Bloggin Rotten’s Spotlight on independence (Part 5) Hidden Home Records (New York, USA)

What/who inspired you into setting up a record label?

I can specifically point to two things that influenced me to start Hidden Home. One was getting the Asian Man Records Mail Order Catalog with a copy of Big D & The Kids Table’s “Good Luck.” It had a 10 Year Anniversary note from Mike Park, explaining how he still ran his record label out of his garage and only had 2 employees and one phone line.  I think that was the first thing for me that was like “you don’t have to be a big shot to do something like this.”

The second was meeting my friend Ryan De La Rosa, who runs (ran?) a black metal labelcalled Unearthed Vein (now defunct but archived here (Unearhed Vein)

At the time he had done the label thing and given up on it, in addition to working with a cool local label called Black With Sap. We worked together, and I asked him how to do it. He was the first one who basically just told me to make a logo and start putting people’s records out, and so eventually I did. I have him to thank for giving me that extra push.

● What’s been your highlights as a label to date?

Here are five of my favorites.

1. Getting the first Wicked Bears EP picked up by all sorts of online publications, traded to a bunch of labels, and generally out into the world. Best promo job I ever did I do reckon!

2. Doing merch for Ogikubo Station  and getting into the recent Alkaline Trio show in Brooklyn for free (technically due to Randy from Get Married , but I wouldn’t have met him if it weren’t for the label).

3. Getting into the Spokane Descendents show for free due to Audio Karate.

4. Getting to work with Audio Karate re-releasing their records I love, and with Kung Fu Records , a label I grew up with.

5. Casey from Wicked Bears took me to a Float Spa the last time I was in Salt Lake City and it was the oddest yet most comforting thing I have yet to experience due to this label.

I could go on, but those are five that stick out in my memory, most of which are recent.

● How have you managed to keep a record label running in an age of easy access digital streaming?

This label is paid for out of pocket and projects rarely break even. So “keeping the label going” isn’t as much of a thing right now as I hope it becomes in the future. I will say, if you like any of our bands, please stream the songs on Spotify or if you’re really kind order the records, CDs or tapes to play in your car, etc. Running a label or being in a band is expensive and rarely pays off – that’s one little way you can help!

● Any funny stories you can tell the readers about your label, or the bands you have put out?

One time, a kid ordered an LP by (Casual Friday) and e-mailed me to say the edges of the sleeve were rifted, and asked if he could get a replacement. I was living in Boise, ID at the time, and it turned out he had just moved to the town over, so we arranged a meetup. My mail guy/former roommate Mike and his our friend/roommate Steve, came with me. I wore sunglasses and a hoodie, Mike wore a suit jacket, basketball shorts, and sunglasses. Steve just wore what he always wore which was like the same pair of pants and a hoodie, but it worked.

We arranged sort of a Robot-Mafia setup from Futurama, where I would lead and the other tw guys would follow, in a V or a triangle.

When we walked up to the kid, I said “you the guy with the record?” He said yes and handed me the rifted copy, and I said “Clamps, give me the record!” “Sure thing, boss,” and Steve handed me the new copy. I said “Go go go!” and we booked it.

I realize that was a bit unprofessional, but that kid later texted me and said that it was the coolest record swap he’d ever gotten.

● What inspired the name you have given your label?

There was a song on early, early ‘00s Christian radio by a band called Sonicflood that I would hear in the car with my parents as a child. The first lyrics were “in the secret, in the quiet place, in the stillness you are there.” I think it’s a reference to a Bible verse in Psalms about finding God as a place of refuge – someone always there in the “hidden place,” or privacy and quiet moments in life. I figured it would be a way to incorporate what’s most important to me personally into what I do.

I typically don’t bring this up because I don’t want people to think we’re a Christian label. That would be grossly misrepresenting many of the bands we work with, who share a variety of views, most of which who have zero ties to Christianity or religion, and many of which are made up of members that have negative views towards and experiences with religion. But it was a personal sentiment to me and a catchy name. So here we are!

● Any rad releases you have planned you can tell us about?

There’s a couple bands I’m talking to that I’m pretty excited about, but right now I’m really just trying to get my finances in order before I take on the next big thing. I just moved to New York and everything is super expensive here. I’ve also been realizing I can make the deals better for the bands and myself, so I’m trying to get that all worked out before I go hog on it again.

● If you could put out a record from any band still going/or split up, who would it be?

I think it would be RAD to re-release “Hold On” by Name Taken. That record is one of my favorites and barely anybody knows it. Of course, I’d be down to work on new stuff with them too, however.

