It’s Ryan Graveface’s universe—we’re just listening in it.
Graveface Records & Curiosities opened its doors in the Starland District 8 years ago, and to celebrate its continued mission of bringing incomparable music to Savannah’s humans, they are throwing a band-packed block party on Saturday, Nov. 9 from 5 to 10 p.m.Get Savannah arts and culture news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our morning, afternoon and Dine newsletters
Graveface Records have been an integral presence in the Savannah music scene with constant community outreach including regular music events and DJ sets, annual horror film fests, art shows, and support of local musicians. Besides the unique store, Graveface also runs several record labels including Terror-Vision which releases classic B-movie horror soundtracks on vinyl and Never Not Goth, which focuses on the gloomier end of the music spectrum.
The block party, which is in cooperation with Two Tides Brewing Company, will have several vendors on site including record sellers from outside of Savannah, just in case Graveface’s abundant offerings are not enough for rabid vinyl collectors.
The bill features five bands including Savannah hard-core punks Big Spill, Atlanta’s Shouldies, cheeky garage punks Valley Gals, and one of Ryan Graveface’s many music projects (possibly the spooky Marshmallow Ghosts who just released their latest annual Halloween album). The event is also serving as an album release for Valley Gals whose debut is being put out by the house label of Graveface Records & Curiosites (not to be confused with the main Graveface Records label).
“My universe is confusing because I name everything the same thing,” Graveface explained.
Ryan Graveface started the Graveface Records label 20 years ago with world-wide distribution and a subscription record club whose members receive a copy of every release. Because of the massive demands of putting out records in large quantities, Graveface started the smaller store label in order to experiment with limited runs.
“Doing the store as a label, I can do anything,” said Graveface. “I can put out 50 copies, 100, or 2000. Valley Gals is the next in that experiment.”
Another release from the smaller label will be a Graveface Museum fundraiser compilation featuring several local bands performing original songs about famous cults and serial killers. Titled “Beyond Human,” the compilation can be obtained by donating to the museum’s Indiegogo campaign. The Graveface Museum is Graveface’s latest ambitious endeavor and will showcase his impressively bizarre collection of true crime, circus, funereal, U.F.O., and cult memorabilia, as well as dozens of classic pinball and arcade machines, all in an old warehouse on the suitably spooky Factor’s Walk.
Graveface, who is a former member of Black Moth Super Rainbow and originally from Chicago, moved to Savannah on a whim to start a new life. “I went through a map and looked for a place where I didn’t know anyone,” said Graveface. “It was literally that simple...It was between here and a small town in the middle of nowhere.”
As evident from his many, many projects, Graveface has a lot of interests and was trying to figure out what he wanted to do in Savannah.
“I got here and wanted to go record shopping almost immediately and, at the time, there was nothing.”
Fortunately for Savannah, Graveface created, not just something, but a lot of somethings. Savannah has always had a reputation for being weird and quirky, but that reputation has been slipping away as a result of rapid development in the city, and particularly in the Starland District. Graveface can feel the press of real estate development closing in on his borders.
“When I was a kid I felt like an alien—not in a cool way, but in an un-excepted way—and that whole development makes me feel like that again. I’ve spent a whole career of building my internal universe that doesn’t make me feel like that.”