Category Archives: Business Spotlight

Waxwork Records brings horror soundtracks to life on vinyl

By J. KENNEY

Any horror movie fan knows the score is an essential component of the film. Can anyone picture watching Psycho without Bernard’s Herrmann’s string score, Halloween without the music of John Carpenter, or more recently It Follows without the electronic sounds of Disasterpeace (see related story HERE). Over the past few years, the resurgence of vinyl has given rise to a number of production companies that specialize in releasing horror soundtracks solely on vinyl. These companies include Mondo/Death Waltz Records, One Way Static Records, and Waxwork Records, among others. Unlike many soundtracks that were released in the past, these companies spend an extraordinary amount of time on the sound quality and mastering, as well as the artwork and packaging, making them a must have for genre fans, vinyl collectors, and people looking to hear great music that may not ordinarily see the light of day!!!

This month, Waxwork Records is celebrating its second anniversary. Their first release was the soundtrack to Re-Animator by composer Richard Howard Band in July 2013 and, since then, they have released 10 other soundtracks, including Day of the Dead (September 2013), Rosemary’s Baby (January 2014), Creepshow (April 2014), Chopping Mall (May 2014), Friday the 13th (September 2014), Trick ‘r Treat (October 2014), Phase IV (March 2015), Starry Eyes (May 2015), Friday the 13th Part 2 (July 2015) and Nightbreed (July 2015).

We recently caught up with its founder and CEO, Kevin Bergeron, who graciously took time out of his busy schedule to do a Q&A with us. In our interview, he discussed why he founded Waxwork Records, how titles are chosen, the meticulous amount of detail that goes into creating each record, and a sneak peak of what future releases are in the pipeline, including additional Friday the 13th titles and The Babadook.

Richard Horner Band's soundtrack to Re-Animator was the first album released on vinyl by Waxwork Records
Richard Howard Band’s soundtrack to Re-Animator was the first album released on vinyl by Waxwork Records in June 2013. The company is celebrating its 2nd anniversary this month.

Limelight Magazine (LM): Your label was launched in 2013 and is celebrating its second anniversary this month. How did the decision to start a record label focusing on vinyl horror movie soundtracks come about?
Kevin Bergeron (Bergeron): I already had experience recording music and pressing records. I’m really fascinated by the process. I’m also a massive fan of horror movies, but also of just classic cinema in general. I decided to marry the two things I’m most interested in, vinyl and horror.
I had just come off of a tour in Cuba with my old band, and it was quite evident that the break up was coming. I was toying with the idea of starting a label. It was this really special time, and a really organic thing. There was a start-up period where no one knew about us for six months, and I really enjoyed that time. Just getting it rolling. I love brainstorming and diving into new projects.

LM: How much of an impact did the resurgence of vinyl sales across the country have on the decision to form Waxwork Records?
Bergeron: When I started the label, I only had a vague notion as to the resurgence of vinyl and record sales numbers. I was honestly very nervous that we wouldn’t sell many records.

LM: You’ve now released 11 soundtracks on vinyl since July 2013. Bergeron: How do you go about selecting titles to release?
We are pretty selective with the titles we seek out. From an outsider looking in, it would be easy to peg Waxwork as a label that’s all over the map because we will release a B-Movie, and then the next month we’ll release something in the Criterion Collection. If we like it, and the music is interesting, we’ll go for it.

Photo - Nightbreek
Danny Elfman’s score to Clive Barker’s Nightbreed was Waxwork Records most recent release on vinyl. The company has released over 11 albums over the past two years.

LM: Mondo Tees/Death Waltz also specialize in releasing horror movie soundtracks on vinyl. Do you consult with them so you’re not trying to license the same titles?
Bergeron: No. Although, we’ve done a trade with Mondo before, and we may co-release something in the future, but that’s all in its infancy right now. It could be fun.

LM: Part of the reason for the popularity of your catalog has a lot to do with the meticulous detail that goes into the sound quality. Can you discuss the process for how these records come to be?
Bergeron: The Waxwork standard is seeking out original master tapes as our source material. Often times, these original masters are thought to be lost, or destroyed. So, it’s not always easy. We located the masters for Rosemary’s Baby in Australia and the masters for Creepshow in an attic in Pittsburgh. We really go for it and play detective. So, we get those original masters, and then transfer them, mix them down, and master for vinyl.

LM: How much involvement does the composer have on the finished product?
Bergeron: Composers are usually very cool and give us the reigns to do our thing with the music. They’ll sometimes have specific requests, but nothing major. No one breaths down our backs, surprisingly. I feel like I’d be that way if the tables were turned.

