RKR-004 and RKR-005 “Autobiographies” and “Pontow”
I have waited entirely too long to write this and for that I apologize. It has been over a year since I have updated or really done anything for Rat King. Lately I have been moving full force and it is because of these two tapes: “Autobiographies” by The Annas and the re-release of the Pontow tape. It has been a lot of fun and a lot of work.
I first heard the band Anna Karenina/Anna Karina (commonly referred to as ‘The Annas) at the former local record store, Parasol during its last show. I knew Cole, singer/guitar player, from running the C-U Collective website so I was super excited to hear them. I really enjoyed their set and that was that for awhile. A couple of months later I started interning at Polyvinyl. While there, my friend Michael Thies asked if I wanted to hear the newly finished Anna Karenina/Anna Karina recordings. I, of course, was super excited and really liked how they sounded. After a couple of listens over the course of a few months, I started to find the lyrics and melodies getting stuck in my head. I was going to do something that I have never done before: ask a band if I could release something. Sure, I did do Aphid House before this as well as a limited edition Cecilia Payne tape, but Aphid House consisted of two of my best friends and Cecilia is me; so this was something very new. I talked to Cole and after a little correspondence, he said yes.
We met for coffee and talked over a few things, and soon the aqua tapes were ordered and I was dubbing. The Annas tape was the first tape where I made my own masters and dubbed using all of my own equipment. For Aphid House, my great buddy John over at Crippled Sound Records let me use his equipment; another new experience. I dubbed them all pretty quick over a period of two days and was excited to talk packaging. Cole informed me that he was making CDs as well and for the CDs he was going to sew a little pouch. I thought that was a really cool idea, I thought it’d be a cool idea to keep with that theme.
Kamila and I bought some fabric and some teal thread from the IDEA store in town and got to town sewing pouches. We also thought it would be a cool idea to embroider the diamond from the center of the Annas CD art on the front to keep continuity. After hours of sewing and dubbing and stamping, the RKR-004 was finished! A really fun project, I am really glad that Cole and the other Annas let me be a part of their music. Thanks, dudes.
While I was working on the Annas tapes, I was also working on these other tapes for the band Pontow. Pontow consists of Easter’s Kyle Lang, but when he was 15. A retroactive release! When I first met Kyle a few years ago, he showed me his myspace with a lot of this music on it. Since then I would find my self singing it and trying to search for the music again and again. After a long time pestering him about putting out Easter’s music (and getting constantly turned down), he eventually said I could put out the old Pontow. I was so excited that I basically ordered the tapes the next day.
These songs had been recorded for years, (and had actually been released already on the digital label, Rack and Ruin Records) so that wasn’t an issue. As I mentioned before, this was a new thing not being involved with the recording process. It was weird at first but thinking back on it, I love it. Coming up with the packaging wasn’t that big of a deal, either. Kyle mentioned that he wanted to keep it similar to how the original art for the digital files were. He said he made that by just doing watercolor, so he suggested that we make O-Cards and just watercolor them; an idea that I really liked. Getting the supplies were super easy; all we needed was watercolor paper. Kamila is majoring in painting so everything basically fell into place. He also suggested that we use three different colored tapes, so we decided on Pink, Orange, and Purple. I will admit that designing the O-Cards was a pain in the butt. We didn’t really follow a template and we couldn’t find one online. Also, it didn’t help that none of us have photo shop. We had to use the computer lab at Allen Hall to finish up and figure out everything. Also printing them was a big ordeal as none of us have printers and we were using this watercolor paper. Kamila also made stamps for the tapes that kept breaking and we had to glue them up a few times. Once we figured all of this stuff out, it still took a fairly long time to assemble the tapes.
I am happy with how the finished product turned out and I am especially happy that everyone can now hear the Pontow recordings. Also, he added a song that was never on the original recording called “When We’re Older,” a personal favorite of mine from the re-issue. I hope you all listen to these songs and have fun.
ALSO! A little heads up, we now have a web store. You can purchase these two lovely tapes over at http://www.ratkingrecords.bigcartel.com Take care!