Label Focus: Kill Rock Stars

Label Focus: Kill Rock Stars

If you enjoy music of any genre (like a human does), you likely love a record that has come out on Kill Rock Stars. The label, based in the Pacific Northwest, has released albums by the likes of Elliott Smith, the Decemberists, Deefhoof and various riot grrrl mainstays such as Bikini Kill, Bratmobile and Huggy Bear.

Now more than a quarter of a century old, KRS is still releasing stellar albums, the most anticipated currently being super group Filthy Friend’s (featuring Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney and Peter Buck of R.E.M.) debut, Invitation, out August 25.

The KRS crew took some time out of prepping that release to answer a few questions about the label and what it stands for.

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How did you get into the music business? What motivated you?
Started the label to put out spoken word records, but then realized that I had many friends whose bands deserved to have albums, but there was no label around that would offer them record deals, so I needed to do it. - Slim Moon, founder of KRS

Which, if any, labels were your own role models or guiding stars when you started up?
Dischord, Touch and Go, SST, K Records. – Moon

What do you stand for as a label?
Punk, feminism, independence, great music. – Portia Sabin, current KRS boss

What has been your biggest achievement as a label?
Staying around for twenty-six years? We’ve just been super lucky to work with amazing artists. – Sabin

Did you have an initial idea of what the label should be and how it could evolve in the future when you started it?
I wanted to have a more ethical business model than the major labels. – Moon

What are you looking for when signing artists?
Great songs, work ethic, an understanding of the job and a willingness to learn. – Sabin

Where do you want to be in ten years?
Still putting out important artists who make great music, ideally. – Sabin

The music industry goes through rapid changes these days. How have those challenges affected your work?
We are small and independent, which allows us to be more nimble and change quickly — that said, the state of the market is always something that has to be dealt with. When we went through the recession in 2008/9/10 that was hard for everyone, and we all had to tighten our belts to get through that period… – Sabin

Any regrets? Anything you would do differently if you had a second chance?
Lots of stuff, but those were learning opportunities! Hopefully I won’t make those mistakes again! – Sabin

Which upcoming releases are you most excited about?
Filthy Friends. – Sabin

How would you describe KRS… using no adjectives?
…!!@(*%&^(#!!!!!! yeah! – Sabin

(Photo credit: Greg Neate)

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