The Legacy of Kill All Music
I remember it vividly, It was 2016, and I was in High School at the time. During one of my film production classes I picked up my phone and checked Instagram, seeing that Occams Laser had made a post that his most recent EP, Crucifixation, would be having a cassette release by this label called Kill All Music. I was interested, as I was a big fan of OL at the time and thought the tape would be a neat little collectable. I went over to Kill All Music's page and placed an order.
Since that day, my life was never the same.
Up to that point I hadn't really cared about the level of detail physical releases had, like if I ordered a thing and I got the thing, we were solid. But that all changed when that tape arrived from KAM. Inside was the tape, some neat little KAM stickers, a sticker that said "Hooray! I met a clown today!" and a Pokemon card of the Pokemon Starley. This all sounds like unimportant shit, and it is really. But that little extra detail made me laugh and it made my day. Just that little bit of personality was something I had never seen before and it warmed my heart and made me remember that experience so fondly I can explain everything that was in that padded yellow envelope over 4 years later.
This made me go "yeah I want to keep an eye on what these guys do and maybe I'll get other stuff they release if they like it".
I am missing 3 items from a complete Kill All Music library, as after that first purchase I bought every. single. thing. they put out from then until now.
Kill All Music had such a cult of personality that it was hard not to like them. Nihilism to the upmost degree, but having a laugh about the whole thing in the process. Which makes sense considering the whole operation was headed by Topher Hendricks, one of the two masterminds in The Warhorse, covered plenty of times here on the site. Through KAM I discovered artists like Elay Arson, who is now an Darksynth powerhouse; Coutoux, and industrial producer who is making the rounds and taking names in the hip-hop community; Grand Lord High Master, an amazing grindcore/thrash metal band I would have NEVER known if it weren't for KAM; mother fucking Street Cleaner, another Synthwave legend, and a WIDE host of others. KAMs eye for talent was/is UNMATCHED, finding some pure gems and giving them a spotlight. They had a Christmas compilation that gets regular rotation in my house since it's 2017 release, as well as a compilation for a festival in 2018 they sponsored, which introduced me to MORE awesome artists, Including ones like Glitch Black and Gregorio Franco, both of which I don't know how I was living without.
They were also a group about keeping prices low. Like REALLY low. Some might say it was a bad business model, and where they would be right in the eyes of a capitalist, KAM was just doing what they wanted to do, make some cool stuff and promote some cool music. Tapes were usually around the 6/7$ mark, and their "biggest" piece, a double 180 gram vinyl, was 18$. That's fucking ludicrous in a world where tapes are usually 10$+ and that same specification for vinyl would be upwards of 35$. They weren't in it for the money, and that ideology was really inspiring to me. They did cool shit because they wanted to. I found it to be so inspiring, the merch for GhostHost is all operated the same way. All is low cost, not because I want to lose money, but because I'm ok with a little profit or just breaking even. I want to make things that people enjoy having, and I don't think I would have thought it was even possible without KAM.
KAM announced today that they were officially closing their doors in terms of releases, and that is a sad thing for me. Not like "end of the world" sad (trust me I'm already experiencing that sadness every day), but more melancholic sadness, like having to say goodbye to an old friend. I say this as someone who has had absolutely no interaction with them personally. Some might say this is fanboy-ism or the definition of brand loyalty, but KAM was and is more to me than just a brand. To someone on the outside, KAM was a group of really cool people doing something really special that a budding creative like me thought was an absolute dream. These past 4 years have been filled with cool interactions, really fun times, and SO much amazing, spectacular music that will be a part of me until I die.
I owe them a lot, and even if they never read this, I just want anyone who does read this to know that they were the best. They will live on with a legacy that will go unmatched.
Check out their store here, and buy some cool shit, it's all at a great discount too. Get some stickers while you can, I'd get more, but frankly I have enough to last me 2 lifetimes.