We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandon Self and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Brandon, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Initially I just wanted to create a hub for my own projects and didn’t think anyone else would be interested in being a part of it other than myself. I sent my music to a bunch of small labels but nobody seemed into it or they were too busy with other things which is very understandable. I also didn’t know any of them personally. So thats when I started to make my own label. I also though if it the Bandcamp looked legit and had all these different releases by various bands it would look like somebody was gathering a bunch of different artists instead of just me and maybe it would peak peoples curiosity. The name came from my friend Aaron about a year prior when we were thinking about self publishing his short weird fiction/sci-fi stories. It’s really just a made up phrase that sounded cool to us. The logo of the hand holding a hammer in the glass jar was also his idea and his wife Asami drew it out for us. It’s always felt right to use it but there’s no specific meaning that we’re trying to convey with it. I also happened to be really into cassette tape culture around this time, specifically tape loops which is cutting the tape inside the cassette so it loops around indefinitely. A lot of artists I’m inspired by use this technique like Henry Flynt, Jason Lescalleet, Aaron Dilloway, Graham Lambkin, etc. Releasing music on tape also seemed like a cool thing to do and while it’s not as cheap as releasing on CD, I thought it would be worth it to learn because I just wanted to be a part of that scene. I also really like how tapes sound and the audio on CD is the same thing as the digital version whereas that audio on a tape always has a unique sound to it.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
With my music I’m mostly interested in doing whatever I think is the punk thing to do. I want everything I do to sound raw, unprocessed to a degree, and have fun when I’m doing it. I’m also a very introverted person so I think my music reflects that as well and I want it to. I’m very interested in the extremes that music can go to for the most part, thats why I’ve done black metal, industrial, noise, etc. In order to balance that out though, I’ve also done a dark folk guitar album, ambient, hiphop instrumentals, and downtempo electronic stuff. So I’m really all over the place because I get bored easily I guess and I want to experience creating all the kinds of music I enjoy or at least try to. I’ve been playing guitar since I was twelve so that hasn’t been a problem really, but learning synthesizers was a huge deal, especially modular synthesizers. They’re so rewarding though and the possibilities are so endless. It’s kind of like painting but with sound and electricity. I’ll never feel like I’ve done everything with them.

The label has definitely not been easy especially with the King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard bootlegs we’ve done. I basically had to dub like 600 tapes using 6 tape decks and we had to print out the inserts for all of those. It was rough, lots of problems but we got them out and it was worth it. It really brought a lot of new people following us on Bandcamp and Instagram. I guess I should explain that scenario: the Australian band King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard announced late 2020 that they would let small labels create bootlegs of their live performances so we jumped on that the same day and announced them all before we had even done anything and sold out really quick. I think some of them sold out the same day. That was all Hunters idea which I’m very grateful to him for that. I learned a lot of about how to take care of the tape decks and how to fix those kinds of problems.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m somewhat of a reclusive person so I don’t really hang out a lot of places. I’m mostly inside of my house working on music or hanging out with my girlfriend. But there’s a park really close by to my house that I like to go to that has an old dam that hasn’t been used in forever and I like to chill there sometimes. I also like to go hiking in the appalachian mountains usually in the fall or spring. Also every time I go hiking or anything I’m trying to immerse myself in the forest so I can have a brain kick for my black metal project so I’m weird. When my best friends come over we either make music or play video games.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Hunter Johnson definitely, who I gave the first tape I made to the first time we met while we were at the skate park. That dude made this way bigger than I ever thought it would be by getting so many bands and artists involved. He’s also in like 10 bands at the same time so the fact that he has time to help me out as much as he has is insane. He’s co-owns the label as well and did all the work of getting us to be an LLC. It was also his idea to do the King Gizzard bootlegs which are our best selling tapes by far and did all the work for the Precambrian Gizz Bundle which was our first foray into vinyl.

Website: softgrit.bandcamp.com

Instagram: instagram.com/softgritrecordings

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE-eX9edvy4OV5FMav08Ljw

Other: socity6.com/chuckyshovels My drawings

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.