Brooklyn Metal Bar Saint Vitus Just Launched A New Record Label Because HELL YEAH!


On January 1, Artie Shepherd and David Castillo–co-owner and events director, respectively, of Brooklyn venue Saint Vitus–announced the founding of their new record label: Sacrament Recordings and Merchandise.

Huh? A bar with a record label? Naturally, we wondered how that works. So we asked Castillo (who also sings in Primitive Weapons, above, the metal band that includes Shepherd and Vitus co-owner Justin Scurti) to give us the deets.

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How did this idea for Sacrament come about?
We at the bar were doing what we’ve been doing–a lot of shows–and through that time we stumbled across this band Sannhet, who we really liked, and they just kept getting better and better and better. One day we were in Connecticut–[Primitive Weapons] were playing with [Sannhet]–and Artie came up to me and was like, “Dude, we should put this record out. Let’s just put it out.” And I was like, “All right, yeah.” Then the concept turned into creating a label and merchandise company where we do all sorts of boutique things that surround the culture that is created in the club.

Are you planning to release Primitive Weapons records on this label?
Yes, the next Primitive Weapons record will be on Sacrament, as well. And that should be sometime in mid-summer, hopefully.

How intricately linked with Saint Vitus do you see the label being?
I think it works hand in hand. It’s not something we really thought too heavily about. The bar is great because we’re already seeing new stuff. Bands from all over the world are playing there. So, it’s like going to a club where you could be an A&R every night. A lot of stuff goes through there. At this point, I think we know a lot of stuff that we really like. And I think it’s about fostering this local thing … seeing who the next bands are going to be and supporting them.

SANNHET – Absecon Isle from AJ Annunziata on Vimeo.

It seems like Saint Vitus has grown in a good direction. Thus far it’s remained true to where it started. Any thoughts on how to keep this authenticity as it continues to grow?
I think that we aren’t content with any sort of orthodoxy about heavy music or anything like that. We’re music fans that like a plural amount of stuff. And I think what’s really cool is that everybody who’s involved is a New Yorker. So, you remember places like CBGB, you remember places like Coney Island High. You remember Tramps and when Mercury Lounge was breaking all these indie bands. You remember all that stuff. And I feel like when I talk about Vitus and what image I’m trying to program it in, it’s more like those places. CB’s, for example, was always very associated with the hardcore and punk movements, but they had a ton of different kinds of bands play there.

We’re an inclusive place. I don’t really care if you’ve listened to five metal records in your entire life or if you have everything in the world on vinyl. It doesn’t matter to me. I just want it to be a great experience for whoever’s walking through the door because that’s how people get into stuff…It’s creating a community in its own way.

Sounds like you’re definitely the right person for the job that you have.
[Laughs.] Thanks. I think about stuff a lot. That’s what happens when you’re a philosophy and sociology major that runs a rock club.

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