Kent McClard Interview

This doesnít really need much of an introduction really unless your new to hardcore or youíve had your head buried in the sand for the last ten years or so! Suffice to say that Kent is the head-honcho behind Ebullition Records, Heartattack magazine and before that, No Answers zine. OnwardÖ

Starts with me fumbling around with the tape recorderÖ
AWA: Okay, I guess Ebullition has come a long way since itís origins. Are you happy with the way its transformed and what itís evolved into?
KM: Yeah, I guess soÖ Mmmn, Iím happy with it. Itís a weird question because itís soÖ
AWA: Big?
KM: Itís so big, itís become so much of what it is. Iím happy with it - I donít know what else it could have beenÖ It just is what it is. Itís something Iím happy with - something Iím proud ofÖ Sometimes though itís a little overwhelming just because itís sorta got a life of itís own, like itís developed a lot of itís own momentum and sometimes it feels like it just drags me along, or at least it sometimes feels that way - Iím still in chargeÖ I think, but sometimes it just goes, itís too busy. Itís not very big in the larger picture of things, like when you consider how long Iíve been around compared to how long say, Victoryís been around, or a lot of other labels who are so much bigger than Ebullition, whoíre just astronomically bigger. But I think Ebullition is still a little bigger than I had ever intended it to beÖ it just kind of happened.
AWA: Do you see it as out of control to an extent?
KM: Not really out of control, it just sometimes gets bigger and bigger and I need to learn how to say ďnoĒ, to turn things away and to turn away some projects and things. Itís not always easy to say no, because as things get bigger and bigger, itís easier to do things, so itís hard because people expect you to do more stuff, so youíve got to learn how to say no. The weird thing is that Iíve never done anything like this before, so as it gets bigger, I have to learn how to cope with it, everyday thereís something new that I donít know how to do. Iím trying to do this little business while being part of the punk community and living up to my own ideology, like how the label should exist in terms of how I originally thought labels should be run, so itís always a learning process because I donít always know what to do every time thereís a new situation that comes up to deal with.
AWA: And youíve got to deal with all the business side of things.
KM: I do, and I like the business end of it, because thatís kind of like a game, like monopoly where you just play with numbers, the problem is doing that when it butts-heads with the ideology of doing a punk label. Thatís where it gets complicated. But a lot of the problems I think, are due to me keeping Ebullition running just as a punk label, and itís pretty small and low-key, but a lot of times people get the impression that itís just a business where they expect me to behave in ways like McDonaldís would behave, or the same way K-Mart behaves, and thatís not the way I behave. I constantly get people that expect certain stuff from me just because I have a business, and a business is there to serve the publicÖ
AWA: You mean people outside the punk scene?
KM: No, itís always people from within the punk community. They get a warped sense of things because they donít really understand, because they just feel likeÖ Thereís those that have been around for a long-time, but those people who are kind of new to it, and their expectations as to what Ebullition is, they have the same expectations of any other business they deal with every day. And that can be really frustrating you know, or just like people that get really mad, like Lesley went to Europe for three weeks and we closed. Thatís not what most businesses do - and people got irate about it, they got really mad and complained, like some record stores got insulted and said they werenít gonna do business with me. Yíknow, whatever, Iím just trying to run this little punk label and donít wanna have to live up to these punk expectations based upon the way of regular record labelsÖ
AWA: Or a regular businessÖ
KM: Or a regular business - but at the same time it is a business and to a certain degree itís got to work like a business but you know, thereís always slippery slopes.
AWA: Do you think things can continue to evolve or progress in the future, or do you think things can reach a peak?
KM: Itíll just change, I mean right now, Ebullition is nothing more than just me and whatever I decide to do. You know, say in a year I decided to stop putting out records and to just do some publishing stuff, or concentrating more on a zine, whatever. Itís always evolving and changing and I donít thing thatíll stop. The real question is that I think Iíve reached the plateau of what one person can do and so to expand and do other things, Iíll either have to change from what Iím doing right now or involve other people, because I canít be expected to do any more than what I do now. In that sense itís reached some form of plateau, so your not gonna see changes unless I sacrifice something to do it.
AWA: Do you foresee the way itís heading?
KM: I have no ideaÖ
AWA: Just go along with the flow?
