Dax Anderson/Diogenes: Tapes are this awesome middle ground between quality and thrift.
  • Dax Anderson/Diogenes: "Tapes are this awesome middle ground between quality and thrift."

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Reel talk, Dax Anderson (aka Diogenes, a beatmaker of mischievous and surrealist bent) is starting HISSSSSSS: A Tape Night Wednesday, January 21, at Vermillion. He's framing HISSSSSSS (that's seven Ss, and each one is crucial) as an event at which label folks can sell their cassettes and DIY artists can peddle their wares. "This is an open community space to musicians and artists to meet, greet, chill and collaborate," goes the spiel on the Facebook invitation to the inaugural show. That night there'll be DJs working with this most problematic format, too: Rachel LeBlanc (Debacle Records), Daniel Sansone (Kingdom of the Holy Sun), and Thad Wenatchee (Dependable Records & FFU) on the spools of plastic. Four slots are open to the public, as well, so bring your best cassettes and plan a killer set for the tapeheads.

As it stands, Capitol Hill needs every last bastion of weirdness to keep this 'hood from turning into a brogrammer/woo-girl blandscape. I asked Dax some questions about this curious and, I think, unique development in Seattle's nightlife. Please don't hit PAUSE.

What was the inspiration for HISSSSSSS?
Anderson: To be 100 percent honest, I'd been hearing about a tape night in Portland for a while now and was pretty jazzed on the idea of a bunch of weirdos being able to bring their stuff out and just play. On top of that, knowing so many people that have been interested in and utilizing tapes longer than I have, and all the local labels and bands that record tapes, and the lingering weirdos that still make mixes, and the hiphop producers getting back into tapes... it just felt like it was necessary to accommodate it, and I didn't feel like waiting around for someone else to do it for me.

What are your goals with this night?
I don't think I even have a goal. Right now I'm trying to figure out how I'm gonna keep all the equipment working, given that most tape decks are half broken when I find 'em, and how to get all the tape sellers worked out, getting Coldbrew Collective set up for visuals, and keeping the show moving steadily until it reaches its inevitable end (far future, hopefully). I dunno. I love tapes. I love our amazing, thriving artist scene, and I think we need more nights dedicated to US. Just us, hangin' out, talkin' shit, listening to each other's music, and enjoying a moment together and having fun. More of that. Like some sort of self-esteem booster. It's not a dance night, per se, as much as just a hangout.

More Q&A after the jump.

Tapes have been making a strong comeback over the last three to five years. What do you think are the reasons for this?
Given that we're in a recession, CDs are only good for transferring MP3s from hand to computer, vinyl is out of the question for underground artists, and Bandcamp can only take you so far, so tapes are this awesome middle ground between quality and thrift. They're tangible and they're affordable. If you don't have a tape deck, cool, here's a download code. Wanna make some money? Press up 50 tapes and sell 'em for $4 and put the money you made back into more tapes. They have a good profit ratio, they sound rad, and they're finite. You can also use cool terms like "DIY" and "Limited Edition."

Describe the DJ setup, if you could. I’ve never experienced a DJ night centered on cassettes. Seems like the hardest format to deal with under these conditions (cuing is a nightmare).
For this first one we're using my two Library of Congress tape decks that were introduced to me by Chris Keys back at the In. They're gonna run into a DJ mixer, of course. I'm gonna have a backup Walkman on hand in case one shits the bed mid-show, also. We'll see. As far as mixing is concerned, that's on you! Cassettes can be cued, sure, but half the chaos involved in this medium is the uncertainty of the position of the tape. I say fuck cuing. Bring some tapes that you like and play them from where you left off! Let it be alive and human. Hence the sign-up slots, to add a bit of chaos and allow it to be more participatory.

More info on HISSSSSSS here.