Around the end of 2005, having been fortunate enough to play on a few of Suburban Sprawl Music's (a DIY label out of the Suburban Detroit area that was a huge inspiration to any of the work we did in Lansing) really good Holiday Comps (seriously go check them out: www.suburbansprawlmusic.com/xmas/
), I wanted to start a tradition that could be Lansing's own...a Holiday Comp, but not for the traditional Holidays. Having spent many a President's day having work off (government/bank holidays, ftw) and getting into trouble with Craig Horky in some tangentially presidential way, we'd already started to filter that psuedo-tongue-in-cheek Pres-worship into the Cartridge Family's aesthetic. So I figured, "hey, how about a President's day comp!" Unfortunately, I got maybe 3 submissions for that, and a lot of "...why not one with like, Christmas songs and stuff, later in the year?" I didn't want to do something that would ultimately be derivative of (and not as good as) SSM's comp, but eventually the differences in scenes, styles, and the submissions I got, without really even asking for them, convinced me that there was a niche for a lower-fi, lower-brow, punkier take on the great work already being done by those guys.
Ten years later, I'm pretty shocked this is still a thing that happens, almost via momentum beyond anyone's control. SSM released their final Holiday comp in 2013 and I'm happy the tradition they started is able to carry on in influence. Case in point, when I asked the Plurals to be on the 1st comp in 2006, I'm not sure Tommy McCord was aware of the genesis or inspiration for this. Over the years, he's come to record much of it and co-curate the proceedings as an official Bermuda Mohawk/Good Time Gang effort. In fact, there wasn't even any "co-" about it in 2010. Having a particularly trying month full of 14-hour workdays and constant unexpected expenses (on top of the loss of the home studio of Ryan "Gyuri" Tarrant, who had recorded and helped curate much of the Bermuda side of the Family to that point), I hadn't had hardly any time to work on this and had completely chalked it up as a trend that had run its course. Unexpectedly, on the way down to a tCF show in Toldedo, Tommy showed me that he had pretty much a full-Snohawk recorded. We got a Dan Fox Parody closing track around (really, my only contribution to that one) and actually ended up with what definitely stands as a "Canon" installment in the series (I'm going to upload all of these, starting with the first one, following this one. 2012 - 2014 are currently available here: bermudamohawkproductions.bandcamp.com
). There's more years where this thing has persevered odds that no novelty comp has any business persevering, as well. There was the year where half the comp was lost and rerecorded on Otis' dying laptop (before that was the sort of thing you could really rely on a cruddy laptop for, technologically-speaking). Then the Icepocalypse of 2013 when Tommy and I spent the week and a half we'd get most of this done, without power (as memorialized on this comp by Bluffing the Ghost's, "Electric Refugees"). Yet, every year, a full collection stood awkwardly erect (a modest goal, but all we ever intended) once the dust cleared. As Jeff Goldblum says, "Life, uh, finds a way."
Some of you may notice that Craig Horky's art this year pays tribute to his design for the very first Snohawk, but instead of Comet, it's Layla. In addition to this, we have a lot of familiar faces from old comps...notably, Mario from Protected Left makes his first appearance since that 1st comp 10 years ago, with Hell or Highwater. There's a new Cartridge Family track with original drummer, Gabe, on the kit...who saw that coming? Ben Pierogi appears...his old band, the Infernal Names date back to 2009's submission, "I Caught Santa on 'To Catch a Predator'". We have some new faces including long-time friend of many involved, Jonathan Coody of Ninja Gun, who kicks the comp off in memorable fashion this year. Eric Merckling who many know from his work with Calliope, submits another great CrookedSound track, but this one features great performances from his children...*literally* passing down the tradition to the next generation. It's kind of nuts to think. Ten years, and this stupid comp is probably just about the most (if only) constant thing in the lives many of the friends and family that keep it going. I know it's been one of the only constants in mine over that time period.
Well anyway, this is a lot of rambling, I'm aware, but this is the 10th edition, so bear with me. If you take nothing elfs (ha!) from this, here's the tl;dr points:
1) If you're a grown up, you should go listen to those SSM comps...they were the (much better executed) inspiration for these all along.
2) The perseverance and momentum built by Bermuda Snohawk owes a great debt to Tommy Plural & GTG...but at this point, supersedes probably anything either of us could control. It's kind of scary and kind of inspiring, and wholly hilarious.
3) Everyone that's been involved with these is as much of a family as I've ever known. Thank you for coming together all of these years giving us something to grasp onto that keeps us all from flinging into some sort of cold and distant orbit. It means more to me than you'll ever know.
Happy Holidays & Happy 10th Snohawk Anniversary,