By Luke Buckler
Unbelievably Bad Contributor
It’s sorta rare in this modern climate for people to do something with continued passion and gusto for ten years. It’s doubly rare for a record label to mess around with a multitude of unrelated genres and styles. Lesstalk fucks with it all – in their own words, they release ‘folk, hardcore, noise, garage, indie, acoustic and grind’.
This earnest and unapologetically DIY squad is celebrating its ten year anniversary, and it’s bringing up the milestone in typically unorthodox style – by throwing a two day party featuring bands, artists, and food, and by releasing a book. TALKLESS: A decade of D.I.Y by Lesstalk Records chronicles the label’s participation across various cities and scenes through interviews, essays, and photography documenting its decade of activity.
UB caught up with Lesstalk’s chatty founder and spokesperson Matheson Vaughn ahead of the book’s release.
What was the catalyst for starting Less Talk, and how has it changed since its beginnings?
The main reason for starting Lesstalk was out of need, growing up on the Central Coast and the birth of Myspace meant that people could do and reach more people with shitter music, create and collaborate with like minded jerks all over the world. The main obvious change is the formats people like listening to music on and the potential for releasing music. One of the first Lesstalk releases was on a floppy disk. Where in 2017 my house doesn’t even have a CD player in it. Another major change is my friends have slowly over the years become more capable of releasing their own music, which is great to watch them move on from Lesstalk to bigger and better labels like Blackwire Records, One Brick Today and Pool House Records.
How many releases have you been involved in? Which ones stand out as the proudest achievements?
Officially to date on the Lesstalk label we have released 73 but there’s probably another dozen released on other friends labels like Tenzenmen, Grindhead and Stocked Records. Probably one of the proudest achievements would be Jess Locke’s album Words That Seem to Slip Away. I was very involved in every part of the recording and mixing process and it took probably longer than any other album to get perfect but once we did it was a banger! Also some of The Reverend Jesse Custer albums are fucking brutal and were one of the most underrated bands in Australia. Also the SMG/Michael Crafter 7” holds a very close place in my heart, as well as our first 7” from The (temperamental) Pocket which was like our 2nd release, because there was about 20 of us that were so poor we all put in a couple bucks to make that one happen. The Fully Cooked demo because we broke into my head office after hours to record it in my cubicle, a fantastic little band. The Halal, How Are You? 12” EP because of the amazing tracks and the effort we went to to release that one, hand glueing each cover. Every Hannahband album. They all have fond stories and memories.
Why did you decide to make a book? Were there challenges in its publishing that made it trickier to put together than a record?
I think I decided to make a book because of all the great stories out there for Lesstalk Records, I thought it would be a great item for some people to hold in their hands. I am a very nostalgic person and it’s quality things like this that really get me excited. It took me about a year and a half to pull together the content and design the book, it was a lot more effort because of how exact every page needed to be in terms of images, spelling, design. You can’t just mumble a few words into a microphone or overdub noise to mask a shit take. Everything needs to be spot on.
What’s in the book?
It is a chronological compilation of some of the key images from the small slice of the DIY punk scene Lesstalk was involved in over the past 10 years. These pics are mixed with snippets of interviews and essays written during these same periods to help give the images context and a greater appreciation for how important these event were to some people. There is not much retrospective content, I tried as much as possible to fill the book with our thoughts and feelings from that moment. The story begins around 2007 till 2017. And a lot has happened in that time, there was a lot of growing it was very exciting, hopefully it will give you a good giggle and everyone will be able to relate to it even if they weren’t there.
You’ve planned an ambitious multi-day, multi-discipline event for the launch – why have you decided to something like this, rather than your run-of-mill gig?
We only put on a couple gigs a year these days so I may as well make them memorable! There are a few people going to a lot of effort to display their photography as an art exhibition so I thought 2 days would hopefully give everyone that opportunity to check that out. Then of course the bands were important and the 2 days allowed shorter gigs with more variety of music, then we have friends who wanted to cook and bake for everyone, then we thought we would throw a mobile sauna in there for good measure for anyone wanting a sauna at the launch. And some fake flowers and fairy lights for good measure.
Do you really expect me to sit in a sauna with a bunch of folk punks and mincecore hessians?
Yes. Well sadly I think the sauna was a little bit TOO ambitious this time in such a small warehouse space so that is cancelled. You are off the hook this time!
What’s up next for Less Talk?
Well this week prior to the book launch I released the tour tape for Perth bands Shit Narnia and Childsaint for their Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide shows. But after the book launch… nothing 🙂.
That’s a lie, we will be recording and releasing the New Seddon Dads album early next year which I’m super excited about, and I’d love to do Artless Armchair 12 but I just need to find the perfect location. And with River’s (Lesstalk associate) potentially moving to Tasmania, that might change the label yet again.