KM: A lot of it just depends on my mood, and I canít really control my mood. I donít really feel like working all the timeÖ I just donít really like working forty hours a week, itís not work but I just donít want to feel responsible for this office, to answer the phone - I used to do this close to sixty hours a week and I loved it, but I needed more free time and that was a problem because suddenly when I started to work less and take more time off for myself, suddenly a lot of things just werenít getting done. People werenít happy about that and got real angry. Part of it too is that everything is so cheap and I donít make very much money, itís hard when I get a lot of financial binds especially when people donít pay me right away, or rip-me off or screw me over, which happens a lot. Like itís a lot more severe because I donít make enough money, it just cuts really heavily in the ability to put out projects. Like so far this year, I put out four different records and had a lot of records that should have come out, which didnít because quite frankly, I didnít have the time or money.
AWA: Yeah, when youíve got a small mark up and want to work on new things, your leverage is so much more smaller and restricted.
KM: Totally, like an average LP of mine is sold to a shop for $1.50 less than an average LP sold through Mordam, so if I sell 4000 records of a band, thatís a huge difference, which isnít much money to them, but a huge amount of money to me. Itís sort of like, the mark-up is so low, it doesnít leave must extra for other resources, and thatís a really big problem, especially when I try to keep all my records in pressÖ
AWA: Do you ever feel tempted to increase the prices.
KM: I do, the business part of me really, really wants to, but I just canít shake it, itís just not what I want to do.
AWA: You feel as though your selling yourself out?
KM: Not selling outÖ
AWA: I mean selling yourself out - your own goals and ideals.
KM: Like, part of the fun of just doing the label is, in perhaps an obnoxious sense, is being able to do it really cheap - I just like being obnoxious and the fact that my prices have always been consistently so low for so long, itís like a thorn in all these labels that I donít likeÖ
AWA: Like sticking two fingers up at them?
KM: It is! Thatís the part of it Iíve enjoyed for a long time (laughs)Ö At some point, Iíll probably have to raise my prices, but theyíre never gonna be that high. Like the other day, I bought a record at a show for more money than I wanted to pay for it, and it just irked me, and I donít want other people to have to do the same for my stuff.
AWA: I guess youíve got a lot of your own control over prices, if youíre dealing direct to shops.
KM: I have some control, a lot of stuff just happens. Like I just got the new Victory catalogue, and somehow they get my stuff to sell through their mailorder. Theyíre selling the Econochrist CD for like $9, or you can get it from me for $5, so you know, thereís nothing I can do about thatÖ
AWA: Thereís only a certain extent to which you can have control over the pricesÖ
KM: Sure, itís just not always possible.
AWA: Okay, when youíre putting out a record, do you sometimes place the fact that you know itís going to sell well about your actual feelings about a record?
KM: I canít often tell - itís actually one of the biggest problems I have with the label, for me to tell if things are going to sell well or not. Iíve lost a shitload of money on records that nobody wanted. I thought at one time, that just because it had Ebullition on the back of the record, I could sell it. But I discovered thatís just not the case. I have some records that have sold less than 2000, and some records that have sold nearer to 11,000 which is a pretty big difference. 11,000 records is a lot of records for most labelsÖ I mean I heard Strife sold 40,000 records or something which puts it into perspectiveÖ
AWA: But if you get the opportunity to release say, the Los Crudos / Spitboy split LP, your gonna jump at that opportunity, right?
