The History of GPC Productions
My name is Alex Kane and I have been involved in the underground/independent music scene since about 1988. From 1988 to 1990, I was a member of the band Sinister Attraction. During that time, we released two cassettes, a mini-LP and a video. In the end, the band split up because the members attended school in different parts of the country. During my time with Sinister Attraction, I dabbled in several other music-related projects. One of the projects I was involved with was General Purpose Cassettes.
The idea for General Purpose Cassettes came about with some friends who lived in Newark, Delaware, near where I lived in about 1987-88. There seemed to be an abundance of independent, and in particular electronic, music happening in that area at that time. Several "techno-industrial" groups were rising from this scene. Many of these groups/labels grew and thrived in this area, including the Nailed to Sound (NTS) label which specialized in electronic music and featured such bands as Batz Without Flesh, Spit and Sinister Attraction. The original idea for General Purpose Cassettes was to expose the musical and artistic talents that were emerging from this scene. The label was formed by Sloth (then a member of Batz Without Flesh), Cliff Tkac (a member of an electronic band called XenophoN) and myself and was intended to feature as much new and unknown talent as possible. It was decided that the tapes would each feature 30 minutes of music from two separate groups. We agreed that compilation tapes which feature only one or two songs from different groups didn't allow the listener to get a full idea of what the group was able to do. The tapes would also come with a booklet of contacts, artwork and artistic impressions of all kinds.
The first GPC tape (GPC #001) was released in late 1989. The tape was subtitled "Sin Factor" and featured the music of Sin Drome (Cliff Tkac's solo material) and the music of Factor 42 (my solo work, under the psydoneum Richard Viorst). This particular tape featured a transparent j-card which folded to spell out "Sin Factor" and unfolded to display the band names and information. The idea was to make the entire tape transparent (clear shell, clear case, clear labels, and clear j-card). This concept of the tape's packaging developed into a big part of GPC's releases. The packaging always remained an important part of GPC.
Once the original GPC tape was released, we immediately started working on the second GPC, which was released in the fall of 1990. The music we decided to feature on this tape is by Anton Shedlock (a member of Sinister Attraction) and Sin Drome (new material from Cliff Tkac). The packaging was again an important part of the release and each copy of the GPC #002 cassette is enclosed is a small wooden packing crate. Each box was hand made and the release also included a booklet of art, contacts and other cool stuff.
Immediately after the release of GPC #002, I moved about 60 miles from my home and attended college in that area. Because I was so far away from the original members of the GPC team, we had a hard time doing the work that the label needed. In the next six months, I was busy with school and part-time work so the GPC's activity was temporarily put on hold.
Originally, the tapes were to be released in limited editions of 100 copies. This was intended to make the tapes a special item, almost collectable. It seemed like a good idea at the time but it conflicted with another main goal of GPC, which was to make unknown music available to as many people as possible. After the second GPC tape was released, it was decided to lift the rule that the tapes would be limited to 100 copies. We felt that it was more important to make the tapes available to whoever and however many people wanted to hear them then to make the tapes in limited editions.
Towards the end of 1990, I moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania (which I always referred to as "Alientown"). In this area, I met the members of a band called Teknition. This band, along with Factor 42 (again), was featured on the third GPC release (GPC #003) released in the summer of 1991. This cassette was wrapped in black plastic and a wire mesh. The booklet was expanded and included more contacts than before. With this release, I concentrated all of my efforts into the GPC label. I began writing tons of letters and sending tapes all over the world.
As my contacts increased, I began receiving tapes from all kinds of musical styles from all over the world. This is how I found the material for the next GPC release. GPC #004 features Mentallo & The Fixer (from Texas) and Non-Aggression Pact (from Tampa, Florida) which was released in the fall of 1991. The packaging was again unique and interesting. For this release, the cassettes were wrapped in aluminum sheet metal. Of course, a booklet of contacts, art and graphics came with each tape.
In early 1992, the next GPC release saw the light of day. GPC #005 featured the 30 minutes of music from both Non-Aggression Pact and Xorcist (from California). The tape was packaged in a "candy bar" design and featured the best booklet yet. The booklet was over 60 pages of contacts, graphics, art, ads and reviews of concerts, zines, video, and other musical projects. The booklet also included interviews by both bands featured on the tape. This booklet set a precedence for the future GPC tapes.
In August of 1992, the first GPC CD was released to the masses. Non-Aggression Pact was chosen as the exclusive band on this release. The decision to feature this band was based on the popularity of their music on the previous releases and my deep personal affinity for their heavy duty electronic sound. Keeping up with the special packaging, the first edition of CD (1000 copies) cards are printed on a thick aluminum foil. The songs are remixes of material that had previously appeared on GPC #004 and GPC #005, as well as some new crunching, hard techno from NAP. The CD sold very well, with a deal with the German Hypnobeat label to be the exclusive European distributor. Non-Aggression Pact and GPC achieved a high level of recognition for this powerful and unique CD release.
When I decided to release the CD, it became apparent that I could not really be known as General Purpose Cassettes anymore. It was at that time that the name was officially changed to GPC Productions.
In March of 1993 I released the sixth GPC cassette. This one was subtitled "Baby Had An Accident" and was again bigger and better than the previous GPC cassette releases. This cassette featured 30 minutes of music each from MAS (from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) and Blink Twice (from Los Angeles, CA). The tape was packaged in a video box with a full color cover and has a huge 130 page booklet of contacts, reviews, art, articles, and information. The package also includes a "soiled" diaper to hold the cassette.
In a flurry of excitement, GPC #007 was released in November of 1993. Again, believe it or not, better than the preceding cassettes. "Bizarre Sex Chronicles" was the subtitle on this one and was definitely well received. The cassette featured music from Punch Drunk, who were rising from the Philadelphia, PA scene with their loud, in-your-face live assaults, and Kevorkian Death Cycle (from Redlands, CA), with a grinding hard beat music and featured members of the bands Grid and Bol. The package was very slick with a full color cover on a glossy white 7" square box. Inside the box, there's the tape (of course) in a special condom package, a poster, an 5.25" "IBM-compatable" floppy disk (remember those?) of info, and of course the trademark 130-page "GPC bible" of contacts, reviews, interviews, art and info.
GPC had a very good track record and has been known to expose some very hot new electronic acts. Teknition, featured on the GPC #003 release, reformed under the name Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) and signed to the Danish label, Hard Records. They became quite popular in the ebm/industrial scene of the early to mid 90's, releasing 4 full-length albums, countless remixes and compilation releases on European and domestic labels. Mentallo & The Fixer, featured on the GPC #004 release, has a myriad of releases on the American record label, Metropolis Records. Xorcist, who were featured on the GPC #005 release, released several full length CDs and singles on several labels including 21st Circuitry, Pendragon and Metropolis. Of course, Non-Aggression Pact have released the Gesticulate CD on GPC - and released two additional CDs, 9mm Grunge and Broadcast-Quality Belligerence, on the Re-constriction Records Label (a subsidiary of Cargo Records).