Brown Acid | Permanent Records & RidingEasy Records | Endless Trip For Stoner Freaks
Brown Acid gives these long-lost gems their well deserved moment to shine. Legendary compilations like Nuggets and Pebbles have exhausted the mines of early garage rock and proto-punk, keeping alive a large cross-section of underground ephemera. However, few have delved into and expertly archived the wealth of proto-metal, pre-stoner rock tracks collected on Brown Acid.
I gotta admit that the Brown Acid series are among the most exciting series ever. Man would hope it will never come to an end. It’s definitely on par with all the legendary psych rock series. What initiated the idea behind it?
Lance Barresi: Thank you very much for the kind words, Klemen! We also hope it will never end and we plan on keeping it going as long as people are as stoked on the series as we are. Basically, the idea behind the Brown Acid compilation series came from people asking me if they could buy the tapes I was making of my DJ sets at the Black Boar. I DJ’ed there every Wednesday for six years between 2013 and 2019. I didn’t feel comfortable selling bootleg cassettes, so I approached Daniel about doing a legitimately licensed compilation series and he was into it. We put the first one together and it took off. We do a new one every six months and there’s no end in sight.
How do you two know each other?
Lance Barresi: It’s hard to remember how we first met, but I think Daniel and I met at my store, Permanent Records. The independent music world is small and record store owners and record label owners cross paths fairly frequently. We have many mutual friends and we are fans of a lot of the same local bands.
Daniel Hall: Lance, don’t be shy. We used to rob banks before the crypto currency rage, now that it’s all digital we just send text messages and emails.
I’ve been working for over a decade on It’s Psychedelic Baby! Magazine and know how difficult it is sometimes to find and locate members of less known bands. I bet you spent countless hours doing research and contacting people to finally locate original members of the bands…
Lance Barresi: You’re right on with that bet. Finding the records is difficult, but it doesn’t even begin to compare with the task of finding the aging band members. The most difficult part of doing the Brown Acid series is locating the original members to license the tracks. To say that it’s a labor of love is a massive understatement. No one is getting rich from this project.
Some of the bands you featured are completely obscure. How did you become aware that some of these rare singles even exist?
Lance Barresi: My network of record collector and dealer friends runs far and wide. Besides the awareness that has come from my own personal digging and online research, I occasionally get tips from friends about records that I’ve never heard of before. It takes a village to curate a compilation series and I’ve had a lot of help from collector friends over the years.
How do you select what tracks will you feature? I mean, it must be pretty difficult at times to select how the tracklist will flow… tell us more about the process.
Lance Barresi: This part of the process actually comes fairly easy to me. Having DJ’ed weekly for 2-4 hours for 6 years (in addition to other gigs), I got very accustomed to putting together sets that flow. Obviously, you want to start off as strong as possible, but you also don’t want to front load the set and peak too soon. Luckily, the material we put the effort into licensing is all-killer, no-filler so it makes it fairly easy to put 10 tracks together in a solid set.
How do you do licensing and what can you tell us about the mastering project?
Lance Barresi: Daniel takes care of the licensing, contracting, and mastering. He is much better suited to answer this question than I am.
Daniel Hall: Licensing involves chasing people down for contracts and hoping that they understand how to reply to emails. It’s a tedious thing to deal with and tends to get more complicated the more we get in the can. We always prefer digital masters if possible but if we can’t get them, we look for the cleanest copy of the record we can get. We dump them in on a high end rig and have them mastered so they sound just as good or better than they ever did.
Browsing through the series, it’s pretty incredible that newer trips feature even more obscure bands…
Lance Barresi: Luckily, as time has gone on, I’ve become aware of some records that were previously unknown. Every once in a blue moon, I find records in the wild or online that are un-Googleable. It’s rare and someone unbelievable when this happens, but it does. These discoveries are what makes it all worthwhile. When people ask me what my top want or holy grail is, I tell them it’s something I don’t even know exists yet.
Daniel Hall: The saying “if you build it they will come” definitely is true with this series, things have been finding us as well due to the amount of compilations that we have put out.
I hope you will never stop working on the series, … how much do you still have left in the tank?
Lance Barresi: There is plenty of fuel left in the tank and we’re constantly re-fueling. There is no end in sight. We just hope that the record pressing plants can keep up with our demand.
Daniel Hall: We will definitely make it to the 25th trip no problem!
What are some of the top tracks from the Brown Acid Series? If you would make a “best of”.
Lance Barresi: Because the quality is so high, it’s very hard for me to pick the top tracks. That said, we did put together a “best of” compilation for RSD last year. It’s called Ten Heavy Hits and contains one of the best tracks from each of the first Ten Trips.
One of the joys is definitely hearing all the different stories that gives a more clearer picture of what the alternative music scene was back in the seventies.
Lance Barresi: Agreed. Sometimes the story behind the record is even better than the music!
I hope you don’t mind if we also talk about Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records? What was the original concept behind forming your label and how happy are you with the current status of the label?
Lance Barresi: Permanent Records started as a store in 2006, but quickly became a record label as well with our first release in 2007. We don’t do much with the label these days, but we continue to release new records and reissues when we feel so compelled. Daniel runs RidingEasy Records and it’s more of a full-time thing than Permanent Records is as a label. I’m happy where I am with Permanent as a label and I’m proud of everything we’ve done. RidingEasy is the label behind the Brown Acid series and they also do lots of great new releases. Death Chant, Early Moods, and Zig Zags are a few of my favorite RidingEasy bands.
