1. Did you grew up with cassette tapes and listened to them when you got into music?
Yes tapes were very much something that have been into my whole life. I always had a walkman, was very into taping stuff of the radio (mostly John Peel’s program), making mix tapes for people and spreading albums amongst my friends
2. Can you remember the first cassette tape release you owned? Or an early release you listened to?
No not really. As I said I tons of mixtapes all the time but in the sense of albums owned on tape I can remember fondly poppy things like Queen or Madonna’s Greatest Hits or REM Out Of Time. I do remember spending a hellva lot of time with tapes like Tricky’s debut Maxinquaye and Tori Amos “Under The Pink” to the point where it was impossible to tell what was on either tape as the text written on it had worn out
3. What was the reason for you to start Oma333?
Well it started via a suggestion from Brian Shimkovitz (Awesome Tapes From Africa) in a discussion we were having about him sending me whatever tapes he had left before he moved back to the States from Berlin. I had the feeling that others would also be happy to pay that bit extra for special tapes like his and that I had enough cassette fans around me for it to work out. I then realized shortly afterwards that US postal charges had recently gone up like 60% and it was strangling a lot of small but great labels stateside. I had the feeling I could help and make something of this. I thought of Not Not Fun and Night People as more options of beautifully crafted tape releases that people here would surely be up for buying and Joachim Nordwall (iDEAL Recordings) mentioned my favorite label, Mississippi Records, and the amazing mixtapes that they do, which I was already a huge fan off!, as another idea.
I then had a friend send me box of Mississippis from Portland and I was off!
I sold them before they even got here and the same with repeated orders of ATFA’s stuff. I now have nearly 20 tape labels on the go and have sold upwards of 100 tapes in 4 months
4. Where does the name comes from?
Oma is Dutch for Grandma and my girlfriend Pomme is from Eindhoven. I heard the word over Christmas dinner and loved the sound of it and then the look of the letters together even more. That was it really. I didn’t make the connection between that being an obvious link to my club name of Mother until she pointed it out later! ha! The 333 part relates to the exact time I was born and those numbers have always followed me around in life. Oma is also grandma in German which links to the fact that I was born in an English military hospital in Hannover, I guess.
5. Oma333 is both a distribution and label, right? What is the musical direction of the releases? What labels do you want to distribute and what bands would you like to release?
Right. My first plan was a label but then this happened. I’m also now doing some events under the name like the Mississippi Records event I did with singasongfighter this summer and the International Cassette Store Day event I’m doing at Larrys Corner this Saturday. Label plans have no direct aim, just things I like and think should be released, with a range as varied as the gigs I put on. Dream idea for releases are already on the go and the list of things I’d like to release could go on and on forever and hopefully will. Labels I’m distributing right now are; Escho, Not Not Fun, 100% Silk, No=Fi Recordings, Sahel Sounds, Little Axe, Headway, Crash Cymbals, Falcon, Hockey Rawk, Hästen och Korset, Clan Destine, Brosis and will soon hopefully have Goaty Tapes, Moptaco, iDEAL, Kosmik Väg, Night People, Music City, Channel Zero, Zeon Light, Kassettbolaget Svart Pyramid, Fonal Records and more
6. The cassette culture have had a renaissance during the recent years and is back and alive again. Why has it got a renewed interest do you think?
I personally see it more of a continuation as I’ve never stopped listening and buying tapes myself and neither have the people I have around me. But that being said I can see how it looks like a revival and I guess its impossible to not twin it a little with the resurgence in vinyl sales and add that up to the fact that people are just sick of having 2 years worth of music on their iTunes but still not knowing what to listen to from day to day and have also stopped caring as a result.
7. What do you like with the cassette tape as a format for releasing music on compared to cd or mp3:s/digital?
Well I think there are many ways to answer that question and bear in mind that its not as if I don’t like either CD or MP3 but I certainly feel its nicer to hold something like tapes than CD’s and especially these days when they are just something we put into our laptops and then dump in a corner. I personally like to take them out of their lovingly designed cases and putting them into my tape player or walkman, there are nice sounds in the process. I enjoy leaving a tape running and it flipping itself to the other side and back again. Tapes make me enjoy whole albums more and I genuinely prefer mixes in this form. Also tapes are much cheaper and easier for anyone to make and feel more like an actual release than say a CDR, partly because of the care and effort that tends to go into tape design.
