#365 Rob Castellon - Owner and Operator of Wiretap Records. on the Mike Herrera Podcast

Jun 21, 2021 15:52 · 13073 words · 62 minute read

well dude thanks for being on i appreciate it rob castion that’s it yeah so uh pronounced it you pronounced it better than most people again man so thank you for that yeah i got it wrong you know when i first read it i thought it was castellon and i was like that can’t be right because you know the two l’s it’s a spanish name my uh i took one year of spanish in junior henry so i’m not i’m not super fluent but uh i try i try to pay attention a little bit uh welcome thank you man this is uh this is a treat man so thank you for that so those that don’t know we’re gonna get of course all into it but you are the founder the the owner and operator of wiretap records and um you also do you have a new imprint on the label what’s that called yeah no uh we started about a year ago a good friend of mine um we started a new imprint called migrito which is yeah which is a little bit more um you know aimed to help you know helping you know uh latinos and chicanos kind of music and stuff and you know we can kind of talk about that but that launched uh about a year ago or actually not even we’re coming up on a year in september so less than a year ago excellent yeah we’ll talk about that later um just i just was reading over some of the the stuff that wiretap has been doing and i just was blown away by the amount of releases you guys have is so much uh over 90 releases in seven years yeah that’s that’s pretty amazing that’s how i for one like how the hell can you do so many releases what’s your release schedule is it like do you do you have a release every week is it is it like a few things a month what what’s that situation we’ll get into the history of how you started and all that but i’m just blown away by the sheer magnitude yeah it varies value so the first few years wasn’t like that the first few years obviously was maybe five you know uh second year it kind of just increased it over over time but um you know luckily now with um you know things kind of moving forward and kind of progressing and actually kind of picking up a little bit more like we’ve been blessed man and then you know we’ve been we’re probably averaging 14 releases probably a year you know and again this is combination all physical obviously and um some digital eps and whatnot but i mean these are you know i i still consider eps and you know and singles as releases so but there’s constantly obviously i think last year from july through november of last year we had a release uh every single week um through every you know throughout the whole year for us so it’s kind of it’s crazy because you think that during the pandemic we’d be kind of scaling back but it actually got busier during during the pandemic last year so i i don’t know i don’t know what i wanted to tell you about we just kind of kind of just dove into it last year and kind of been picking up and you know we’re approaching i think we’re actually we just uh put in the order for 91 um uh the catalog number 91 release 91 uh last last week so yeah now it’s uh it’s crazy how how how much it’s grown what’s the thought process behind doing so much volume you know i i think it’s kind of one of those things where like if i’m excited about something i try to run it with it you know obviously within my means if there’s a budget for it if there’s something that’s going to fit on a schedule i go with my gut man you know and i try to say you know what if people need to hear this and i like it and i go with it and let’s say let that tell the band let’s put it out you know um luckily i think um the bands i’ve been working with are all think the same way you know they’re constantly kind of you know cheering out content and songs and singles and whatnot i think we kind of i found a good batch of bands that have the same kind of mentality that i do and we’re all about just getting content out there whether it be a single or they’re constantly recording you know so i think they kind of get it i’m being fortunate a lot of the bands kind of get like the the model of constantly having to have content whether to be a video or a single one not so yeah i think that’s kind of the mentality behind it man yeah also i think bands have finally kind of realized we can’t just put out a record and let the record label promote it you have to promote yourself everything you do you got to promote yourself and same with shows shows i mean it took bands so many years to realize oh we should promote the shows we’re doing because i mean even mxpx was we were out on you know it was late it was the uh i would say it was probably like late 2000s somewhere in there and and just the shows were kind of like not as good and we we realized okay we’re not out here promoting each show and so when we started promoting every show when we came back strong uh you know 10 years ago or so uh we less than 10 years ago to be honest probably like seven years seven eight years ago 2013 uh we we realized that was one of the biggest things was we have to promote ourselves that’s why we started doing like promo videos for a show we would do that for every single show we ever did and and i think bands nowadays kind of get it you know you gotta do your own promotion you have to work with somebody you can’t just let somebody run with their ideas and one either it’s not gonna get done or the people are gonna do all the work and then feel i don’t know not feel good about the fact that they didn’t have any help uh or three you know well so so nothing’s gonna get done they’re gonna do all the work and things are gonna get done but then it’s not a good team or like the third option is everybody works together everybody’s happy i i feel like i mean what you’re doing seems to be working you know it it’s hard because when you know when you when you put out so much stuff not everything’s going to hit the same or or whatever and it’s just you don’t always know what’s going to happen but i think just just keeping it going is is the main thing that’s going to help yeah no that’s the yeah that’s exactly i think everything is said exactly true meant like i think just keeping content going and not only from just a handful of bands but having multiple bands doing a thing and you know there is that that sense of you know community from the artist that i’ve you know compiled over the years and i think you know i think having constant music coming out is great man you know from a fan standpoint like i love it man you know having something to work on you know this isn’t you know wiretap is is is obviously consumed a big part of my time you know and of course now my grito but i mean it keeps me keeps me keeps me occupied man you know i told myself i keep keep doing this as long as it was fun and it’s still fun so yeah it’s been great everybody you know that has some sort of hobby or something creative that they love to do i mean it really sure even if it doesn’t make you money it’s something that you love so it doesn’t even matter i mean that’s why i got into music i wasn’t doing it for the money it was just this is what i love to do and so yeah i love that idea i love the the uh the vibes uh i’d love to know 2014 what what were you feeling why start a record label yeah i know that’s always the uh the question like um and and it was never supposed to be a label you know um i think i i i told my wife like you know you know i i got just turned 35 maybe or something like that you know and i don’t want to say with a midlife christ but i was like in that time we were like what am i doing you know like now it’s time to get stuff done you know you’re like i’m not getting any younger and it was kind of just a bucket this type thing i told my wife like i think i want to put out a 7-inch you know and put out a 7-inch 45 record and kind of be done with it you know so she’s like how much is going to cost you know and of course you know as long as it’s not dipping into our savings and and whatnot so uh found two uh two local bands um and i’ll all kind of preface that by saying like i i worked you know in radio at the time i actually still work in the entertainment industry um but i was working at k rock um uh ali station great station here in l.

