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Born Ill Tape Productions

While vinyl currently seems the be the favorite physical medium for the hardcore community, cassette tapes are making a comeback. One of the labels that has been doing tape-only releases is Born Ill Tape Productions out of California. It’s an exciting, new label which has released some professionally printed/looking demo’s for great bands such as War Hound, Vice and Thornz.

Can you introduce yourself? Who you are and where are you guys from?

I’m Calvin and I’m 22. Scott is 20. Both of us were born and raised in Nevada City, CA.

How did you get into hardcore? Were/are you involved with any band(s) yourself?

I got into hardcore about 6 years ago. Scott and I both have a band called World Tomb that has played a few shows but currently are on a hiatus because of work and school. Maybe we can pick that back up again soon and do an actual release.

When and why did Born Ill come into existence?

Scott and I both knew each other from high school. We became roommates back in late 2010 and I would say that was the official beginning of Born Ill. I, myself, can’t play an instrument to save my life but I wanted to become more involved in hardcore.

Is there a reason behind doing only tape or are you guys thinking of doing vinyl/CD releases at some point as well?

When we first talked about doing a label, tapes seemed pretty obvious for a start up project. We could do everything ourselves from our house. Our first two releases (Twitching Tongues and War Hound), we were kinda learning by trial-and-error. We used shitty paper, cheap cassettes, cheap cases. We had no idea what we were doing. Since then, I would say the quality of our work has increased tremendously from the overall sound of the tapes to the way the j-cards are printed. As far as vinyl releases, we are keeping our ears open at this time.

Born Ill Tape Productions logo

I don’t know if a lot of people listen to our tapes since no one owns a tape player anymore. I think it’s really more of a collecting deal for a lot of people.

You’ve got bands from all over the States on Born Ill. Did you approach these bands or did they approach you? And how is it working with these far away bands on, for some, their first demo/release?

For the most part, we usually approach bands. A lot of them we originally found about on Toxicbreed’s Funhouse or through hearsay or they have shot us an email of a really good demo and have asked if we’d be willing to help them out.

Do you keep up with worldwide hardcore, and if so, any non-US bands you’re into?

I just recently listened to the demo that Forsaken did. One of the best demos I’ve heard this year. That band has some serious potential.

There seems to be a renewed interest in doing cassette tapes, there’s you guys, Like Glue Records has also done some pro-looking cassette tapes, there are tape-only labels in Europe. Why do you think that is? Is it the ‘cheap’ alternative for vinyl/CD releases (the main reason for tape labels in areas like South-East Asia)?

Yeah, I think tapes are affordable for us to make and people to buy. I don’t know if a lot of people listen to our tapes since no one owns a tape player anymore. I think it’s really more of a collecting deal for a lot of people.

Any new/current bands that you didn’t release but people should still check out?

Not really. I’ve been keeping my ear to the ground but so far nothing has really peaked my interest. The Beautiful Ones just finished recording their new album for 6131 so I guess that is one of the newer releases we are excited to hear.

What’s the scene like in Nevada City?

Liking hardcore and living in Nevada City has its ups and downs. Shows rarely happen here. We have both booked shows in the past in Nevada City but the venues don’t like to host hardcore shows and hardly any people ever come out. Luckily though, Nevada City is conveniently in between Reno and Sacramento. So thanks to people like Alex Gutto and Nick Acordagoitia who book awesome bands whenever they can.

Any future plans for Born Ill? Upcoming releases?

Right now we are listening to what’s out there and hoping to do a vinyl release sometime soon. No plans on that yet but we wanna do something big.

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