LM: Another reason why genre fans love your releases is the collectible aspect of them. Most of the titles come out in limited edition variants and include breathtaking artwork and inserts. Why is the visual aspect of your releases equally as important as the sound quality?
Bergeron: Vinyl gives you a playground to do a lot of really great things visually. With CD’s and especially MP3’s you don’t get any of that. So, we like to go crazy with vinyl colors, and commission new artwork from prominent artists that we feel can tackle the film and its score, but through their artwork.

A limited batch of black and burgundy haze variants were randomly inserted into orders for the Waxwork Records release of Rosemary's Baby on vinyl.
A limited batch of black and burgundy haze variants were randomly inserted into orders for the Waxwork Records release of Rosemary’s Baby on vinyl.

LM: How are the artists chosen to design the artwork for your releases?
Bergeron: We discuss this in pretty great depth. “Who can nail something like Rosemary’s Baby? Friday the 13th? The Warriors?” You can’t stick Gary Pullin on something like Phase IV or Jay Shaw on something like Chopping Mall. That might actually be really interesting, though.

LM: Are all of your releases limited runs? What is the reasoning behind the limited availability?
Bergeron: Yes. Our releases are all limited. We don’t press tens of thousands of units. Not yet. I like giving people what they want though, so if there are people out there that want this music, we will keep re-pressing records. I don’t like the idea of keeping things so limited that honest to goodness fans cannot have it. I also don’t like the idea of denying anyone art or music.

All releases on Waxwork Records are limited editions.
All releases on Waxwork Records are limited editions.

LM: A few of your releases (i.e. Day of the Dead, Creepshow, Friday the 13th and Trick ‘r Treat) were previously released on CD by La-La Land Records which is based out of Burbank, CA. Are they ever consulted on any of your releases?
Bergeron: La La Land has a few of the same titles in their catalog as ours. It just turned out that way. We had questions when we were getting started and they were very helpful.

LM: Speaking of Friday the 13th, Waxwork released the soundtracks to the original film and its first sequel. We were at composer Harry Manfredini’s signing of Friday the 13th at Dark Delicacies in Burbank last year and he was thrilled to have it released on vinyl. Since he also composed the music to the next four sequels in the franchise, can we expect future Friday the 13th releases?
Bergeron: We are releasing all of the Friday the 13th scores that Harry Manfredini composed. He’s been great to work with. He’s really into what we’re doing and it feels good to have him 100 percent on board with what we are trying to accomplish.

Friday the 13th film composer Harry Manfredini signs Warwork Records release of the album on vinyl last September at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, CA. Waxwork plays to release more Friday the 13th titles that Manfredini composed in the future.
Friday the 13th film composer Harry Manfredini signs the Waxwork Records vinyl release of the soundtrack at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, CA, on  Sept. 28, 2014. Waxwork plans to release more Friday the 13th titles that Manfredini composed in the future. (Photo by Jay Kenney)

LM: You also have a subscription service. Can you elaborate on that aspect of your business for those who may not be familiar with it?
Bergeron: The subscription is fairly limited. You sign up when it goes live on our website, and that guarantees you five releases on vinyl from Waxwork throughout that year. Sometimes a digital download is offered depending on the title. The subscribers get special, limited colored vinyl that isn’t available via retail. You get 18 percent off anything Waxwork has available for sale, and that’s a pretty good deal. I don’t know of another label that offers that much of discount with a subscription service. You also get cool merchandise mailed to you randomly throughout the year. Like, you’ll randomly get a Waxwork Records slip-mat, stickers, or patches delivered with one of your records. Exclusive stuff! You also don’t have to worry about missing out on a record by it selling out before you have the chance to get a copy. You’re guaranteed that record (if it’s part of the subscription) being delivered to your doorstep. No refreshing our website non-stop on pre-order days. Shipping is all factored in already for subscribers. It’s just very convenient.

Waxwork Records slipmats are just some of the goodies you may receive by signing up for the company's subscription service.
Waxwork Records slip-mats are some of the goodies you may receive by signing up for the company’s subscription service.

LM: About 10 weeks ago you teased the release of Jennifer Kent’s phenomenal film The Babadook. Is that still in the pipeline and, if so, when can we expect a release date?
Bergeron: Yep, that’s happening. That’s coming out in 2016. We have some cool stuff we’re planning for the packaging.

LM: You’ve also had a few posts on your Facebook page about another great movie We Are Still Here that was released earlier this year. Can you reveal if this is another title in the pipeline?
Bergeron: I can’t give out any details, yet. But We Are Still Here is great, and the score is really atmospheric and interesting.

LM: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. You’re doing an amazing job and it’s so exciting every time a new title is announced and released. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Bergeron: Thank you. Really. We love doing this. It’s still crazy to us how much of an impact our label has on fans of vinyl and movies.