Daniel Hall: RidingEasy Records set out to put out bands who needed records pressed on music fan’s shelves. It launched in 2013 and has a pretty even split of new bands and reissues resurrecting albums from the dead. I’m very happy with the status of the label, I’m not too excited at the status of getting LPs printed which has lead times in the 10-12 month range making it a balancing act to keep our catalog in print and also put out new releases. It’s been great to have launched the careers of Monolord, Blackwater Holylight, Here Lies Man and many others while also putting out heavy rock from the past that has influenced many of the bands on our label. Keep an eye out for new albums by Firebreather, Early Moods, and Hell Fire this year along with some new reissue projects that originally made an appearance on Brown Acid but had unreleased tunes for a full length.
When did you decide that you wanted to start releasing music? What brought that decision about for you?
Lance Barresi: The first release on Permanent was the LP ‘An Ethereal Oracle’ by Warhammer 48k. They were one of my favorite bands in Columbia, Missouri / Chicago, Illinois and that record only existed on CD until we offered to put it out. We started the label to put that record on wax. Some of the guys from Warhammer 48k went on to form Cave and we did a couple records with them too before they went on to other labels and ended up on Drag City.
Aside from the series, you’re covering a wide variety of releases. How do you select your artists?
Lance Barresi: I put out records by bands I like and enjoy working with.
Daniel Hall: I had my first label in 1998 called Afrodisiac Records, it was an afro beat reissue label that quickly folded because we ran out of material. I knew as a young kid I’d be working in music, I just didn’t know how it would pan out. RidingEasy Records launched because I found a band called Salem’s Pot on Bandcamp in 2012, they had 62 Facebook fans and needed to have LPs…that’s how it started.
Is artwork an important part of a release?
Lance Barresi: Absolutely.
Daniel Hall: It absolutely is, which is why ALL of the artwork and art direction is done internally, it’s the only thing I have to market the record. In 2022 when everything is so visual with social media, the album art is everything. Sadly people will take one look at something and if they don’t like it, they’ll never go and take a listen. We strive to put out album covers that stand out and jump off the wall at the record store.
Can you tell us a bit more in-depth what the releasing process is like?
Lance Barresi: The releasing process is fairly straightforward. The band records, the record gets mastered, the records get pressed and then we start selling them. Good records sell themselves!
Daniel Hall: It definitely starts with having music that is great! It’s a bit more complicated than just putting records on the rack for us, a lot of thought goes into artwork, band photos, band bio, publicity, setting up premieres, building buzz, working to get bands on tours that will get them in front of new audiences, helping with social media et cetera. The reason RidingEasy Records has been successful is because of my marketing background, marketing is everything and plays a huge role.
Do you act alone in the business or do you have any partners that you operate with?
Lance Barresi: I am the sole owner of Permanent Records and the Permanent Records’ Roadhouse.
Daniel Hall: I run RidingEasy Records with my wife Jeri Yoshizu, she looks after all album design, Merch Design, handles the website and develops merchandise. I handle everything else.
What are some future plans for your label?
Lance Barresi: I don’t have any specific future plans for the Permanent label. I’m more focused on the Permanent Records’ Roadhouse currently. It’s our new music venue / bar / record store. It’s the first of its kind in Los Angeles.
Daniel Hall: RidingEasy continues to grow, we have really come a long way since the first release. I look forward to more Brown Acid releases, developing our current bands more, selling more merch, and delving more into the area of digital releases as physical products have become such a pain in the dick to get done.
How are you coping with the current world situation and how do you think artists and labels will survive?
Lance Barresi: When the pandemic hit, we were forced to close the doors of the Roadhouse and we pivoted into selling records online (via Instagram). We’ve been busting our humps selling records that way since March of 2020 and it’s been a lifesaver. Check us out on Instagram (@PermanentRecordsLA and @PermanentRecordsRoadhouse) to see exactly how we get down. We offer an incredible amount of amazing records for sale almost daily.
Daniel Hall: The pandemic has caused all kinds of problems but it will not sink this ship! Bands are definitely going to have a tough time with tours getting canceled, not as many opportunities and records are increasingly getting harder and harder to get produced in a timely manner. I think that any band that really wants it will survive, thinking outside of the box will be key. I’ve been encouraging ALL of my bands to get their weight up on Tik Tok which will be the biggest social media platform within the next 2 years. Embracing the new technologies, new ways to make money like NFTs et cetera are going to be imperative to NEW bands. The beautiful thing about being a small company is having the ability to adapt quickly, that is what got us here and that is what will keep us here.
What are some of the latest releases our readers should get into?
Lance Barresi: The latest releases on Permanent are the Grave Flowers Bongo Band ‘Flower Pot’ LP and the Raven ‘Back To Ohio Blues’ reissue LP. I highly recommend both of those.
Blackwater Holylight – ‘Silence/Motion’
Brown Acid – ‘The Thirteenth Trip’
Firebreather – ‘Dwell In The Fog’
Scrap Metal – ‘Volume 1’
Coming up later this year Brown Acid 14/15, Scrap Metal ‘Vol. 2’, Early Moods – ‘S/T’, Master Danse – ‘Feelin Dead’, Hell Fire – ‘The Reckoning’.
Thank you. Last word is yours.
Lance Barresi: Thank you, Klemen. You do great work with It’s Psychedelic Baby! Magazine and we appreciate the opportunity to spread the word about Permanent, RidingEasy, and Brown Acid! Please check out PermanentRecordsLA.com for more info on what we do.
Daniel Hall: Yes! Thank you very much for your support and all the hard work you do for the love of music. Check out ridingeasyrecords.com for all the rad dope and follow us on Instagram/Tik Tok / Twitter.