Published Jan 17, 2011Run by the Myelin Sheaths' Paul Lawton and Fist City's Evan Van Reekum, Lethbridge, AB-based Mammoth Cave Recording Co. is one of Western Canada's best-kept secrets. As a recording studio, Mammoth Cave has engineered records for the aforementioned bands, as well as the Famines and many others, while the record label facet of the company is responsible for top-notch seven-inches from the likes of the Moby Dicks and Sharp Ends. Mammoth Cave's latest project is the Bloodstains series: a collection of province-themed seven-inches where local bands write thematic tributes to their homeland in one minute or less.
In an Exclaim! interview, Lawton explains that the series is a dream come true in the most literal sense. "The honest answer was that it came to me in a feverish dream one night, where Mammoth Cave Recording Co. was the biggest independent record label in Canada, and that we were solely responsible for ushering in a new era in Canadian independent music," he says of the project. "In that dream, there was a giant fold-out map of Canada on the wall with slots for each of the Bloodstains Across... editions from each Canadian province and territory, and I woke up and thought 'I want that in real life,'" adding, "Obviously, huge credit goes to the original source of Bloodstains Across... compilations and bootlegs. Hope we don't get sued!"
Co-founder Reekum expressed equal enthusiasm over the compilation series in the early years of the label. Originally planning it as a series of twelve-inch records, the manufacturing costs were outside of their means as a smaller label. "Because we are poor, we only have enough money for seven-inches, but that goes into conflict with the number of awesome bands we want to take part in the series," Lawton says. "We got everyone to make their songs super short and the rest fell into place from there. You can fit a lot of one-minute songs on a seven-inch!"
The series kicked off last year with Bloodstains Across Alberta, a blistering seven-inch with cuts from Alberta garage and punk acts the Famines, Fist City, Grown-Ups, the Moby Dicks, Myelin Sheaths, the Topless Mongos and the Throwaways, among others. The compilation was limited to 300 copies and sold out within a month.
Next up is Bloodstains Across BC, a Vancouver-centric compilation that will be released later this month and will feature tracks from Vancouver bands B-Lines, Indian Wars, Manic Attracts, Needles//Pins, Nü Sensae, Role Mach, Shearing Pinx, Shipyards, Student Teacher, Timecopz, White Lung and Yung Mums.
If things play out like they did with the Alberta compilation, Bloodstains Across BC will likely sell out almost immediately. Fortunately, if you do miss your chance, a reissue is likely in the works.
"I have ambitious plans to re-release everything as a box set with the hanging map of Canada I saw in my dream," Lawton says. "We will make that happen."
After the BC instalment, next in the series is Bloodstains Across Ontario, which is slated for early 2011 and will include an unreleased Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet song. From there, the direction of the series might get a little less provincial.
"Personally, I keep going back and forth between hard-line provinces because that is what happened in the dream and doing Bloodstains Across the Prairies and Bloodstains Across the Maritimes," Lawton admits. "It will just depend on how many bands we can suss out that are doing things within this sonic world view. We are open to suggestions here, get in touch!"
To order a copy of Bloodstains Across BC when it comes available, keep an eye on the Mammoth Cave store.