Label: Lower Class Kids Records
Location: Weimar, Germany
Genres: Hardcore – Powerviolence – Death Metal
Active since 2017
One of the labels that grasped my attention several times recently – just think of the Lifetaker release I wrote about a few months ago – was Lower Class Kids Records from Weimar (Germany). Having released many more absolutely great EPs and demos, I thought it would be very interesting to get to know more details about who is behind this label. This is why I sat down with Nino from LCKR to discuss a few aspects I thought seem to be crucial in order to get to know the label better.
Interview with Nino from Lower Class Kids Records
It’s the most obvious question for an interview but as far as I was able to find out – you have not been asked that question so far. How did you get started with Lower Class Kids Records?
Hey Roman, first of all thank you for offering me the possibility to introduce Lower Class Kids Records a little more precisely. We – Flo and me – have brought this label into life in summer 2017. In the beginning we had the idea to absolutely focus on Powerviolence, which was disposed shortly thereafter and exchanged with ‘we’re gonna do whatever we like to’. After having published the first releases still online, I upgraded our equipment step by step and began reading and practising. This resulted in me now owning three recorders and having already recorded several thousands of minutes of music myself this year alone, which is what I will also continue to do with all of the upcoming releases in the same way. Additionally, due to regularly releasing music, my crafting skills also improved, which can be seen when taking a look at the designing of the tapes. In the beginning, the tapes were labelled with an Edding at the most as an example. Later on, we continued by adding stickers and along with the next release (Scumeater demo), we will begin stamping and we will add handmade special editions from now on.
The artists that can be found on LCKR range from Hardcore over Industrial-infused Metalcore to Death Metal and Deathgrind (and beyond), yet it still feels as if there is something that connects the sound of every LCKR release.
What are the aspects you are looking for when deciding to publish a release by a band?
Since my personal taste in music is quite broad and not focused on single genres, I am unbiased regarding specific music but I nevertheless look for certrain traits that lead my orientation. At Lower Class Kids Records, we basically look for bands who follow the DIY ethos and who might also not yet be rooted too deeply within the corresponding scene. Regarding the music, it’s supposed to push to the front and better be as angry as possible. This doesn’t mean that it needs to be smashing into your face from front to back, though. On the one hand, we’re especially into a mixture of blast beats and mosh parts coming along with a raw production. On the other hand, though, we do not fully focus on the musical genre as long as the band passionately stands behind what they’re doing and is down-to-earth while simultaneously taking the wrath-o-meter to the absolute max.
The first thing that can be found out when taking a closer look at LCKR is the fact that you are also involved in writing for Trvefrykt Magazine, which isn’t an unknown fanzine at all. It feels, though, as if you’ve got your fingers in many more stuff. Where else is the LCKR team involved?
Yeah, you’re right about that. I also write for Trvefrykt Magazine and organize shows for Trvefrykt Booking. To be precise, I’m one of the two founders. Apart from that I also recently started another new and absolutely personal project called “Endurance to Hell,” where I intend to upload live recordings of concerts in the Gerber and personal underground music recommendations after Corona times.
Flo, on the other hand, also plays in the Powerviolence band Extinct, is involved in Injustice Records and is also one of the organizers of the Return to Strength Fest. Apart from that, he also puts up nice workshops with his gang in order to reach the kids in the East German boondocks, aka his native region.
Just recently you made aware to support your local club (and housing project) “Die Gerber” – what exactly can we understand when talking about the “Gerber” and what are your personal and label-connected ties to this location?
The Gerber is a squat in Weimar that has been occupied for 30 years. I have been in love since having been there at my very first show six years ago and quickly began to get integrated and started helping. Throughout the time, several bands, art projects and political groups were formed there and many of which are still closely tied to it. Apart from the bar along with a fully equipped concert location, there is also a recording studio, a screen print workshop and a community flat. Furthermore, we are also a hot spot for craftsmen in their apprenticeship and beyond. This has become great tradition at our house thanks to the majorly anarcho-syndicalist orientation and the squatters’ and occupants’ interest in handcrafting.
