Nearly a decade after Seattle, Washington caught the
collective awareness of record buyers and label executives
with the Grunge explosion of the early 90's, this city
is still a silent, yet important, force in the music
industry. This should come as no surprise; this area
has been pumping out major recording stars since the
late 1950's. Bands such as The Wailers, The Kingsmen
(of Louie Louie fame) and The Ventures paved the way
for Seattle rockers, as well as the rest of world. From
the pioneers of punk, The Sonics, to the first hard
rockin' "girl" group to grab international acclaim,
Heart; the Pacific Northwest has always been an influential
and significant component for the music industry. Perhaps
more important, it has been the city's independent record
labels that have launched many bands into super-stardom.
Seattle based Popllama unveiled such acts as The Young
Fresh Fellows and The Posies, and Subpop introduced
the masses to Nirvana, Soundgarden and The Smashing
Pumpkins, to name a very few.
Keeping with the tradition to represent new, unsigned
and eclectic artists, we find the newest Seattle-based
indie label, Loveless Records. Named after the infamous
My Bloody Valentine album, Loveless was launched two
years ago by disc jockey/journalist John Richards, along
with partners, music journalist Michael Hukin, musician
Pete Nordstrom and web designer Eric Richards. The relatively
new label just signed one of their protégés, Vendetta
Red, to the major label Epic and with the label's roster
of diverse artists and the discriminating taste of all
the partners; this is only the beginning of Loveless's
impact on the alternative music arena.
Crud: I guess my first question would be, whose idea
was it to start the label and why was it started?
John: The label started with a drunken discussion (as
most great ideas do) between Michael and myself about
music not getting released in Seattle that should. After
we sobered up, we decided we really should start a label.
It was then we realized we had no money or the technical
ability whatsoever, so we recruited two more partners.
Pete financed the label, and Eric did the web stuff.
We also have our Portland partner, Erin, who joined
up last year.
Pete adds: It was started because we all love music
and our mission was to get great music out there.
Crud: How did you two hook up?
Pete: I met John after my band Tuffy put out our first
record a couple of years ago. He was playing it on KCMU,
and we were pretty thrilled about that. I knew his wife
through work, and she and I got to talking about stuff,
and she helped arrange a meeting.
Crud: Pete, tell me about Tuffy. What type of music
do you play?
Pete: Tuffy has been around for about 5 years. I play
guitar. We've put out two records and have had the chance
to work with some great people like Ron Nine of Love
Battery. I'm not quite sure how to explain our music.
Some people call it shitty, but we'd like to think of
it as basically just guitar/garage power pop, if there
is such a thing.
John adds: I would say they are pretty tight.
Crud: Pete, what motivated you to invest not only
the money but also your time in this venture?
Pete: Because I really liked what John, Michael and
Eric were trying to do. I wanted to be a part of it.
John, Michael, and Eric had already started the process
of creating a label. I agreed to be a part of it and
put up some initial money.
Crud: So Tuffy is on the Loveless roster? How many
bands do you currently have signed?
John: Nine or ten. I lose track, Voyager One, Bundle
of Hiss, The Drop, Orbiter, Man Of The Year, Vendetta
Red, Los Halos and yes, Tuffy. I might be missing somebody,
that's only eight.
Crud: Do you generally stick to one genre or is it
a pretty eclectic lineup?
Pete: We are all over the place with our musical taste.
I don't think any of the Loveless Blackhearts would
let this get too one-dimensional. If we like it, we'll
consider putting it out.
John adds: We have space rock, ambient pop, old school
grunge, hell fire garage rock, rock noir, and some other
genres that haven't even been labeled something silly.
We are about music, regardless of genre. If that makes
us hard to figure out, that's fine. I think it's cool
that labels have "a sound" but we hope our "sound" is
the sound of good fucking music.
Crud: With so many indie labels out there, what is
different about Loveless?
Pete: We probably aren't that much different in terms
of motivation and ideals, but I think our approach and
passion for what we are doing makes us a little different.
We are fans first so we think we are pretty in tune
with fans of these types of music. I guess we are arrogant
or naïve enough to think if we like it others will too.
John adds: I think what sets us apart is our sex appeal
and the ability to wear tight pants.
Crud: What do you see in the future of Loveless? Say
the next 5 years, the next Subpop?
Pete: It would be great to achieve the success of Subpop
has, but we want to do it our way. We don't really follow
anyone else's blueprint for this. I think in 5 years
we will be more established and more well known, at
least we hope so. In this business, if you can last
five years without going broke, that is quite the accomplishment.
We're shooting for that.
John adds: It's hard to say what will happen in five
years. In just two years we've released a dozen records
and have had one of our artists sign a big ol' contract
with Epic. We just hope we can be successful enough
to be able to take serious chances with bands and artists.
I can say with all honesty that this label is in love
with music and just wants to be able to continue to
put it out.
Crud: What can we expect from Loveless in the months
to come? Anything exciting going on?
Pete: We are releasing incredible new records from The
Drop, Orbiter, Los Halos, and Voyager One. There could
be more later in the year. We are excited about these
records and we think that all of these releases represent
a step forward for these fine Loveless bands. Each of
these releases will be the second release on Loveless
for each band. Of course there will be more news, more
hi-jinks, more heartbreak, more great music, more groundbreaking
web innovation, more world domination.
Tony Englehart for Crud Magazine 2002©