Wires Crossed – OTA vs OJC
1.6.17 by Mike Haley
There is a legion of labels and weirdo jammers releasing cassette, with new names popping up every single day. With those staggering numbers it can be easy to mix em up, get confused, or form loose associations. Wires Crossed will take those Corey Haim/Corey Feldman and Oprah/Uma situations and figure out just how similar they are.
Without checking, what do you think OJC / OTA stands for?
OTA: OJC must stand for Orphan Joy Company.
OJC: Odd Tony’s Animals.
What do your label’s initials stand for?
OTA: Os Três Amigos – The Three Friends.
OJC: On the record, nothing. Off the record, something dumb.
Where were you born and where do you live now?
OTA: We were both born in Santarém, Portugal, in the same hospital. Pedro still lives in Lagos, Portugal. Miguel lives in Helsinki.
OJC: There are two of us. We both live in LA, Augie was born here and Luke grew up in New York.
What tape labels, if any, inspire your label?
OTA: (Miguel) I was more inspired by a blog called Mutant Sounds which collected all kinds of tapes and underground releases mostly from the 80s. It made me take notice of the sheer amount of creativity that is out there once you let yourself explore less obvious sources. OTA tries to take part of a similar energy. (Pedro) It’s the whole swarm that is inspiring! There’s this absurd resilience from people doing their best in the vacant lands of sounds and crafts. I empathize particularly with all the small nonprofit efforts going on, documenting stuff no one else would bother with.
OJC: Labels like Night People whose releases span a lot of different styles, and labels that have a home done, thrown together kinda feel like Fag Tapes.
When did you start your label?
OTA: We are newborns, babbling and fooling around since the 1st of April, 2016.
OJC: Late 2013 / early 2014.
OJC has released tapes by the artists No Data. OTA has released a tape by the artist Tape000. Both names imply a very minimalistic feeling. How does minimalism fit into your releases?
OTA: Tape000 is a fascinating, well traveled guy that I met when teaching Portuguese to his girlfriend. He was an instant perfect fit. Funnily enough, we actually have a OTA000 release. More than being truly minimalistic, we don’t reject simplicity, smallness, or even bluntness just for the sake of it. Saying this, we appreciate maximalistic jugglery as well. For the cassettes, we want the collaborators to feel free to shape the object as far as possible. We just make sure the logo is in the leaf and cassette and that’s it. Every release until now has had a passionate history of failures and imperfections. It is okay though, you just have to keep it real.
OJC: We like things simple and sloppy usually, we’ll say that. That’s minimalistic in some kinda way, right?
If your label was a Ghostbuster, which one would it be and why?
OTA: (M) Egon, because he knows how to calculate stuff like psycho-kinetic substances and he made the ectoplasm gun. (P) Ray, because he summoned the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
OJC: Kirsten Wig.
What was the last tape you bought?
OTA: (M) Richard Wagner, Also Sprach Zarathustra + Don Juan, by The Scottish National Orchestra (1987). (P) F_nt_sm_ – u_u_u – If You Feel Like Going To Scuba In A Tar Pool. It’s from Urubu Tapes, a small label from Portugal also born recently.
OJC: Augie got Jahari – Situations, from Peoples Potential Unlimited and Luke got Warthog – Discography, from Voices from Inside.
What is the worst song you like?
OTA: (M) La Bamba Triste by Pierre Billon. (P) The 69 song in Tabs Out. I enjoy it sometimes, I confess!
OJC: Do Yo Shit by Pretty Taking All Fades.
What color socks are you wearing?
OTA: (M) Dark blue, light blue, beige line down the middle. (P) White socks from my neighbor.
If you could release a cassette tape by any cartoon character, who would it be and why?
OTA: Ren and Stimpy. And the log song wasn’t bad. It’s funny that the Ren and Stimpy’s Portuguese version had these incredibly expressive dubbed voices in portuguese. It was a disappointment when we stumbled over the original versions, later on. But yeah, this show was gory wicked. And it was for us, kids! It had a sinister pace, paranoid zooms and a great sound design. And just the most benign relationship between misfits.
