Local label labels label as label
By W.C. Ruffnel
As 2011 draws to a close, anyone with his or her finger remotely on the pulse realizes that the compact disc, or “CD” as it has come to be known as, is within sight of the long, white tunnel. While no one seems to lament the loss of the CD or shrinking influence of the music industry, localized labels have been an important player in the above-average musical fan’s taste. Any musician with a modicum of common sense has been expanding on the DIY musical movement in their own ways, yet everyone agrees the CD album is dead. Punk rockers with tape collections insist that their format never went away, while elitists with walls of vinyl conclude that everything will eventually be as interesting as they are (meanwhile dreading that moment). How Much Art Can You Take? (HMACYT), however, falls nicely in between those two extremes – a punk rock label that is more than happy to tell you to “fuck off” while buying you a cup of coffee and explaining to you why ear-shattering noise is good for your soul. James Downing, founder and most likely in charge of all sorts of other shit pertaining to the label was nice enough to take time out of his day to tell us about HMACYT?
Can you tell me about the label — who runs it and when did it start?
The label is run by my desire to throw hard-earned money into a pit never to be seen again. I first started this practice of waste in 2003. [James Downing]
Would HMACYT? adhere to any specific ‘mission statement’ or credo?
I’ve never thought of HMACYT? as having any sort of mission statement, just to release music that I personally find interesting. It’s not really any sort of legitimate business. I have a day job to stay alive, this is just fun and helps to keep me somewhat sane. [JD]
Where does the name come from? SSD? Dillinger Four? Both? Does it have any meta-social connotations?
The name is absolutely stolen from Society System Decontrol and not from that fat dude from Dillinger Four’s chest. I’ve met him though, and he is a very nice and drunk guy. But he is fat. [JD]
What would you consider HMACYT?’s “genre” to be?
My mom would probably call it a “punk rock label,” I guess that’s not too far off. I suppose I follow the generic punk ethos, I don’t work with contracts or any of that bullshit; it’s all handshakes and reach-arounds. [JD]
Who would be a fan of HMACYT?
According to Facebook, the label has 97 fans, those numbers could be fudged though. I don’t really know how to use computers and that page, as well as my personal page, are both managed by an intern whose name escapes me. I’ve sold records to Kevin Bacon’s son a few times, so I guess the typical fan of How Much Art Can You Take? would be the child of a celebrity. [JD]
Explain your initial choice to press vinyl/tape?
I grew up with tapes and vinyl, and never cared for CDs. I just have little to no respect for the format. (See the small pile collecting dust and scratches on the floor near the litter box.) [JD]
Are there any labels you would consider an influence on yours?
K Records, because Calvin releases whatever the fuck he likes. I end up hating half of the records on that label but I still have their logo tattooed on my head. Mad respect to Oly Wa. [‘Oly Wa’ refers to Olympia, Washington if you didn’t already know.] [JD]
Where is music heading in 2012?
I have absolutely no idea. On a personal level I can say that my music doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, however my friend is on the cover of Spin magazine and that’s sort of a mind fuck. [JD]
How has Dayton influenced HMACYT?, if at all?
Dayton in general is a very depressing place, there isn’t a lot going on here, but I kind of love that about Dayton. It forces people to create their own worlds, make up their own scenes. For that I’ll give props to Daytonians. We certainly don’t understand the idea of giving up. I actually know very little about Dayton’s current music scene outside of what happens in a few basements and garages. I will say that Teeth Collection is the best thing happening around here, also really digging local bands Consexual Sense, (halicon), Premature Autopsy and Scott2K . Honestly, if you see me at a bar show and I look really lost and/or confused, it’s because I am. Please direct me back to Shroyer Park. [JD]
What does the future hold for HMACYT?
Financial ruin … and records from Ruina Tötal (Mexico City, Mexico), Amps For Christ (Claremont, Calif.), Side FX (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Bunny Skulls (Ludington, Mich.).
Anything else to add?
Eat bagels and listen to White Walls. [JD]
Visit HMACYT? at www.howmuchartcanyoutake.bigcartel.com or on Facebook.
Reach DCP freelance writer W.C. Ruffnel at WCRuffnel@DaytonCityPaper.com.