a um and huge station one of the i mean huge for mxpx for sure yeah no of course man you know obviously they they spun you guys you know numerous times you know and i’ve got you guys played a like you know you guys played wieneros and that kind of thing right i think you guys played weirdos and a handful of other shows do so um so 12 years of that huh so what were you doing for k rock um i started as just like your normal kind of entry level uh doing band drivers you know to go into shows um doing the promo thing and kind of slowly ease my way into um more in the sales marketing side integrated marketing so i was doing that for a number of years for about seven years um you know and in that in that particular role and by all accounts loving my job you know obviously going the perks of you know working in radio is great you know you get you know get to go to free shows you get to do stuff and by all means file accounts having a great time but part of me just felt like i wasn’t in touch with like independent music you know like i grew up going to shows and stuff and doing that and you know i was going to shows and going to see bands like you know alabama shakes or cage the elephant and which great bands of course right like these are you know bands that are that are that are amazing but didn’t feel like i was you know i wasn’t going to shows i wasn’t really kind of doing my you know i got i felt like i wasn’t contributing to the scene that i grew up in you know um so you know again going you know going back to what you know telling my wife i think i want to put out for a seven inch and be done with it um so um i found two local bands um that i had kind of just been kind of just you know keeping on my back pocket um one of them actually was um i know you had jason from marty karate on a few episodes ago yeah yeah so one of the bands that i approached was uh audio karate side project called indian school um indian school was the side project um which is basically js body which is basic in this school basically audio card minus jason okay um when uh audiocard disbanded in begins 2006 they started indian school um and then that was a side project that they did so uh reached out to art from audi karate and you know i said hey you know put it on seven inch would love to have you guys as you know on the split within with another band um and you know found the other band a band called watch for horses here at uh out of california kind of indie rockish kind of thing and that was it man went off and running you know and of course made the rookie mistake that every every you know small independent label owner does and pressed like three different variants 507 inches and you know being because i thought i was gonna be my my only one so i went all out you know way too many um way too many yeah i think i think i’m almost sold out of that one yeah um but that was it man you know it sold fairly well and you know i was able to recoup my investment and you know and didn’t want to stop of course man so here we are seven years later and i’m still doing it you know wow okay where do you go from there so so what was the first couple releases you you did like full on releases and and what’s the most challenging part about releasing a record like what do you got to do yeah no i’ll i’ll admit that yeah i’d be lying if i said i didn’t know what the hell i was doing you know right that first that falls first year so you know a lot of it was kind of just getting reintroduced to the scene again you know i was i was you know been i’ve been out of it and not really been keeping up with the scene and what was what music new music in general so a lot of it was diving in and and reading the websites again diving into punk news again diving into like you know the websites and whatnot and kind of just getting getting getting into the scene again going going back to more shows and a lot of that is kind of just you got to do your work you know you got to keep going to shows and and being active because when you start a label in general like you’re not getting submissions and when the submissions come they’re not great you know so it’s like you gotta do your homework you know so a lot of it’s pretty was pretty bad early on you know but um what is it about that why why don’t good band submit because there’s just that’s the way the world works it’s like vegetables don’t taste good because they’re good for you exactly yeah no but we you know we got a few handful you know and a lot of it was when you first start like one you have a limited budget you can’t put out everything that you that you love right um and two like you know you’re you’re literally taking your chance with an unknown band you know a lot of bands so um we we put out you know the first few releases we put out we we worked at the band out of north carolina called wolves and wolves and wolves and wolves i know that’s a lot of wolves um but yeah um those guys we put out a seven inch with those guys that did fairly well as well um we worked at the band out of milwaukee called avenues um that’s like just you know pop like kind of like um you know standard kind of pop-up is kind of like fat record stuff stuff um and then the fourth release we actually put out was actually uh spanish love songs um their debut record uh giants blues so yeah i’ve had them on the podcast as well i’ve had so like exactly geez i’ve had so many people scott lamb brent watersworth uh brendan schulz yeah it’s not on purpose though i mean i didn’t realize they were all connected to wiretap until oh you’re on wiretap too oh but uh you know for whatever reason i would check you got a lot of good bands a lot of great really unique sounding artists so i mean that leads me to the question what what makes you sign a band like how do you get signed a wiretap like what what’s the can what’s what’s the common thread is there a common thread is it just solely based on your whim which is cool but yeah it kind of it kind of is man you’re not like i keep going back i keep going back to the fact like if i dig it if you know just like when you when you first hear a bandage on that you know put a side of being a label owner like if you hear something you’re like dude i i dig this this is cool i like it and get excited about it and i keep calving that i keep sticking to that mentality when i first get you know send something and i dig it i kind of obviously there’s more factors that go into it you know like you know the label’s still a business and you still try to obviously try to look at other factors of course like does a mentor and does a band have a social following so there of course there’s there’s a lot of value that goes after but i mean initially if it grabs me hooks me and i think it’s a good record i i explore it you know um of course you gotta you know talk to the band and see what their what their goals are and if they align with what your goals are of course and you can make it work great but again i keep just going if i dig it i dig it you know and it varies because like you know i’d say most people kind of think of wiretap as like a pop punkish kind of you know whatever you want to call like punkish label you know but we’ve put out records that are that kind of lean shoegazi or you know like kind of lean plus hardcore we work with like the casket