Whanganui Overground Underground Pt. 1 - The Stink Magnetic Story

The Stink Magnetic Record Co. Guide to Global Music Domination

For New Zealand Music Month, we tracked down, Dylan Herkes, musician, svengali and head-honcho of the multi-national, Stink Magnetic Record Co. Our mission to find out just how a normal human being, with no clue, little talent and plenty of energy can form a band, make a record and start a record label, from literally, nothing.

For Art and Design student Dylan, the path has been a long and determined one. With Stink Magnetic Recording Co. in its 12th year, countless gigs around the country and beyond, several of his own releases and a whole host of other heroic, unsung NZ bands released through his label. The Stink Magnetic Record Co. has proved that with grit, guts, spunk and style, even the un-dead can make sweet music and become primitive rock-stars.

Dylan and Stink (As it is known to aficionados) have a strong aesthetic style, formed, re-hashed and over-heated from the remnants of B-Movies, crude garage punk records and the sound of surf music crashing on NZ’s shore in 1965. Think of werewolves, ghosts, and zombies from outer-space, guzzling hard liquor for the first time, abusing vintage instruments and expressing their raw urges in public. It sounds scary and it is…why? ... Because it works!

Over the years Stink Magnetic Record Co. has not only released many records by NZ garage, surf, Hawaiian industrial, experimental country disco, Spaghetti Western, esoteric trash, rap and stone-age punk bands but promoted countless gigs and events, which have strengthened the local scene. By helping these peripheral, wild characters achieve their dream and perfect their art, the primitive rock underground of New Zealand has flourished, far away from the fickle frippery of the mainstream.

It is this D.I.Y attitude and the idea that, ‘You can do it, because you want to, not because you can’, that fuels this most kiwi approach to making music. We tracked down, Dylan at Stink Magnetic H.Q to ‘cut the tape’ and find out where he comes from, where he is going and how we too, can blaze like an Asteroid, through the musical heavens.

Interview with Dylan Herkes, CEO – Stink Magnetic Recording Co.:

Tell us why you got involved in music and what was it like for you when you first started?

I started playing guitar just for fun. I just got interested in the instrument when I was a kid and started mucking around without any idea of how to play it at all. Before that it was a tennis racket. After pissin' about for a while some family members showed me a few chords and a riff or two. When I eventually started playing with some friends who could hit a drum and pluck a bass it was too much fun and I got hooked.

When did you first realise that D.I.Y was going to be the way to go?

I don’t know. I just like doing stuff. I don’t really enjoy been told what to do. Who does? I also saw a lot of amazing ideas happening and then going away quickly so I wanted to document things that I thought may not have otherwise been documented. I did meet a friend when I was about 16 who was dubbing tapes out of his bedroom and he gave me an example to start a record label.

What was your first band / act?

My first band with a name was playing bass for a high school band called Vendetta. I must have been shit cos I was fired after the first jam.
What was it like playing your first gig or releasing your first record?
Playing live almost every time is nerve racking for me. But there’s a massive adrenaline rush during and after a performance that I still love. The best thing is seeing an idea come in to reality and hearing your ideas come to life. Every time it’s done it’s great.

What is the biggest difficulty faced by bands starting out, particularly in New Zealand?

The only difficulties are the ones that you make up in your head. I don’t think it matters if you’re from New Zealand or from anywhere in the world. Sure, it may be better for some places rather than others for this or that but you don’t need much to get going if you take the preconceptions about how to do things away. You don’t have to measure success in terms of popularity, record sales, competency or gear at all. I’ve seen some of the coolest things happen with no money, shitty gear and 3 people in the room. It’s just about having fun and the less pressure you put on yourself, like anxieties about all that crap the better. You’d be surprised by how much fun you can have and how far you can go without all those preconceived ideas about how things “should” be done.

How have you dealt with those challenges?

