INTERVIEW | Vanilla Thunder Records
FROM | Singapore
Today it is our honor to introduce Liza of Vanilla Thunder Records out of Singapore! Vanilla Thunder came into our lives only a few months ago when one of our favorite all girl hardcore bands Radigals announced the release of an 8″ lathe cut of their recent demo. (Check out how badass it looks down below!) As soon as we saw these posts not only did we want to get our hands on one of these lathe cuts, but we also wanted to know more about this label that for us outside of Singapore seemed to come out of nowhere.
One thing I love about some Southeast Asian entities that come in the form of bands, promoters and/or labels, is that there are those who are most certainly social-media savvy and use all social media at their fingertips. Of course, as a label or a band that is taking charge of their own destiny, we absolutely understand the media blitz that comes with promoting a new release, show or tour. But there are also those bands, labels, promoters who shy away from using the internet out of pure choice. The anonymity that comes with that is pretty spectacular because the only way you will know about them is if you’re IN the know! You dig?
With that…I really appreciate the time Liza took to send in some cool answers about her label! Now get reading and supporting!
Tell us the basic idea behind Vanilla Thunder Records.
Vanilla Thunder is a sub label of Slap Bet records. My partner, my husband Faisal, set up SlapBet records to release death metal, grind and other extreme genres.
By the time SlapBet was preparing for its 1st release, we offered our good friends from Seringai a special limited release. But he couldn’t put it out on SlapBet so he decided to start a sub label to release non extreme stuff and roped me in. Our mission was actually to preserve releases from South East Asia. We have tons of good releases from the past 20-25 years but mostly as demo tapes or short run CD/CD-R’s and some releases are on obscure small labels. We’d like to archive this music so it won’t be lost and will be well preserved for future generations. We all know that some tapes and CD, especially CD-R’s, won’t survive 20 years and we figured vinyl is the only solution.
Where did you decide to print the records and how did you make that decision? Why lathe cut instead of regular vinyl?
We deal a lot with pressing plants in USA and Europe. Faisal was running Homegrown Records in the mid 90’s and did his first vinyl release with a pressing plant from the Czech Republic. Back then it was a bit of a hassle and the process took longer. It was a real turn off. Now with the internet age, it’s so much easier, emails are answered within a day, all forms/templates can be downloaded and printed, and you don’t have to mail in a DAT tape or master CD. Everything can be done with a click of your mouse. That’s what encouraged us to try it out again but this time we wanted to stay committed to only release music on analogue formats. Lathe cuts are not a substitute to vinyl. It’s a format that looks like vinyl, feels like vinyl and plays like vinyl. Some bands can’t sell more than a handful of their releases so lathe cuts are their best bet. Since pressing vinyl has a minimum order of 100 copies, lathe cuts on the other hand can be cut from just 1 piece to print about 50 copies max. It’s a really good format for any touring band that needs merch to sell! Why not cut your demo on lathe cuts to sell on tour instead? Normally, there’s no catalog number for our lathe cuts.
What records have you guys put out so far?
On SlapBet we’ve released quite a few records including a 3″ flexi cut. For Vanilla Thunder we’ve done 4 releases so far:
SERINGAI 7″ lathe cuts
(limited to 30 copies: 10 on white, 20 on clear)
STOMPIN’ GROUND ‘We Set The Pace’ 7″
(Limited to 250 copies, 200 black, 50 green)
Indonesia’s SIGMUN 8 Track Tape
and our latest release is:
RADIGALS clear 8″ lathe cuts
(Limited to 20 copies)
The Radigals 8 just came out and was sold out right away. That is a pretty cool response! How are you guys feeling about that response?
15 minutes! That’s exactly how fast it took to sell out the Radigals release. It’s not really something of a surprise as we have experienced it before with our past releases. The Seringai lathe cuts 7″‘s took 1/2 hour to sell out and that was only available online. The Stompin’ Ground 7″ (print run 250) took 2 hours and we did that release in conjunction with the Stompin’ Ground exhibition at the Substation. The Sigmun 8-Track Tape also took a couple hours, mostly online.
Whats next in the pipelines?
As for the true vinyl format, we are working on the LC93/Carburetor Dung split 7″, Polyester Embassy from Indonesia 7″. Usually we have no plans for lathe cut releases, it’s something that we put together for our friends in bands and so they just happen.