Sunday, 22 January 2017

Interview With Lomo Steve (Richter Scale Records)

  Another interview for you today, this time around it's with Lomo Steve (Steven Horace Milton) who lives in Oxford and runs Richter Scale Records alongside a couple of the members of local hardcore punk band Girl Power.
  As well as releasing music by Girl Power, Richter Scale has also featured the likes of Shitty Friends, Basic Dicks and The Must. You can find out more details here :

  I thought the best way to start the interview was by asking Steve to introduce himself and tell us about his musical influences.....

I'm Steven Horace Milton and I run Richter Scale Records along with Oli Hewer and Agness Pike from Oxford band Girl Power. I do most things like contacting bands, ordering and dubbing the tapes etc. Oli and Agness help out with money and help choose what bands we want to release. I usually scrawl thru' bandcamp and find bands I like the sound of and then link them to both for their feedback. If all three of us like it we ask the band - which sometimes sucks because if two of us love it and the other one isn't too keen we delete the band. I started Richter Scale in 2015 by releasing the Girl Power 7". Originally it was going to be on tape but had a bit of extra cash so thought "what the hell - I'll do a 7"!".

Although all the Richter releases are all punk based I didn't grow on punk. I'm an Indie/Indie-Rock kid at heart. I grew up on The Smiths, The Wedding Present and The Cure. It wasn't until I moved from Torquay to Devon I discovered bands like Killdozer, Happy Flowers, Trumans Water and Fugazi. These bands changed my life. At one point I would buy anything that came out on Sub Pop and Amphetamine Reptile. No matter how bad some of the records were I would convince myself they were brilliant because of the labels they were on. I had so much shit in my record collection - although all my friends would have said all of it was shit! I first discovered punk/hardcore in '96 when a friend made me a mixtape of all these obscure emo/hardcore bands - Native Nod, Ordination Of Aaron, Sleepytime Trio, Shotmaker etc. I was hooked. I started buying MRR and Heartattack (R.I.P) and discovered all these amazing bands like His Hero Is Gone, Uranus, Ottawa, and One Eyed God Prophecy. I've been into punk/hardcore ever since - although the new Slowdive track is amazing!

  On Richter Scale's Facebook page there's a description which reads "new Oxford punk/hardcore/post-punk label." Nice, snappy and to the point but could you expand on it a little....

Sure. I guess Richter Scale is my "mid-life crisis". I couldn't afford a ferrari or a yacht so the next best thing was this record label! At first I didn't set out to have a record label as such. I released the Girl Power 7" because, not only did I believe in this band, it was also a "Thank You" to Pete because the guy has been a rock to me since my partner passed away. He would, with a friend called Ed, come up to mine once a week to see me and make sure everything was fine. We'd end up playing music on Youtube all night - which was huge help as it took my mind off things. So I guess releasing the 7" was a "Thank you for always being there."

So anyway, I didn't really have any plans for Richter once the 7" came out because the actual costs in releasing a record were quite high for me. Over a period of say 3-4 weeks I noticed all these cool tape only labels in The States and thought to myself I could do that. So after much investigating I realised it was a hell of alot cheaper to release tapes than records and I could get away with releasing 50 copies at at time. As soon as I knew I wanted to make tapes I got in touch with two bands I found on Bandcamp - Shitty Friends and PSOAS. To my amazement both said yes! After that I was hooked. I ended up releasing 8 tapes within a 9 month period!

Like the description on the RS Facebook page says everything I have released so far falls into the Punk/Hardcore/Post-Punk genres. And will always be that way unless The Wedding Present ask me to release a tape! When James from Kibou suggested we release the Girl Power 12" I was quite scared and excited at the same time - it felt like Richter was a 'real' label at last. Although I have a few more tape releases on the horizon I think our next 'real' release will be a 7" sometime in the summer. Not sure who it will be yet but I have a few bands in mind.

There's also a Richter Scale Youtube channel ( on which you'll find music from some of their bands including this one by brutal female Chicago band Mace....

  If anyone who reads this thinks Richter Scale might be the ideal label to release their music, do you welcome bands getting in touch....

Yeah of course. I've had a few contact me already. All have been awful pop-punk though so I politely turned them down! It was like the only music in their collection was released on Fat Wreck Records! I'm up for anything as long as it isn't nasty pop-punk, tough guy hardcore or anything that sounds way over produced - like they spent 6 months trying to get the guitar sound and vocals right. In fact the shittier it sounds, the more likely I am to be interested. Nothing sounds better than a song that sounds like it was recorded in a toilet on a 4 track.

  Tell me about Girl Power....

Girl Power are a three piece band from Oxford who are heavilly influenced by Hardcore and the Amphetamine Reptile bands from the 90s. They are the first Oxford since band Human Torches way back in the 90's to excite me. I'll let Agness (Pete) finish this off..... "When we started the band in 2014, we were all listening to a fair bit of hardcore at the time (and even more now, there is so much great stuff about at the moment, it's difficult to keep track of it all) and wanted to do something that involved that end of the spectrum. It was never going to be straight ahead, as we've all played in a variety of bands making different sorts of horrible rackets, sludge, noise, angular hardcore and we all listen to a wide variety of all of the above and more. I think that comes through in what we do and mixes in well with the fast and furious! The band is Oli on vox and guitar, Pete on vox and bass and Bethan on drums. We all chip in on writing and artwork. To date, we've released a demo on CD/tape, the Girl Power 7" on Richter and the Welcome to the Gun Show 12" on Richter/Kibou/Mono Canibal/Mangel Wax. Future plans , a variety of gigs coming up round the countryand later in the year a two week tour through Europe with our good friends The Domestics. Outside of that we have a track going onto an Anti Facist comp on Global Resistance Records, then more writing, more recording, more gigging! Oli is also one of the main movers behind Oxford's Smash Disco shows who bring in great bands from all over the shop, we had Generacion Suicida through just last week, which was awesome and they have shows with Pretty Hurts, The Domestics and Garden Centre coming up, to name a few. Influences. Everything from Fugazi to Gauze to Gary Numan to Nomeansno to Framtid and many more."

Just Some Punk Songs started up as somewhere I could post songs that I liked and whilst it's still pretty much that, I hope it's evolved into a place where punk fans can visit and cherry pick their way through and discover some great new music. Are there any decent new bands in the Oxford area that you think people should know about....

Not many from Oxford I'm afraid! The scene here is very small but it is slowly picking up. Apart from Girl Power and Basic Dicks (who are both on Richter Scale) I can only think of two Oxford bands - Cowley Chainsaws, who describe themselves as 'Puke Punk', and Rainbow Reservoir, who remind me of all those great bands that K Records and Kill Rock Stars released in the 90's.

Oli from Girl Power is in all four bands! He's a very busy guy. I think he's trying to start up a Post-Punk band as well. Joe Briggs who lives in Oxford is in Scrap Brain and The Swell. Hopefully the scene here will pick up due to all the great bands Smash Disco are putting on. Damn! I forgot Tenth Listen! Sorry guys if you're reading this! Tenth Listen have just released a CD and are influenced by the gods that are Jawbreaker. All apart from Cowley Chainsaws and The Swell can be found on Bandcamp. There is label based in Witney, just outside Oxford, called Rad Nauseam who specialize in Power-Violence and sludgy metal. I co-released the Basic Dicks tape with him.

If I had any musical talent there would be at least another ten bands I would have mentioned in this list but sadly the only talent I have is taking dodgy photos!

  Thanks Steve.

  Here's a song from the latest Girl Power ep, it's called Holes In The Wall....

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