One way is by playing music with people that you know really well. Because it takes a bit of guts to get up in front of strangers it helps to have the support of your mates with you and also when it comes to advancing your playin' abilities, you tend to respect the opinions of your peers the most (and also they are likely to have similar taste in music to you so you know if they think it sounds like arse then it probably does!). It’s more fun with friends and you all pick up on things faster.

Making music is a lot of work, often for a brief reward, what do you enjoy most about it?

I enjoy bringing ideas to life. It defiantly is very hard work writing and practicing music but when you go to play it just once live, it can be magic. If you enjoy making music then you’re probably a music lover which means you’re focus will be on the content rather than all the peripheral stuff. Enjoying what you do shows.
What advice would you give someone starting out from the very bottom?
Don’t be too concerned about how it should be done, get together with mates who are keen as well and just start jamming. You’ll figure things out quicker than you think.

The Tape Man Illustrated Guide to Making Music (Available as a series of lectures on 8-Track Cartridge Cassette, from all good stores)

After a long and tiring search, from graveyards to forgotten repositories of obsolete adhesives, we tracked down, the legendary Tape Man, one of Stink Magnetic’s most enduring, and elusive and esoteric stars, to give us the Tape Man Guide to Making music. (Actual results may vary)

“Howdy folks, here’s a few tips to blow the roof off your world with the mystical powers of sound.”

Step 1 – Choose your weapon
“You’re instrument could be anything. Don’t worry if you can’t play it. It could be more fun and entertaining if you choose something that you have no idea how to play for instance this shitty keyboard sliding across this stolen guitar…… Then make up a few little ideas that you can call your own”

Step 2 – Tidy up
“Now you’ve gotta show someone else, so do what you gotta do like take a shower, brush your teeth and find some flash clothes or “something a little special” to really make an impression on your audience. What are you gonna call yourself?”

Step 3 – Do a show
“It don’t matter even if it’s just your little sister in the room just rock the hell out like there’ll be no tomorrow! Hell it’s more fun than being a boring hi-tech, know-it-all muso wanker like all those other sissies!”

Step 4 – Document your band
“Make sure you get a couple of cool photos to chuck on the net and get out whatever recording devices you can find lying around. Because it’s got sound involved you wanna get a recording of that so use a digital camera on movie function, Uncle Steve’s old tape deck, headphones plugged in to the microphone input on the computer or whatever! Think; The more creative - the more ORIGINAL.”

Step 5 – Make a record
“Now release your thing on any format you want to. Don’t care if it’s digital or analogue or any of that crap just OUT IT OUT THERE! You could make a cassette tape, a CD, a DVD, a book….ANYTHING. Now take it down to most appropriate outlet in town or put it up on the internet and see what happens! “

“Good luck and all the best”
Lust, Tape Jerk

Stink Magnetic Record Co.

The Studio is situated in the Old Chronicle Building, cnr. Rutland and Drews Ave. Whanganui.

The office is open to the public every Wednesday from 12-1pm, with an amazing clutch of original records, and CD’s of all of your favourite NZ garage, surf, Hawaiian industrial, experimental country disco, Spaghetti Western, esoteric trash, rap and stone-age punk music!

Stink Magnetic Record Co. Artistes.

Golden Axe, Space Dust, Boss Christ, Full F***ing Moon, Double YAD, Knifefight, Wrongdoings, Hi_tone Destroyers, Pro-Drag, Delaney Davidson, Voodoo Savage & His Savages, Mr. Slackjaw, Bad Evil, Sheville and Tapeman.
The Continuing Adventures of Tapeman

Due to be the feature of the next blog-post from the Whanganui Overground Underground, The Ghost of Tapeman can be seen playing with his freshly resurrected esoteric trash-surf combo, “House on Haunted Hill’ at the following hip locations:

June 4th – Stink Magnetic w/ Golden Axe
June 18th – Stink Magnetic w/ Boss Christ

Stink Magnetic Record Co. Contact:
Written for CREW magazine - N.Buddle 2010


Burg aka El Presidente said...

now that what i'm talking about.
pure punk...

Anonymous said...

what the fuck is this shit? You think this is music, this is music http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OfLj0bOLK8