Melissa Marriott says she founded Le Horror with her friend Brett Thomas in early 2010 as an active way to put out songs by Thomas' acoustic project, The Prevailing Nothing. "[Thomas] was going to put out his tape anyway," Marriott says, "and he'd been trying to encourage me to do something in the music scene that was more participatory."
"It was something I knew I was capable of doing," she says.
Capability is key. Not only do they take up less space in the tour van, but cassette tapes act as a financially feasible release for bands either writing between albums or, most often, working toward their very first full-length. "Cassettes are a lot less overwhelming for some people, especially if you think you don't have enough material to fill up an LP," she explains.
Christian Filardo not only curates all the music released on his label, Holy Page, but also designs every aspect of the packaging, essentially creating an on-going visual art project.
A studio art undergraduate at ASU and occasional .gif artist for our sister blog, Jackalope Ranch, Filardo recognizes the appeal of big vinyl album art but likes to think of tapes as a more tactile canvas to explore. "A tape has the J-card, the case color, the tape label, the color of the actual tape and whatever other shit you can fit inside the case," he says.
Beginning with his older brother Tom's solo pop project (Tom, formerly of Asleep in the Sea), Holy Page has twelve tape releases from artists across the country, some assembled with materials like homemade paper stock, stickers, and baseball cards. "This tape thing is probably channeled by my younger obsession with binders of cards-- being able to organize my cards and look at them and say something about each one," he says.
While sometimes playfully aping the look of classic cassette covers, Holy Page tape art most often involves natural landforms in heady prisma-colors, spliced with heavily-Photoshopped images that betray their JPEG nature. "I feel like Holy Page gives off the vibe of a person from the '80s who went into the future and got access to a computer."
The various Holy Page logos act as the project's stark centerpiece, using heavy religious symbols like crosses and the Star of David. Filardo says his use of religious ideograms is an attempt to redefine the context of these common forms. A book next to a cross doesn't necessarily mean it's a Bible, he says. "I want to kill visual stereotypes and create my own dialogue through the means of distributing music."