John "Swami" Reis produces compilation record of 22 San Diego bands

More bang bang for your buck

By putting 22 local bands on Hardcore Matinee, John “Swami” Reis offers value and a journey back in time.
  • By putting 22 local bands on Hardcore Matinee, John “Swami” Reis offers value and a journey back in time.

The Schizophonics blast the compilation Hardcore Matinee wide open with a two-minute scree of post-punk rock violence called “Red Planet,” which sets the tone for the 21 original tracks to follow from hometown artists such as the Soaks, Gary Wilson, Octagrape, Rob Crow, Shake Before Us, the Sultans, Hot Snakes, and Pinback. Released on Record Store Day in April, Matinee is the latest from John Reis’s Swami Records.

"Red Planet"

The Schizophonics live at Til-Two

The Schizophonics live at Til-Two

“Basically, I had this idea, and it was triple-fold. I was thinking back to the compilation records when I was younger that would have so many bands on them that it pushed the limits for what you could fit onto an LP. I really felt that I was getting a lot of bang for my buck, considering that I would only have five or seven dollars in my pocket.” He laughs. “I’d get this one record, and there’d be 40 bands on it. In retrospect, most of them don’t stand up to the test of time, but the feeling that I had when I listened to these records,” he explains, “I was trying to capture that feeling again.”

Reis, of Rocket from the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes, the Sultans, the Blind Shake, the Night Marchers, and Back Off Cupids, is also a radio host. “The second part of this idea was, I’m friends with a lot of bands in San Diego, and they don’t hang out with each other.” Reis says the record was also a way to get everybody in the same room. “Because not only was the record part of this idea, but there was always a live component that was part of this idea as well.” The third component, he says, is to benefit the music program at the Museum School in San Diego, his son’s school, with proceeds from CD sales.

Reis also says he wanted Hardcore Matinee to roll out in the manner of his radio show. “With the Swami Sound System [now on Slacker], it isn’t necessarily about playing songs that people maybe gravitated to. It’s more about the entire show and the flow of the whole thing.” Reis recorded only two of the tracks. “Those would be the bands I play in, the Sultans and Hot Snakes.” Reis says the rest of the tracks were submitted by invitation.

Past Event

Swami’s Hardcore Matinee

  • Sunday, May 15, 2016, 4 p.m.
  • Bar Pink, 3829 30th Street, San Diego
  • 21+

“I’m not gonna say it was a mastering nightmare,” he says over a plate of squid and eggs, “but it wasn’t a dream either.” He says he did not do the actual mastering.

“It took more time than I probably thought it would, but it was fun listening to the songs, shuffling the order. I wanted it to be a jarring experience.”

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