8. The thing with cassettes that can be experienced as unpractical, that you must have a cassette deck to be able to play it (or walkman) - do you think that makes the cassette tape more unique and interesting than other formats of music? That it takes some effort to listen to it?
I don’t think it takes that much more effort to listen to cassettes. This world is full of walkman’s, little kitchen table boomboxes and also professional double tape decks. For those of you who don’t have them and want one, try spending 5 minutes in pretty much any Myrona or Stadsmission and donate 50kr to charity while your at it. I also think its nice to make a selection of music to carry and with your day ahead in mind, thats an interesting and nice ritual but not necessarily unpractical. We all know where the easy way has got us; almost to the point off switching off to music all together or at least becoming numb to it
9. There are quite a few labels in US, Europe and Scandinavia that releases new music on cassette. Do you have any favourite labels? yes and they are proudly listened above in the ones I’m happily to be distributing or about to be. They’ll do for now
10. Awesome Tapes From Africa is one of those labels who have specialised in releasing new or reissues of little known or overlooked music like obscure folk, disco and electronic artists from Africa. Why is the cassette tape suitable for this kind of music?
Well he releases on vinyl, CD and tape so I don’t know if thats so relevant, as does Christopher Kirkley of Sahel Sounds, who is well worth an extra mention here. It does feel nicer for me personally to add the slight tape hiss to some recordings of this sort but I also enjoy them just as much on vinyl. Africa does have a serious bond with tapes though, with most of its countries brimming with them, but on the other hand a lot of music West Africa is stored on cellphones also
11. Do you think that the renewed interest for cassette culture will reach out to younger listeners who haven’t grew up with cassettes or vinyl? Is there a future crowd/generation of music lovers for cassette tapes?
I like to think so yes and I have seen a positive response from them so far. I do hope the rest of them will move beyond the mere design of or look of tapes (iphone covers, tote bags, awful t-shirts etc) and embrace the feel and sound of them too
12. What are some of the upcoming releases and projects of Oma333?
Well the first release will be Gabo and the Wartels, a band from Gothenberg led by an extremely talented American musician who met a family playing on the streets, who at that stage included a 7 year old girl on bass drum, and asked them to form a band with him. It will be a mix of old and new songs and its all pure magic with a cover designed by Rasmus Westman (who made the Oma333 logo as well). Also on the cards is a collection of unreleased bits and pieces by Blood Music, a UFOFBI co-release with Hockey Rawk and Xavier García Bardón (DJ Bongo Man) just asked me to release his amazing mix known as Legon Flutes on tape for the first time! I also just asked R Stevie Moore if I could release a tape of his and amazingly he said yes. Fingers crossed that it will see the light of day. I plan to do the occasional event under this name also.
13. On September the 7th the first Cassette Store Day take place. What does this mean for the cassette culture? Do you think this could be an annual event like Record store day?
I think the response the organizers have had answers the question of what it means to cassette culture. They say themselves that they are still “in shock” that this day, which they thought would just be a one off event at Rough Trade East, has now become global with more than 60 events happening this Saturday from Venezula to Tokyo and over fifty special releases coming out just for this. Amongst them can be found bands such as Animal Collective, Flaming Lips, Peter Broderick, Deerhunter, Molly Nilsson and labels such as 4AD, Paw Tracks, Wichita, Bella Union, Fat Cat and Polydor. Some of these we will have on sale at Larrys Corner this Saturday in which I’ll present live acts; Mole Says Hi, Telephone Melts, Small Feet, Martine Herterich and Daniel Fagerström, all playing with tapes within their sets and all selling their own release.
And yes I very much see this having a long and bright future and I’m look forward to its development and growth.