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Sunday, January 15, 2012

interview with Mike from Conquer The World Records

This is just part of interview with Mike who did CTW Records in 90's. Maybe sometime we will make second part of our conversation but at the moment I am posting all that I have. Click READ MORE to read stuff.

1. Hi Mike. Can you tell few words about yourself at the moment? How old are you? What are you doing now - some job, family etc?

Well first of all thanks for you know just taking the time to contact me to share your feelings about the label and some of your favorites. I am in my late 30s and i have a birthday coming up in August which i think will make me 39 but I might be 38 I don't know i don't think about it much really. How old am I was born 1972 august 23. I never got married, and had a few relationships, never got a carrer either. I've always been an entrepanuer of some sort or the other. Since 2005 I have been running an indie promotion company for social networking websiites. I called it ctwpromotions and I am still running it in a small capacity but since Myspace really isn't the focus now of indie musicians I don't do very well because the levels of security on Facebook prohibit from really promoting strong
At one time ctwpromotions had upwards of 15+ clients rotating through and now it's very low.
I do a promo package for myspace, facebook and twitter for artists for $100 a week or sometimes less and I'm still here it's just not as prominent as it used to be.
I am in a relationship for 2 years now and share an apartment close to where I ran the label from at my mothers place in the trailer park which was seen in the Ionesco DVD documentary
I don't have a job, and I haven't had one since like at least 10 years and that was delivering pizza as i did for years during the label to help out and cover expenses etc.
I might actually go start a carrer working with computers in the IT field as when these current ebay sales and records run out of income I'll be pretty hard pressed. Another thing which might be interesting is last August I started an online website called which is still there and I learned and became one of the top live streamers or internet broadcasters for underground and some professional pool and billiards matches.
I've been a pretty serious lifestyle hustler pool player for some years now. I'd say around 6 years really and thats most what I used to spend my time doing. Playing pool. I'm not like a professional level player but through my creative side and skills I help other players and fans of the game enjoy it through my broadcasts.
Just like in the hardcore scene where i had a nickname Mike CTW of course I'm known as TvMike here in the pool world. That was given to me by a friend of mine as when your pool player sometimes you are given a nickname.
It was no surprise that I would create a new label so to speak using these skills through so now I also author and sell these DVD matches that I cover.
So I'm putting out art and helping other artists but just in a different medium. Unfortunately even this doesn't seem to be enough to make it financially. The current illuminati driven economy prohibits even some of the best ideas from really coming to fruition.
I made a post on my facebook recently that even though I am really smart and intelligent creatively with concepts and ideas even if I re invented the wheel again I couldn't sell it because nobody has any money.
Not to drag this on too long because it's most likely not very interesting in regards the work of Mike CTW by TvMike was contracted to produce a match between Earl Strickland and Johnny Archer and those guys in the pool world are world reknowned legends of the game. That would be something like Henry Rollins asking me to come film him doing a special spoken appearance or something. For me it was a huge honor and we got to make this DVD box set out of it and in theory I should be able to sell thousands of them but as I mentioned the economy is so bad that even that idea to make a living producing Pool DVDS and live matches it's no possible.
So I'm waiting for a call about possibly getting my first "REAL" job...
And i am waiting for this ebay records to be done so I can get some money to pay some of the bills and life expenses around here...

2. This question is standard. But really interesting for me. Tell me how you were involved in punk hardcore music? What special you find in this style of music?

I have been living in the past this week I guess it's because I realize that the adult crash is coming. I'm going to lose my freedom but that will allow me move, and to finally become an adult.
So as you asked if I remember how I got into this music. As many other "kids" do they are exposed to punk rock through skateboarding and thats how I found Minor Threat in high school. Before that I listening to old school hip hop/rap the classics Two very different genres but both about self expression. I grew up in Detroit michigan on the north west side in a nice colonial style 2 story house. I remember seeing pictures of the area when my grandma and grandpa just had it built and there were almost no houses around the area in the 40s if i remember.
So in my high school years I went to Milford high school and I had already been a skater and exposed to some underground music besides rap and I was in the same homeroom as Matt Weeks. It's through him and Scott Ray and other punk kids at the time did I learn about hardcore.
They would tell me about going down to Detroit for "shows" and as we drove around while skating I heard tapes. Matt had a mowhawk, black leather jacket and had already a big knowledge of punk music. He would shortly later form one of the early sxe hardcore bands from Mi named Relapse, and two of the members would then form Current and Scott Ray would also join on 2nd vocals.

