Tabs Out | Wires Crossed – Sound Holes vs Self-help

Wires Crossed – Sound Holes vs Self-help
8.21.17 by Mike Haley

wires crossed

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.

This time around we take a look at Sound Holes and Self-help, two labels that share initials and a taste for black & white Jcards.


-In 5 words or less describe your label.

Sound Holes: Sound Holes is a “noise/experimental sound cassette label.”

Self-help: Experimental sounds

-Where in the world does your label operate out of? How much distance do you think separates the two of you?

Sound Holes: Aberdeen, Scotland. I think Self-Help are in Sweden somewhere, I’ll guess 1100 miles as the seagull flies

Self-help: Northern parts of Sweden, if I would guess 6-7000 km or something like that? I really have no idea from where Sound Holes operates so this is a wild guess.

actual distance: 871.83 miles , 1403.07 kilometers (km) , 4603252 feet , 1403071 meters

-What was the last thing you ate?

Sound Holes: Steak sandwich.

Self-help: A tempeh burger.

-All of your covers are black & white. What is behind that choice?

Sound Holes: I like to keep it simple, also always thought that black and white photocopied artwork/zines etc looked the best. The earlier releases always had colourful cassettes with colour spray on them, I enjoyed doing that but there was too much spray paint. I then started labeling the tapes and stopped using colours. Might go back to colours though…

Self-help: I use a stamp with removable types, the reason is the directness and simplicity. I like the contrast of black on white, the uneven spacing that sometimes occurs and that the placement of the actual print varies somewhat.

-Self-Help has released a tape by Pink Gaze and The Heroic Quartet. Sound Holes released a tape by Golden Oaks Three Billion. If you were forced to add one color to your black & white color scheme, which would it be: Pink or Gold?

Sound Holes: Gold. A touch of class.

Self-help: Pink for sure. That’s just an awesome color in combination with black and white.

-What color(s) are the walls of the room you are currently in?

Sound Holes: Off-white & copper(ish).

Self-help: Yellow, green, red and white. Wallpaper with large flower prints.

-Wayne or Garth?

Sound Holes: Garth. Game on!

Self-help: Garth.

-What are a few of your favorite tape labels at the moment?

Sound Holes: Heavy Tapes (always), Skeleton Dust, Chocolate Monk, Three Songs Of Lenin, Beartown, Throne Heap, Mantile, Palilalia, Hanson (not all of these are exclusively tapes, but that doesn’t matter). There are so many that I have not listed.

Self-help: I love Falt. Amazing artwork and the tapes are all just wonderful.

-Considering that both of your labels’ art is strictly black & white, and further Self-Help always sports text-only Ocards, has anyone ever decided against doing a tape with you because of art restrictions?

Sound Holes: Not that I know of. I hope not!

Self-help: Not that I know of. Most people contacting me about releases that I consider know the label and like the aesthetics it has, no one has decided against due to the visual restrictions after contacting the label.

-Do you have any cassette pet peeves?

Sound Holes: No, I like all cassettes equally.

Self-help: The nostalgia for sure. Cassettes are a great recording media in itself, no need to soak it up in nostalgia.

-Are your releases home or pro dubbed? Why?

Sound Holes: Home dubbed (on decent quality cassette decks), I like the process (although it can get a bit much sometimes). Also, I don’t have room to stack up the full runs of all the in print releases if I got them all pro dubbed.

Self-help: Home dubbed. I like the approach of doing it at home, stamping covers, dubbing and drinking a few glasses of wine. Also, I like how the releases grows on you, sitting there dubbing and listening to the releases over and over and really getting to know the music.

-What prompted you to start a tape label?

Sound Holes: A good friend, many years ago encouraged me to start up.

Self-help: I had a few things I thought needed to be put on tape. Stuff I stumbled upon on soundcloud back when you actually could stumble upon things there, now it feels more like a mess or it might be me having too little time to actually delve through to the stuff I love.

-Both of your labels have very similar logos. What typeface did you use?


Sound Holes: One of those stamp letter sets. Used it at the start and will never stop.

Self-help: Oh no idea. Just used the types I use for the covers, took a picture and that was that. Logos isn’t really a thing I care about.

-What sort of edition sizes do you do?

Sound Holes: 30 – 100ish.

Self-help: It has varied, but nowadays I only do runs of 30.

-Would you consider Sound Hole releases to be “self-help” / Self-Help releases to be “sound holes” in anyway?

Sound Holes: Yes, sounds soothe the soul.

Self-help: Sure, if I interpret it as sound holes in acoustic stringed instruments, directing and resonating the sounds in a way. I think this is the main reason for doing a release on whatever phycial media, directing and collecting these interconnected but separate works together and giving them a context in which they can resonate together with one another.

-If you were to start another label with the initials “S.H.” what would it be called?

Sound Holes: Spicy Hammock. I’ve always wanted to call a label Each Hit. Has that name been used before? Caroliner has/had BullShit.

Self-help: Sun Hearth

-What video game character would you most like to release a tape by?

Sound Holes: I bet Mario has seen some things in his lifetime. He could probably channel that into something pretty special. Sonic would probably have more projects/aliases though, he seems a bit more all over the place.

Self-help: Harry from Firewatch. I imagine field recordings of the wildlife and maybe snippets of the conversations over the radio with Delilah.

-If your label was a chemical element, which would it be?

Sound Holes: It would be an inorganic anion, Bisulfide, SH−

Self-help: Iron. Oxidized of course.

-What was the last tape you bought?

Sound Holes: Last one that arrived was Alex Crispin “Idle Worship”. Last I ordered were a few tapes by the guitarist Alexander.

Self-help: Jääkausi by this amazing band Horceface. Highly recommended.

-Paper, rock, scissor. Shoot!

Sound Holes: Rock.

Self-help: Paper.

-Let’s end this with a random Youtube video. What ya go?

Sound Holes:


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