lottery you know fans like that but i mean i think they all kind of fall within that window you know of slash quantico punk you know um but again you know i think punk keeps you know keeps redefining itself right like i wouldn’t be opposed to working with a hip-hop album you know if it made sense you know like if if that’s what kind of you know i was feeling the time then i’ve i’d like to think that i’m kind of just going with my gut on what i think i like but i think people will like so that’s gonna kind of been the model you know i guess that would be like the the positive spin on what epitaph is doing um they’re just changing like mtv you know stopped playing music because it wasn’t pop you know it was all reality shows at some point and of course they ended up losing but everybody lost at that point but yeah back to epitaph i mean what are your thoughts on on how different a lot of their releases are they still have their classic releases but yeah all the new stuff seems to be hip-hop all like soundcloud rap kind of stuff yeah you’re right um i i think that i think for me um if you like it you like it no not really man like i said like that and i when i said i i would work with the hip-hop artist but i think it still has to have that common thread you know i mean like if it was a hip-hop artist that was like raised on punk and he got it you know like you know you take somebody like travis parker he comes from the scene obviously like he’s evolved now into what he is he’s a brand now right but i mean like he gets it you know but so if he came across an artist that kind of got it and that came up you know listening to nxbx and listening to you know bands like you guys and bands that we associate with and whatnot i think i think it kind of just makes sense you kind of have to you know i think it just would have to like click yeah and i think and i think i think the audience and fans are savvy to that and if they see on our side all right this guy is a hip-hop artist but he gets it so i think it’s actually it’s hard to explain you know i think i know what you mean it it’s good it’s good for one totally yeah yeah but a whole says that common thread of punk rock somewhere in there oh yeah so but whatever tells you and a lot of other labels too like i don’t blame them i don’t like obviously you know think that they’re changing the sound for a particular reason but i mean you know um i think everything’s got to evolve just to a degree too you know i think a label like epidemic has the luxury to take those chances or i might not have the luxury to do that and kind of alienate my my core audience right now you know well that’s that’s the thing is you have maybe you have an audience you can tap into some of their audience that’s looking for the stuff they used to do that they’re not doing as much but you guys are wiretaps i mean there’s all these the world is a big place we can all we can all work together we can all work separately whatever it is but i mean i think there’s enough people that you know it’s just about finding those people and them finding you that’s the hard part honestly is connecting yeah in today’s fragmented it’s like oh the internet you can you can reach the whole world well sure but there’s barriers everywhere on the internet in a weird way that we don’t see we don’t see these barriers but there’s a lot of suppression that happens so finding people is really the challenge i would assume you know from your standpoint you’ve struggled with that with social media posts and and getting you know promos out there what’s your main like how do you get the word out mainly or is it not a one thing i mean of course it’s not one thing but if there was something important or the main thing that you’d use i’d love to hear about that yeah no um it’s it’s still obviously i don’t know it’s a struggle but like it’s still a struggle you know something just like i said earlier like sometimes an artist kind of hits and some and and doesn’t there’s another release that you think is going to go off and be huge and it doesn’t quite hit the way you hope it wanted to right but i mean like we brought on um uh mike and earshot media who handles our pr for us um and we’ve been working with them for a number of years now and you know again that’s another part of the puzzle that you every band label everything you you need pr you need somebody on your side that’s out there waving the flag again you know he’s been a big help with getting not only the label you know kind of you know bigger bigger uh visibility but also obviously the hardest thing getting up getting them good looks and whatnot so yeah i see his emails all the time so yeah yeah exactly so um it it takes a you know as i say it takes a team right to build but i mean wiretap essentially just is myself but you know i was you know the first few years i did it myself you know trying to do pr myself but that’s not easy man it’s not an easy thing to get people’s attention so well even aside from pr just even just straight up sales and and sure you know getting people to see that you have a new album ready for sale like that’s hard right like do you use facebook ads do you use google ads you use all of those kind of things available or how savvy are you with with all that yeah i’m somewhat savvy again again you know i since i work in in media and marketing you know i do have experience with some of that stuff um the only challenging part with that is that again budget wise and you know we don’t have the luxury of having an extended marketing budget for every release so a lot of it is just having you know getting stuff that i’ll use the word organic but having the bands create organic content and constantly be you know sharing stuff out there so um you know like for the level that wiretaps are right now and you know the fact that we’re having this conversation you’ve heard of where it happened is i’m humbled by that that said it’s gotten big enough now where people have heard of it and it’s getting the recognition you know that that you know the bands are getting recognition so the fact that it’s that to that level i’m stoked on that man you know hard work of course yeah of course you know so i’d love for it to be my full-time job and have it grow to an epitaph size type size of course but i mean like the fact that you know that it’s where it’s at now i’m i’m totally happy with that sure sure maybe you just need like maybe there’s a missing piece of the puzzle that will help you push that over the top like maybe it’s finding a partner that that’s doing you know for me as a as a everybody thinks i’m like this big entrepreneur entrepreneur or whatever i’m not i’m an artist i write songs i i like to do things that are creative which i guess is the entrepreneur part or whatever and i have you know like artwork on on hoodies and stuff like that but like that doesn’t mean i can know how to run a business right so uh i’m sure i know how to run it more than some other people but like you got i find you know with my team like my business partner tom chichilla and and uh you know and the team goes on from there there’s so many people helping out what mxpx does um i can only imagine how hard it is to run a record label when you have not just one band you have you know what 20 plus i don’t know how many bands you have