Torche’s Rick Smith Sells Cassette Tapes When Not on Tour
Do you remember cassettes? The slender layout tucked and compressed, the smell of plastic when the wrapping was cut and the slurping lizard sound the tape made when the car's deck ate it. Torche drummer Rick Smith certainly remembers cassettes. In fact, his attachment to them was so great he started a cassette-only label called RCP.
"I was bored between tours and thought it would be fun to re-issue some of my favorite punk and metal records on tape," Smith told Noisecreep, explaining his fondness for cassettes. "I can put them in my pocket, they're cheap, and I like the way they sound because I grew up listening to them."
RCP tapes, whose motto is 'Only Analog Is Real' to fight the forces digital, are actually going through their pressings faster than most would assume cassettes would sell in an age of downloads. RCP has released recordings from S---storm (Smith's on-the-side grind band with fellow Torche member Jonathan Nuñez), Wold and the best selling release for the label: the demo recordings for Torche's 'Meanderthal' album. For those who want to hear these rough raw and modified versions but have no Walkman lying around, the release may see another format some day. "There may possibly eventually see a limited vinyl release," Smith says.
It may seem odd that there are any people left wanting to buy cassettes, but more and more bands are releasing their work on cassettes -- especially in the black metal and ambient noise communities. It's almost become a standard, similar to seven-inches and grind bands in the '90s. However, it's still surprising that it wasn't hard for Smith to find a place to manufacture this very affordable format. "There's quite a few out there," Smith explained. "I used to use a place called Miami Tape that was close to my house, but now I go through National Audio in Missouri."
For Smith releasing cassettes are something of a full circle story as his life in metal began with a cassette, an unrelenting classic cassette. "I remember my younger brother and I getting a copy of Metallica's 'Kill 'Em All' when I was nine years old from my older brother Joey," Smith recalls. "We used to blast that thing all the time when my mom would be out working night shifts and we were home alone. She didn't approve of my younger brother and I getting into heavy metal at a young age, and she used to try and find reasons to take my tapes away from me -- mostly for being evil or explicit. Years later, I have evil heavy metal tattoos and hundreds more evil metal cassettes, and she's fine with it."
Since Smith is on the road constantly with Torche, he's been unable to keep up with the mail order of RCP. So Hydra Head Records -- who have been releasing cassettes as of late too -- have stepped in to help with distribution.