Go check out the super rad Hidden Home Records here Hidden Home Records

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Blogin Rotten’s Spotlight on Independence (Part 5) I Buy Records (Milan, Italy)

Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions, please tell us a little about your label

Hi Jonny, thank you! I’m very happy to have this spot talking about my label. I Buy Records is born around October 2012. In the beginning it was just a webzine created in a period of my life while I was travelling a lot around Europe and I had a lot of time to kill at the airports. Slowly, I started to book shows in Milan-area (where I live) and in late 2015 I release the first record, a 7″ of my band Ratbones called “Ratwars”. I released it because I was looking for a label but I couldn’t find any decent deal that could let me 100% satisfied. I love to have full control of “my stuff” and all the deals I found back then were too weak. Now IBR is mostly a label, distro and booking-agency. During the past years some friend gave me help to run the whole thing, right now I do almost everything all by myself, so how you can imagine there’s no big time left for blogging anymore, even if sometimes I do ahahaha!

Anyway, IBR is focused in old school punk rock and pop punk, but I’m always open-minded to valute other genre.

What/who inspired you into setting up a record label ?

Like I mentioned before, In the beginning I run the label to handle my band’s stuff. Then I started to help my friends’ band and bands that I like. A big inspiration was surely Lookout! Records, but I really had no idea how to run a label and of course I did a lot of mistakes along the path, but after 3 years I can be very very happy. I really love each record I released and that’s what mean the most to me. My purpose with IBR is to help the bands, is not just about putting money and logo on a new album and hoping to sell some copy to make some cash back. It doesn’t work with punk rock, forget it! I try to give a concrete help with promotion, booking shows for the bands and distroing as much as possible their album. Who join IBR knows that will be part of a net, and this net means family. All the bands that “worked” with me know this and I think they are happy about it.

What’s been your highlights as a label to date ?

I can’t say if there is any highlight in IBR story, more or less all the albums I released sold as I expected and had great feedback. Of course I’m very happy that labels such as Stardumb Records (EU), Monster Zero (EU), Striped Records (EU), One Chord Wonder (EU), Moms Basement Records (USA), Rad Girlfriend Records (USA), Waterslide Records (Japan) ecc ecc, worked or traded records with me. I guess this means that I’m working well enough and the bands that I support really deserve my help and contribute.

How have you managed to keep a record label running in an age of easy access digital streaming ?

If you run a punk rock label to make money, you’re wrong, don’t do it. If you do it for passion.. it makes sense. That’s what matter to me. Being a DIY label, all the bands that work with me are free to do what they want with their music, so I’m totally ok if they want to stream their album. I just don’t want they put it for free, because to me it’s like not giving the right value to their music. 16/18 years ago (maybe more?) when the MP3 format invaded internet, music industry wasn’t ready to a change, slept on it and tried to fight a war lost before it really has begun. Stream services many years later made everybody happy: you don’t pay (or pay few bucks) for music and big labels get money, just in a different way. Not like in the past, of course, but as you can see Metallica are not whining anymore about  🙂
Right now, who buy vinyl records, especially in the punk rock world, is a collector: so if a nerd on the other side of the world have a chance to listen for free an album that I released and he likes it… I’m pretty sure he’s gonna buy it.

Well, that’s what at least I do: I use a lot Spotify to evaluate new albums or to look for new bands, and if I like what I’m listening I buy it.

Any funny stories you can tell the readers about your label, or the bands you have put out ?

Oh boy, I could tell sooo many stories. You can even imagine how many weird and funny messages I’ve got in the last years about booking or label stuff related. I guess weirdos are very attracted by me and IBR. Anyway, I will copy and past the last email I got from a band from Ulan Bator:

“We suck !
Your label suck !!
We have something in common !!!
I think we should work together, what do you say?!”

Funny enough?

What inspired the name you have given your label ?

The name was inherited from the original webzine born in 2012. The meaning was “I-Buy-Becords” and I review those albums. It’s a clear statement that means supporting bands and labels and punk rock music in general. Keeping the same name for label activities was natural given the common thread that binds the two activities with my real aim.

Any rad releases you have planned you can tell us about ?

Right now there is no any planned release, 2018 is over with School Damage – Hello, Cruel World that you kindly reviewed. I already had a few talks with 4-5 bands that I love, I won’t say anything just because they still haven’t recorded yet but 2019 hopefully will be a great year for I Buy Records! I can say they are italian bands and they always released solid material, I’m so excited about!!

If you could put out a record from any band still going/or split up, who would it be?

I’m a Ramones addicted so without doubt that’s what I really would dreamed. Also Riverdales would have been super cool. A band still going? I would say Screeching Weasel, Queers, HEAD or Huntingtons that are my fave punk rock bands ever.
Thanks for this talk dude, and keeping on rocking with the blog: you are doing a great job!

Misgivings – Hermitage


Portsmouth Melodic/Gruff Punkers ‘Misgivings’ have ripped a massive hole in my heart with ‘Hermitage’ and replaced it with nitroglycerin, my body is now a fuse and my mind has just been blown.