KM: Actually, that record is a big hassle for me because the packaging is so expensive and the profit made from it is so low that after selling 10,000 copies, I only made enough money to keep it in press. The only way to really make a good return on a record is if you stop pressing it. The problem is that I keep re-pressing everything, and with that Crudos/Spitboy LP, the cover meant that I had to print huge quantities at any one time, so I havenít made any money from that yet because all the money from the record has been used to keep it in press. Like everytime I want to get those covers made, because theyíre special, I have to get 6000 of them, so thatís another $5000 everytime I want to make some more covers. Thatís been the problem recently, like Iíve been putting out some releases that are just too big for the kind of capital I have. Like the Econochrist double CD is the same way - itís such a huge project to do - that CD cost me $25,000 - Iíve sold 3000 CDs so far and I need to sell 4000 CDs to break even. Iíve spent $25,000 and Iíve not even broken even yet and itís been out a little while now. I often do much better with the smaller releases, they donít have to be repressed as much and the packaging isnít often as expensive. It just depends. I mean, all the records are varied. It just depends on how often I have to repress it. Itís usually better when a record sells about 6000, and it starts to peter out at about 5000 and I can go months and months without repressing. But when I have to repress it all the time, it just keeps sucking moneyÖ
AWA: It becomes a drainÖ
KM: And the other problem is that putting out a big record - everyone wants it, which means more people want them on consignment or are going to take longer to take me backÖ I donít know, itís just give and take. Iím not really too sure about keeping records in press - I have thirty five records now on Ebullition, and theyíre all in press, which means no matter how, I need to keep making all the parts. Itís just such a huge amount of money absorbed by that, but Iím not sure when to stop pressing themÖ Should I stop at say 10,000 copies? I mean, obviously the records keep making a little money, but at some point, in order to get your money back, you have to stop making them to get all the money back (Öfrom distributors). Eventually, the Los Crudos / Spitboy record will make me a lot of money, but only really at the point where I stop making itÖ
AWA: Because itís just tied up in the record.
KM: Right, otherwise it just keeps going back. That was originally the idea when I set up the label, to take a lot of money, put it into a record, make enough money from the record to take out my original investment and just keep the profit forever. But I said all that before I had the rent to pay, the office space, insurance and so on. All these expenses that I never imagined. When I put out the Downcast 7Ē, I didnít imagine Iíd have to pay $1500 a year in office insurance, or $1500 a month for rent. Itís all new stuff, like taxes. All this stuff I never thought about.
AWA: Sounds pretty daunting, releasing a couple of 7Ēs then eventually being taken to that stage.
KM: Yeah, Iím not complaining about it though, but thereís never a sense of me thinking a record is gonna make a lot of money so I should put it out. Making popular records means youíve got to make more records, although you donít get paid for them any faster, youíve just got to repress it faster, putting you in a huge bind. I started with 6000 Los Crudos / Spitboy LPs and they all sold really fast, but I didnít get any of the money back for months and months but I was faced with having to repress it again. Or doing that Econochrist CD - that just cost so much money which I had to pay up-front. Like finding $25,000 out of a bag, it wasnít very easy. I managed to do it because thereís a lot of money in Ebullition now, but it was harsh and Iíve still not broken even on it.
AWA: I think most record labels always have the same problem, but usually on a lesser scale (speaking from experience!). Just trying to keep things available when your trying to work on new records is such a drain on your resources. Itís frustrating at times, especially when some distributors take so long to pay.
KM: What I think most people do is just work their regular job and keep putting their pay cheques into the label. Thatís how I started Ebullition - from my job, and I put all my own money into the label for months and months. Even when it reached a point where the label was covering all the expenses, every month the pay cheques would still go straight into the label. I accumulated a huge amount of money, doing that for about a year. The problem now is that I donít have any outside income so things are a little bit tighter. Especially when people donít pay you right away.
AWA: Yeah, thatís one big problem I often have with d.i.y. record distribution. Ultimately, it works and thereís little alternative, but some people can be so incredibly flakey or try avoid paying you altogether, it all really accumulates. When youíve got bills to pay, youíre left in the lurch even though youíre owed thousands of dollars...
KM: Also, just stuff like trading records. You know, some kid writes me with a 7Ē theyíve released and want to trade with my releases, I trade them and end up never selling their record. I may as well have taken a portion of my records and thrown them out of the window! Because thatís what Iím doing - that happens and I make a lot of those mistakes because I canít always judge correctly what people want.
AWA: Okay, moving on. Do you feel happy with the way Heartattack has progressed?
KM: Mmmn, yes and no. Ummm, I donít really feel as though Heartattack is my fanzine. I think itís just more of an information thing. Itís not supposed to be that good. Like, if Heartattack was my own personal magazine, I would never put it out. It doesnít live up to my standards of what a good zine should be. It just doesnít. Itís not that good. But in terms of it being a resource magazine, Iím very happy with it. It just depends. Like if any of those issues were No Answers, Iíd never have put one of them out - none of them are as good as I would want them to be. But I only ever did maybe one issue of No Answers a year instead of trying to do about four or five issues of Heartattack. Just the sheer work of doing all the reviews and all that mundane crap, makes the rest of it go downhill because youíve only got so much time.
