When did you start Council and for what purpose?
Council began in the late summer of 1992. Initially Council and Current were one of the same birth. At that time we only had intentions of self-releasing the first Current 7”, yet over the next two years, the label steadily grew and became a more permanent entity. In the beginning we all shared similar notions regarding record labels and DIY music. Labels like Dischord, Sammich and Simple Machines were huge influences and inspiration in the beginning. We were looking for a way to emulate that experience to a point - reclaim it and make it our own. Michigan was a brilliant place to be during that period, much, much more could have been done…
Council went on hiatus for a while (between 98 and 00), what made you start doing the label again?
At that time I felt a death in many ways. The Current and Constatine Sankathi discographies marked the end of an era for me and after their release I think I felt the need to take a very long and deep breath. Music has always come and gone in waves for me. There are times when it is the salve and means the world…and then there are those times when it is confusing and disappointing. My life was in the process of drastically changing during those years and the label entered a deep, confused slumber as a result. It was awoken by a request from Suicide Nation, the formation of Dearborn S.S. and all subsequent travels. It allowed me to see that brilliance was still happening, just not within the four walls I had confined myself to. I don’t plan on dying quite yet…
What's the difference between doing records then (mid 90’s) compared to now? How different is the scene?
Nothing has really changed for me. I do not view music as evolutionary or devolutionary, it just exists. In the past I did, and continue now, to release music that I feel is relevant. The record label itself is of little importance. It serves as a vehicle, only taking a snapshot of a very specific time and place.

The scene? Difficult to say. My environment is so drastically different then it was 10 years ago. Am I stoked on hardcore? Yes. Do I feel it was better a decade ago? Perhaps. What bothers me is the slow death of DIY all on fronts and the professionalism/corporate feel of so many bands, fests and labels nowadays...
Your new releases maintain the feel of your early releases, are you drawn to those bands because they rekindle the early 90’s feeling?
Well, perhaps that is simply because much of what I release contains the same 4 or 5 old bastards that have been around since the beginning…

I think music has always felt the same to me, whether it be Negative Approach or The Pogues, there exists a primal element that triggers something deep inside. I suppose if my heart lies anywhere it is with the mid-80’s DC hardcore that I actually had the pleasure to experience. Bands like Soul Side, Ignition, Fire Party and Swiz were real and alive to me during my turbulent teen years. I suppose to some extent that manifests itself in what I choose to release…but I feel Council has done a decent job of running the gambit over the years. I have never considered a label for the label…it just is what it is…whether I am releasing records by Constatine Sankathi, .NEMA or H.P. Lovecraft…they are simply an extension of my preferences and tastes. Our early 90’s thing was simply a rehashed/reinvented mid-80’s thing to begin with anyways…
Explain your philosophy on doing a record label, including ideas on distribution and advertising.
I truly view the label as more of a hobby. I am in no way organized. I am in no way concerned about making money. It has been a good 5 years since I have even run an ad. For me music speaks for itself. Far be it for me to write some inane one-liner attempting to compare my newest release to some obscure 70’s prog-rock band just so someone will purchase it, for in the end it is all really about taking chances.

I do this because it connects me to the whole. It makes me more than a jaded, passive bystander. It keeps me young.
What would your reply be to people that say, "Why do you do things the way you do? Isn't that more work? Don't you wanna sell records?"
Yes, it is much more work, but in the end it feels like home and to me that is of grave importance. Music is what you make it, from the formation of notes to the paper enclosure it is presented in. If it takes me three months to screen a cover, then that record becomes much more a part of me then if it had been printed, assembled and shipped to Ebullition from a record pressing plant. I value what I do more than that. This isn’t a business to me. This isn’t about turnover and profit margins. This is about knowing I touched each and every single cover, that I inhaled the ink and that in the end each and every record is slightly different an/or unique.