right now on your roster but like a lot uh that could get just devastatingly overwhelming so how do you how do you how do you run your day-to-day from not driving you crazy especially because you’re going to you know your day job and then you’re doing this at do you do most of your work at night or what’s your day-to-day yeah no um luckily you know now that i’m working remotely for mom my day job so i do have a little bit of luxury to kind of you know work work from home during the day and whatnot you know of course but i mean um yeah early on a lot of it was you know uh you know when i was driving in into my commute um a lot of time was you know don’t tell the chp but i was a lot of it is listening to music on the road and trying to send emails you know during my off time you know during my breaks when i like you got to do work you got to do whatever you can you know like that’s the diy diy spirit right it’s like figuring a way to get it done um working on the weekends you know uh working you know after but the kids are bad yeah i got two little ones at home and you know being a full-time dad being you know husband you know and having a day job it’s you gotta find time to make it work somewhere so um luckily now like i said like you know a lot of it is just we’re all on our phone all day long right you know a lot of it is is messaging with the bands and communicating with them on a daily basis um but sometimes like i wonder myself how i find time to to make it all work man you know i mean it really does take communication to make anything successful any any kind of creative adventure business adventure venture adventure yeah it is an adventure but yeah you know i was thinking about tick tock like they have managers that uh for their tick tock uh celebrities right they have managers that will email and and like make sure that this artist this tick tock artist has yeah you know here’s the content you know this these are trends that are happening right now on tick tock if you do a video like this i’m pretty sure it’s going to go viral you know like it’s just like they help their people out you know they’re celebrities and that’s a newer thing like that doesn’t that’s that’s not something that’s really been a thing that’s happened in uh any of the other social media platforms you know facebook doesn’t call you or send you an email and be like let me let me help you out like yeah anyway just it’s just funny how things are constantly constantly changing but like the fact that you have to you you have somebody as big as tick tock realizing that it’s very important to keep in contact with your biggest stars and in your case it would be whoever you’re in contact with each band uh point person or whatever um it it’s how the world works it really is so for those listening communication and i am a terrible communicator but i think the podcast has made me a little bit better at it but but uh that’s the thing like uh you’re like one of those ladies in the in the mirror doing her makeup in the car on the way to work but you’re actually instead of putting my makeup on um um for finding emails or you know i’m you know like if i got you know my release rate on spotify plane and something comes up like that i i like or i’m like oh this what’s this you know like i’m digging into it and you know i shouldn’t be doing that while i’m driving but but i mean yeah you got just just like you need to be communicating you got to be paying attention and i think that’s kind of what has weight weight in my favor is that i’m constantly paying attention you know it’s like yeah you know is is what you know what’s what’s out there and what’s coming up you know what where what is it for you that that makes it worth it what’s the where’s that dopamine rush where’s that that uh that moment that you’re like like as an artist when i come up with like a song or when we really maybe it’s the releases i mean where is that for you early on i guess it was you know it was the physical part is receiving a record yeah yeah get in an order that first order in right and be like oh crap cool i’ve sold 20 records of a record you know i’m getting excited about that it’s always baby steps it’s like it’s the next kind of you know the goal i guess right um early on it was like about selling records and the physical and and you know shipping out a hundred records and being like damn i spent you know seven hours packaging records in my garage you know um and then early you know later on as we as it started kind of growing a lot of the artists started getting more notoriety and recognition and getting playlisted and getting picked up on you know playing on radio and things like that it’s all that stuff man you know it’s like you know i don’t want to compare it to like you’re a dad i’m a dad you know it’s a lot of times these bands are i’m like you know the label dad you know it’s it is it is that you know um it is it is kind of that you know that proud proud dad moment of having a band like you know get picked up and playing punk rock bowling or playing you know whatever festival or playing you know or getting you know playing the radio or you know you’d be you know that that premiere on whatever website right um but yeah you know like right now it’s just it’s a lot of that it’s just you know every moment i’m proud of like every band that when they accomplish something so you’re almost there in a way yeah totally um um what about playlists do you how much time do you spend trying to get music onto playlists like say spotify or yeah uh we do you know part of part of the campaign you know we whenever we put out a release you know we do obviously push the play listing and obviously try to you know i don’t think that’s the only goal but obviously playlist does help with obviously with the release and and you know a lot of times it doesn’t always get picked up you know like it’s really weird because no one’s got the the no one’s got the formula no it’s not they wish yeah yeah you know so but i mean i remember the first time that one of our bands got painted it was like oh and you know dude i was like this is amazing this is good you know now it’s taking off like this band’s gonna blow up and it doesn’t always happen that way you know like you can get picked up on like a new punk tracks or a punk unleashed or something like that and have it on for four days or five days and then it’s gone you know so it’s like you really have to kind of use that window to kind of you know um push that out and ride that wave if you will you know um so but i mean yeah you know we spent a lot of time obviously trying to get every release playlisted um we also do our own um playlist on spotify called punk radar so when you can’t get it you know yourself you make your own right or when you can’t get picked up so we made our own you know it’s growing kind of modestly um but if people want to follow it on on spotify it’s called hashtag punk radar so cool you know it’s great yeah yeah yeah so absolutely we have our own artists on there but we sprinkle it with other obviously other other labels you know that that we admire you know and you know try to support the scene like that yeah it is different than it used to be i mean mxpx ignored spotify and it’s streaming all together really until after we released our self-titled in 2018.

