Castle Von Buhler Records
An interview with Cynthia Von Buhler and Adam Buhler
by Scott Hefflon
With the soon compilation a year ago and now the Anon double disc compilation beneath your collective belts, what’s next for Castle von Buhler?
Anon. And while I’m not going to go into any details on who they are – Turkish Delight, The Moors, and Veronica Black Morpheus Nipple – and without mentioning them by name, of course, we’ve just wrapped up initial talks with the bands I’m not mentioning. We’re more than a little thrilled about getting involved with these bands and putting some CDs out for them on the CvB label. I’m also thinking about putting out my own kind of compilation where the theme will be simply bands and individuals I’ve worked with. There’ll be a number of diverse projects on the release, and the only common denominator will be… me.
Cynthia: With lots of groovy artwork too. Adam will be making all the music, and then meeting with various singers. Sort of in the vein [or is that vain?] of Heavenly Voices or what John Wobble does – he works with various singers recording his music with all different musicians involved.
Adam: Or like The 6ths. It should be coming out in the fall.
That’s thinking pretty far in the future.
Cynthia: Oh no, we started working on Anon in January for a fall release. Next fall seems right around the corner, really.
Adam: There are some other things going on in the meantime…
Cynthia: In January, we’ll be putting out the Women of Sodom CD on PussyKitty Records, a subsidiary of Castle von Buhler.
What’s the total list of releases of the label – past, present and future?
Cynthia: There was the first three-song sirensong CD entitled sirensong, the soon compilation CD, then The Cruelty of Children sirensong CD, and now the Anon compilation double CD. The next thing will be a Women of Sodom CD put out on PussyKitty Records, and then a Turkish Delight CD.
When’s that coming out?
Cynthia: Possibly January, but if not, it won’t be out until the fall. Also, the Veronica Black Morpheus Nipple CD and the Castle von Buhler special project for the fall.
What’s the philosophy, for lack of a better word, behind all the work you put into the compilations?
Adam: Both times we made the records, we were hoping, right up until the last moment, that we’d be able to change the name to something like… now. Or finally. Because “anon” also means “soon” in Shakespearean English. We’re probably going to exhaust the possible synonyms for the word soon very shortly.
Cynthia: The next compilation CD we do might be for a cause other than AIDS. It might be for breast cancer.
The last two were for the AIDS Action Committee, right?
Adam: The Boston chapter, yes.
Any major changes in choosing the bands for Anon vs. soon?
Cynthia: I think we wanted to get away from the Goth pigeonhole…
What is it with Goth? The Goth bands – sorry the “Goth” bands – hate being called that and try to get out of being called Goth. What is so evil about being called Goth?
Cynthia: There’s nothing evil about being called Goth, but I think when people think of Goth in the larger realm of music, they tend to think of people that dress in all black and don’t have any fun. People who are really dark and hang out at Man Ray.
Adam: Being perceived as Goth can limit a band’s audience.
But there’s nothing wrong with being a Goth band. Goth done well can be surreal and beautiful – it’s nothing at all to be ashamed of.
Cynthia: Exactly. I think soon was very Goth. You could definitely say soon was a Goth CD with some other things thrown in. I think Anon is more of an indie rock/experimental CD. When you use the word Goth, a lot of people think of things that happened in the past. Maybe there needs to be a new term, like neo-Goth. Dream pop is a phrase people seem to like.
Adam: There’s a lot of baggage associated with the term Goth. Once a band is hit with it, it’s like a scarlet letter – you can’t shake it off.
Cynthia: In architecture and art, it’s fine; but in music, people tend to think of stuff that’s been done before. I think at the turn of the century there’ll be a Goth resurgence. It’s not quite there yet, but I think we’ll be there soon. Then everyone will want to be called Goth.
In addition to Goth, what are some of the musical influences that give the Castle von Buhler compilations their tasteful, diverse flavorings?
Cynthia: Personally, I listen to a lot of classical music. I also like techno, ethnic music, world music… I think we’re much more open-minded than the Goth genre. Adam listens to, like, disco.
Adam, want to admit to that on record?
Adam: Oh yeah! My favorite stuff right now is all those cheesy girl groups, like S.W.V. (Sisters with Voices). I can’t get enough.
Cynthia: We tend to have really varied tastes, and we’re open to all types of music. I love Goth music, and I totally love Goth architecture and art – I mean, look at my house – but I don’t want it to be said that that’s all we are. There’s so much more than that. We’re going to be putting out stuff that wouldn’t necessarily be called Goth. We just want to be the Castle von Buhler label. Is that conceited?
A label that doesn’t want to be labeled.
Adam: There’s a narrowing effect. The rockers and the disco people will say, “Goth isn’t my thing,” and they’ll stay away. But there’s a lot of stuff here they might be into.
Exactly. Running a label or a magazine, you always lean toward certain styles, but you try to offer a wide spectrum of bands that reflect your influences. Diversity is much more interesting, not to mention enriching. By the way, how’s the word “pop” go over with you?
Adam: We don’t think pop is a dirty word.
Cynthia: If you have to call us something, call us a pop/experimental label.
I didn’t want to mention “art rock” because of dated connotations…
Cynthia: Why not? Art pop is fine. It’s certainly better than Goth.
Isn’t there a style change between the solar and the lunar CDs of Anon?
Cynthia: The solar CD features more alternative pop, dream pop, or whatever. The lunar CD is more experimental stuff: Some techno, some weird stuff, some not so weird stuff.
Adam: We’ve been really surprised. All the things we thought certain audiences would respond to, we’ve found them liking different things. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. Strikingly different tastes.
Cynthia: Somebody will love a piece of artwork for the CD, and someone else will say it’s their least favorite.
How did you collaborate artist with band?
Adam: We refined our judging ability by practicing with soon. With Anon, each artist seemed happy with the song we’d assigned them. And the bands seem happy with the results.
It’s a huge task to undertake, but are you going to keep putting out an art/music multi-media compilation each year?
Adam: It takes a lot out of us, but shortly after putting one out, we say, “So what are we going to do this year?” We didn’t even realize, when we were making the first couple of CDs, that we were actually building the groundwork for the record label – we just did it because we like doing it. We felt really strongly that we had to get our art out there in the world. Now that we’ve done that, we’ve found ourselves a record label.