Do I care about selling records? Sure, I suppose I need to sell enough to keep this afloat, but if that means pushing records on people or having to convince them they want what I release, then I will have no part of it. If I believe in what I am doing and you believe in what you are doing, then perfection will never be a requirement. We must simply be competent and sincere, the rest will follow…
Do you feel that punk labels today are becoming more capitalist?
Punk labels have always been capitalist. I simply believe there is a line one should not cross. I have seen many sister-labels become glowing champions of the indie scene with their webstores and exclusive distribution deals, and I suppose one must adapt ever-so-slightly to the times, but there comes a point when you can easily forsake everything you know - when you take something you once had faith in and smash it to find the sugar-coated inside.

There will always be those who want a larger share, who shall reap more than they sow, and they way punk turns over every 3 to 4 years it makes it very easy for people to latch on as the trends recycle over and over. There is always something new to cash in on, so of course there is money to be made in punk, we live in a system oiled by it – you cannot escape using it to some extent. Yet, the challenge lies in where you spend it, what you put it back into. Too much emphasis is placed on capital and commodity, when we should be questioning sincerity and accountability.
You connect all art, be it anything from literature to architecture, to many of your releases... why is this important to you?
Music is simply a part and parcel to that whole. I have always viewed music (be it playing it or releasing it) as art and by that means it connects to all other avenues of art that interest me. Architecture was at one time of utmost important to me. I studied it for 4 ½ years and developed a love/hate relationship with it. It manifested itself in much of what I did during those years, for the questions that arose during my studies paralleled those I was seeking answers for in everyday life. It created a combative tension between life, politics, anger, empathy and the future. Architectonic imagery (like that of Lebbeus Woods, Benard Tschumi or Zaha Hadid) or the writings of someone like e.e. cummings expressed my internal conflicts on paper as much as I was personally trying to express them through words and music. They were one of the same, yet worlds apart and at times absolute polar opposites.
What is your favorite release and why?
The Chino Horde 7”. It was the end of the First Age for Council. There was something brilliant in those 4 songs. Most of them were initially conceived at the end of the Current/Chino Horde tour in the basement of my old home in Dearborn, MI. They bore witness to the coming of the end for all involved. It was also the first time Council had released a band from outside of Michigan. Chino Horde was extended family by that time, and after our cooperative summer tour, I returned knowing that we were part of something larger, something that extended beyond Detroit. That 7” was the documentation.
Outside of the label you are involved in things like bands and wildlife conservation. Obviously the bands cross over with the label, but what other involvements, inside or outside of punk, influence or are directly tied to the label?
I suppose almost anything that influences or impacts my life on a superlative level I interject into the label. While the label itself is more or less only responsible for the archiving the sound and words created by the bands (which is where most of my outside influences would manifest), I have always felt the desire to put the label to work for individuals that are working with and supporting the organizations I deeply believe in.

In the future I hope to integrate the issues of Grey Wolf reintroduction into the label by releasing a benefit LP for Sinapu and including education material with each release.
Your releases have become a document of sorts for your life. You seem like a very documented person with daily journals and the most extensive DIY label site on the web, is the label a way to share your life with others?
Your powers of perception deceive you. I am anything but organized. Council has been run off a shelf in my closet for years, I own about 6 Current photos, and….

The website sort of became my own personal scrapbook. I needed a way to document these past 10 years as well as force myself to not make the same mistake twice. I suppose in a manner of speaking (if you equate my life with the label) it is a way to share my interests and passions with others. The music is there in support of people and friends that have meant the world to me, and I feel like I owe it to them (as well as myself) to make some effort to preserve those memories.

The journal was simply a way to help me sort out life and in the process connect to people outside of music and records.
What about the two years of documentation missing when the label stopped?
I just needed a break. The label had grown to a point where I could not do everything I wanted to do with it. I need to let go of a few things and rediscover where I stood with the label and music in general. There were no bands, no records, only a handful of shows…I had also begun to refocus some of my energy on other interests besides music, it was simply no longer the only important thing in my life. There simply just isn’t really a story to tell during that time that concerns the label.
Final comments?
Ride a bike. Get over your insecurities about life, love, death, anger and body image. Let the dog on the couch. Realize what you have in front of you right now at this very minute. Listen to Devoto. Read Tolkien before the movies taint the memory. Mother Hydra. Father Dagon. Live the life. Live the life. Live the life.