Fresh VHS Label VIPER VIDEO Captures Live Punk Rock Performances and Other Oddities via VHS-C and Offers them Up to Help Feed Your VCR!
Adam himself chillin' and cheesin' alongside his Viper Video logo. VHSsssSSSsSsss. I couldn't help myself.Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how it relates to Viper Video? What was the impetus to start up VV, and what was your first release? I’ve been doing public access television since I was teenager so I’ve always worked with analog video equipment. I also go to a lot of shows, and thought this would be good way to combine my interests. I’m of course a big fan of Target Video, as well, especially the one of The Cramps playing at the mental institution. Our first release was with Joyce Manor. They’re good friends of mine and have always been supportive of everything I do.
Viper's first release featuring JOYCE MANOR's performance from April of last year at Chain Reaction in Anaheim. Dig that low-budget layout, mang.You’ve managed to release a bunch of titles in a relatively short amount of time. How often are you filming, and do you have a set schedule and / or plans with bands? How does that all work out? I try and film anytime there is a good show. Sometimes I’ll bring my camera with me but won’t film if I don’t like the atmosphere. I usually get permission to film the band right before they start playing, then talk to them about releasing it afterwards. I don’t like to give too much advance warning because I want the performances to be natural.
A still from the CREATIVE ADULT release in all its grainy glory. VHS-C5EVA.How are you filming these shows? It's all SOV, right? Are you using the straight live sound, or are you using board recordings over the live show? I shoot on VHS-C so it’s all on actual video. I just use the mic that’s built into the camera, which is pretty decent. If the sound at the show is good, the sound on the tape is good. If the sound’s bad, that’s just something that happens at shows sometimes.
A look at the front and back of the CEREMONY live set on Viper Video. Love the shot of the set list, brother. Natural.Your catalog has a lot of punk and hardcore in it, but also some really rad curiosities like David Liebe Hart doing some puppetry, all shot-on-video. Are you focusing mainly on these genres with some analog oddities peppered in? I’m focusing on all of it. For every couple punk releases I like to do something a little bit off kilter. Sometimes it’s a mixture like when Creative Adult played in our laundry room. I used to play in David Liebe Hart’s band so that’s how I got a hold of the tape of him in 1988. It’s all stuff I’m interested in, so I figure why not release it?
The David Liebe Hart SOV puppet street show on Viper Video. OH YES.I can dig that, duder. The shows you’re recording are all over the country. You must be traveling a lot to catch these shows on both coasts and in-between? I’m based in Los Angeles, which is driving distance from a lot of small cities that regularly have shows. Some of the tapes come from music festivals where I’m able to see a bunch of bands at a bunch of venues in a weekend. The traveling is one of the best parts; it’s like a business trip.
A still from the NO / NOMAD split VHS and the release itself. DIY VHS OR DIE, mang.Why do all this on VHS? What is it about the format that inspires you? I like the idea of producing physical media at a time when everything is increasingly downloaded, zapped, and streamed. It adds value to the work everyone is doing. Also, the cost is appealing. DSLR’s are very expensive, but VHS equipment is basically free on Craigslist. What’s your take on all the analog appreciation and celebration going on? Are you still collecting tapes? It’s great! I started collecting records in that weird period in the mid-2000’s when iPod’s were coming out and people thought vinyl was worthless. Everyone was getting rid of great stuff, and the prices were low enough that you could afford to take a chance on something you weren’t familiar with. It’s like that with tapes now. I find great stuff at the thrift store all the time. VHS is the new vinyl.
A look at the JUICEBOXXX release from Viper. FIRE IN THE EYES. SAMMICH IN THE BELLY.What’s been your favorite experience making magnetic magic with Viper Video? Everything’s happened organically so no one moment stands out. The Juiceboxxx show at the deli was fun, but everything’s that come along has been interesting. It’s fun being able to work with my friends and bands I like. What’s next for you, Adam? I’m working on a video called “Viper’s Twists and Turns” about drive-thrus in Southern California. It starts at a drive-thru donut and ends at a drive-thru funeral home. We also have a comp of video art from Pittsburgh in the works, as well as tapes with Warthog and maybe Gas Rag. I’m always looking for stuff to acquire and release.
A still from Adam's online show The Del Talk Show. I think this speaks for itself. WATCH IT HERE.Anything else you wanna shout out to all the Videovores in Lunchmeat Land? I do a late night style television show available on the internet called The Del Talk Show that utilizes a lot of analog and found footage. Different vibe but same governing aesthetic. I like music and people and weird things and real stuff, and those are the elements that hopefully come through all my work.
Hey, we like all that stuff, too, Adam! Big analog ups to Papagan for making the rounds to capture some aural awesomeness via VHS and spreading the love to our VCRs. Be sure to groove on over to the Official Viper Video site and snatch up some of his most excellent musical magnetic magic and other analog oddities! And be sure to peep his groovy online variety show and have some laffs. The outer space episode is on point.