Savannah, Georgia, musician Ryan Graveface is known for a lot of things: he plays bass for Black Moth Super Rainbow. He runs the indie label Graveface Records, which releases music by the likes of Dosh and the Appleseed Cast. He runs a record shop, which is also called Graveface Records. However, he's now getting known in the world of movie soundtracks, because he recently launched a new venture, called TERROR VISION.
To call Terror Vision a reissue label would be correct, but only partly. It's just one aspect of a tripartite plan, which is as follows: Graveface plans to release obscure movie soundtracks on vinyl, as well as films on VHS (both new and classics), all under the category mish-mash of horror/sci-fi/oddball. Additionally, he also plans on opening a VHS rental shop within Graveface Records and Curiosities.
Given his manifesto-like post on the Terror Vision website that declared he wanted to put out records, “Varèse Sarabande already released on vinyl 20 years ago that you can still actively purchase on Discogs,” as well as the fact Graveface has four releases lined up out of the gate (including the very excellent Perry Monroe score to Killing Spree), we needed to find out what all the hubbub was about. We spoke to Graveface about the label and his plans…
STARBURST: We’re always interested in new labels, but when we saw the specifics of Terror Vision, we were doubly intrigued, especially given the statement of purpose, or manifesto, that's on the website, laying out what you want to do with Terror Vision?
Ryan Graveface: Basically, the concept is a bit heady, because it's not just putting out some horror scores or something, and then I'm actively producing original content: I'll be putting out a bunch of movies, and then we've got the VHS rental shop opening in the back of my pre-existing record store, so there's just a lot going on under that name. A statement of intent? Yeah, that works! I think that's a good way to phrase it.
The name of the label and shop certainly implies a certain era and aesthetic, as well.
Yes. One that I'm disturbingly obsessed with, and always have been.
What we found really interesting is that your first batch of releases – and, we assume, everything which will come after – is material that has never been released.
Yes, that is correct, and I guess that does go along with the statement of intent. I own so many of the Death Waltz, Waxwork , and all of the labels that are doing that today – in addition to all of the labels of the past, to just standard, like, Paramount releases and things of that nature from 25 years ago – but it did confuse me as to why no-one was pursuing the weird stuff that does, usually, have pretty kick-ass soundtracks.
I mean, I've noticed a couple more recently, since I had the epiphany to do this, but it just didn't seem that anyone was capturing sort of what I groove to, so to speak. Like, I have a certain aesthetic, and I've always been interested in a certain type of feel from a movie and a score, and it didn't feel like anyone was tapping into that.
Have you discovered a reason as to why other people might not be putting these out – like discovering that tracking down this unreleased material requires an awful lot of work on your part?
Yeah. I think that's all that it is. If something came out on a soundtrack label in '85, chances are that labels are grabbing these tapes and re-transferring them, since technologies have changed, but even if not, there's a pretty decent chance that there's a digital backup of these things.
But, like, with Killing Spree, for example: with Tim Ritter, it took a while for him to dig out all the tapes, and there's so much. It's not just the score. I think he sent us 16 reels of just… stuff. A ton of unreleased stuff, just so much content – it's really exciting. That's what's exciting to me: just getting to make contact. See, to me, I'm just less interested in putting out a Pet Sematary soundtrack, where my contacts would be those at Paramount, to use that as an example, because that's easy. They have a licensing department. They're really nice.
And those things should be released. I'm not against them being released, but I'm more interested in getting in touch with these independent directors and composers who are less appreciated, and there doesn't need to be contact with some large corporation to make these contracts happen. There are contracts, and it's totally legit, but it just seems like it's down to aesthetics.
It's just a completely different thing than what Mondo's doing – which isn't a knock. I own pretty much everything these people have done. I'm not ragging on anyone, it's just – it so much easier to just call up Paramount and say, “Hey, I want to put out Pet Sematary.” “Hey, cool, that'll be X amount of dollars in advance, and this amount of dollars on the back end. That sounds great.” Then you say, “Ok, cool. Thanks.” Done. You can put that out, and you can work on the artwork – it's a pretty quick thing.
Terror Vision, so far, is completely different. I have to locate the tapes. Like, I wish I could tell you the thing I just locked down, because it is going to be amazing. It's something a lot of people have wanted, but the composers could never find the tapes. I have been annoying the shit out of these guys, and they finally found them. I couldn't believe it. I checked my e-mail this morning and they found 'em. Gonna start the transferring process next week.
There's just something really exciting about that, instead of going through Sony or something. All of the big, classic titles are obviously owned by huge companies, for the most part.
But the really interesting stuff isn't.
Well, that just depends on your taste! For me, ‘interesting’ is shot on video, unappreciated directors – like I said on the website, what most people consider to be a shitty B-movie, I personally take offense to that, because that stuff is motivating to me. I'm a very motivated, exploratory sort of individual. I like to explore new things, and I get a lot of that from my pops.
I was born in '81, so I had some older friends who exposed me to this underbelly of – we'll call it ‘really raw’ horror that wasn't really overly produced. And, again, it's hard to talk about this stuff, because it sounds like I'm dissing well-produced films. I love that shit, too. It's great! It's just that the other stuff is more special to me. More personal. And, being able to talk at length with the directors, and in some cases, the writers, and obviously the composers – it's been a really fun experience.
It seems that what you're doing is the audio equivalent of what a company like Vinegar Syndrome is doing with movies: the films are quality entertainment, but the budget might not be quite there, or they might've had only a regional release.
And again, I don't want it to seem like I don't like films with budgets. I still enjoy those films. I'm some someone who's all like, “Mmmm… films with budgets are so pedestrian.”
Well, it's like – you can enjoy a band like the Mummies, who essentially sound like they recorded in a garbage can, but also enjoy the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds.
I think you hit the nail on the head. I felt that, in the horror soundtrack game – or in the soundtrack game, period, since it supplies Jurassic Park and other things, not just horror movies – I thought it was odd. See, with Graveface, the store, we stock all of this product, and I study it. Like, ‘this is what I would do differently, and this is how I would approach this,’ looking at the price points, and all of this stuff.
It's been really different to see it from both ends: running a store and trying to stock this stuff, and understanding how much these licenses are, and how that can affect wholesale prices and that sort of thing. I'm interested in all of those nuances, I guess.
In terms of the VHS side of things, will there be VHS editions of the movies for which you're releasing soundtracks?
No, they'll be different on each side. All of the VHS movies will be original productions, and no necessarily horror-based, because three of them are just fuckin' weird. They're just weird! There's no other word. That's why the final slash says “oddball,” because it's just weird. I hesitate to give too much information right now, but there's some good stuff coming. One's a super-retarded shot-on-video slasher movie, the other's… not. It's more on the – dare I say – intellectual side of horror. That sounds fucking pretentious as shit, but I don't know a better word to say it, though. Something more heady than, “Hey! Boobs! Death!”
But, I'm also doing that.
More information about Terror Vision can be found at the Terror Vision website – http://www.terror-vision.com/