Wantage USA

(A lot of this appeared on a label profile that our Latvian-American friend Laris Kreslins did for Insound.com, a long time ago.)
How is Wantage USA pronounced?
Like "advantage" but with a w replacing the adv.

What does it, like, you know, mean?
Never ask that. Actually, we need a Wikipedia page, and there's more about the story below, and in the Hits Omnibus compilation insert. The best spot to read about that is in the Diskant.net interview done a few years back. See the Has Wantage been in news question below for that link.

What's the deal with Wantage USDA?
That's our Department of Agriculture, they mostly maintain quality standards for those working in our agricultural sector. Make sure mad cows aren't getting into the food supply, that farmers aren't over depending on one crop, all that.

How do I donate?

See catalog.

Have you all got a facebook.com page?

Yes, we all do. it's right here:

Are you going to put your discography up here?
Yep, one day we will.

Has Wantage USA been in the news at all lately, guy?
Yep, here are a couple links to interviews and reviews:
Here's a Pope "Sports" Review from a British zine.
Here's a Japanther intereview.
Here's a Volumen "Science Faction" review.
Here's another review for "Science Faction."
Here's a review for Ass-End Offend's "Character Assasins" LP from Montreal.
HERE is another Ass-End Offend "Character Assassins" review from Ink 19 in Florida.
Here's an Ass-End Offend review in French, from STNT.org
Looks like here you can buy a copy of Character Assassins for 240 Rubles.
HERE is the Ass-End Offend interview done in the German fanzine Ox
HERE are the Simon Minter/Diskant.net reviews of the Narrows' Alligator, and Le Force's Le Fortress
HERE is Simon Minter's Diskant.net blurb on the Hits Omnibus
Jenny Tatone's review of the Hits Omnibus comp.
HERE is the Sans Trompette Ni Trombone review en francaise
HERE is an interview Neddal Ayad did for  Roadburn.com
HERE is an inteview with Simon Minter from Diskant.com
HERE is what Yalestar.com had to say abt. the Hits Omnibus
HERE is what the Missoula Independent wrote abt. Hits Omnibus in February 04
HERE is what Ink 19 wrote about the Volumen/No-Fi split 7"
HERE is what George Chen graciously said abt. the Hits Omnibus on Zum Media
HERE is what the Portland Mercury said abt. the Early Humans CD
HERE is what a blogging blogger blogs abt. the No-Fi/Volumen split 7"
HERE is what Fake Jazz said abt. the Whip 7"
HERE's what STNT said about the Oxes 10"
HERE is Ink 19's review of the Volumen/No-Fi 7"
HERE is a Volumen interview in Lithuanian, Kas? Taip?
HERE is a SLUG interview with Le Force.

How long have you been around?
1993 summer's when our first release came out. (Now we're up to almost 65 releases).

Provide a brief history of the label?
It all started in Yakima, Washington. A town nowhere near Seattle. Yakima is my birthplace, and where I lived with the other Vaneks (Jean, John, Matt and Ian) until I was about 17. Anyhow. I never was really too "musical," both brothers Matt and Ian, were wildly so. I enjoy puttering and tinkering with things and sort of hobbled together junky guitars and things for them to plug into the stereo. Matt decided on the name Wantage (don't know the umlaut prompt, sounds like "advantage" substituting "w" for "adv") to convey "fake vintage" or vintage looks with out the nice sound or quality one tends to assume come with that adjective. The first release was a split tape by two Yakima bands, Squelch and Clever. They were doing challenging and original stuff in a town where one is rarely challenged by anything original. I am proud of the tape to this day. I lost my copy and might be singing a different tune if I heard it, but I doubt it. From there, for another summer job, I painted my folks house (they'd moved to Olympia) one summer to finance the WantCompUno 12-- Jean and John added in a chunk for the pressing too. Calvin Johnson let us sequence it at his studio, I fucked up a bunch of the levels but the music's quality is there.

