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Interview With A389 Records’ Dom Romeo

“I’d summarize our mission as to release records that are awesome by bands who don’t suck,” A389 label dude Dom Romeo (who is also the guitarist in Pulling Teeth) told Noisecreep. We couldn’t think of a better philosophy for a label to impart. As part of our ongoing label profile series, we polled Romeo, who releases 12-inches and seven-inches, on a variety of topics, including digital samplers, the corpse that is the CD format, Ice-T, his rampant passion for the band Integrity and for vinyl. What’s that you, ye downloaders? May ask? Read on, young Padawan.

What are your two of your favorite upcoming releases and why?

The upcoming Integrity ‘Love Is the Only Weapon’ seven-inch is the best material the band has written and recorded since their ‘Seasons in the Size of Days’ LP. I’m really excited for that to come out. They’ve been my favorite hardcore band of all time for years and years. I also really loved the Love Below ‘Reproductive Rights’ seven-inch that just came out. Real brutal, short fast and heavy hardcore a la Left for Dead and Cursed. The new material from Gehenna/[California Love] rules well.

Talk about your label’s recent digital samplers and how they fit the current marketplace.

My friend Will from Chainsaw Safety Records and I decided to team up and release a CD sampler of music on our labels. We went through a lot of effort and spent a decent amount of money releasing this free CD to send out with mail orders and give out at shows. When I was a kid growing up, I was always starving for new stuff to listen to, and I guess years later, I was hoping there were still a lot of kids like I was. It did reach a lot of ears, but at the end of the day, everyone just had it ripped into their iPods or computers.

This time around, I figured it would be smarter to save the money and use it to press another record while making the sampler a free download, and the response has been great. Sadly, CDs are a dead format in this day and age. I don’t even carry them in my distro anymore.

You are a rabid vinyl collector, what are some gems in your collection?

My favorite of all time is the original test press for Ringworm‘s ‘The Promise’ LP on Incision Records. The story goes that I was in Cleveland playing a show with Pulling Teeth. We were actually opening for Body Count of all bands, but that’s a whole other story in itself. Although I must admit, Ice-T walking out to the three people in line and saying ‘Yeaaaah, big show to-nite-ah’ was just plain awesome. ‘Yeaaaaah. Big show to-nite-ah.’ Anyways, Frank Novenic formerly of Integrity and Ringworm came to the show and told me he had a surprise for me in his car. He pulled out this record and says, ‘I hate this record. It’s the last one I own and I know how much you love it, so I want you to have it.’ My mind was blown. Charles Manson, ‘The Manson Family Sings the Songs of Charles Manson’ LP is one of my faves. I have this great Death in June record Dwid sent me one year. Straight Ahead ‘Breakaway’ twelve-inch. There are a few gems kicking around.

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