Spring Break Tapes is an independent label promoting unique and undiscovered music in small but beautiful packages. We sat down and spoke with it's talented founder Joe Mckay about bringing cassettes back to the 21st century and where you all can get a copy.
Could you give us a brief introduction to Spring Break Tapes and it’s mission?
I started SBT in May of 2011 with the intention of introducing people to new music, which is something that I’ve been doing for a long time. Instead of telling a friend about some new album I heard or a band they should check out, I decided to be the label that was releasing the music I wanted people to know about.
Was it difficult to get off the ground?
Not at all! I always thought it would be awesome to have a record label but it never seemed like something that could really be done without a good chunk of money to get going. I discovered that cassettes were still being made and you could get them duplicated for a really good price. I did a bit of research and things just took off.
Were you actively out there searching for groups or did people come to you?
At the inception, my friend Justin Peroff played me some of his solo beat stuff under his Junior Pande moniker and that became my first tape. It all just sort of coalesced nicely. He had music; I wanted to have a label. The rest is history as they say. Since then, I've been hunting around for artists I want to work with and I'm always open to getting demos from people.
Do you create the tapes completely by yourself or do you have help?
There is a company that duplicates the tapes for me and another that prints out the art. Everything else is hand done - scoring, cutting, numbering, folding & packaging each one individually. It's a bit tedious but hopefully people can feel the love I put into them.
Can you tell us about your process in creating artwork for each cassette?
It depends really. Sometimes the artist has a specific direction they want to go and sometimes not. Either way, the music obviously has a lot of influence on the overall look of the tape art. Generally I listen to the music quite a bit while working on the layout. I always get the artist's input as I'm working - I want them to be happy with the final outcome.
Do you have a favorite?
A favorite tape that I've released? No, they're all my favorite.
Do you feel that the music industry is beginning to see a resurgence in demand for vinyl, cassettes, etc?
Honestly, I don't want there to be a big demand for cassettes. I don't want to hear that tape players at being sold at Urban Outfitters. They're not, are they?
Do you have any plans for Spring Break Tape’s future?
Just to keep doing what I'm doing. As long as it can sustain itself, I'm happy to put out people's music & do the work to make it happen. It’s really fun for me since I get to hear new music all the time and meet new people, even if it is mostly via email. There’s a great little network of people in the tape scene - artists and labels alike. It’s great supporting each other.
Do you have a dream band you would love to work with?
Oh man that's a tough one. Maybe William Basinski or Thurston Moore. Honestly I get excited about every artist that I get to work with whether they are well known or not. The cool thing about releasing work by an unknown artist is the whole point of the label - now they are known… at least to some degree.
Where can people buy these tapes?
First place would the SBT site - springbreaktapes.com. They can also be found at the MOCA store in downtown Los Angeles, Jacknife Records & Tapes in Atwater Village, and Vacation Vinyl in Silver Lake. Otherwise there are a couple of distributors that carry them: Experimedia.net (US) and VinylDigital.com (Germany)
All photographs taken by SBT