WAP SHOO WAP RECORDS - We're definitely "diggers"!
First of all, explain the name Wap Shoo Wap to the French people!
Wap Shoo Wap was the name of one of the very first punk songs in The Netherlands by a band called Ivy Green: https://youtu.be/Ru-O1ojGwuQ
Before we started the label it was the name of our monthly rock 'n roll / punk / garage night we have been organizing since 2016.
Can you introduce yourself and your colleague? Tell us about your musical background.
My name is Gilian and together with Francisco and Everaldo I run Wap Shoo Wap Records.
We started the label one year ago, but before that we were a booking agency and a monthly party night with live bands and DJ's here in Amsterdam.
I've been a musician in punk, rock 'n roll, garage, surf bands for more than 20 years. I used to be a guitarist in garage-punk band The Anomalys and right now I'm the guitarist in two other bands: Savage Beat (punkrock 'n roll) and The Phantom Four (surf/exotica).
|From left to right: Everaldo, Francisco, Gilian|
For us, Holland is more the other country of cheese than of music. Can you summarize the important rock moments of the country ?
Basically wild rock 'n roll was introduced here by Indonesian immigrants who came here from the Dutch colonies. The Tielman Brothers were a very important band that showed how wild rock 'n roll could be on live TV already in 1960: https://youtu.be/muKkVufgkAE
There was a whole subgenre of Indonesian musicians called "Indorock" where they mixed western rock 'n roll and instrumentals with their own musical heritage called "krontjong". Because of them I think Dutch rock 'n roll got a lot wilder, because they were more skilled and showed more showmanship. So Dutch acts had to follow and changed their gameplan.
In the mid to late 60's there was a boom of "Nederbeat", Dutch beat bands influenced by the British invasion bands. Still widely considered to be one of the best bands in the genre globally are The Outsiders, Q65 and The Motions. Some of the bands from that era later also had international number 1 hits like Shocking Blue (Venus) and Golden Earring (Radar Love).
Then in the late 70's (because of the geographical location close to London and the UK) there were quite a few first wave punk bands that were very good like Ivy Green, The Filth, Panic, Flyin' Spiderz and Tits.
How did you fall into the garage magic potion ?
When I was in my late teens / early 20's I was more into hardcore and punk. Then I discovered a bar in Amsterdam called Diepte where the DJ's played all kinds of obscure garage, garagepunk, rockabilly, surf, rhythm 'n blues etc. and I fell in love with the music. Now 20 years later that music still has the same effect one me as it had then.
Tell us about the memorable gigs in your country that we French missed!
For about 13 years we had a great venue in Amsterdam called Pacific Parc. Here a lot of cool underground bands played from all over the world and the vibe was always great there. The unique thing about it was that there was a mix of local students, neighbors, tourists and a few rockers and punk from the very small local scene. This created an atmosphere that was very special. With Wap Shoo Wap we organized parties there every month. We had bands like Howlin' Jaws, MFC Chicken, Fuzillis, Satelliters, King Automatic, The Cavemen, Les Lullies, Black Mambas,The Missing Souls and many more. There weren't any big names playing there, but all the bands that played there loved it. Unfortunately it got closed down 5 years ago.
Your label is quite young, what is your goal ?
Our goal is to show the rest of the world some of the cool bands we have here locally in Amsterdam and around and help them get their releases under the attention of people internationally. Also we just want to release music that we love, which includes doing reissues of obscure forgotten rock 'n roll singles. And we also release great bands from other countries that we like. We don't expect to make a living from this (we have normal jobs next to it) but we wanna release as many bands as possible every year.
|The Covids (photo - Chris Stevenet)|
I knew all the band members from The Covids already from Pacific Parc, the venue I talked about earlier. They were very young and working there and that's where they got in touch with this kind of music for the first time. They released a few demo's and I liked it and when I saw them live for the first time I was really impressed. The singer had never sung in another band and some other members also had very little stage experience before The Covids, but still it sounded and looked like a band that had been playing for 10 years already.
So I approached them to do a single and later an album. We send it to the pressing plant, we take care of the artwork, promotional videos and we distribute the record internationally.
Is it profitable to release vinyl records nowadays? Do you also offer CDs?
We don't offer CD's, there's only a limited amount of time we can spend on the label because of our normal jobs, so we have to keep things in perspective. We leave the digital releases (Spotify, Apple) with the bands, so they take the income from the streams. We only release the vinyl.
We started only doing singles, but it's not super profitable so now we also do LP's. Also we make merchandise like shirts, scarfs and soon more different apparel which is better for making money, because vinyl has become very expensive.
Do you plan to specialize in Dutch productions or would a French band for example have a chance to release a record with you ?
