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Hydra Head Records TEXT By Bobby Markos / Photos by Nathanael Turner and Faith Coloccia

clockwise from top left: mark thompson with attie the dog, mark with torche’s giant orange head, james o’mara

While most adolescents were making undergraduate plans, Aaron Turner was laying the groundwork for what would become one of the most important chapters in hardcore history. Hydra Head Industries was born as a distribution company in 1993, released its first seven-inch (the influential Vent demo) in 1995, and proceeded to give bands such as Cave In, Botch, Coalesce, Pelican, and many others a home. Nineteen years later, Turner—a vet of Isis, Old Man Gloom, Split Cranium, and others—is just as active, and he recently spoke to ALARM about what makes his label tick. What inspired you to start a distro at such a young age? As soon as I discovered the underground network and music of hardcore/punk, and realized it was something in which I could be a direct participant,

I felt immediately compelled to do something. I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where there wasn’t much youth culture to speak of—very little in the way of shows—and as such, the discovery of this vast system of labels/zines/bands, etc. was a huge revelation for me. I wanted to play music, be in a band, but couldn’t find the right people to play with, so the next logical steps for me were to do a zine, a distro, and then eventually a label. The distro thing served two purposes for me: I could get records cheaply that weren’t available in my area, and I could provide the same opportunity for others. It was really just a gateway to starting the label and an important part of figuring out how to do things and establish contacts. What was the biggest adjustment in turning Hydra Head into a full-time label? ISSUE 40



ALARM Magazine #40