i mean can you imagine we didn’t even like pay attention to spotify before that and so we’re kind of paying the price a little bit on some of that stuff but like the history and the algorithm and all that matters big time but like play listing um i mean it’s how a lot of these labels just make all their money from playlisting it’s not real there’s a real difference between playlists and play plays and i think organic plays like an actual person even though it is an actual person i guess sometimes on the playlist stuff but like for for though and i don’t understand it that well people so people listening take this with a grain of salt but uh but you know just from my understanding it’s just so strange that that money-wise and and i agree you know you kind of have to go for the playlists right to get that get all those plays get pushed out there i guess it’s a little i mean and then the organic plays is what you actually ultimately want which is the hardest to get because even people that don’t necess even people that do want to listen to i want to listen some punk rock some wiretap punk rock they may not get fed that wiretap punk rock you know or whatever exactly yeah you’re exactly right man i think and i think the actual that’s why whenever we first start working with the band um i explained to them like yes the playlist is great getting picked up on the official ones and you know on the official playlist but your goal and our goal is to be is to getting people to follow you because that’s when um on friday when your record comes out they’re going to get a notification that says hey you know so-and-so has a new record out today or it’ll appear on the release radar or their um um what’s the uh it’s release radar and then they’re um um there’s a few other ones that’ll suggest like what’s what’s new based on your your past listening if they’re not following you they’re not going to get that notification so that’s why it’s like the goal should always be to get people to follow you on spotify again but again again i’m no pro you know like you know we’re lucky that some of our band bands have been picked up and somebody there has been has taken taken a note of what we’re doing but i mean the more content we have with pr and and interviews and and getting the bands out there i think the better chances you have like getting people’s attention and that’s that’s all we’ve been trying to do yeah no and i want to add if i could just a note about spotify you know we talk about spotify because it’s kind of like what a lot of musicians talk about but there’s tons of streaming services all of them are pretty good actually all of them are great so whatever you’re using if you like it keep using it and and like you know go like some wiretap bands on that uh whatever it is you know and a lot of i was gonna say a lot of artists will only post their spotify um you know link whereas i know it’s you know it’s just more work but you know if you had a link that had spotify apple music deezer you know whatever you know all the all of them uh that would make more sense right so like things little things like that it’s hard to build you can’t build it day one but if you are an artist out there trying to release music those are just you know just little things make it easier for people to find you you know because not everybody has spotify yeah absolutely yeah now that’s why you know of course everyone you can’t ignore spotify but then you’re right there’s there’s so many more out there like we love like i i particularly love band camp which is a you know smaller one and you know a lot more a lot more artist friendly um but i mean again even banned camp has had its limitations too and they’re it’s very basic and it doesn’t have a lot of data uh analysis but but that’s okay because it’s for really beginning artists or you know it’s for anybody but but it really is great for beginning artists people that don’t have a lot of tentacles out there band camp is a a great spot if you have a but i think eventually i think the way artists do make money and the way labels make money is is like what you’re doing you’re just you’re doing a lot of releases and you’re trying to get them everywhere everywhere anybody that’ll listen any radio station and eventually it just becomes a snowball and it gets some momentum so people run out of money you know or they run out of energy or they just you know they don’t have love for it anymore but i think ultimately no matter what you’re doing if you just keep doing it the snowball effect will happen in some way because you’re doing some cool stuff it’s just i think it’s hard hard business really it’s a grind man yeah you know everyone asked me like you know how am i going to do that how you know how how long are you going to do this i’m like i said earlier i’m going to keep doing it until it’s fun you know and until it’s fun it’s yeah well i’m sorry until it’s not playing anymore right it hasn’t been fun for seven years yeah um yeah yeah um so yeah it’s it’s it’s a grind man you know like it really is something just like you being in a band like it really is kind of an on um i don’t want to say like it’s you know like you put stuff out there and like you know like early on it’ll be like you’re excited to share something and then like you get you share on social media you get four likes or you sell two records you know and like a lot of times you know i’d be lying if i said like i didn’t think about quitting years ago you know but having those little wins you know here and there kind of keeps you going you know but i mean it’s it’s a grind you know it’s a very um selfless kind of of a job you know or to run a label like anybody who runs a label now like i guess you could say like i went to the the mike park asian man records school of runner label you know right what’s the what’s the uh the top line on that school what’s the first thing you learned what’s what’s the motto is like you know i don’t know man like mike does the thing because he loves it man you know like he’s been doing it for years and because he let me know there you go yeah so that’s that’s kind of my my ammo i guess for running wiretap too right i mean that’s kind of why i wanted to start rock city back in the day you know our short-lived label that we did and and it you know became a thing that i would just release my side project projects on or whatever but it wasn’t it was a real label but we just i i was never personally full-time you know and and even just the short amount of of uh work that we did on that i can only imagine 90 90 releases and having to check the artwork and and i’m sure there’s times where you’ve you’ve slacked and you haven’t proof read everything and you’ve learned the hard way like okay i i need or maybe you still haven’t i don’t know if you’ve maybe not learned this lesson but yeah anything come to mind oh yeah absolutely yeah like we’re you know you’re running again you’re running 100 miles per hour and you know maybe listening to a test pressing you’re like it’s fine you know i mean and and then approving a test press and the band’s like hey so it’s a little off whatever things like that you know like that only happened once years ago but i mean the one time that i can remember that i i [ __ ] up was um it’s funny because you had hunter on from decent criminal uh on the last year yep um we partnered with uh to put out you know uh their last record uh their flask full-length um and we partnered with a label out of um uh belgium called bearded punk records and um we you know we had their catalog number but i mean uh i put their catalog number as like bp000 as a filler until i got their actual uh catalog number extended