By Shane Pinnegar

Brand new West Australian vinyl-only record label OBSIUS launches this Friday, so we caught up with head honcho Kristan Angel.

Friday the 13th
Badlands Bar, Northbridge
Perth, Western Australia

Tickets only $10 through Oztix, or $15 on the door
Featuring Physical Release, The Secret Buttons, ABACAXUVA, Moana and Like Junk

Doors at 7pm

Thanks for your time – let’s start at the start, what inspired you to start a record label?

Actually I have always wanted to start a label but didn’t really know how to approach it. I am a big fan of what my friends do. There is so much talent in this town but its important that when I ask my friends to collaborate with me there is an understanding that its not about money. I don’t really like what money does – money is just a thing that gets in the way of the real goal, but unfortunately it’s necessary to make shit like this happen… which brings me back to the question. I was invited to start the label. It was at wave rock. I was having a drink with Ryan Dux and Tim Nelson and Tim was telling me about his new album. I was like, ‘hell yeah, are you putting it out on vinyl?’ and he said, ‘nah we are just going to do some CD’s, vinyl is too expensive.’ I made the point that CD’s are beer coasters and nobody that I know listens to them anymore, and Ryan said, ‘you do it Kristan, you put the record out.’ And that was it: Obsius was born.
For those of us not familiar with Latin, what does the name OBSIUS mean, exactly?

I have an affinity with Obsidian. Funnily enough Obsidian was named after Roman explorer who allegedly discovered the volcanic glass (Obsius). There is a great Myth surrounding all this if one enjoys reading into such things but basically he was an explorer, a discoverer and he discovered a very special black object. You get the gist.
You are focussing on releasing vinyl – we all know it sounds better: is that the only reason you’ve chosen to do so?

CD’s are shit.

No, really, if you are into music as I am (and you are anywhere near my vintage) then you remember going to the record store and digging through the albums to find that special something to take home and listen to. And you would be alone and listening in wonderment and looking at the art work, deep into the liner notes and [sleeve] and trying to figure out what made these guys tick. How did they come up with this shit?

There was no internet or mobile phones then, you were disconnected, and that record was the sole source of your information, and THAT made it all the more wondrous. The internet and downloads has kinda killed that – too much is available too readily, and I think people are craving that intimacy with the artist, something tangible, something with a soul.
There was a mighty backlash against record labels a few years ago, and now bands can pretty much do it all themselves if they choose to. What do you see the new role of a boutique record label as?

I keep saying to ‘cross-pollinate,’ for artists to get together under one flag and make a noise. I totally understand why there would be backlash against the traditional institution of the record label – they own you once you sign, there is nothing to like about this. Obsius doesn’t sign: all of the guys currently under this banner are my mates and I’m just paying to have their records made and promote them a bit.
You have six acts on the label thus far – can you tell us a little about each one?

I better keep this brief because I could bang on for a while about these guys! To start with, I am going to say all of the people in these bands are some of the sweetest most genuine and creative people I know, and that applies to all of them.

ABACAXUVA – Imagine you are driving to the beach (probably Swanbourne) with your mates and it’s fucking hot but you’re a little sweaty and the windows are down AND you have beer, so its all good. Everyone is wearing Reef tanning lotion and it smells excellent, everything is amazing and ABACAXUVA is playing on the stereo. This is a perfect day. ABACAXUVA for me is blissful Perth summers. If you like those buy their limited 10″ vinyl of awesome original beach bum tunes titled YA AHA.

SECRET BUTTONS – Far out, I have known Jade [Ikin – bass] for so long – we are dinosaurs! And in a way, that’s what this band is: a bunch of almost extinct rock legends [with form from The Fuzz, The New Invincibles and The James Baker Experience] playing that really great, edgy, smart rock and roll that we all grew up with in Western Australia, but they sound unstoppable and fresh in an old spice kind of way! [laughs] Secret Buttons are a powerhouse and their lineage within the local music scene runs deep. If you witness a Secret Buttons live show, feel very honoured – and grab a 10″ vinyl mini album of their rockin’ EP Some Buttons Should Never Be Pushed.

