit Music For Shit People come from?
The name was born some time ago, ironically, as a provocation.

How did the label start out?
The label started out in late 2008, in Rome, from the desire to introduce and promote new musicians and illustrators. We intended to develop this through an original language that would allow us to create attractive and interesting objects.

How does the average day/week pan out for you?
It depends a lot; when we’re close to release an album, there’s a lot of work to do, from contacting the illustrators and preparing all the material to send them, to the confection of the packaging itself, and all the promo that comes after.
In the meantime we got some more free time, so we work on looking for interesting bands and artists/illustrators and we dig some new ideas to develop on our next releases.

Two Bit Dezperados

How has your job changed since you started?
It has become more demanding, now we work on it a bit everyday. Slowly it’s getting bigger.

You release music exclusively to vinyl and cassette, with today’s ever changing music scene, where do you see the future of SMFSP heading? Are you anti CD and MP3?
Our future is to continue mixing technology with the past. That’s why we can picture us churning out a bunch of vinyl and cassettes accompanied by mp3 (all our releases let you download the mp3 songs for free from our website, using a code).
We are not anti-CD, we simply prefer those formats because we’ve lived with them since our childhood, and we’ve established an emotional link. It’s not a hate relationship, it’s just a format that doesn’t transmit emotions of any kind. We don’t identify ourselves with it, there’s no connection. Mp3 instead, are comfortable and functional, you can take them anywhere, but they have no physical significance, are empty. I personally find the CD monstrous.

You’re a strong believer in music and art working together. Where does this stem from, and do you think that downloading has a future or do you see a resurgence in the physical format that has seen vinyl sales rise over the past few years?
The bond that we’ve created between music and art comes from our own experiences and education. Basically we put our passions together. We are great lovers of music in the first place, and art and cinema. So why limit ourselves to only produce music? They are arts that go hand in hand. As we said before, the mp3 format is an incredible opportunity, but it is the physical vacuum, in your hands remain nothing.

"We are not anti-CD, we simply prefer [vinyl, cassette] formats because we’ve lived with them since our childhood, and we’ve established an emotional link"

Although there is still a market for vinyl and cassette fans, at the moment it is not going to bring in millions of pounds. What drives you to keep going? How do you measure success?
We got faith in it. In the U.S. the sale of vinyl records has a positive evidence; a sign that people have the desire to take home something physical and beautiful as a vinyl record, among other things, unsurpassed in sound quality.
Besides that, we believe that the interesting projects can go ahead.

Can you see a resurgence in independent record stores, or have things changed so much that there’s no going back?
From our point of view, there’s still a lot of people filling the independent record stores. We have many friends who buy records every month and some of these in large quantities. The internet has helped a lot in this.

What have been some of the highlights and lowlights of your time at the label?
The highlight is every time we sold out an album and, considering that our label is still young, we must say that for now we still have no lowlights.

What do you look for in artists (both musically and visually) to garner your time and effort?
Musically it is hard to say, is not the genre but rather the invective, the originality, the genius to write a handful of singles, some perfect songs. The visual part has its value, but it doesn’t weigh on our criterion that much.

The Intellectuals

Being based between Italy and Portugal, do you find that different countries/cultures now treat music in its various formats differently? Does this affect where you aim your releases?
With no doubt, yes. We can tell it by the way that this project is embraced in each country, so differently. In Portugal, people are starting to know it, they’re curious, but it feels like a strange body yet. In Italy they seem more open and familiar to it, it’s more usual the independent labels that release vinyl or cassettes. But although we are based between the two, we work to make our releases go further. We’re not limited by boundaries, that’s why we got our albums distributed in France, Germany, Spain, Japan, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.

Where would you advise someone to begin when wanting to discover the music of SMFSP? and social media (like myspace, blogspot, facebook, twitter etc.).

Any advice for someone wanting to set up their own label?
To stay strong, believe truely in what you do and invent an original proposal. Sameness takes you nowhere.

Do you carry an ethos or mantra?
Yes, we pray and sing daily to our orixás and once in a while we do macumba. Saravá!