TuffGnarl.com on Online Publishing and World Domination
TuffGnarl.com is one of the newest South Florida entries into the oft congested world of the internet. With a range of coverage including music, cinema, MMA, soccer, politics, and fashion, to name a few, Tuff Gnarl's strength derives from the symbiotic diversity of its founders, editors, and staff. Founded in 2013 by Livid Records' Chuck Livid and Pocket of Lollipops' Tony Kapel, Tuff Gnarl also includes New Times' contributing writer Jesse Scheckner in an editorial capacity.
Taking the friendly know-how of his now defunct label, Chuck's managed to haul together an interesting and knowledgeable alternative that sets them apart from similar websites. We had a chance to catch up with Chuck and Jesse recently to discuss their backgrounds in publishing and the goals they've set themselves for the site.
Chuck Livid: founder, editor, writer and all-around nice guy.
New Times: Let's talk first about Livid Records and what went wrong there. For a while, you were releasing some pretty cool discs and gained the recognition of being Florida's "friendliest label." And then it all went away.
Chuck Livid: Livid Records was a label that ran with the ambition of being a musician's label first. We did things that other labels wouldn't touch because frankly we released bands based on their merits, hard work, and DIY ethic.
Unfortunately the state of the music industry, indie and major, made paying for studio time and pressing records very difficult without deep pockets. Bands that I released would not be considered "hit-makers" or "chart-toppers" by any means. For me, it was always about helping friends, making friends along the way, and pushing their music into the world.
The label ended because after spending easily somewhere in the ballpark of twenty-five thousand dollars trying to keep things afloat over the course of its five year run, nothing was selling. The economic recession was a very real thing for me around this time.
I learned two important lessons from running Livid Records: Take care of yourself first, because without ones' ambition your whole goal will crumble, and two, don't be afraid to ask for help. If you try to do everything yourself, you'll drown. No matter what qualifications you think you have, they mean nothing when you've lost sight of what you were trying to do to begin with.
The label lasted almost five years, and I really did have some of the best times in my life doing it. But at the end of the day, I have no ambition whatsoever to revisit the business of music.
Now you have re-envisioned yourself with Tuff Gnarl. Where did the idea to clog the internet with more content come from, and what sets Tuff Gnarl apart from like-minded websites? How important is Sonic Youth to you?
Chuck Livid: I made a music zine while attending Southwest Miami High School back in 1997-99 called Muddy Chaos. When I went to college I really wanted to major in English Literature, but I dropped out and have been working in music and IT since 1999. So it's really not so far-fetched.
I was motivated to start Tuff Gnarl because of the lack of local alternative news outlets. I mean I've picked up issues of the New Times since I was 14 years old but so many magazines and news rags have gone under since those days. I owe a lot to the New Times and sites like Jordan Melnick's BeachedMiami.com.
In response to your Sonic Youth question, look man, I love them. They inspired me at a very difficult time in my life. My favorite bands of all time are Sonic Youth, Ramones, and Mudhoney. In that order.