Good Vybes Fest is in full force at the Bottle this weekend. On Friday, March 21st, we started the night off right with the dreamtastic pop rock stylings of Today’s Hits, then continued to have our faces melted with sets by Rabble Rabble, Outer Minds and Useless Eaters. Before the madness I met the mastermind behind Eye Vybe Records and Good Vybes Fest, Karissa Talanian, at Margie’s Candies for a banana split. We spent some time talking about the frustrating limitations of life in the lower tax bracket, the gift of hindsight, and what Eye Vybe means to her. Check it out below.
ASHLEIGH DYE: So you started Eye Vybe back in 2010 to release Strychnine material, but you didn’t get a tape duplicator for almost a year after. What were Eye Vybe releases like pre-tape duplicator?
KARRISA TALANIAN: Well, the first few things that I did I just did at my friends Drew’s house. And at one point I bought a tape deck, because I had started buying so many tapes. I had a little Walkman that I would plug into my radio to record, but the batteries would die so quickly. So at some point when I released I was getting more serious about that I invested $60 into a tape duplicator on Ebay.
AD: What was the process of moving from only to doing self-releases to releasing other bands music like?
KT: When I started with Dark Fog it was like, I really want to try and do this. They were friends of mine who’ve self-released all of their music – it seemed to make sense. They seemed like they’d be the easiest to deal with, there wouldn’t be any problems with money or anything, and they were very willing to accommodate what I wanted to do. I started with them and I realized pretty quickly how easy it was so I just spread out from there.
AD: Now that you’ve moved on to releasing material from out of town bands, how does that differ from releasing local bands? What are some of the pros and cons?
KT: Well, if they’re from out of town they’re a little less accessible, because its harder to do it at all. It’s more rewarding. It’s just nice to go further than Chicago, to branch out some.
AD: So you’re putting out 45’s as well right. What’s the process like that for you? Do you want to do more vinyl releases?
KT: To be completely honest it was Dark Fog and Velcro Lewis Group, both bands had the money to pay for it and asked me to put my name on it. I did a flexi disk with Basic Cable and Endless Bummer. It was a split with Eye Vybe and Notes and Bolts, another great Chicago label, which was pretty cool. I sold maybe 5 of them, and that was one I actually paid for so it was a little disappointing. I’d love to get into releasing vinyl as soon as I can afford it. Right now the cassettes are just paying for themselves. I’d really like to get to a point where I could tell a band, here’s a thousand records – I’ll pay for it no problem. Right now I have to work out how things are paid for. It’s not ideal. I want to be so financially independent that it’s not always on my mind.
AD: How do you fund things for Eye Vybe currently?
KT: Most of my – I don’t make whole lot of money – but after basic things I’ll pay for whatever with what’s left over. You know, I’ll save a bulk amount then dump it all into something for Eye Vybe. I have a button maker that I make buttons for bands and organizations on the side.
KT: I don’t know exactly because I haven’t seen them yet! But Joe, [of Joe and Otis] is a really great comic artist. He did the poster for the festival, a lot of little projects for the Empty Bottle and other bands. He just did Massive Ego’s new tape cover. He does a lot of this stuff just for his own fun, so it made sense.
AD: What were you’re major inspirations when you started Eye Vybe?
KT: Burger Records. Definitely. Running a label has been a dream job of mine, not quite how I’m doing it now. Since I was a kid I’d always thought that’d be so cool. After I moved to Chicago, I moved here in September of 2009, there was a Burger Records showcase at this place that was always having shows and parties that I had been going to. I didn’t really know anything about the scene around here or anything. I wound up meeting the guy who runs Burger Records – we hung out all night and it totally didn’t occur to me what was happening at the time, but I was thinking “This guys cool and he’s doing really cool things” and I just started looking more into the label and figuring out what they were about, and it really inspired me.
AD: Its funny how things work out like that, like you meet someone or have this experience that you look back on later and realize, wow that was actually a pretty monumental thing for me that was happening then.
KT: Oh my god, absolutely.
AD: What’s your involvement with Burger Records like now? They just had a Burger Revolution day here, right?
KT: Yeah, I hosted that at Wally World. They just try and have shows and things in as many cities as possible. They don’t seem to have as many connections out here so they asked me. Last year I did it with Jaill, Fletcher C. Johnson and Fletcher C. Coleman, and Strychnine, at the Empty Bottle. All of which, except for Strychnine were on Burger. This year was a little bit different. I collaborated with the Bric A Brac Records dudes, they had a day show; Bihari Beach, Cave People, and Today’s Hits all played. Then we had a night show at Wally World. That was fun; the only bands that played that were actually on Burger were Today’s Hits.
AD: This is your first multi-day event, so what were some of the biggest trials for that?
KT: A lot of it was making sure everyone involved was on the same page. I’ve done Chicago Psych Fest before with 2 to 3 other people. It was hard working with so many other people, which is sort of why I started Good Vybes. I was just thinking I wanted to see what I could do on my own.
AD: Do you have any plans to make this an annual event?
KT: Definitely. I’d like to try to make it more than that, semi-annually, every six months or something. Like maybe do another at the end of the summer.
AD: What are you most excited for during the festival?
KT: I was really excited for my band’s Twinkwind set. There’s been a lot of confusion about it and it’s getting left out a lot but, it’s still just my band playing his songs. Also Plastic Crime Wave Syndicate did a Hawkwind cover show a year and a half ago, and with the Hawkwind show getting canceled we thought fuck it, lets work in some of that.
AD: Whats the most important aspect of Eye Vybe to you?
KT: Mostly spreading the appreciate for all the hard work people do music-wise here.
Take a look at some photos from Night One of GOOD VYBES FEST and come by TONIGHT for NIGHT TWO @ THE EMPTY BOTTLE.