Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hydra Head Records poster

I designed this poster for Hydra Head Records.

Limited edition
hand screen printed on a matte offset background 
100# white paper 
Signed and numbered 
It's being sold as part of the larger Hydra Head Rehabilitation Project HYDRA HEALTH

I've been working at Hydra Head for over 5 years now. I started as an intern (technically Isis' intern, but I quickly rolled over to HH duties). There has never been a time when I didn't believe in the projects we were involved in, or the way we have approached them. We probably could have pressed fewer quantities of certain CDs, but we also could not have predicted such a precipitous drop in CD sales. This endeavor was never about making money, though. If it was, there would have been a lot more corporate sponsorship and licenses, shittier touring bands, and pandering advertisements. Everyone who does and has worked here has foregone any delusions of luxury (or even healthcare). I don't remember anyone besides Aaron having a car made within the last 10 years. 
People occasionally complain that our records are expensive, but if you are going to make a physical artifact of the music, you should make it well. Heavy vinyl, sturdy jacket, and quality printing. We have compromised very little on that. Maybe we should have made flimsier LPs and required our bands to tour relentlessly. Maybe we could have been rich. Except that it hasn't just been our choices that have led to our current financial peril. We only control our ship, not the entire sea.
The music industry has changed drastically over the past decade, and especially over the past few years. For better or worse, the internet has destroyed the old model of music distribution. Once it's released, artists and labels don't really have control over the dissemination of their own content. The new streaming services pay pennies, and even through proper channels, music is used as content to drive services and advertisements that benefit those providers vastly more than the artists themselves. Even if a band is the type to tour, gas has gotten expensive. I don't have any scientific data to back it up, but it feels like there are less touring bands coming through than there used to be. I think because the overhead of being on the road has become prohibitive for acts that don't have a large following.
Maybe Hydra Head is dying. I still don't believe it. Maybe it will be saved by the generosity of those that appreciate earnest, challenging music and aesthetics. Maybe the whole world really is ending and the rumble of the earth falling will match the rumble of the records we have released.
I am humbled and honored to have been directly involved with a lot of groundbreaking records, and a few masterpieces. I am grateful for all of the friends I have met, to know that there are other people that care about things like I do. I am proud to be part of this family.
Cut one head off...