AWA: It seems like a huge obligation to carry, and a weight constantly above your headÖ
KM: It is a huge obligation and sometimes I resent that, because if I donít really feel like doing it, I donít want to have to do it. Like when it all piles up, youíve kind of got to do it. Itís just hard when itís on a cycle and your expected to do it all the time. Most people who do zines just do new issues when theyíre ready to do another one. But not like, ďoh itís the 15th of  September and Iíve got to get this out in two weeks time or people are gonna start getting really upsetĒ... Thereís also some crazy stuff, like someone will send in a subscription for the next twenty issues.. Thatís just way - youíll look in the subscription book and see subscription until issue thirty, and say weíre just about to do issue sixteen, your like, ďoh manÖĒ, Iíll be thirty-five by the time we get to issue thirty. They expect a lot! (laughs) Itís not a big deal or anything but itíll sit in the back of your mind and kind of haunt you.
AWA: So you resent the obligation?
KM: I do, but itís my choice. Itís not really the obligation, but more the fact that people expect me to live up to their standards. Iím gonna do Heartattack the way I want to do it. Period. And itís just silly that people get angry that I donít do it the way they want. If they want to do it, they should do it themselves and quit complaining. Thereís nothing worse than some kid calling you up saying (mimicking a silly voice) ďwhereís the new Heartattack? Youíre two weeks late!Ē (laughs). Like, fuck you! You do it - I donít care!! That just makes me not want to do it. Like, to be quite honest, if people donít want me to do it, they should all just keep calling me and ask why itís late - Iíll never do it again. As soon as someone does that my instinct is just to say, ďoh yeah, well if you think thatís bad, then letís leave it for four weeks!Ē (laughs). It just pisses me off - Iím not here to serve, I never wanted to be like the personal punk helper of all these punk people to help them find out when the new Slap Happy 7Ē comes out from Japan or whatever! Itís just not that big a deal.
AWA: But surely thatís just a minority of people who moanÖ
KM: Sure, but thatís the ones I hear from. Like those people who are happy with it donít say much to us about it. Itís just the complainers who complain. Umm, I donít know. Itís okay. Itís just frustrating at times. People forgetting that itís all supposed to be in a punk context. And somehow people thinking that this is a piece of business machinery  - this isnít a piece of machinery. This isnít like Time Warner where you can go to the shop and pick up your new magazine every monthÖ Itís just not like that. I mean, Maximum runs on that crazy scale but thatís a whole different operation. Thatís all that Tim does - just work on MRR. He also doesnít do a record label and run a distribution.
AWA: I guess people often create their expectations of Heartattack based loosely upon their expectations of MRR.
KM: Yeah, but also it isnít always my fault that it doesnít come out on time. If we say the advert deadline is the 15th or something, half the people who reserve an advert wait until two weeks later then call me up asking ďcan I still get the advert in?Ē. Which of course they can, but it means that the next time around, theyíll be even more slack. Umm, I donít know. It works. I just get frustrated and tired. Sometimes itís just not that easy to do. And another thing, like I said, Iím not always that happy with it. The deadline might come around, but I might feel that the material isnít that great. So what do you do? Wait for better material? Or put it out? Youíve just got to put it out, and thatís not always too good because if people complain that itís not that good, your in a situation like people are gonna complain either if itís not that good, or if itís late. One of the two. And thatís what I find frustrating.
AWA: People just like moaning I guessÖ
KM: Like, looking back on a day, youíll remember a call on the phone from someone complaining. Sometimes though, itís not just people complaining, itís my own guilt about things. I operate a lot on guilt. Itís not so much that theyíre complaining, but making me think about my own guilt and how I canít seem to get it to work. I would love to do it bi-monthly but Iím just not a stable enough human being - I just canít do it, and sometimes I feel guilty that I canít. Itís also them reminding me about things that Iíve not done.
AWA: It takes a lot of well-oiled machinery to do that though. And weíre just mere human beings!
KM: You need soldiers, not human beings for that kind of stuffÖ
AWA: Do you see it as being successful though in comparison to your original objectives?
