Sordide Sentimental Records is a unique concept in record production and distribution from Rouen, France. The records are produced in limited editions of 2000, and are packaged in magazine type folders, along with photographs, bilingual texts, excellent illustration, and a warning…Below is a short interview with Jean-Pierre Turmel, who along with Yves Von Bontee are the founders of Sordide Sentimental.
R/S: When and how and with whom did you start Sordide Sentimental, and what was the main objective behind it?
SS: Sordide Sentimental began as a magazine project in May 1977 in Boston during a concert by a band called T.V. Toy. I was ill, the music was bright and white as the light. This concert gave me some ideas about “how to write” rock reviews…Before that I had wanted to do a magazine (there were so many excellent and unknown bands). I had done a second issue of my fanzine ONESHOT (mainly a sci-fi zine) but the information was not enough, and I wanted to also change the style of the articles.
During that concert it appeared that the only way for me was the way of subjectivity, of philosophy and speculation: to explain what I feel, to explain what I think, and to explain what I imagine.
So I did Sordide Sentimental: we began during the summer of 77. I first found the title (the title is always important in everything we publish). It sums up a large part of my philosophy relative to the human race.
Sordide Sentimental was also a sociological experience: I personally think that theory is the most important aspect of our civilization—everything every moment in our life is only theory people don’t really live, they first need a reason, an explanation to hate or to like.
Theory is Publicity…and vice versa—if you explain to people why a band is interesting, they will like it…if they haven’t a theory already people will simply ignore them, because for most people, a thing without theory does not even exist.
So our purpose was to give them some elaborated concepts, so that people would like such bands as Throbbing Gristle, The Residents, Chrome, John Cooper Clarke, Debris and so on…
R/S: Why have you decided to press only limited editions of each record?
SS: There are two problems:
- a limited edition because it’s too much work (it’s more complicated than an ordinary record)…because we don’t want to be obliged to think if the record we press will have good sales or not, because we had (and still have) little money.
- a numbered edition, because it looks elitist (we hate the masses) and so it’s a good provocation, because also it’s a help to sell the record quickly (we need the money for doing the next one). At the same time we encourage the band to press a reissue if they want.