to print like that so there’s if you have that decent criminal record that we pressed from two years ago it and you look at the catalog number it says bp000 on it i [ __ ] up and i i totally took that and i explained to the guy bjorn who runs that label i’m like hey dude i’m sorry i sent this to prank without um getting your actual catalog number on that so it happens that hurts when you realize it and you’re like yeah but it’s kind of cool right like it’s kind of like a yeah it’s kind of a misprint right yeah it’s a misprint it’s like baseball cards and it helps that the record is great so you know you kind of overlook that that the uh it’s got the misprint but the the record’s awesome stuff yeah yeah that’s cool that is cool little stories you live and learn you know and and that’s the funny thing is is it’s never going to come up exactly like that it’s always going to be yeah it’ll be this a similar problem disguised in a different way and so you have to be like all right is there any was there anything like that for like mxbx in the past that you can think of con everybody every time i never learned no so many things so many things uh there’s typos in life in general there’s uh there’s um i i i recently like for the box set i would say no because we proofread that thing multiple people nicole tom i myself proofread it every single lyric every single i like had to fix lyrics because you know you’re getting lyrics off google and google is not correct most of the time i mean you know they get most of it right and then there’s always something wrong so i had to like go through all of that stuff and like make sure you know and not just the lyrics but just all the credits it’s just a lot you know you’re going through 10 albums plus all the you know the book there’s a book that it comes with so that was uh that was when i realized how important it is to proofread because when you like there was times when i would like make a correction send it send it to the designer come back not correct you know what i mean so like okay something happened all right let’s it happens let’s go back do it again and you know you got to go through and that tells me that even if i like proofread something you got to proofread again if it’s something that important if it’s like one record it’s it’s much easier but i think just the due diligence is um it’s a thing that even if you do screw it up rob you can at least say i proofread it twice i think um i must have just been out of my body at that time or something because it makes no sense like i i try to leave it at at that level and i still happen to yeah and i still screw things up not not super important things but i’ll uh you know i’ll forget something at the grocery store or something i can’t imagine that you know that project the the box set is is a was a beast man i can imagine doing that whole you know 10 albums you know but that’s that’s awesome huge yeah it took quite a while quite a long time to put together but uh i mean i would say for for if if you do a collection at some point you know it’s it’s really fun and it’s hard but you own all this stuff i think one of the hardest things in putting together our box set was just the fact that we didn’t own all of our records we didn’t have the rights to them all um and that makes things really messy and really much not even just a level harder but like many levels harder but uh yeah i guess at the end of the day money money solves most problems so that’s what we just had to pay out the ass for for all of them so yeah but uh but i think on your end as a record label man you could put together some really cool stuff and it’s all about having something that’s just not average having something that’s a little different than what you’ve seen before yeah as far as physical products yeah the collection of things is you know i know it’s coming up on seven years now for wiretap but i mean yeah i wouldn’t i’d be lying if i said i i wasn’t thinking about the 10-year anniversary already there you go yeah so we’ll see how how that pans out down the line if we got a few years for that yeah so i mean are you how many how often do you have to pivot your business strategy how you promote how you’re working with people have you ever had to i mean can you talk about that yeah yeah sort of yeah um we were fortunate um in 2000 i want to see 17 or 18.

um we started doing uh a record club uh which a lot of labels do record clubs you know like basically obviously it helps offset costs for you at a time and helps fund races down the line but i mean you know the first year sold you know we got about we got a few uh subscribers but for the past two years we sold out uh we saw that in 2019 we started on 22 2020 uh and that’s obviously i’ll admit that that helped out immensely you know helping us fund records and you know and having that peace of mind of having funds to cover cover costs of course you know but i mean um once you kind of know like all right that’s covered you know then that did kind of allow me to kind of focus my attention more on digital and marketing the record because like you know that’s that’s a big part of sure i want to sell these records and not have them in my garage you know um but yeah but the goal of it is also to help the artist grow right you know and it makes me super happy when you know like i keep going back to like being a proud dad but i mean like having a band like spanish kill song so we put out their record you know early on grow along grow and and be on a bigger label you know and now they’re on pure noise and you know they’re doing their thing and it’s awesome that’s a that’s a proud moment for me you know so but that’s that’s the goal too it’s not on selling records but helping them grow their brand not just you know the wiretap brand because when their brand grows the wiretap branding goes as well so yeah yeah that’s smart that’s really smart and i think you’re right about that and i think it’s something that i don’t i don’t know a lot of people back when we were starting out realize there was a lot of labels fighting over a bunch of [ __ ] and it was just constant but i’m sure it still happens um but i i love your attitude towards you know just your artists and and i i just i want to hear more for sure um what so you obviously had you found the record club and it finally kind of like was successful enough and it obviously hopefully will continue to be successful enough so there’s one thing you’re like okay we got this you know is there what do you think is going to be next are you guys working on anything else that could be akin to that like another service you’re going to provide people is there maybe that’s something you should think about if you don’t know but but i think you know with mxpx we’re constantly having to like think of things like you know let’s do this for a while so we’re between this world and the next live streams but i’d love to hear your thoughts yeah i know i i think this past year was was was just exactly that you know it’s like we all had to get creative you know like um especially with like live streams you know um uh we we we we only did one for wiretap during the pandemic you know just to kind of just everyone at home kind of thing but i mean i’ll kind of touch a little bit upon my grito um you know all kind of you know we can kind of go back to that but we did some live streams um for margarito um uh during the pandemic and that’s another way of kind of reimagining and you know redefining kind of what the label is you know so that’s a new service you guys branch exactly yeah and i know you guys have been doing that amazing with you know when you guys do your your advice streams and