Where are you from? Where did you go to college?
KA: I grew up in Connecticut (and a little bit in San Diego). Never went to college. Actually, I went to a ‘junior college’ for a year in Massachusetts and that was a total bust. I never was cut out for a classroom.
What did you do before you worked at Mexican Summer? How did you come to work for Kemado? Have you always wanted to work in the music industry?
KA: I did a bunch of things before getting into the music biz; contracting, waiting tables etc. Strangely, I also temped at a large film studio for a stint in their finance dept. That was pretty random. Mostly, I tried to focus on making music, which never really panned out, so I started temping and interning at record labels. Lots of lame work, but I met someone at a big indie label and we hit it off. When he left that label to start Kemado, he asked me if I wanted a job, and I immediately accepted.
Where does the name “Mexican Summer” come from?
KA: It’s a Marissa Nadler song from her album, Songs III: Bird On The Water
What do you do at Mexican Summer? What is a typical day like?
KA: I do all of the A&R here – which basically means, I “sign” the bands. A typical day….I wouldn’t know where to begin. There’s not really a regular rhythm – I think we all just try and stay in front of the workload.
What are the some of the unique challenges of running a small, all-vinyl label?
KA: Well, I should first clarify that we’re actually going to be pressing some CDs in the coming months – not on every release, but certain full lengths where there seems to be demand. It’s definitely a change of pace for us – and even seems a little wrong, but people still seem to want em…so, we’ll give it a shot.
As for challenges – when you do a high volume of releases, keeping production in check is always a headache. It’s the price you pay for putting out so many records, I suppose. Also, we sometimes seem to catch some slack on our records being expensive. It’s tough because our goal has always been to create a high quality product. Unfortunately, when you do that, the record/sleeve production isn’t cheap. It’s a definitely been tough to balance that. We actually just started doing cheaper paper stocks on all represses (while keeping the heavier stock on board for the first press). That keeps the cost lower.
Why a mostly vinyl/mp3 label? Are people buying more records and mp3s than CDs now? Does it make sense financially, or do you guys just really like vinyl?
KA: Well, like I mentioned above, we’re going to be producing some CDs now, but I still think that doing mostly vinyl and MP3′s is where it’s at. It’s just a nice marriage – it helps people have an intimate, warm listening experience and the on-the-go copy for the mp3 player.
Record sales are absolutely up and people seem to be looking more and more at buying vinyl, which is a great thing. There are lots of opinions on the CD disappearing, and it’s definitely a fading format, but who knows how long it’ll be ’til it actually goes.
What kinds of bands do you typically work with? Are there any specific criteria that you have?
KA: There’s no real criteria – it’s all about song craft. If you write good songs, I’m sure we’ll be stoked. Style over substance is not the way to our hearts.
What are some exciting projects you are working on right now? What should we look out for in the near future?
KA: Lots of good stuff coming soon – The Young Voyagers Of Legend LP, The Black Ryder Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride LP, No Joy 7″, Dunes 12″, TK Webb LP, Jacuzzi Boys 7″, Dimples 7″, Soldiers Of Fortune 12″ – I’m really excited about the upcoming Tamaryn LP, which will be in the fall. We have a bunch of reissues, too – a Michael Angelo 7″, Ramases Space Hymns LP and Linda Perhacs’ classic Parellellograms LP. And there’s a few secret things in the works – to be announced SOON.
What advice do you have for young people who want to work in the music industry?
KA: Well, if you’re really hell-bent on working at a label, just have patience and drop that sense of entitlement. There’s lots of unappealing work that you’ll need to do before you get a break…but hopefully it’ll pay off.
For more visit www.mexicansummer.com