KM: Well, I think itís incredibly successful. Way more successful than I ever thought it could be. We donít have any problem getting rid of the issues. People seem to be into it and send enough adverts. The problem is that itís a little too successful. When I started it, I didnít anticipate that there would be people that would only rely on Heartattack and not on Maximum. But now I guess a lot of people just rely on Heartattack whereas before theyíd just rely on Maximum - I never thought that would happen, and I wasnít prepared for that sort of success - if you can call it a success, I donít know. I wish there were more magazines doing what Heartattack does. I mean, thereís PunkPlanet, but PP is just trying to do what Maximum does only they want to include what Maximum wonít cover - like stuff on Epitaph or stuff on bigger labels. In a way, PP is like a sort of more corporate version of Maximum. They donít really have any ethics about what they do. And then youíve got Profane Existence covering the more crust community - although they donít seem to carry any kind of time-line. Theyíre just doing different kinds of things, yíknow. I do wish though there were some other magazines that would try to get bigger and more regular. I donít really see many others trying to do that. Thereís a few, but not many. I do think Heartattack was successful though, considering that there were enough adverts to pay for everything and we sold 10,000 copies. By my standards, thatís successful.
AWA: It does seem to do a pretty good job at promoting Ebullition at the same time though. Is that intentional?
KM: I donít knowÖ I guess it does, but I donít know how much it helps me. I guess it must to a certain degreeÖ
AWA: But donít you see it as like furthering, or even creating a ďscene within a sceneĒ, helping Ebullition at the same time?
KM: I guess it is, I just donít know how much that is the case. Ummm, Iím sure it must do, but Iím sure I could still do Ebullition without Heartattack - no problem. I wish though that people wouldnít view Heartattack as being a vehicle for Ebullition - because I donít really think it is. Itís not like some bands are interviewed every issue that are on Ebullition. I donít really feel as though itís a vehicle. The only thing I use is the back cover for adverts. There isnít a lot of stuff in the contents about Ebullition stuff - some of my records get reviewed, although some of them have got bad reviewsÖ although itís hard to find someone willing to give my stuff a bad review around here (laughs).
AWA: But you sometimes review your own releases!
KM: Sometimes, because itís just silly yíknow, like what the fuck, I might as well. Sometimes I feel as though Iím the only person to give it a legitimate reviewÖ Itís like the polls, Iíd rather not have people vote for Ebullition  stuff - Iím sick of winning all that stupid shit - it just looks cheesy! (laughs) It just looks bad, you know? So I guess your right in a way, it does help Ebullition a lot, I just wish it didnít sometimes.
AWA: You could exist without itÖ
KM: Yeah, but Heartattack could not exist without Ebullition - itís not possible. It just couldnít. The only way Heartattack can work is because Ebullition distributes it and Iíll use the infrastructure that exists for the distribution to get rid of Heartattack. But thereís just no way Heartattack could exist without Ebullition. You could probably do it if it was sold for a lot more money, but the only reason I can sell Heartattack for a quarter is because Ebullition subsidises it. Like, I have people who work for Ebullition to send out Heartattack.
AWA: So does it loose money?
KM: Some issues loose money, but in the end, I think it pretty much breaks even. Although only in terms of advertising money compared to printing costs. The only problem is how much labour I can spend on it, sending them out, and how much of other peoples time that I pay for. We donít make any money from Heartattack so there is a loss there. And also the amount of time it takes to work on Heartattack - I donít work on it in my free-time. I work on it on Ebullitionís time. So I guess it costs Ebullition a lot of business. I usually close down for 4-5 days and just work on Heartattack and nothing else. So that costs Ebullition money.
AWA: Youíre happy to do that?
KM: Yeah, generally. The last couple of issues Iíve been really happy with, it just depends. I also have this thing that after I finish every project, I get really depressed. I donít know what it is, but just when Iíve finished anything, I get really down because Iíve finished somethingÖ
AWA: Because youíve got your own particular expectations towards it?
KM: Sometimes itís just like this post-work depression thing, which is frustrating because I get like that after every issue of Heartattack.
AWA: Like your burnt-out?
