Just in time for the holiday season, Revelation Records is dropping Life. Love. Shirts: A Collection of Hardcore Clothing, a new book centered around the mind-blowing t-shirt collection of Orhun Öner, a German hardcore aficionado who many No Echo readers will know from his popular Instagram page. In addition to photos of Orhun's extensive collection, many of the pages feature stories from the bands, labels, and those who had a hand in the shirt in question.
"Orhun’s Instagram page was the first I’d heard about him," says Revelation Records owner Jordan Cooper when I ask him how Orhun and his t-shirt collection first arrived on his radar. "Later, we ordered the first version of his book, which I think he referred to as a zine, to carry on the RevHQ.com store." You can blame the international shipping gods, but if you've ordered stuff from overseas, you'll painfully relate to Jordan here: "Unfortunately, when the box he sent us arrived, it was torn open and completely empty. He wasn’t planning on printing any more copies, so [Distribution Buyer, A&R, US Sales, etc. at Revelation Records] Adam [Lentz] or I asked if he’d be interested in having us do a US printing, and after some talking over email for a few weeks, he decided to do an expanded version and have us put it out through Revelation."
I ask Orhun when he first became aware of Revelation and its hallowed history. "I can’t really remember when I first learned about the label, but I think it was because of the Gorilla Biscuits' Start Today LP. Also, I've always loved the Rev logo." Speaking of the label's logo, having the Rev star prominently displayed in Life. Love. Shirts. is as powerful a seal of approval any person writing a book related to the world of hardcore can get. That said, Orhun admits he wasn't necessarily aiming that high. "I never thought about Revelation. I was just working on the second issue of the zine and my friend, Ryan Kuper (Redemption Records), just showed the book to Jordan. Without Ryan, I think that would never have happened. I was pretty flattered when I got the email from Jordan."
Record collecting is one thing, but t-shirts? I guess Jordan isn't as surprised. "At this point, shirt collecting has been a big thing for a while. I remember being surprised back in the '90s or early '00s when the prices started getting out of hand. By the time teetilldeath.com and other sites came around, it seemed clear that people cared a lot about shirts and were collecting them in a similar way that vinyl is treated. Orhun’s passion about hardcore came out pretty clearly with his focus on shirts and the effort he’s made to reach out to so many people and bands to put the book together. It’s been a great experience working with him."
Orhun tells me he owns approximately 1,200 band t-shirts. Wrap your head around that! Before I let him go, I ask him what he found to be the hardest aspects of putting Life. Love. Shirts. together. "To be honest, there were no tough parts about putting this together. I enjoyed every minute of it, working with my friends Ryan Kuper, Marc Linkenheil [the book's photographer], Chris Holt [who handled the layout], Jordan, Revelation Records, and the heroes of my youth. It was big fun! We are pretty proud of the book."
Sadly, since working on the book with Orhun, Ryan passed away after a long battle with cancer. "Ryan was one of the greatest dudes I knew. He did so many things just because he cared so much about the core and love for the music. It breaks my heart that he won’t see the book's release and all the feedback from it. I really miss him."
Life. Love. Shirts. arrives in book and record stores on Dec. 10 and is available for pre-order via Revelation Records.
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