INTERVIEW | Paulo Alvarado Dangerous Goods Label & Distro
WEBSITE | https://www.facebook.com/dangerousgoodsdistro/
Keeping tabs of what’s going on in any scene in the world is a full time job…keeping tabs on a continent as large and diverse as Asia is just a route that is destined for madness.
Regardless…we try our best.
In the almost 2 years since this site has been around countless bands get talked about on the site, but there are those select few who are clearly much more active and more universally loved then many others. One of those entities just so happens to be a small label and distro out of Singapore called Dangerous Goods who in the short time that we’ve been around have being nothing but prolific in the sheer number of releases but also the high quality of those releases. Every time I see something with a “Dangerous Goods” tag on it it’s guaranteed to be something good. For those of us who’re older it’s like seeing the Fat Wreck, Revelation, Dischord, Blackout, SST, or Epitaph label on releases in the 90’s and how regardless if you’ve ever heard of the band, you know of the label and so you bought the record anyway or at least gave it a spin.
It’s cool that in our little pocket of Asia we have a label heading in that direction.
After a highly successful inaugural Singapore fest under the moniker Dangerous Fest back in January, we decided to start picking at the mind behind this amazing label…take it away Paulo!
Heard you had a great night last night at the inaugural Dangerous Fest bro! Congrats!
Hi bro! Good Morning! Still buzzing from last night! It was crazy…we wanted to do well of course but it was still beyond our expectations
How many people showed up?
300+ paid attendees.
Holy shit man…anywhere in Asia with 300 people showing up is BEYOND a successful show. But the coolest part is that your show was ALL local acts – no touring headliners, etc. What are your thoughts on what this clearly means for the local scene?
Yup, it was just all local acts, so it was really surprising! Even when international touring bands comes through I rarely that big of a crowd. There are exceptions of course for really established acts like Sick of it All or Youth Of Today. But last night certainly gave me a clear sign that things are on the up for the local scene, and has given me extra motivation to keep doing Dangerous Goods and supporting local bands.
Youth of Today live in Singapore
Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/pg/xsnapperx
Let’s talk about your motivation then – how did Dangerous Goods actually begin? What was the main catalyst to do this?
It actually started out as a distro and I thought of doing it because I didn’t see any distros at local shows here in Singapore. I also found it hard to get hardcore releases and merch over here during those times. So I thought, what the hell, let me just do it even though I have zero clue how to run one! Hahahahaha…
So when was the official start of DG?
Officially, I’d say it was around the last quarter of 2013. I remember preparing for Annual Distro Day Out on January 2014 and thought it would be the best way to launch the distro.
How did it morph into becoming a label and what was the first release?
It became a label due to friendships I made with bands at shows that I was frequently attending. That’s when the idea came up to put out Losing End’s demo tape. Nerd/Losing End came to me with the idea of pressing it on tape at one of the shows and I thought, why the hell not? Even though I also had no clue how to run a label!
Dangerous Goods 001: Losing End demo
So right now it is something that works as both a label and a distro correct? Label-wise how many releases have you put out up to now? You’re probably one of the most busiest labels out there in Asia.
Yup, it works as a label and a distro. We have 12 releases so far with the latest one being the Exhibitors EP on CD. For the distro I take distro orders almost every month sourcing stuff mainly from RevHQ.
You also seem to do mainly cassette releases. Any reason for that?
The bands I work with decide on the format of their release. We have released stuff on both cassettes and CDs. Releasing stuff on cassettes is all just economical and based on the fact that there is a really quick turnaround time. We do usually bundle the tapes with a download code realizing not all kids have a tape player.
I think what’s even more cool about the whole Dangerous Goods scenario is that you’re not even originally from Singapore! What is your background? How’d you get involved with the Singapore hardcore scene?
Yup, I’m actually from the Philippines and came to Singapore for work, like most filipinos who have to seek work abroad.
That’s so rad! When did you get to Singapore? And what is your dayjob?
I played in a band called Forgiveness Denied with my childhood friends in the Philippines and that was how I found out about the whole punk/HC thing. I came to Singapore in 2007 and I currently work as a Project Manager for Siemens Oil & Gas.
Forgiveness Denied live in the Philippines
When you first got to SG and start going to shows there – what was your first impression?
Well the first few years I was here I was really focused on my job and then I naturally seeked out the local punk/HC scene here and started to go to shows regularly. I can’t recall right now the first show I went to but I can remember catching The Wonder Years and Touche Amore in the same year…I think it was in 2012. I thought it was a very tight knit small group of kids who basically knew everyone else. It was also very welcoming of new faces as I would normally go alone to the shows initially since I didn’t know anyone there. Eventually I made a bunch of friends and got to know more people.
But that’s so rad…it just continues to prove that ANYONE can be involved in hardcore or punk. It’s not just about the bands on stage.
Yup, that is so true and now that I’m reading back through our conversation, I can say that Dangerous Goods was born of the scene. In a way the scene here made it possible for something like Dangerous Goods to come up and thrive.
Yeah I mean the only way a “distro” and “label” can survive is if there is local support for it. So it seems like you came at the right time and place to be able to provide something for the SG hardcore community. I know many others in other parts of Asia who’ve tried and have failed miserably in being able to do what you did because there isn’t enough of a local community or atmosphere to support this type of stuff. A distro that only distros punk and hardcore? Forget about it in many places…
I can’t agree more. I have nothing but nice things to say about the people here in Singapore who are into this punk/HC community in terms of supporting each other and just being really humble and hard working.
So what’s next for DG? 2017 has started so well – you best have some big plans for the rest of the year!
We’ll, I’ve got a few local releases lined-up which I cant wait to share with the world. I’m also still planning to put out a Lion City Hardcore comp which has been sitting on the back burner for a few years now in my head. And of course I’m looking forward to doing the second Dangerous Fest next year!
I definitely have to say a huge thanks to the following people for the fest: Nic (who came up with the fest idea) & ACPHC crew, all the bands who played and all the 300+ kids who came!
Dangerous Fest Wrap Up Video
State Of Pain