Before that though I got tapes from Matt and some of my other skater friends and got into the music through them. Strangely enough though before I started CTW I had remembering of putting out a record of my friends rap stuff it never happened but we ended up like making an insert for it at the time. I had also planned a few other releases in the back of my mind for some reason I assumed that Born against and Rorschach would let me do a record for them because I was making flyers for shows for them as i started distributing records and things at shows. Obviously that never happened but the spark for DIY was there in 1990, 1991. I had been communicating with people and buying records and zines. I ended up putting out a GB bootleg 7" from a tape a German pen pal sent me and I used that money a long with working at a Pizza place to save some money. I purchased a 7" from Upstate records and a long with it came the Oversight demo. One day I asked Dave through the mail would they like to do a 7" because I had decided to start a label and so Conquer The World Records was born. The name came from one of my favorite bands of the time Bad Religion. I knew my label had to be special, the name had to be striking and rebellious and certainly to this day reflects my certain level of delusions of grandeur. My memory is sort of good but this would be considered paraphrasing really.

3. For my opinion Oversight was progressive band for that time. They begin to play classic 90’s newschool hardcore adding emo elements one of the first. And I think they give many influence for famous 90’s emotional hardcore bands like Shoulder, Split Lip, Empathy,Enkindel. Are you agree with me? Can you tell some interesting facts about this band, short biography maybe? Where played members of Oversight? Tell please story of Conquer The World Records. Your memoirs about shows, bands, records.

Well it certainly possible that Oversight influenced those bands as I put out the record before all those bands formed but I never thought about it in the context that you have suggested. All I knew is it was something that I liked and as far as where Oversight came from influenced wise you'd have to ask Dave Palmer the guitarist.
Oversight was Dave Palmer, Shane Durgee, Pat on Drums and kid they knew named Jay who was into Alternative and Goth.
Why did Shane durgee decided to sing in his own style when it was the around the same time or before he started Earth Crisis? I don't know.
I've never encountered this question as most people just overlook the Oversight record in my catalog for the most part at least thats my feeling about it. When I began selling the record at shows and stuff most people were not not familiar with it but some bought it and it possibly could of influenced early players. There was also another band which I think Dave really liked called Momentum from CT if i remember which has a similar style.

It was about this time when I started getting respected and through this record I met people who helped me which did in sequence could of influenced Empathy. A guy named Ron Jasin printed my covers for me as I met him through the "scene" it was around this time I met Jay Palumbo and was somehow asked if I wanted to sing in his band.
I don't even know where the idea came from because I never sang in a band but Jay Palumbo and Ron Jasin had a band called Provisional. and I ended up singing with them for a short time. We recorded a demo and I added some vocals and then Ron did a zine called Detroit Rock City and the provisional. 7" came with it.

It was not on the label.... later on i would be asked to leave the band because my voice would go out because I'd be all out throat screaming and well I wasn't very talented.

The band would run it's course and it's this time where shows at U of D ground where going on put on my Eric Z and sometimes me. Chronologically this might be off but you will get the idea.ї

this was all 1992-1993 era

There were bands in Detroit like Richochet whom I was supposed to put out the 7" but it was on Initial Records as it just started up.

Graham, Nathan and Kevin played in Bind (pre empathy)

There was a growing community of kids that surrounded itself from this Grounds University of Detroit show space

So Provisional disbanded and Jay was asked to sing for Bind and they became Empathy which is why Kevin played on the first Empathy 7" on Element records
Eric Zimbowiecz's label the kid running the Grounds shows for the most part.

Now... 92 ish or so is where Chokehold came into being...

I had been introduced to Jeff Beckman through his fanzine and I got sent an ancient Chokehold tape I mean it's the first stuff they did and it wasn't very mature. It was very sloppy and at this time they were playing fast material.

They had been a band and doing their split and 7" up there in Hamilton and somehow I got a More Than Ever demo maybe from Jeff or something I don't remember

Snapcase was kind of big at the time here and they ended up playing at the Shelter and Chokehold opened and here i was like the only one going off and knowing thier music. After the show I remember going into the Van and talking to the band and talked to them about doing the More Than Ever demo as a 7"

How do I remember this stuff? Crazy

So we talked about it and after this is when I setup the Slugfest, Chokehold, Earth Crisis show... at Grounds.

This is the show where I met Scott Vogel because he ended up destroying our microphone. The Earth Crisis 7" all out war had just came out and I had them come to Detroit and they drove in a car with NO insurance, NO paperwork nothing and played.

Eventually we decided that the Prison Of Hope would become a 12"

See I knew about Earth Crisis because after I did the Oversight 7" I ended up going on a road trip to Syracuse to meet the band and thats when I learned about the Syracuse scene at the Lost Horizon. We did that record, and I ended up doing the Framework 7" with Dave Palmer as a split. Framework was Shane Durgee singing for Earth Crisis but in a more melodic overall fashion.

Honestly I don't think I heard Slugfest but I knew they had a demo because Shane was talking about them. That's why Chokehold slowed down from the fast paced hardcore they were playing to the crunchy mosh core parts on the More Than Ever demo. The kids of Hamilton were going down to Buffalo and they took influence from Slugfest.

At least this is how I remember it and interpret it.

the time frame of this and in the order of which they happened is suspect but it was relatively around the same.

However I do distinctly remember while in Syracuse at the lost Horizon met a one Hans Verbeke who was from Belgium. He had a band called Blindfold and I either got the 7" from him or became pen pals with him and we traded records. That is how i opened and created a bridge between the stuff I was doing in the USA and became the first label to show interest to release European bands.