For more information about Waxwork Records or to make a purchase, visit http://www.waxworkrecords.com.

Carolyn Woods: Using art to transform lives

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Body painting of Rachel Astore by Carolyn Woods. Photo by Leah Astore.

By LEAH ASTORE

The works of Carolyn Woods do not appear in galleries, hang on walls, or sit upon heavy marble bases. Her art is alive and breathing. Literally.

As a professional body painter, Woods views art as communication and a medium that allows her to express herself while connecting with and touching other people’s lives. Although she didn’t get her professional break until 2007, she recalls that while growing up as a self-professed “hippie child” in San Diego, art was always a part of her life. It might have begun with finger painting, she said, thoughtfully applying a ray of yellow along the model’s neck.

“I look back and I think I have been body painting long before I realized it,” she said.

Woods found her first calling in caregiving. Her compassion and desire to help people led her to pursue a career in Special Education. Her career was both rewarding and allowed her to spend time with her daughter. Through her work, she eventually learned sign language, which oddly enough led her to her first body-painting job.

After her first job as a face painter for a fundraiser for deaf children, she decided to limit any body painting work to fundraisers and benefits. It wasn’t until sometime later that she eventually began doing parties.

In 2007 at the U.S. Body Painting Festival, Woods’ career as a body painter received a life-changing boost. Unprepared and somewhat by accident, Woods won first place at the festival for her airbrushing.  Up until that point she hadn’t realized she had the potential to pursue body painting professionally.

With this new found confidence she began taking even more classes in body art and hasn’t stopped learning since.

“For me it’s an ever-evolving kind of thing,” she said. “I think if we stop learning that’s a problem.”

Since then her dedication and her heart have brought her many opportunities to share her art and connect with many different people. Even though her art is temporary, Woods has helped people to transform and realize a part of themselves that they hadn’t seen before. In some cases, her craft can help childhood dreams come true.

“It’s more than just parties,” she said. “It means something to somebody and you don’t always know what that is.”

From painting on pregnant women, to face painting at children’s parties, to Breast Cancer survivors, Woods has used her art to touch the lives of people all over the country.

Just this year she had the opportunity to paint for the Body Worlds traveling exhibit, as well as at Fantasy Fest in Key West, Florida. Her favorite thing about Fantasy Fest is their attention to promoting breast cancer awareness.

For women who have had reconstructive surgery – and for those anticipating the need for it – experiencing body painting can be a therapeutic and healing experience, she said.

One of the most memorable moments for her was painting a breast cancer survivor at Fantasy Fest. As Woods painted an intricate floral design upon her front torso, a man passing by, stopped, and asked for the woman’s photograph.

“He told her ‘You look so beautiful,’” Woods said, and the woman burst into tears.

Then the woman said, “I haven’t had anybody say I looked beautiful without my clothes on in so long.”

Woods said the moment was incredibly touching. Sometimes body painting can be therapeutic and can help in the healing process, from cancer survivors to people undergoing chemotherapy. It is here, she believes, her calling may lie.

She also enjoys the fun aspects of painting on bare skin, and relishes opportunities to facilitate transformations. Some come to Woods at festivals asking to be “turned into” into specific characters that they idolize. At last year’s Fantasy Fest, she said, one man in particular who had just returned from Iraq wanted to become Superman, since the Man of Steel was his childhood hero.

“It’s like playing dress-up,” she said. “A lot of people live-out fantasies.”

Body art even helps people commemorate special moments in their lives. Pregnant belly painting and henna are two ways that she has been a part of these special moments.

“Some people have worked really hard to get pregnant, so for them to make it to a certain point is quite a milestone,” Woods said.

People even come to her to test tattoo ideas, which she happily paints on their bodies. Some have even made her paintings permanent.

Yet permanent tattoo art isn’t really for her, she said. While she wouldn’t completely rule it out, it’s a lot more responsibility than body paint, she added. With temporary body paint you have to be less attached to your work at the end of the day.

“You have to express yourself and let it go ‘cause it’s going to wash down the drain,” she said. “It’s good for the perfectionist in me to just let it go.”

Most recently Woods has been active painting at local events like the Buzz-Off For Kids cancer benefit at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. She hopes also to do more with sign language in the future by combining body art and sign language into a theater performance – an idea that’s still in the works.

The ebullient and charismatic Californian has been based in Plainville, Mass., for two years, and continues to travel around the US, bringing her signature style of color and change to the bodies and souls of women and men of all ages, needs, and dreams. Her emotion is ever in motion.

“I’ll paint just about anything that stands still long enough,” she said.

To schedule a body painting session, Woods can be reached by e-mail at IBodyPaintYou@yahoo.com.