those are great so i think you can have to be kind of giving your your fans and your audiences different options if you will you know so that’s definitely something we’re going to continue doing is live streams and there’s something that we’re kind of working on for live streams um i personally don’t think that they’re going away you know i mean like i think that everyone’s like oh things are opening up again live shows are coming back and they are then they’ll be here you know pretty soon and i think by the fall knock on wood while i’ll be going to shows again and whatnot but i mean um i don’t think live streamers are going to go away i think that’ll just turn into something that we do kind of in addition from like a marketing and pr standpoint um so you know that’s something that we’re working on hopefully for the summer and fall that we’ll be doing some wiretap live streams um but yeah right man like i i i don’t have anything on top of my head right now that we’re thinking of that i can maybe even announcement up but it was definitely more from a physical standpoint product standpoint that we’re exploring to do more you know we don’t really do a lot of um apparel type stuff and like you know actual cobra and stuff but we might be kind of diving into more of that because you know again i keep going by the fact that like it’s just me and everything’s in my garage and i can’t have a bunch like yeah i can’t have a bunch of products sitting in the garage so but i think we might be diving a little bit more into helping well at some point it’s got to move out of the garage right yeah for sure maybe that’s that’s where your next step is but you know i’m sure you’re like oh man that’s a whole thing i can’t deal with that now so wow well i mean the future looks pretty bright you know like you were saying um the lockdown with covet and the pandemic that that accelerated if anything it accelerated your your workflow and your the amount of work you had with with wiretap i mean i guess i mean it kind of did for everybody you know in some ways you know anybody that was willing to work right there’s plenty of people that sat around and played video games or at least for a little while and then at some point you’re just like i can’t play any more video games you know i just gotta go do something well i never did i just was working the whole time you know and uh and and it sounds like you you were even more you know you started working more um why is that like what is it because there’s less people working and so like the people that are working feel like there’s more to do what’s like trying to break this down yeah yeah i don’t know i’ve always been like that i think you’re like me man like i constantly have to have like multiple plates kind of spinning like if i’m and i think that’s what inspired me even starting wiretap in general like i don’t say i was bored but i mean i wasn’t creatively fulfilled just doing the nine to five even though i was working at a at a fun job and yeah enjoying my job right but i just i feel like i was you know i i at the time i had young kids so i was you know basically being a dad and kind of just doing the nine to five thing and being like i’m not creatively fulfilled you know so maybe that’s part of what happened but ever since i’ve been i need to have multiple things going or else i’m bored man you know like i don’t see bored but i’m not like i feel like i could i should be contributing you know and the pandemic for sure like i think while most people kind of just learned to bake and do whatever they were doing you know to kill time like i was like all right i can’t be sitting here doing nothing and you know that’s when you know my partner and i decided to start migrating and that’s what’s you know kind of we launched a new label new imprint during the pandemic and you know so yeah it’s like you it’s like you’re an artist writing a song you you you come up with a new thing i love that i mean and the fact that you have an artist’s mind you know you kind of you you think you try to think how the artists think thinks even though everybody’s different each individual of course is who they are but that’s really important because people like people like me don’t like to talk to suits you know they don’t like talk to people in offices and skyrises it just doesn’t feel right it doesn’t feel like wait did i take a wrong turn here like what happened you know and so like i feel like you’re just you you symbiotically like really fit well with with all your bands which i think is important i think it’s great yeah talk about migrato i mean uh who’s who’s your what was your first release like what what yeah what’s it like what kind of is it all spanish music what’s it no no and that’s that’s okay and i’m you know you know i think when i first tell people that you know like that’s what people initially think you know but i mean um i partnered with my best friend uh oscar who i grew up with you know uh so for a number of years he was coming and supporting me and helping me with wiretap and coming to shows and even kind of helping me with like kind of more organizing organizational type stuff for the label and kind of helping me with like you know day-to-day stuff and then it kind of turned into like hey what can we do that we kind of create from scratch and i think during the pandemic we kind of decided hey you know what let’s start an imprint um we both are both you know mexican-american we’re both chicanos and you know i think that we grew up going to shows and even still now and then i think you go to shows and you know a predominantly white male run punk scene you know if you will obviously things are changing it’s obviously what people more aware of of being more inclusive i think it’s slowly kind of changing of course this is a lot of work to do still but we grew up going to shows man and being you know the only brown kids in in in in that show sometimes you know obviously la is different because like socal has obviously a bigger hispanic population but i remember going to shows and being like i don’t i don’t see artists on stage that look like me you know with the exception of of the band that i mentioned earlier uh audi karate i remember going and going to show and seeing the uh the vandals and audi karate opened up and i was like oh [ __ ] there’s kids that look like me on stage right now you know and that’s that’s that’s what that was the mentality behind um kind of starting by doing is that a lot of these bands that um you know play shows in here locally here or the local scene um have never had a publicist or management or don’t understand the whole algorithm thing or don’t understand spotify and i just kind of felt like you know what i could be helping all these bands that don’t have this luxury or have don’t have the budget to be paying for pr or paying for whatever even even even if the record’s great don’t have the money to pay for vinyl you know or things like that so um the first artist that we’re working with is a band out of garden grove called 3lh um they’re kind of surf brockish kind of psych kind of punk stuff you know um very similar to kind of like dcr criminal but with a little bit more of a think think link ray meets uh like the misfits kind of thing you know if that’s kind of an accurate description you know you have to check that out yeah they’re called 3lh you know and there really isn’t a sound just like with wiretap i i never really wanted a sound for wiretap like uh you know i think when i was coming up in the scene or whatever in general like my favorite label in the late 90s 2000s was vagrant um and i guess i actually also interned for vegan records in uh like 99 2000.

