INTERVIEW: Jon Comstock of Jaundice Records

Jaundice Records is a recent addition to Vancouver’s music scene. Its output is small so far, but there is more in the pipeline. Intrigued by the two tapes currently released on the label, I spoke to the man behind it — Jon Comstock.

The label is essentially the culmination and formalisation of projects Jon — and his partner, Landon — had already been working on for some time.

“I had been doing a couple recording projects since last summer and we’ve been kind of struggling to come up with a name for it,” he says.

Jon looks relatively clean-cut, but don’t be fooled, he’s up to his elbows in some weird, raucous punk music. Just a few bars from Hygiene — the band Jon plays bass in and whose tapes Jaundice has put out — are enough to make that clear.

Although Jaundice is a collaboration between Jon and Landon, the Hygiene releases were all Jon. As his bandmates say, he added the magic.

“[Landon] was going to help on our records,” says Jon, “but was up late doing a buncha shit the night before. So, morally, he was there to help but wasn’t physically in the room for our stuff.”

Hygiene’s singer, Kevin, butts in to add: “I believe his words were ‘I don’t have the patience to put up with another fucking band.’ That’s what he told me, I think.”

In addition to the two Hygiene tapes (Soylent Clean and Hypocrite), Jon is working on upcoming releases with two bands — Laughing Boy and Policy of Truth.

Laughing Boy is Landon’s band, whose second record is close to finished and will come out under the Jaundice banner. Policy of Truth recently recorded a handful of songs which Jon is hopeful about releasing, too.

Jaundice is — for now, at least — a tape label. He has been buying up cassettes from bandmate Kevin, whose own attempted tape label never got off the ground.

Jon is open to the possibility of releasing some 7-inches in the future but admits it’s a question of cost.

“Yeah, we’ll see,” he says. “’Cause it also depends on the project we’re doing, too. And I just don’t know enough… ’cause I know it’s dumb to, like, make 50 copies of something knowing that you might sell…6. “

Essentially, he’s figuring things out as he goes along. One example of that is distribution. Not too long ago, he received an email from North Carolina’s Sorry State Records, a distro outfit interested in Hygiene’s two tapes.

Jon’s response? “I messaged him back and just said, ‘Hey, you know, thanks for reaching out. How many d’you want?’ It’s like, look, I’ve never done this before.”

That’s not exactly surprising, considering Jon is fresh out of school. He’s a graduate of the Nimbus School of Recording & Media, here in Vancouver, but he has little love for his alma mater.

“OK, I went there and, myself included, I consider us all Nimbeciles,” Jon says, “because we paid into this bullshit and they actively promote unpaid internships and the fact that you’re not going to make any money in the music business.”

Let’s hope Jon proves them wrong and goes a long way with Jaundice Records.

Click here to read my interview with Jon and the rest of Hygiene here.

See Hygiene live at Black Lab on September 30, along with Passive, Necking and Feral Positions.

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