(This story was taken from the summer 2013 issue of Limelight Magazine.)

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Body painting of Rachel Astore by Carolyn Woods. Photo by Leah Astore.

TJ’s All-Star Band set to rock the Narrows

Todd Salpietro, Owner of TJ’s Music in Fall River

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

FALL RIVER – “This is a large scale show for such a young group, and I hope people will come out to see them,” Todd Salpietro said of TJ’s Music Concert Night, set for Dec. 6th beginning at 7 p.m. at the Narrows Center for the Arts located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River, Mass.

The show will feature TJ’s All-Star Band, which is comprised of at least 35 children ranging in age from 10 to 19 who take music lessons at TJ’s Music. The students have been divided into groups and will be performing a few songs apiece.

“It’s not like, ‘Oh, look at the kids. They are cute.’ No – they are rocking,” Salpietro said. “These kids are good.”

Salpietro is the owner and operator of TJ’s Music, a music shop at 347 South Main Street in Fall River that opened in 1997. He used to play drums for Trendkill, an international acclaimed tribute to Pantera, and offers music lessons, as well as sells instruments and music gear, to musicians and aspiring artists alike. These days, he devotes his time to TJ’s. Currently, about a dozen staff members teach more than 300 students a week.

To help their youngest students develop skills that allow them to succeed as members of bands, Salpietro created “Jam Night,” a music program at his shop about three years ago. Every Tuesday evening, students of all ages visited the store and played together, along with their teachers.

During lessons, students learned the basic fundamentals about their instruments. But at “Jam Night,” they got a flavor of what it’s like to perform with a full band.

“I used to watch them and they’d take their half hour lesson and go home,” he said. “I’m like, ‘They’re not in bands; they don’t play with anybody and these kids are great players.’ So, I said, ‘We’ve got to get these kids in, put them together in groups, and see what we can make happen.”

Using a 25-foot stage that’s located on the second floor of the shop, as well as a full PA system and light set, the children got the opportunity to get a feel for what it’s like to perform as a band. After a few months, Salpietro said the students got the hang of it and were performing comfortably with other musicians. Some of them even formed bands together aside of “Jam Night.”

“Getting them together to play gave them a goal,” said Salpietro.

To further give the children a chance to shine, Salpietro chatted with Patrick Norton, the Executive Director of the Narrows, as Norton recently stopped by the store. He once took music lessons there, along with his children.

“He came in one day and started talking about the kids and said, ‘Would you maybe want to do a show at the Narrows?’” Salpietro said.

For Salpietro, agreeing to the gig was a no-brainer.

“It’s the greatest venue locally,” he said. “The kids are going to play on a real stage, with real lights. They are all going to leave with band photos and action shots of themselves playing.”

In no time, Salpietro and his staff began prepping the children for the show. Students signed up for a 12-week program that started in September, and visited the store every Sunday afternoon from 3 to 5 p.m. to practice as groups.

“This program really works out a lot of bugs for kids,” he said. “If you’re learning how to play with a bass player and you’re a drummer, you know what to listen for. You watch the singer and see the singer’s cues.”

Not only does the experience teach them how to further develop musical skills, the children have made close friends and are learning the importance of teambuilding. Additionally, it helps them build confidence.

“I’ve had kids that were lacking stage confidence, as well as confidence in life, and we were able to get them to play together,” Salpietro said. “They are not scared to get on stage anymore. They get up there and are running the entire show. It’s amazing. It’s been a huge hit. They are working together. I see them talking things out, and that to me is just magic. I love seeing these kids grow.”

Since he created the program, participating students were invited to play on WSAR, a radio station in Massachusetts. They played live in the studio twice, and performed during Fall River Mayor William Flanagan’s slot, per Flanagan’s request. From there, Flanagan invited them to perform at the third annual 2012 ‘Eat 2 the Beat Festival,’ a summer showcase which consisted of New England tribute acts such as Dirty Deeds, Klassik Kiss, Scarab, and more.

“The kids did a great job,” said Salpietro. “They were unbelievable. They got a lot of recognition.” The students also appeared on Fall River Community T.V., and are set to take part in the Fall River Christmas Parade on Dec. 1.

Salpietro said the children are excited about the parade, as well as the Narrows show. To purchase tickets, which are $10 each, visit http://www.narrowscenter.org.

“The tickets are selling like wildfire,” said Salpietro, noting that he’s looking forward to the Narrows gig, too, and is hoping it is the first of many shows like it. “I do this because I think it’s something that they need. I enjoy introducing them to the other side of it. I have tons of experience playing and touring, and it’s a great way for me to share that side of my professional life.”

Learn more about TJ’s Music, as well as the program, at http://www.tjsmusic.com or call 508-673-9100.