There is a broad understanding of why DIY is absolutely essential to the underground scene – when talking about it – what do you understand of DIY and why is it important to you?
DIY has been with me all my life since early youth. Initially, it made it possible for me to get things I was not able to get another way – be it due to a lack of financial ressources or for different reasons. This began with my first studded leather jacket, was taken over by chlorinated shirts and now reached self-designed tapes and merchandise. Nowadays the motivation might have changed, but the mindset has stayed the same. I rather try to support other artists with my projects than waste my skills on myself. This is more fun anyway.
On the other hand, DIY also makes it possible to offer an interesting variation to loveless mass production, which might often come in handy at first sight but doesn’t have any enduring memorability. Possessing something that somebody else has sacrificed his valueable time for is extraordinarily special to me. I’m not only talking about the regular media like zines, vinyl, tapes or newsletters, since also many other artistic, self-made little things can encourage creativity or the motivation to become active yourself. To cut it short – DIY to me is a great multi-faceted mechanism consisting of different equilibrated gear wheels that is driven by the tireless passion of “creating something.”
One major aspect that is important to us at Transcended Music Blog is regularly broadening the scope of your musical taste. Hence, we always ask for new music especially when talking to new people. This is also why we want to ask you – can you name us three underground recommendations that are on your daily rotation and that you think everyone should listen to right now?
Of course, I’d love to. First of all you should definitely check out the Canadian band ESP Mayhem, whose record BLOODSPORTSWEAR was recently released by NERVE ALTAR. Absolutely crazy stuff, with great aesthetics. Grindcore without guitars, but with 3 synths instead. Even if this might suggest chaos, you get a lot of grindcore that seems to come back from the future.
On the other hand, if you can’t decide between Black Metal and Hardcore Punk without having to put up with Black/Thrash, you should definitely check out the SACRIFICIAL MONOLITH EP by WITCH WARD, which has been released by CALIGARI RECORDS in the beginning of May. Their sound goes in the direction of YOUNG AND IN THE WAY, FUNERAL CHIC and some BLACK BREATH. For me one of the few bands that has the potential to represent this style properly in the future.
And if you are up for some really chaotic grindcore, you should check out THIN from New York. Somewhere between DAUGHTERS, MAJORITY RULE and NORMA JEAN, this combo shreds anything that gets in their way. A little bit of noise, rich bass, topspeed drumming and generally very talented musicians are the recipe for success here. Definitely a band that you should have on your screen in the future as a genre fan.
Thanks a lot for taking your time and introducing your label to us and everyone else – we truly appreciate it. If you want to address any last words, feel free to do so now.
Thanks a lot again for sacrificing so much time and energy for us and having us appear on your great blog. Support DIY, no matter how. Draw pictures, write articles, compile mixtapes or support already existing projects. Every action marks a crucial contribution to the scene and can be an inspiration for someone else. Enough with the pathos, best regards go out to the Osnabrück gang surrounding Misery Vortex and Minenfeld, the No Shelter. clan, Fabi from Coxinha Records, Tomas (Eat me Fresh), Kshitiz (Chepang), my favorite customer Matze from Tape or Die and of course all the rest of the supporters of the Gerber.
Lower Class Kids Records Releases (2020)
Skin Ticket – Pure Fucking Chaos
Going by the title of this EP is pretty much a good point to start at. This furious monster by Skin Ticket from Phoenix starts throwing feedback-laden Death Metal noise at you from the first second on. There is a lot of thrashy riffing going on here, but most prominently the groovy rhythm as can be heard for example on “H.I.” steps into the forefront, sounding absolutely refreshing in combination with the chaotic background noises and overdriven production of the vocals. Just imagine taking Forsaken‘s Amongst Gods, Below Men thrown into the mixer and fiercely spiced on top of remnants of Full of Hell‘s Trumpeting Ecstasy – then you might get close enough. This EP just radiates malformed waves all along and gets you into the mood of forcibly rearranging your furniture while probably not being able to maintain its original function.
