conversations with bianca

NY Record Producer Don Fury: “I still have an ethic that reminds me of the streets of New York, back in the day…We will always make true records with lots of heart and energy.”

Don Fury is someone that deserves to be celebrated! He has played an incredibly important role in helping shape hardcore punk music through his work as a record producer over the last 20+ years. As Jelena Goluza frontwoman for Australian hardcore band Outright (who Don has mastered a release for) said in a recent interview I did with her “name 100 of the best and most inspiring hardcore bands that have defined your history – he’s probably worked with them.” Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, Sick Of It All, Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits, 108 and many, many more have all worked with Don and released essential HC records. Fury was also instrumental in getting the legendary CBGB hardcore matinees happening!

While well-known for his HC work, Don has also produced many other types of records too, spanning all kinds of genres with bands from all over the world—Japan, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Greece, Argentina, Guatemala and more. Despite his prolific body of work and all he has achieved, Don remains incredibly humble and simply focused on continuing his work.

Were you surrounded by music growing up?

FURY: Not really, no one pushed me into music or lessons. I used to bang on bongos in jams with my older brothers, and I got interested in bands at the end of grade school. I was a self-starter. I played guitar in lots of bands, bass in a few, and fronted my own band in NYC.

DonFuryStudio began as a small rehearsal room on 17th Street in Manhattan; you’ve commented that at the time you felt “I didn’t really have particularly the means to make it happen…” How did you make it happen?

FURY: There were empty lofts everywhere in NYC at the time – I needed one to rehearse my band. They were easy to get back then, and in no time I had a loft on 17th Street, in the Chelsea area of Manhattan near Max’s Kansas City, Andy Warhol’s Factory, and Union Square. I built a few walls for a rehearsal room – I don’t even have a clue how I managed that – and Mom was nice enough to lend some cash for a very small PA.

When I realized that other bands might want to use the space, I put a little ad in the Village Voice newspaper. I named the studio ‘Roach’. My second client was Richard Hell and the Void-Oids, one of the most infamous punk bands in the city. They practically took up residence 4 afternoons a week. James White & the Blacks, the Bush Tetras, & the Stimulators were a few of the bands rehearsing in the 17th Street studio. Harley Flanagan (Cro-Mags) was just a kid and played drums in the Stimulators, his aunt Denise’s band – Harley had to stand up to play so he could reach all the drums!

What was life like for you living downtown in New York at that time?

FURY: Life for everyone downtown was a cross between an urban apocalypse and the wild west. New art and graffiti was everywhere – punk had started, hardcore was beginning, rap was happening, and there were illegal venues all over. You could build a bonfire in a deserted and demolished lot in the middle of the East Village and the police would ignore it. They had better things to do.

What first sparked your interest in recording bands? In a previous interview you’ve mentioned