This is all really important history in a microcosmic sort of way.

So the Chokehold record came out and I did that record with money my Mom gave me from cashing in an insurance policy. I mean i don't know what I was thinking except just doing the records. Nothing was business it was just however could i get the records done.

Josh Grabelle purchased the record from my mail order far before he started Trustkill records

I went on tour with Chokehold, it was a strange situation. Two guys from New Zealand were staying with them. I want to say Dean and don't remember? Whom played in HC bands over there later on and this was 93 me Dean his buddy were in one van and Chokehold in the other.

I had the Red / Clear copies of the Prison of Hope at this time on this tour.

I can't the time sequences i'm prolly mixing things up

But anyways as a side note I went up to Hamilton to record the Prison of Hope record and paid the bill if i remember. It was in a decent studio but neither the guy nor the bands members really knew how to produce a record and come to think of it they prolly didn't care how it sounded. I sang backups on the Chokehold record thats me screaming on "lies" I was a monster when my voice worked.\

Let me ask Chris what the other guys name was on the tour...

I want to say that i had some of Red Clear copies shipped ahead of time for the Chokehold tour but ended up getting the rest at Josh Grabelles house? Not sure about that. I know one of the bands I had the records shipped to someones house. I am pretty sure it was Chokehold.

We distributed records...

Through our own means that being funnelling through the DIY method. We all used to run distros, because everyone who had labels had been trading records, there were some DIY mailorders and there was of course. (listening to lifeitme background now getting all excited while I'm doing this record blasting it in ym apartment in the projects of Detroit/Warren)

There was of course zines, and magazines and everyone advertised in MRR Maximum Rock n Roll so it was very mailorder based. Also something I learned from Revelation is that you make flyers and littles ads for your upcoming records and or current releases in your records as an insert. You made a catalog or what have you.

People were always very hungry for records. For finding out about "new" music. I would buy records with never hearing or knowing ANYTHING about a band. It was truely a beautiful time in my life.

(I'm getting all emo thinking about it really. or maybe it's the remixed background album I'm listening to)

I used to cry when listening to records. That's how personal this music is to me. Remembering one of your earlier questions.

Melodic riffs and singing and generally having more melody than mosh has been my leaning. Hence Empathy, Shoulder, Vanilla etc.

Ok well as I mentioned about meeting Hans Verbeke a name that you will recognize from many important Belgium based bands and labels. I decided to put out the Shortsight 7" because I had found these new bands from Belgium such as Nations on Fire, Blindfold, Spirit of Youth and Shortsight from Hans compilation and pen pal relationship. Come to think of it i used to write my ass off people all over the word in the scene and trade tapes, records, letters all the time. So I was considering doing either Blindfold or Shortsight and SS came first because I had been writing Saskia and had a mail crush on her honestly haha. But it was all just in my head through letters but we did the record and that came out the same time or maybe even slightly before the chokehold record.

We were all, the band and I really excited about the glossy covers and that record was pressed on 5 different colors at Erika records. Same place where the Chokehold album was pressed initially. The quality of vinyl here was very high.

The same time my relationship with Blindfold had long since developed and they sent me a tape of the Restrain the Thought record and there was just a unique quality about it that I loved. It was drastically different than most music and people grasped for comparisons and they would say Shelter. Really they sounded very unique especially the vocal style of Wim.

So Hans had this guy do the layout and it was very slick and artistic and colorful and I believe even the cover pictures were taken by Hans father. The one thing I love about Restrain the Thought is the freedom they used to put other music ideas in. How do you get a Violin in a punk hardcore song? Also there was female vocals add by Hans girlfriend and that record was just very original to me. It happened, I realized it was different and it was special. I honestly didn't care if other people did or not.

I knew it was. That was the first release I did with an LP/CD combo and there was I think 300 copies pressed on purple vinyl and the rest black. The CD has some bonus tracks the vinyl did not. It received mixed reviews but in the long run it was influential in the music and influential that it was on an american label.

Your coming at potentially listening to it some many years later but consider that I put that out in 93-94 there was little like it at the time and really just the unique vocals and overall approach it's still unique at least I think so.

What do you think of the record, are you familliar with the release? It's a european legend of a release.

The backlash 7" was a 4 way split. I had made communications with them and actually way before this record I picked up the demo one time when I was in New York city so I knew who they were. I didn't have the resources so I just helped get the record done. I would be lucky to find one in my collection. It was very Revelation style.

4. Mike, can you tell some words about conflict of Chokehold and Abnegation? Was there really some fight between them? What was the reason they don't love each other?

Well it's pretty obvious what the conflict is there. Abnegation at least at the start was millitant sxe pro life....
chokehold always has been pro choice

I think there was a debate on stage. It was a show in Buffalo I think and I was there. We saw this band that basically was Earth Crisis JR what we called them. If that is the incident you are referring to.

they had a demo out then abnegation that is

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