Many thanks to Marc Masters for including us in Bandcamp's January edition of the 'Tape Label Report'. Full write up below, and here.
"Entering its 13th year and nearing its 400th release, Already Dead Tapes has traversed a lot of territory—literally. Joshua Tabbia, who co-founded the imprint with Sean Hartman in Michigan, has since lived in Illinois, New York, Georgia, and California, all while maintaining a schedule that has produced upwards of 50 releases a year. Running Already Dead himself for the past decade, Tabbia supports an impressive array of sounds and styles.
“The label was definitely experimental/lo-fi leaning when it started, but even then we were releasing noise, bedroom pop, electronica, free jazz, folk,” he says. “As a listener I’m always all over the map, and with the label I’ve never wanted to be pigeon-holed to one genre or style of music.”
What unites everything on Already Dead is the uncompromising nature of the music. The calisthenic post-punk of Complainer, crackling static of Dere Moans, and wistful songcraft of Jackson VanHorn have little in common stylistically, but they each bear a distinct vision that values creativity over commerce. There’s a lot of fun to be had in the catalog too: take the frantic improvisations of Nancy Bigfoot, the goofball hardcore of Rat Punch, or the weirdo pop of BBJR + SLW.
That joyful spirit comes across in Already Dead’s artwork, which is sometimes full of vivid colors, sometimes evocative of bygone eras, and sometimes as simple as a single object. It’s always eye-catching, and often crafted by Tabbia himself. “I love designing art for the format,” Tabbia says. “It’s a fun, hand-held sized medium. I’m drawn to the physicality it brings back to releasing music. There’s something intentional about putting on a tape that is lost with streaming.”
Putting out tapes has also helped Tabbia connect with like-minded labels, fueling his enthusiasm for all the work he puts into Already Dead. “It has been encouraging to feel camaraderie with a lot of other cassette labels,” he reflects. “There’s a lot of resource sharing and support that makes it feel like we’re in it together.”
- Marc Masters