● 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