Former Clevelander Chad Bilyeu moved to Amsterdam in August of 2009. He now works there as a freelance photographer and writer. “I wear a lot of hats,” he says in a recent Transatlantic phone interview. But he hasn't forgotten his Cleveland roots. He now represents ABSNFC – or Another Bullshit Night From Cleveland – a multimedia studio/apartment based in Amsterdam that delves into art, music, nightlife and publications. It's also home to Bullshit Night Records, the label he started three years ago.
“We did a party over here with the same name,” he says when asked about the origins of ABSNFC. “We had friends from various parts of the world. I came up with the idea of putting out original music.”
Initially, the label put out a beat tape with Rio the Mechanic. It followed that release with a mixtape from Cleveland-based MFKNRMX, who now goes by Bang Messiah.
He’s currently promoting the label’s first physical release on cassette, Another Bullshit Night From Cleveland’s The Bullshit Night Cassette Tape
, which he describes as “a very diverse array of mostly instrumental songs from musicians located around the globe.” Earl Phillips
, "OG Cleveland sign painter," provides the cover art. "His work is literally everywhere, particularly in the Eastside's Black neighborhoods," says Bilyeu. “I thought it was the most Cleveland thing we could do for the cover.”
“Sonically, the album gracefully travels through hip-hop, electro, techno, cloud rap, house, punk and psychedelic rock,” he says. “This diverse sampling of genres is a testament to our love of music, untampered by categorization.”
Noteworthy artists include Baltimore’s eu-IV, Cleveland’s aLiVe and OBNOX, Seattle’s Martis Unruly, East Oakland’s OSØ, Berlin’s RzumA, and J-Baggs and Leo Luxxxus from Finland. The cassette is currently being stocked at Loop in Tremont, a place that Bilyeu says has a “great commitment to the arts.” The mixtape includes a series of Cleveland-centric samples too.
“That Browns clip is from the last decade," says Bilyeu. "I used to record a bunch of dialogue on a mini disc. I wanted it be representative of the town. It has a lot of flavor and a feel for that.”
While distribution from overseas has been challenging, Bilyeu has enlisted aLiVe of Muamin Collective to help circulate the cassette around town.
“I don’t want to be a downer but I spent three weeks in Berlin and got it into four stores in Berlin," he says. "I’ve been trying to get it into stores in Cleveland, but it’s been difficult.”
Next, the label will release gangsta rapper Martis Unruly's DISTANT (Seattle, UDF) in February. Bilyeu says the album is dark and like “high-concept druggie rap.” The label will also issue Muamin Collective's first live album in June. Bilyeu says the talented local hip-hop outfit's album will be well-suited to summer. It will be released digitally and will arrive on cassette as well. You can check out the ABSNFC catalog here