‘Misgivings’ clearly wear their influences on their collective sleeves, as a listener you can hear the band have Leatherface, Iron Chic and Hot Water Music tattooed to their souls. Saying that they still manage to add something new and fresh to the Melodic/Gruff Punk style.

‘Hermitage’ offers up bounce of the wall adrenaline soaked riffs with melodic vocal lines , soaked in whisky and gasoline.

8/10

Hermitage by Misgivings is out now via the good people at Lockjaw Records.

https://lockjawrecords.co.uk/shop/misgivings-hermitage/

Available on Limited edition Blue suede vinyl.

Also available on all your favorite digital streaming platforms.

Bloggin Rotten’s Spotlight on Independence (Part 4) Real Ghost Records (Birmingham, UK)

What/who inspired you to set up a record label?

Hi – firstly thanks for taking the time to interview us, we appreciate it!     The three of us have always been heavily into music and the punkrock scene in particular.

We’ve been in a bunch of different bands, had both shared and separate experiences with that, and also just been involved in the scene in general, whether that’s putting on shows for our friends’ bands or helping out bands passing through. We’ve also had our own experiences with record labels in different ways (both rad and bad). Just over a year ago we were catching up and decided it’d be a cool idea to start a label – we wanted to put out music that we love, for bands that we really admire. It’s also become a really great opportunity to not just do that, but to help support bands and artists and maybe through that we’re playing a small part in a musical community that means a lot to us.

What’s been your highlights as a label to date?

In a way, because we’re still such a new and growing label, everything has been a highlight for us – and a learning experience too. We’re super happy and grateful to have worked with some amazing bands already from the UK and US which includes some very good friends of ours.

How have you managed to keep a record label running in an age of easy access digital streaming?

A number of things I guess… Firstly, we’re not running a small DIY label with any expectation that it’ll pay our bills, this is very much a passion project for us. I think we’re actually lucky because of both our scale and the genre we operate within, it’s allowed us to focus on releases we really believe in and doing things like limited batch vinyl or cassettes is what people tend to appreciate. We also diversify how we can support bands, whether that’s booking tours or designing artwork.

Any funny stories you can tell readers about your label, or the bands you’ve put out?

Absolutely not. This is serious business. Actually lots, but probably nothing we can talk about.

What inspired the name you’ve given your label?

Unfortunately we don’t have a cool name backstory. But we do think it sounds awesome. I’m trying to think back – I’m sure I could find some terrible names we thought of if I scroll back through WhatsApp far enough.

Any rad releases you have planned you can tell us about?

We recently co-released New Junk City’s new record which is insanely good – they’re from Georgia and we’ll hopefully get them over to the UK early 2019 – go and check them out!  We’re also currently working with H_ngm_n from Brighton – a pop-punk duo who are very, very talented dudes. The first two singles of their EP are out now and the digital record will be dropping very soon, with a CD release planned early next year. There’s a bunch of other bands from the UK, Europe and US that we’re very excited, and very grateful, to be working with too!

If you could put out a record from any band, still going/or split up, who would it be?

Putting aside the artists already on our label and the absolute fantasy splits (Such as Alkaline Trio Vs AFI or Benton Falls Vs Mineral), ‘d probably plump for two of my favourite UK bands right now: Triple Sundae & All Better In Fact, if they’re reading this; let’s make it happen.

You can check out the rad work that Real Ghost Records on the below link.

Real Ghost Records

Car City – Self Titled

‘Car City’ drag their awesome blend of Power Pop and Britpop goodness straight out of Fox Cities, Wisconsin.

‘Self Titled’ beautifully crafts lush sing-along melodies with crutchy kickass indie guitar licks and a driving rhythm section that sits perfectly in the musical arrangement, all glued together with a healthy dose of hammond organ chucked in for good measure.  

‘Car City’ sounds like the bastard lovechild of  The Charlatans, Weezer and Teenage Fanclub birthed by a hyper-excited, highly strung-out groupie; believe me that’s an awesome thing.

8/10

‘Self Titled by Car City’ is available now through all your favorite streaming platforms and through Plant Music Record Company below.

Plant Music Record Company (Bandcamp)

Limited edition Colored vinyl (500) this comes with lyric sheet and art by Yasuke Okada

get the colored vinyl version at http://www.pmrc.xyz

Bloggin Rotten’s Spotlight on Independence (Part 3) Rad Girlfriend Records (Dayton, Ohio, USA)

What/who inspired you into setting up a record label ?

I was playing in a band called Rad Company. We had a hard time breaking into the DIY scene. We weren’t one of the cool bands and no one really wanted to touch our records with a ten footpole, so we decided to start releasing them on our own.. The first two or three seven inches were just independently released not even on Rad Girlfriend. I figured since we were already putting out our own 7”s, we might as well start a label.

