by jack diablo
In the days before the internet made every trend immediately international, musical scenes developed locally before catching on elsewhere. In those days, locally based record labels were created to support hometown artists and promote their geographically unique sound. Consider the early stages of now internationally known labels such as K, Merge, Dischord and Saddle Creek. Each initially focused on promoting the music that was happening in their individual cities and spread it across the world.
Now that new sub-genres of music are replicated as soon as the first mp3 finds its way onto a blog or online publication, local scenes have become less homogeneous and reflect styles of all kinds. The need remains however, for local bands to gain exposure, something that can be hard to do on your own. Thankfully, local record labels have yet to go the way of the buffalo and are still around to promote their hometown scene, whatever that may be.
Jacksonville is fortunate to have at least two such operations currently making moves in the music world. Infintesmal [sic] and Skinny Records are both local DIY labels who aim to do a lot with very little.
Infintesmal Records is run by Jimmy Bayer and Nick Schoeppel of the band the Memphibians. They started their label with fellow Jacksonville rockers the 2416 (formerly Dead Man’s Waltz) in an effort to collectively promote the bands they wanted to hear more from. “Everybody was making recordings and writing songs but nothing was ever getting done with them. They were just dying on a local level,” says Jimmy. They’ve been at it for just under a year but already seem to dominate the urban core area, incorporating any and every style of music found in our city.
Infintesmal is more of a collective than a business. The bands help promote each other and as of now, all the profits go back into making the Jacksonville music scene better. While Infintesmal does not actually record their bands, they do book shows and distribute their bands’ albums and promotional materials. Currently, Infintesmal hosts two weekly showcases in Jacksonville. You can catch various bands at “Infintesmal Wednesdays” at Shantytown or head to TSI on Thursdays for “Sirens.” They also hold monthly barbecues that act as mini-music festivals in their own right replete with food, beer and of course, great music.
Skinny Records is the project of Tom Essex, a West Palm Beach native attending UNF. Working out of a Southside storage unit, Tom has set up his own DIY recording studio where he records and mixes all the bands on Skinny. In addition to Jacksonville bands, Skinny’s roster also includes acts from St. Augustine and Gainesville. Most of the bands Tom works with (and for the large part, performs in) are some form of punk, but there are other genres as well. The label, like Infintesmal, is in its infancy but has still managed to release three albums thus far with two more set to drop before the end of the year. His setup may be bare-bones, but he is able to cheaply and effectively record he and his friends’ bands.
What both record labels have in common is their strategy in releasing compilations. Compilations have long been used, particularly in punk music, to showcase the variety of talent on the particular label. A fan of one band might purchase a “comp” to hear a new song, but will also get to hear from bands they might never have heard before.
Infintesmal has already released a comp earlier this year and the upcoming one will be a two-disc set with music by 28 different bands. Both feature some of the best bands in Jacksonville but the new one contains tracks contributed by friends from other parts of the country as well including Finn Riggins from Idaho. It is Infintesmal’s hope that having a few out-of-town bands carrying the comp around will help local bands gain exposure in places they’ve never been heard before. Each band featured on the album will receive a number of copies to sell on their own which will also help expose the other bands as they take the comp with them to sell on tour.
Skinny is also working on one that is scheduled for a January 2010 release but will feature only Northeast Florida bands. It too will most likely be a two-disc set.
There is a lot happening in the Jacksonville music scene these days and rest assured that both of these labels will be leading the charge on taking our local talent to the next level.
Kevin Lee Newberry
Tell Yer Children
Lelyn R. Masters
Paul Is Dead
Gnarly By Nature
All You Can Eat
Devil Runs The Truckstop
The Woodgrain Production
Sir Real / Exaybachay
Infinite Shit List
jacksonville's newest diy labels
by jack diablo