Discord – Blood, Sweat and Grind
Discord from Nepal open up their EP with a kind introduction – before kicking into furious 90s-resembling Napalm Death alike Grindcore sound. The open riffs and production definitely showcase that Discord want to emphasize the Punk roots of Grindcore music when conveying a pretty raw and chaotic sound. All of the tracks on this EP are written in Discord‘s mother tongue (which is difficult to understand but can be read in the inlay of the tape) and this puts the EP even further into the forefront. When initially feeling like a modern take on 90s grind, it gets clearer that throughout the EP Discord try to add more and more modern features to their classy sound, adding dissonant and Industrial-esque sounds that are currently often associated with acts such as Jesus Piece.
No Shelter. – Rest in Death
During the first few seconds of No Shelter.’s Rest in Death, it is difficult to decide whether you are just listening to Hardcore or Death Metal music. A few seconds later you realize that this is exactly the intention of the sound. No Shelter. move somewhat right in the middle between buzzing HM-2 guitar sounds and straightforward Hardcore vocals, reminding of the likes such as all-time-classics Entombed while making more prominent use of essential Hardcore elements. The riffing is absolutely strong and those guitarists know how to emphasize their droning sound, but the time changes between thrashing and almost grinding Death Metal Hardcore mixture sets up an individual character. There are groovy sequences that let you nod your head vigorously and there are others that will make your senses aware of the wind of flying fists only while listening. Those mosh parts – damn those mosh parts – my notes literally say BOY SOMEONE TAKE CARE OF THAT FURNITURE!
Haexler – Blankness, Bleakness
The question of where we belong in life is one of the biggest and most essential (pun intended) we have to deal with. Often, when not being able to find a spot in live you are said to be ill-placed or antisocial. Haexler definitely try to deal with that question and intend to ask what if the spot you find in live to give your existence meaning stems from the fact of politically disobeying traits of the capitalist system – if necessary in combination with militance. This statement is furiously conveyed on Blankness, Bleakness via straightforward Grindcore reminding a lot of big names such as Wormrot regarding the instrumentation and Napalm Death when taking a look at the vocals. There is, however, a certain individual significance to this release when combining the ferocious Grindcore sound with slower Death Metal sequences – and a lot of humour – ’cause in the end we all die, and this also always cheered me up.
The Dog – Avenge Us
First listening into this record after having got to know other releases on LCKR initially feels different. There is a strong Hardcore vibe going on when The Dog open up their Avenge Us. The Dog remind of a certain combination of Cold World thrash riffing in combination with Twitching Tongues vocals. The entire Hardcore vibe is spiced up though with short sequences of furious almost grinding instrumentation and verse riffs that still carry that thrashy edge that can be found on almost all LCKR releases. Jumping between catchy 2-step rhythms, frenzied grinding instrumentation and straightforward Hardcore music, The Dog is a band that definitely needs to remain on your radar. I especially liked the instrumental track that adds a fresh and dreamy atmosphere to the entire EP, reminding of what Code Orange Kids did on their Love is Love // Return to Dust back then when they were still good.
Lifetaker – Night Intruder
This beast of pure hatred already caught my attention when it was released this February. I said a lot about Lifetaker‘s Night Intruder in my review – but there still were lots of things that could have been said on top. If you slept on this release so far, you definitely missed one of the top releases of 2020 – and it is high time you caught up on this right now! Any time you want to find out about refreshing Deathgrind that connects essential key elements of adjacent genres – go for this release.
WOAT – Abuse / Dispose
Although stepping into a similar sound as several bands mentioned above, WOAT also find their personal spot in the LCKR roster. There is clear Death Metal instrumentation going on, but the speed is absolutey slowed down when comparing to the likes of Haexler as an example. The first band that came into my mind was Xibalba and the next aspect I had to think of was stepping out of the pit because of taking care of my nose. Oscillating between punky vibes, Grindcore sequences and blasting mosh parts, I would only watch WOAT from safe distance when playing life. Of course this is a lie, I would love to get my nose broken in first row – the mosh parts are absolutely neck-breaking but at no point annoying.