Microindie Records comes from the same basement that brought you
Drive-In Records, Quiddity Records and microindie mailorder.
The microindie story starts with Drive-In Records and before that, Quiddity Records. I am the owner Mike and I’ve been a music fan since birth I imagine. In true High Fidelity style I’ll give you a list of my top 5 favorite bands not necessarily in order: the Sugargliders, the Boo Radleys, the Beatles, the Beach Boys and the Carpenters. I didn’t include Quiddity, Drive-In or microindie bands but it would be safe to say that all of them could be included in a list of my favorites. As a music fan I found myself doing the things music fans do, attending shows, hosting a weekly radio show, hanging out at record stores, chatting with friends on the beginning indie communities of the internet. One thing I had never done was write a letter to a band. When I first heard the Sugargliders I was prompted to write the first letter and was completely amazed when I got a letter back a few weeks later. I’ll avoid embarrassing them here by gushing about the band but this letter lead to more letters and friendships with several Australians including Andrew and Bart from the Cat’s Miaow…
Winter 95 I think…Dan from Radio Kilroy and I were at the store chatting about music and he mentioned his idea to start a label and release a record. I can’t remember details but it led me to contact the Cat’s Miaow and the Steinbecks to see if they were interested. The Steinbecks had a happy home on Summershine but the Cat’s Miaow were willing to give us a single, the start of a great relationship that continues to this day. The Steinbecks arrived eventually as well. Dan and I didn’t know much but we figured it out more or less and I should also mention the help of Mike Slumberland, Brian Bus Stop, JJ Fantastic and James Darla who were free with advice about what to do and what not to do. My advice to anyone starting a label is to ask people who are doing something like what you want to do, don’t necessarily take it all as gospel but it will make your life easier. Quiddity had 10 releases and somewhere early in the process I more or less hijacked the label from Dan who was sort of into it but occupied by the store mostly, still I thank him for making it all happen in the beginning.
Spring 95 I think…Jamie was a friend who saw what me and Dan were doing and wanted to get involved. To avoid the “too many chefs” situation, me and Jamie started Drive-In Records, named after the Cascade Drive-In Theatre where we spent our formative years working and having fun. Honestly, the label started to help out Dave Harris from Season Records in Australia who had a 4 band split single planned with Mike Slumberland. I don’t remember the exact details about Slumberland, probably Mike was pretty busy at the time, but it ended up being pressed and released as the first record on Drive-In split with Season Records. They can correct me if I’m wrong but I believe the original plan was to have the Cat’s Miaow, the Steinbecks, Rocketship and the Shapiros. For whatever reason, the Steinbecks and Rocketship were not included but we found the Singing Bush and Madison Electric. It may also be interesting to note that the Cat’s Miaow song was the one I had wanted for the Quiddity single but at the time, it was reserved for this single before it became ours. The second release on Drive-In (I’m not listing details on all of them now…) was the Steinbecks/Buddha on the moon double split single, something I think was relatively original, each band doing a song of their own and then covering the other band’s song on the b-side. Had this been done before? Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, it was my chance to work with the guys from the sugargliders who had a new and exciting band as well as HK from Buddha on the moon who was VERY helpful with many things along the way. I’ll add more Drive-In details later if I have time…
Summer 2005…to be honest, I think we were in a bit of a rut with Drive-In and I had been considering shutting it all down. I lost my job of 18 years (but found a new one after a little bit of chaos) and Jamie had a lot of stuff going on in his life as well. At this point, the indie label world had been down in general, not just us but a lot of friends’ labels as well. So after much internal debate, instead of getting out, I started microindie records. Microindie is all me as far as far as decisions and responsibility but I do get a little help from Jamie, Shawn and Aaron as needed. The idea is to try and continue on small level and try to maximize the things that make it worthwhile and minimize the things that make me lose sleep at night. More than ever, I want to make sure everything I do is based solidly on my love of the music on the record. I can pretty much say this was always the case with Drive-In but we did try to get involved in the official music biz in some ways and usually those are the sources of the problems that made me want to quit. So I emerge from 2005 with one record, the Steinbecks, who are the same guys that I wrote the letter to in the beginning, what could be more appropriate than that? So yeah, here I am with a positive feeling about the future and some really great music for you to check out.
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