Credit Cards, Inheritance or How do you manage your debt? Discuss the problems with funding a label.
Yes, the problems with funding a label. Like I said, the first stuff was summer job funded, from there its a big hobby, and its been funded primarily with money I've earned working. It's been about 70% self sustaining, I think. Cash flow is the biggest disruptor. The time and effort to get paid by most distributors is generally extensive. That's not the glamorous stuff you think about when you think of a giant like Touch and Go, but it's why they still exist. That shit will test your mettle. One needs to advocate strongly for the interest of your label but balance that with not flipping out and/or being a cock. Realize that other people have feelings, but we all fuck up. 

How many demos do you get a month, and what do you do with them?
A couple. What I tend to get is good stuff from bands I dig just keeping me up to date on their stuff.  Folks also send stuff now and then. It's nice, but often times a demo without context is easy to write off.

Are you afraid of the internet?
The "loneliness system," as Rusty calls it? Hell, the interweb's nothin' but magic for us rural folks. That said I've only mastered a teeny bit of its potential for my own self.

One album you used to love but now are overwhelmed with embarrassment when you think about it?
Hmmm, Generally I stand behind my idiotic past tastes in music, though not proudly. Huey Lewis and the News? Sports. I took a while to get into pop music. When I did most of it scared me. I secretly had a copy of "Shout At The Devi"l, I was convinced would end me up in hell. Those were paranoid times. Dug Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot and Ratt. Nothing too neat about that.

Please share one disaster that you overcame and what did you learn from it?
Disaster? As in, label related or otherwise? Can't think of many label disasters. Oh, we lost the "good version" of the Demolition Dollrods songs, along with a money order (we'd lost the receipt). That was pretty disastrous. We overcame by putting out an alternate take of the songs and mastering it with the cheaper option. I don't particularly like the record, but it has done really well.

Who's the most overrated band in the world? and who's the most underated?
Overrated: I don't listen to music I don't like. Or I try not to.
Underrated: the Narrows rating needs always to be higher. I like Akimbo too. I rate them Highly. Dan Deacon is incredible. The Miss Lana Rebel needs higher ratings.

What does the future hold?
Total rock and roll domination, or damnation perhaps via a bio-diesel Chinook Helicopter. We'll chopper Total Fest around southern Europe in the Fall, you know Bulgaria and Turkey.

Advice to others?
Don't ever buy a Strokes record, instead please seek out a band from your home town that you can call your own, and of whom you can be a fan. It doesn't matter if their hair isn't as nice as those guys from the Strokes (or whatever their current analog is). Hair doesn't normally write songs. I mean, I really think we could see a lot more punk-progress (more spaces for shows/performance, more people experiencing subculture, more exchange) if folks would not leap to the immediate "our town sucks" stock answer. People ought to invest some time in their own scene. It's as simple as figuring out a local band you like and buying their records, going to see them a lot, dancing to their music, bringing your friends out and having a good time. That all has value, and it's what makes scenes grow and become more resilient.

Advice continued: cook with olive oil, be honest, do stupid shit occasionally, see the poor part of the world, don't assume that punk rock needs to align itself with reductive and hollow propaganda (liberal, conservative or otherwise) never put out a record you don't dig. Read Living Poor by Moritz Thomsen. Hike. Check out the Nonesuch Explorer series of records, and the Sublime Frequencies label.

What's on the reading list:
Everything by Ryszard Kapuscinski, especially his most recent Shadow of the Sun. Paul Theroux, Dark Star Safari. Cormac McCarthy's epic work Blood Meridian. The Peel bio. John Fahey's book.

What's the deal with this other The Whip band?
No idea here, disco punk, right? We think it's more than a wee bit disrespectful not to do a quick little google search before settling on your name, to see if maybe there was a band with Jared, Joe and Scott before you, called the Whip. You know, ask around. To me, the Whip can only have ever been one band, and that band has ended.


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