KM: Not really, itís just that itís over with, and after youíve spent so much time on it, thereís nothing - like a feeling of uselessness because thereís nothing left to do for a little while. Itís a treadmill thing too. You never really finish an issue properly because as soon as an issue is out, youíre getting records to review in the next issueÖ
AWA: Okay, so itís your birthday today.
KM: Yeah, it is (laughing)Ö
AWA: Youíve just gone 30 - it always seems to be an age to provoke questions about ones path in life. Perhaps more so for those in the punk scene. Do you feel happy?
KM: On a day-to-day basis, yes. Itís just when I look at the whole thingÖ
AWA: The big picture?
KM: The big picture of what my life is - Iím not sure if Iím happy. I feel like I donít really have any purpose. I have a purpose - but not a big purpose. I donít really know what Iím doing with my life. Iím constantly wondering if Iím wasting my time, that thereís something that I could be more effective at - that thereís something else that would be better.
AWA: But many people donít seem to possess some kind of purpose at allÖ
KM: I donít know about most people. Maybe they do. I just know how I feel. I used to feel like I had a lot more purpose than what I do now. Partly, thatís because I feel really alienatedÖ thereís not a whole lot going on in hardcore right now that I feel in tune with. I mean, I feel like a sort of dinosaur in that a lot of my ideals and goals are sort of old - that most people arenít interested in that kind of stuff anymore. Sometimes I feel that Iím some kind of left over relic from the 80s, hanging out trying to do all this stuff based upon 80s ideology of what punk should be about. I know there are lots of people out there that have the same kind of ideology as me, but I just donít often run into them and I forget that sometimes. I sometimes I feel Iíve lost my sense ofÖ like I was always on this mission that I was out to go and do all this stuff, and it made it feel really fun. I just donít quite feel the same way anymore.
AWA: Yeah, personally I sometimes feel like having this sense of displacement. Youíve supposedly got the same ideals as some of your friends or other people going to shows and so on, but you end up discovering the hard way that ultimately youíve got little in common with people who are supposedly like-minded and you still donít really fit in. So youíre like, what have I got left? Itís tough. And you usually find out about it the hard way.
KM: Definitely. And part of it too is like everyone I know is on their way to something. Theyíre all at college or something, and theyíre on their way to a bright future - as if theyíre going to ďdo somethingĒ with their lives. But Iíve done with school, and Iím doing the ďsomethingĒ with my life already, but no-one else around here is doing that, I donít know many people at that stage in their life doing the ďsomethingĒ theyíre going to do. So thatís part of it too - not so much that Iím depressed about it, I just canít often relate to the experiences a lot of other people are going though because those are experiences Iíve gone through a long time ago.
AWA: So you feel as though thereís something more to attain from life?
KM: Iím not sure if thereís something more to attain - Iíd just like to meet some more people who arenít so sure that thereís something more to attain! Iím kind of envious of people in a transition stage - who know theyíre in a transition stage. Iíve been doing this for a long timeÖ I know the world they may be going to may not be so great, but theyíre on that transition, so I can be envious of that. Itís also hard when they move on and leave you behind. Granted, some people move onto something that I wouldnít want to be involved with. But every time I have someone in my life who moves on to their future, Iím always just left sitting backÖ and thatís kind of depressing.
AWA: And you feel as though you should move on yourself?
KM: Well, maybe some parts of me feels as though I should move on, I donít know. Sometimes I think what Iím doing is just cheating - like I should just move on and not try to find some way to squeeze another twenty years of doing this same thing. I donít knowÖ
AWA: But if youíre content and your happy, what more could you want?
KM: Well, what happens when I wake up when Iím thirty-eight and think ďAll my friends are eighteen, what am I gonna do with my life?Ē Who do I turn to? What am I supposed to do at that point?