OJC: Great question Mike, we’re a bit torn on this one. Augie says it would be that kid from Home Movies who loves to rock, because he has that Franz Kafka Song. Luke stands by Skeletor, in the hopes he would be into black metal. Either way it would be rocking.
How do you store your cassettes?
OTA: We try to keep them on the shelves but shoeboxes are useful.
OJC: OJC tapes? They live in dirty old boxes that get tucked out of the way.
Do you have any cassette pet peeves?
OTA: How easy it is to break cassette cases.
OJC: Short tapes and O cards. Cassingles are the worst.
Explain your logo.
OTA: Our logo writes our initials with the least amount of lines possible. Once it was done, we realized it also looked like a take on the anarchy logo, but with cuddly intentions!
OJC: Our pal Aarum’s friend drew it on a piece of college grade ruled paper one time. It’s really good, thanks Tania.
Do you home or pro dub your releases?
OTA: We have done both. It depends on how much time we have available for home dubbing.
OJC: Home dubbing, all the way.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
OTA: Star Wars!
OJC: Star Wars.
What is the closest tape to you at this very second?
OTA: (M) Borra-Botas. (P) An old mix tape recorded from a Portuguese radio – Ferro Extra I.
OJC: Son of Salami – Bacon Street.
What is your average edition size?
OTA: Between 20 and 50.
The Ropal Jagnu/Rigel Magellin split on OJC has a television on the cover. The Joe & Man tape on OTA has a kid’s cassette player on the cover. Which do you own more of? TVs or tape players?
OTA: Tape players.
OJC: Tape players. Just can’t resist buying decks when we see em at Goodwill or wherever.
Finish this sentence: I’ll never buy a cassette tape that _______________.
OTA: I own.
OJC: costs more than 8 dollars, you know, unless it’s really good.
Sonic or Mario?
OTA: (M) Sonic. (P) Mario.
First thing that comes to mind when you hear the following
Hiss: (M) Snake (P) Sound
Bandcamp: (M) Paypal (P) Digital
Comp: (M) Elation (P) All
OCard: (M) Is that for a spherical tape? (P) Undies
What was your favorite tape of 2016?
OTA: German Army – Mountain City.
OJC: There’s been so many good releases this year, but off the top our head it’d have to be “Router Space/Smashed Hits 100” by Hip Replacement on Unread and “Sorta Upset!” By Jake Tobin on Haord.
What do you have coming out in 2017?
OTA: We have a very exciting batch for the start of January. Most of the stuff brings good amounts of freshness from newcomers, but we will be blessed with a legend of old as well. We will try to have a new batch in April to celebrate OTA’s first birthday – some cassettes on the way for it too.
OJC: We have got a release from this project called Lärmschutz from the Netherlands. Real interesting stuff, kinda different from the typical OJC release. We make a Galaxie Deluxe tape once a year and put it out around March, so that’s comin up. We just recorded some stuff with Zach from Tingo Tongo Tapes, that’ll probably be coming out through us soon. Other than that we got some new Rigel Magellan stuff ready to roll, a new Shrink Ray tape, a new Ropal Jagnu tape, and lots of other stuff.
Pick a number between 0 and 100.
OTA: (M): Cause it’s you asking it has to be 69! But, true story, my shirt numbers for my volleyball and futsal teams are 96, only because I thought it would at least read 69 in the mirror. Turns out it doesn’t. Another true story… A few years ago there was a Christmas market in Helsinki, and there was only one church stand selling all kinds of paraphernalia, and guess which number stall they had. (P) 3.
If you could only use one color cassette shell for every release what would it be?
Describe the kind of sounds you release with a book title.
OTA: (M) The engineer of lost time. (P) The Three Friends.
OJC: Peaches a Plenty by Bobby S. Martin