We've recently released two bands from Los Angeles: Lost Cat and Black Mambas, so yeah a French band is definitely possible if we like it!
The scene is too small in The Netherlands and Amsterdam to only release bands from here, but when we can we will always try to support them with a release.
Which labels have inspired you ?
I like labels from the 70's that do a mix between punk and rock 'n roll things like Chiswick, Stiff, Skydog etc.
You are starting to look for old recordings to release. How does this part of the label work? Do you stumble upon them or are you archaeologists in the making?
We're definitely "diggers"! In my rare spare time I can spend hours online looking at blogs, discogs or reading books about obscure music that's out of print. I like new young bands, but I think there's still a lot of amazing music from the past that is very hard to find and deserves new attention through a reissue. For our reissue of Ivy Green we contacted the original band members and told them because of the pandemic we couldn't do anything with our local music night called Wap Shoo Wap (we named it after their single). So we asked them if we could reissue it. They had no idea the name of their song was the name of a party that attracts a lot of young people discovering punk and rock 'n roll, so they immediately loved it. For our Feather reissue we just picked up the phone and called the number of Alan Ward's studio in Brussels. He picked up the phone himself and immediately said yes.
Can you provide us with a playlist of what's playing at your DJ parties?
Here are two live mixes. One is more glam-punk, the other is more old-school rock 'n roll mixed with tropical and exotic stuff. We like everything in between.
And on Spotify you can find playlists with different themes:
Do you think that garage rock fans could set up a network between each country in order to pass on information ? Or is the habit and the pleasure of searching for a mysterious band more important than making this band known ? There are still many people who love the sentence "What, you don't know?" Rather than "come on I'll introduce you to this".
I always introduce people to new bands. I don't understand the concept of keeping it to yourself. The idea is to share great music. That's what we do with the label, what I do when I DJ, when I play a cover of an obscure song with my own band. I understand the attraction of the mystery, but I think there will always be more than mysteries to uncover later anyway.
Can you tell us if there are still many rock fanzines in Holland?
Unfortunately not. Compared to France, Spain, Germany, Italy, UK etc. the scene for rock 'n roll, garage, punk etc. is very small here. We do have a new generation of kids starting punk bands and labels, so who knows maybe a new zine will soon come too. I would like that, I always enjoy reading them.
Is it possible to present us the different bands proposed on the label? How did you discover them ?
Ivy Green were one of the first Dutch punk bands, 7 years ago we named our booking agency and local party night after this song.
WSW-002: DOCTOR VELVET - "PUT THE HURT ON ME"
The young guys from Doctor Velvet were playing rhythm 'n blues, surf and 60's music in their first band Midnight Special and we booked them on one of our parties. They sent us a demo of their new band and we liked it so it became the first non-reissue release of the label.
WSW-003: FUCKFUCKFUCK - "ANAL"
I knew the guys from FuckFuckFuck from other bands and during the pandemic they released a hilarious video for their digital release of "Anal": https://youtu.be/dMFCRD5ZYCA (watch till the end). I liked it a lot, so I asked them i fthey were interested in a vinyl release and they said yes.
WSW-004: THE COVIDS - "CERTIFIED (DO IT)"
I met all members from The Covids before in Pacific Parc. I thought their demo's were ok, but after I saw them live I was really impressed and approached them about doing a single.
Alan Ward and Mike Butcher from Feather played in other bands like Elton Motello, Jet Staxx and Rollerball. I like all those bands and discovered this lesser known band. The original is very hard to find and expensive. So we contacted him to reissue it.
WSW-006: THE COVIDS - "BUST TO BITS"
See the other story :)
WSW-007: THE MOCKS - "DO ME GOOD"
The Mocks are a local 60's bands with very young band members. We booked them for our parties because I was impressed by their almost punk-attitude to their live performance. Very wild and energetic compared to some 60's revival bands that are a bit boring. I approached them about doing a release and when Bickerton Records, the label were they had previously released singles, went bankrupt they asked us to do it.
WSW-008: LOST CAT / BLACK MAMBAS - SPLIT SINGLE
We booked a concert for Lost Cat last year in Amsterdam and we booked several tours for Black Mambas back when we were still a booking agency. So it was more than logical. It was the first release we did by a current band outside of The Netherlands.
What are your next releases ?
Doctor Velvet will be releasing their first album later this year. We have another reissue of an obscure 60's garage band coming up. FuckFuckFuck is recording a new single as we speak and we're talking to some other American bands about releases as well... but I can't say anything definitive yet :) So stay tuned!
Do you have one last thing to say to the French public ?
If you're in Paris and are looking for our releases, check out Born Bad Records. Great recordshop who also distributes Wap Shoo Wap Records vinyl.