AWA: Yeah, I guess like what we were talking about before doing this interview, like you feel as though youíve got almost a cycle of friends, seemingly always moving on, coming and going in and out of your life, so you get older but the average age of your friends remains the sameÖ
KM: Itís just crazy. I donít knowÖ Also, maybe someday Iíll decide that I donít want to do this anymore - I donít even know how to do anything else. Itís scary. Maybe if Iím forty and decide I donít want to be a punk-rocker anymore - Iíd have to make all these decisions that most people make at twenty three - Iíd have to go look for a job or something. Itís just crazyÖ Maybe most people go through this at some stage in their lives - itís just that most people I know are in this real safe state and in that transitionary process, not having to make any real decisions yet about what theyíre gonna do with their lives. College is a safe thing - you do it and follow the rules and you get somewhere. Some people from the punk community drop out, flounder around for a couple of years and then go back to college because they want the safety. Either that, or they drop out of hardcore completely because they couldnít find a way to balance the real world with their hardcore world. They canít be two people at once. A lot of times, Iíve seen people try and be the two people - but the two people they were start to hate each other and one of the people would eventually be killed. Thatís the way I look at it - seriously.
AWA: Do you feel content being officially self-employed doing a punk record label?
KM: Sometimes, yeah. I have a lot of freedom, but sometimes I think Iíd like it for someone to tell me what to do. Like I have too much freedom - itís almost scary. Itís no fun to have to deal with all of this stress and deal with all this stuff all the time. Sometimes it would seem good to just go to work and have a regular boss tell me what to do. Sometimes a few things make me nervous about my security, but at the same time I have to juggle all that with doing a punk label. How are you supposed to balance that with the ideology? But if you think of something, like for example, I donít have a pension plan. But at some stage in my life Iím going to have to retire, right? So Iíve got to somehow figure out how to create a pension plan for myself. But having to face up to that while trying to run a punk label and the ideology of how a punk label should be ran. It just gets complicated because I donít have the answers. I donít know what to do really - I just make it up as I go along, but itís kind of intimidating sometimes.
AWA: It seems almost inevitable that trying to do your own thing while living in the real world is likely to bring a conflict of interests at some stage.
KM: And thereís no-one else I can blame for my mistakes. Like I canít get mad at anybody except myself. I canít hate my boss or hate my school or something. Itís just me, so I sometimes hate myself and what I do. Itís like you come home from your regular job saying ďI hate my boss, heís a fuckiní dickĒ and you feel better having said that. But I donít have anyone like that so I end up putting that on myselfÖ
AWA: Okay, moving on - tell us a bit about your surfing.
KM: Well, I got my first skateboard in 1976 so Iíve been skating for over twenty years and I always saw surfing around here, but it seemed like a lot of work. Iíve lived in a place where you can surf for eleven years but I never surfed because I was skating, especially ramp skating although there hasnít been a ramp to skate around here in a long time. Finally a friend of mine, Dan started surfing and said ďletís go surfingĒ to me, and I loved it.
AWA: You live in the perfect place for it.
KM: Yeah, I do. I wish Iíd have started earlier but I was just into skating - this is a great place for skating too. The weather is perfect - not too hot, hardly any rain, you can skate day and night.
AWA: So many people skate here though (in Isla Vista)Ö
KM: Well, itís California!
AWA: I guess itís because this place is a college town so thereís a lot of young people here.
KM: Yeah, your getting an artificial view really. Iím an old person around here reallyÖ The other thing about skating is that I just canít take the pain anymore, itís just so brutal on my body, but Iím in good shape still, but I just canít take street skating anymore. When I go surfing itís different, the physical abuse is a lot lessÖ
AWA: Thatís pretty much why I donít skate too much anymore. I ended up hurting myself too much. It just took too much out of me.
KM: I guess weíre both getting oldÖ With surfing too, you get out in the water and thereís nothing there, the phone doesnít ring, you donít have to deal with any people, even if you go surfing with friends, youíre not talking, youíre just out there alone, itís nice. Itís really therapeutic. Especially in the Winter, we get up at about 5.45 in the morning and itíll just be you out in the water, maybe with one other guy, and youíll watch the sun come up. Maybe theyíll be a seal or a dolphin, itís weird, your just out there alone in the ocean, and thatís a lot of fun.
AWA: Last question: if you could choose one pleasure from life, what would it be?
KM: ErmÖ I donít knowÖ Maybe eating. I really like to eat, itís like a social event, we all do it and itís a comfortable thing to do with other people. Just eating, sharing foodÖ
AWA: You draw from other peopleÖ
KM: Yeah, Iím not always that comfortable with other people, I sometimes feel awkward with others and it kind of helps break the ice. I guess itís like drinking for some people, but I donít have an eating problem! (laughsÖ)

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