MOANA – Oh my god! MOANA is a bewitchingly dark psyche rock fantasy. Remember when you were a kid and you were watching Rage on TV, and someone like Kim Gordon or Wendy O Williams or Fiona Horne or bloody Kate Bush or Bonnie Tyler came on and your heart beat would increase and your temperature would rise and you didn’t quite understand it, but it felt good?? That’s Moana to me, on stage anyway. In reality we just sip Jacks on the patio together. Her band of merry men and her mum make up the rest of the group and their sound is Phenomenal with a capital P. MOANA are very good at what they do and Perth knows it. If you live in Perth and don’t know it, get out more – and grab a limited 10” vinyl of their latest album The Trilogy Of The Black Monsoon.

PHYSICAL RELEASE – Matt [Moore – guitar/synth, ex-Enabler AD] is a really good mate of mine. He has been sending me sound bites of the new project he’s been working on for a good while and I have really been enjoying the sound. His music is very visual to me, kinda shoe-gazey and on the darker, rougher side of guitar driven synth pop. Sarah [Arney] is on velvety vocals and kinda gives it a bit of a Julee Cruise vibe, she’s new to the group but sounds amazing – I can’t wait to meet her. Our launch Friday will be their first gig and I am really excited to see them play. Get down early for them and their super limited and very cute 5” vinyl release – they are on first.

LIKE JUNK – I think Like Junk are kind of like when they tell Grimm Faerie Tales in such a way that they become much grimmer. If you listen to their music you find something familiar, but there is something very dark and menacing within it. Like Junk’s music tends to draw you in but you don’t want to get too close because the emotional beast that lies within might just chew you up and spit you out. Their shows are quite theatrical and dark. The direction they have taken with their new material is as if they have tethered the beast, but if he gets out it will be twice as vicious as if he had been left alone – unmistakably Like Junk, but leaner. I am a massive fan of their sound and will be first in line to get a copy of their brand new 12” Seksin.

TIMOTHY NELSON is on the label as well – but he requires no introduction and we will be launching his record in the coming months, so stay tuned.
It’s a fairly eclectic roster. What does Obsius Records look for in an act you’re considering working with?

Shit that I like, by people that I like! When I listen to music at home, it varies greatly from album to album. As I sit here naked at my computer with my ugg boots on, I am listening to Bowie’s Young Americans on the 8-track player. Before that I was listening to The Animals, Georgio Moroder, Bootsy’s Rubber Band, Stevie Nicks and next I might fire up the turntable and listen to some GOST, Perturbator or CW Stoneking.

Obsius is an eclectic project. I understand why labels commit to certain sounds but that approach is definitely not for me: the music that I put out will generally be a little challenging and quite intelligent. That’s how I like music and in my experience people that listen to a large variety of music are looking for those kinds of elements.
The musicians that experiment with sound are the pioneers of future music. What they create now filters up through the colon of society and eventually becomes pop. I prefer to consume it while its fresh.
Your launch party is this Friday. What can punters expect?

Loads of beer, and very good music. We are very busy producing the vinyl that will be on sale on the night. These will be very limited and very enjoyable, so get in early if you want to pick up this first run. Be prepared to dance – a few of these bands are going to make you want to bounce. Prepare to experience a crowd of really beautiful, genuine people, because that’s who these guys attract.
Friday the 13th
Badlands Bar, Northbridge
Perth, Western Australia

Tickets only $10 through Oztix, or $15 on the door

Featuring Physical Release, The Secret Buttons, ABACAXUVA, Moana and Like Junk – Doors at 7pm

Delicious treats available from the Pig Lebowski food truck
$5 Emu Exports | $20 Jugs | $8 Beer, Cider, House Spirits & House Wine


Filed Under: Interviews

About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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