It would not be hyperbole to say that I’m in awe of what Auris Apothecary does. Some of the most mind blowing packaging for an eclectic roster (Noise, Black Metal, Surfpop, Electronic Glitch) that never ceases to surprise. DAS of Auris Apothecary was nice enough to answer a few of my dumb questions for this web posting vehicle.
“I’M NOT A MUSICIAN” – APRIL 2018 ANSWERED BY DAS
1. What got you interested in starting a record label? Were there any labels or artists that inspired you?
We (the founders of AA) had all been playing music in various bands since our early teen years. We started to have some different solo and collaborative projects we were working on, and wanted a way to share them. Our main inspiration was to make every release feel like a deluxe edition; in some way special or different than an average album. A small shout out to analog label Magnetic South as well, whose early brown-paper packaged cassettes definitely rekindled my love for the medium after a hiatus spent away.
2. Do you have a design/visual arts background?
Not really. As a child I was creative, but I’ve always been a terrible artist. My current drawings could legitimately be mistaken for children’s doodles. But I pirated a copy of Photoshop in 2003 and have been self-taught ever since, learning new techniques and mediums due to a desire to utilize them. The label has served as my design education as well as ever-expanding portfolio which allows me to play around with any aesthetic or style I want.
3. As someone who also plays music, which part of the process do you enjoy most? Playing? Recording? Designing? Other?
My favorite part of the process depends on the music I’m working with. I only enjoy performing live when it’s in loud metal bands. When I’m by myself, I prefer recording for the ability to produce compositions with multiple layers, instruments, effects, and other general sound exploration. But I truly love making designs and packaging for other people’s projects. I find myself infinitely more inspired to create when it’s within the bounds set forth by someone else’s art.
4. Where did the idea for releasing media that may be unplayable or potentially destroy the media player come from?
Auris Apothecary was initially born out of an idea to release music you couldn’t listen to or purchase. As impractical as the concept was, the humor of it kept nagging at us, until one day the sand-filled cassette was proposed. To this day, I believe it’s our most “perfect” release in attaining the initial principles we set out to achieve, and it started us down the absurd spiral of anti-releases that we’re now somewhat infamous for.
5. Did you ever have a concept for a release that you were unable to go through with?
There’s been a few ideas that haven’t panned out, either due to budget constraints, illegality, or impracticality. There was an idea involving rotten meat that was vetoed, a “pipe bomb” packaging concept that would probably land us in jail, a ridiculous sketch of an “ant farm” anti-cassette that makes no sense, etc. There’s no end to the “never going to happen” ideas.
6. Do you like pizza? If so, what kind of crust, topping, cheese, sauce?
Who doesn’t like pizza? I’m simple with my toppings but I make it from scratch a couple times a month. I have my go-to dough recipe memorized by heart, then top it with a decent smattering of savory (not sweet) sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, and Boar’s Head brand pepperoni. You know what…fuck it. Here’s the recipe:
- 1 packet of quick rise yeast
- 2 tsp white sugar
- 1 1⁄4 cup warm water
- 1 tsp Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 3 Tbl oil (half olive / half vegetable)
- 2 – 21⁄2 cups of bread flour
- 2 Tbl white corn meal
- 1 Tbl melted butter
Mix warm water + yeast + white sugar in large glass bowl. Let proof for ~10 minutes. Mix in oil, then top with 2 cups of flour. Sprinkle mixed up salt and garlic powder on top of flour, then mix together. Knead dough for about 5 minutes, continually adding small amounts of flour until dough is smooth and doesn’t stick to bowl. Coat the dough ball in oil, cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and a towel, and let rise until your heart’s desire: 1-12 hours depending on how patient you are and how much yeast flavor you want to embed. After dough has risen, coat your cooking sheet or cast iron skillet in a thin layer of oil and sprinkle with white corn meal. Don’t roll the dough out! Simply flip the bowl over into your hand, then flip the crust down onto the sheet and spread out with your hands. Cover with your toppings, brush melted butter on the crust, and sprinkle mixed up salt and garlic powder around the crust. Bake at 515 degrees Fahrenheit on the bottom rack until the crust and cheese is golden brown. Brush crust with more melted butter. *Tastes best with some Ex Fauna-brand R.I.R.H.S. Hot Sauce
7. Your releases cover a wide variety of genres; what kind of music do you listen to in your spare time, if any?
I’m an equal opportunity lover/hater of all genres, but spend most of the day in silence. When I do listen, it’s incredibly random and determined by my mood, the weather, what season it is, etc. The AA catalog is a fairly honest interpretation of my tastes, though. And I have an insane back-catalog of personal projects I’m always working on, so listening to mixes, rehearsal recordings, and other in-progress things also consumes a decent chunk of my listening.
8. You have been involved in hosting events in your local scene and releasing local artists. What’s the Bloomington, IN scene like nowadays?
Despite Bloomington, Indiana’s scene being unlike anything you’ll find in a lot of smaller Midwestern towns, with an unending stream of concerts nearly every night covering a ton of genres and a crazy number of local groups, unfortunately, it’s not really my cup of tea in terms of aesthetic & styles. I’ve been happy to support the community by attending, recording, and hosting shows of all varieties over the years, and have consistently tried to promote/book/release as many local friends and their projects as possible. But my love for metal and harsh experimental sounds is not a passion the town shares. And last year alone, 3 unique DIY venues closed, including our space The Artifex Guild, our neighbors down the road at Magnetic South, and the punk collective known as The Void. Perhaps coincidental, but we were all located within a half-mile of each other on the South Side. A sign of the times…?
9. Favorite animal of 2017?
Doesn’t matter what year it is: giant squid.
10. Any last words?
Please visit Auris Apothecary at https://www.aurisapothecary.org