Sunday, August 11, 2013
The Baker's Dozen #3...Mike Hawrys from Lost Time Records
Mike Hawrys is a local kid that I met a few years ago; I didn’t really know him too well until he started up Lost Time Records and put out demos for a couple of my favorite locals called Shudders (who were unfortunately super under-rated and disbanded too soon), as well as my friends in Shades of Red, the Bent Life demo, a 7" for a cool band from St. Louis called Out of Time, local heavy hitters Retribution, etc.
Over the years I’ve gotten to know Mike better and while at first I had some misconceptions about him I’ve learned he’s really a guy who has his heart in the right place. He’s continued to put out a lot of local stuff which is really cool, hopefully up and coming from bands from Detroit will continue to be able to rely on him to get their jams out. So here he is; wise guy, Bled Fest troll supreme, and early Rev enthusiast, Mike Hawrys from Lost Time Records.
Describe how you stumbled into the punk and hardcore community. When did you know it was probably going to become a permanent fixture in your life?
When I was younger I was really into skateboarding and stuff and a lot of my older friends were listening to punk and hardcore so they got me into it a lot of the stuff I was listening to at the time. It was pretty awful looking back on it, haha.
What could have possibly prompted you to think it would be a good idea to start a money pit (record label)?
At the time that I came up with the idea around late 2010 I was working full time at a machine shop and bringing home more money than I knew what to do with so I decided to sink it into something I really believed in. The only thing that has changed is that now I have bills to pay so things are a little slower than they were at first, but I’ll always love hardcore.
When you consider signing/working with bands, how do you balance your own personal feelings towards the band and their music with what you see as the potential for the thing to actually sell a few copies and for you to recoup your money? Which generally takes precedence?
I’m actually a pretty shitty business man. When I decide I like a band or want to do a record for them I don't think about if I'll break even or not until it’s too late and the records are pressed. It's nice when I break even but it's not even really something I’m worried about. Surprisingly the record I broken even on the fastest was the Retribution 7". I thought I'd end up sitting on a ton of those because they have never played outside of Michigan but that record was so good that it didn't even matter that people had never heard of them or seen them, they just bought it which was really cool.
What gets you more stoked…..getting YOUR copies of a record in from the plant, or hearing the BANDS reaction to getting THEIR records from the plant?
Honestly I don't even know, both are a pretty good feeling. I'm a huge record nerd so I usually look at all the colored vinyl and look for variations in color and take the coolest stuff for myself so that's pretty awesome.
In your experiences, what are the best places to press vinyl/get your jackets and inserts printed, and what are the worst places? Why?
Well I've only ever used 2 plants for records. For the Out of Time 7" I used a plant in KY and they were really really cheap and the vinyl was decent quality, but it was insanely slow and that really turned me off. For the last 2 records I've done and probably forever now I have used Archer right here in Detroit. They have good prices, good vinyl, and its right down the street so I don't have to worry about shipping. For jackets I've always used iloveimprint.com. I can't remember who told me to check them out but you can't beat their prices and its super fast, plus they are really easy to deal with.
Your fairy god mother grants your wish and you get to put out a split with any two bands on the planet. Who shares the wax and why?
I want to say Gorilla Biscuits and Judge because I love both bands but honestly if they recorded new material it would probably suck and I'd hate it, so I'm gonna say Freedom and Retribution. That probably sounds like a weird choice but I can honestly say most of my favorite current bands happen to be from Detroit and are made up of all my friends. Plus the new Freedom 7" that's coming out later this year on Back to Back is fucking amazing and Retribution’s first 7" was bad ass and I'm sure the new one will be even better.
Talk about the most frustrating and the most rewarding things about running a label.
The thing I hate most is doing layouts for sleeves and shit like that. I'm always over critical of myself and think everything I do is shit so sometimes I get help from friends. Sometimes getting money together to pay for a record can be a pain in the ass but it’s worth it in the end. I'd say the most rewarding thing is when you get a new test pressing and you hear those songs on vinyl for the first time, and then again when you get the actual records with the labels and the sleeves and you get to see it all together, but that's probably just because I'm a huge dork for records.
For people who are considering jumping in and starting a label, what’s the one essential piece of advice you would give them?
As far as advice I'd say start slow one release at a time. Don't jump in and get over your head. Everything is going to end up costing more than you think at first so be ready to compromise on things like color vinyl and color sleeves. Sometimes less is more….. I don't know don't fucking listen to me I still don't know what the hell I'm doing.
Obviously you love every record you put out or you wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars on them, but let’s be real here; what’s the one record from your catalog that you listen to the most/that has the most value for you and why?
Without a doubt it’s Retribution “Consumed”. That record is so fucking good and when I decided to start the label they were the first band I asked but at the time they weren't sure if they were going to even be a band anymore. When Kenny finally hit me up and said they had a record for me to put out I was stoked and when I heard it I couldn't get that thing out fast enough. When I got the tests I probably listened to it 10 times in a row. I still listen to it all the time.
On the theme “Baker’s Dozen”, what do you have cooking for the rest of 2013 and into early 2014? Give us a virtual taste of what we can expect from you.
Well right now I'm waiting on a few more songs for a 7" comp of all Metro Detroit area hardcore bands. It’s gonna be called "Fair Warning". I'm not sure when it will be out but it's gonna have brand new songs from Freedom, Retribution, From Hell, One by One, and True Love. The entire thing is an homage to my favorite comp of all time that came out on Revelation record way back in 1987; the New York Hardcore Together Comp. Other than that I have nothing planned.
Speaking of the New York comp, I know you're an early Rev junkie and have quite the extensive collection. How long have you been working on it, and what about that era of the label and of hardcore in general do you find to be so awesome?
One of the first records I ever bought was Gorilla Biscuits “Start Today” on black vinyl which was probably like 5 years ago, maybe more. Since then I’ve been really focusing on the early Rev catalog for about a year now. I mainly focus on Rev 1-22 which includes a few stinkers but for the most part it’s all great stuff. Most of my favorite classic hardcore records are within that range (Rev 1-22).
So I know you've been working on trying to start a band of your own on and off for a while now. Where do things stand with that and what kind of project are you hoping to start?
Yeah I’ve tried to get a few bands going but nothing ever works out. I wanted to do a band that sounded like Swiz for a while but I don’t think anybody else around here even knows who that band is. I’d also love to do a band that sounds something like Judge only not straight edge but I doubt it will ever happen.
Lastly, I know it’s kinda early and everything, but what kind of ill swag can the kids look forward to picking up from your table at Bled Fest next year?
That’s actually really funny that you would ask that because I’m pretty sure I’m banned from ever attending Bled Fest after I had a few too many drinks one night and attacked their Facebook page for the Fest during "free ticket February", which is when they have people guess which bands are going to be playing. I decided to guess about 100 random bands that would never play Bled Fest or even just random words. At the time it was very entertaining but I ended up getting blocked from posting on the page and they called me out on Facebook and said something about not letting me in. That was a few years ago so they might have forgotten, but either way I’d never pay money to get a table at that sad excuse for a DIY fest.
Jam the jams: http://losttimerecords.bandcamp.com/
Buy the wax: http://losttimerecords.storenvy.com/