What’s been your highlights as a label to date?

We’ve been fortunate to put out some amazing records but for me the biggest highlights are meeting the bands and becoming friends with them. Being able to play in bands you love, hang out with people you admire and work with people you love and respect is the best feeling in the world. Yeah, I think we’ve put out some killer records but the highlights are the personal relationships I’ve built throughout the years because of the label.

How have you managed to keep a record label running in an age of easy access digital streaming ?

It’s certainly not easy. We are still navigating it and figuring it out. The one good thing about running a label is that people who buy vinyl always will. The digital side of it can be positive too though. It all depends on the situation. Honestly, every cent we make goes back into the label. We’ve put countless thousands of dollars of our own money into running this thing. That’s how I suppose.

Any funny stories you can tell the readers about your label, or the bands you have put out ?

Many funny stories, that might be a question for another day. That gets into territory that I’m not prepared to get into right now, haha.

What inspired the name you have given your label?

Josher from Rad Company actually came up with the name. I had been dating my now wife and we were trying to come up with a name for the label and he said “why not stick with the ‘rad’thing. Then he suggested “Rad Girlfriend”.

Any rad releases you have planned you can tell us about?

The one we are the most excited about is our upcoming 100th release. Its going to be a 2x LP comp of exclusive tracks from many bands and friends we’ve worked with over the years. It’s going to be epic!

If you could put out a record from any band still going/or split up, who would it be?

That’s a tough one… I don’t know. I suppose the easy answer would be something that had to do with Joe Strummer.

Go check our the rad dudes at Rad Girlfriend Records on social media and below https://radgirlfriendrecords.storenvy.com/

https://radgirlfriendrecords.bandcamp.com/merch

Batwings – Poltergeist

The new single from Country punkers ‘Batwings’ sounds like the ‘Bonanza’ theme tune on crack.

Mixing 90’s style Britpop vocals with a mixture of old school country/Rock ‘N Roll guitars during the verse, leading in to snarling guitar distortion in the chorus. (Think more Libertines london style than SoCal Punk Rock)

Keep and eye out for Batwings, as i can see big things from these London town Country Rock ‘N’ Rollers.

7.5/10

Batwings – Polergeist (Official Video)  

Batwings –  (Band Camp)

Bloggin Rotten’s Spotlight on Independence (Part 2) Monster Zero Records (Innsbruck, Austria)

Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions, please tell us a little about your label.

My label is called Monster Zero and I started in 2008 in Rotterdam (NL) to release the first Mugwumps album ‘Banana Brain’ on CD. Now it’s 2018 and I just released my 75th record.

What/who inspired you into setting up a record label ?

Lookout! and Fat Wreck have always been huge inspirations. At the time I figured we needed a label for many bands from Europe. Never have been a Euro exclusive label though. Many people, bands and labels still inspire and motivate me everyday. I love the DIY punkscene.

What’s been your highlights as a label to date ?

To see a scene get together, throwing parties, bands touring together and more & more people getting involved. Kinda ‘this thing of ours’ 🙂

How have you managed to keep a record label running in an age of easy access digital streaming ?

Thanks to the record collectors out there. People that love getting their hands on good quality underground.

Any funny stories you can tell the readers about your label, or the bands you have put out ?

Simone Riccobelli is financing everything, he’s the big boss behind the label

What inspired the name you have given your label ?

The Queers song ‘Monster Zero’! Very proud to have been involved in the re-release of Punk Rock Confidential.

Any rad releases you have planned you can tell us about ?

I’ve got new stuff coming out by The Hangups (Sweden), The Ratcliffs (Austria) and The Yoohoos (Germany)

If you could put out a record from any band still going/or split up, who would it be?

Probably Screeching Weasel or Ramones.

Check out the rad dudes at Monster Zero Record here  https://monsterzerorecords.com/

Dirty Work – In The West End

Toronto Canada’s ‘Dirty Work’ play a lush mix of street punk, oi and old school hard-core.

‘In The West End’ is 12 tracks of balls to the floor punk rock awesomeness, with vocal lines that sound like someone has scrapped them with a nicotine stained razor blade.

This record just oozes rawness with an intensity that will leave you desperate for more.

Just imagine someone spliced the DNA of Minor Threat, Booze & Glory and Cock Sparrer, took the combined DNA dried and crystallised it.

Now if you took that DNA crystallised substance, added ethanol and injected it straight in your pupil , you would get a momentary glimpse in to the killer grit, passion and pure adrenaline that ‘In The West End’ brings kicking and screaming straight to your door.

8/10

In The West End by Dirty Work is available now on all your favourite digital streaming records and on vinyl/CD Via the bands band camp page.

Dirty Work (Band Camp Shop)

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