so interesting yeah we uh we released an ep on vagra well um my other band arthur yeah yeah i i probably i probably drilled holes in arthur cds for when i was interning there yeah so yeah so i interned that vagrant and you know just always remember about vagrant is that they had a really diverse kind of a you know sound if you will like i think early on like you know face to face with rocket from the crib but dashboard and acalantria but like the anniversary like it was always kind of just all over the place you know and that’s kind of i think how i i feel like wiretap kind of has a sound but it not really has a sound like we’re not like you’re skatepunk label we’re not like your emo label we kind of like kind of somewhere in the middle you know and i kind of feel like they kind of had that that same kind of mentality of their sound right yeah was that so was it rich egan is that was that yeah that was rich egan and john cohen i want to say okay those two guys yeah yeah interesting yeah yeah i remember vagrant was cool i figured it was cool totally yeah that’s not appreciate i’m pretty sure i i drilled a bunch of cds and folded arthur shirts and you know did all that um but you know kind of how that makes make sense with with my grito like the same way like i get that doesn’t have a sound right now like i think when we really think about working with it with the with the band in general from my guitar um you know latinos are into a lot of different type of music man you know it’s they’re into punk they’re in the latin scott they’re into you know you know traditional mixed mexican music but they’re also into hip-hop there is their into rock so i think it kind of makes it you know it varies on on what what the sound is you know like yeah but he knows the random soul music too you know so it’s like obviously that you know we are going to work with the solo artist pretty soon but kind of its own thing you know and so maybe something that we probably couldn’t do with with wiretap um kind of leads a little bit more um with migration how brown do you have to be to get signed you know like we obviously we want to support and and work with you know artists that are of of you know people of color yeah but i mean that’s that’s not doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t work with artists that that don’t um celebrate the culture if you i think that’s more important to us you know it’s like somebody like um i don’t know you know and soul scene like somebody like um nick waterhouse he’s like he’s a soul artist that kind of you know plays 50s live credit but he knows the culture man you know like he knows that that hispanics latinos they celebrate the you know the 50s soul kind of like viabin chicano soul right so you know if if it makes sense and then the coaches being celebrated then we’ll get behind it you know now do you have any mexican music bands like any mariachi band or anything like that any traditional or punk mix into it or something somebody’s got to do that like i know there’s el bronx mariachi or whatever yeah yeah oh sorry my buddy and i will we’ll kind of we’ll ask that question because like yeah there is mariachi oh bronx but i feel like you know say everything patrick said you have your doctor murphys you got your flag and molly those are the bands that obviously like people think of for for irish music right or for irish irish americans right like what’s what’s what’s hispanics band you know like is it hispanic islamic hispanic it’s all a joke i mean i i love man and hispanic but it’s like like is it is it lost lobos i don’t know if low slopes represents my right you know my you know my generations most lonely boys yeah you know they represent some of my culture but uh but they’re they’re very blues and different you know they’re not punk rock for sure like i feel like my my you know in my experience like i feel like i do i haven’t had an artist or a band that represented kind of me in my generation you know that represented like you know i don’t know it’s kind of hard to define it but i mean let’s let’s find a punk rock mariachi band that’s from somewhere in east l.

a there’s got to be somebody out there that’s like yeah i’ve been we’ve been playing for years we just don’t know about him but uh it seems like you’d hear about him eventually but that’s that’s a challenge somebody let me know yeah there are a few bands there’s actually a band out of texas i want to say called pinata protest oh yeah i’ve heard of them yeah yeah so there there’s a there’s a bunch of bands out there that are doing their thing i’m just you know we’re trying to kind of find those artists that you know to work with but i mean yeah i’ve been out for this i’ve seen them a few times and they’re they’re awesome san antonio down there they got a great scene i love the punk rock scene in san antonio texas it’s amazing austin’s great houston’s great dallas is great but i feel like san antonio for punk rock is amazing they just love punk rock there so i’m sure you’ve found you’ve you know you’ve been finding bands in texas but san antonio might be the spot yeah we’ll zero in on on san antonio yeah see we’ll be fine well is there anything else you want to uh you want to add anything we missed what do we not do we talk about everything i mean i could talk about record labels all day i mean just the fact that the the the landscape is constantly changing in the music business in the world we live in i feel like you were talking about live streams and and not going away i totally agree i’ve i mean we’ve already done 10 we have 10 coming up july 2nd but um is our 10th but i feel like it’s going to go into you know oc the the it’s going to go into virtual reality you know you put on vr stuff yeah vr you know we put on the the oct what i kind of octa something i don’t know all the names of the things but i feel like it’s going to go there you know ready play that movie ready player one have you seen that yeah one yeah pretty insane movie yeah just but it’s already you know haptic suits where it moves and you know you get shot with a laser beam and it you know pushes you down i mean the same i can imagine like a world where we happy enough when you put on your vr and you can you can actually feel like like you’re in the pit or something yeah you feel like you’re in the pit you can pick somebody up and throw them and they go flying through the roof and it feels like it’s real but it didn’t actually break your roof like it’s going to be so much cooler to be in that suit than it is to be in real life you know people are like i’m not going to work out anymore in real life i stand in the back now so i think with this vr thing i think it actually i get into the pit now how big of the stave the stage dive is going to be just like all right stage dive mode and then it just like you hover over the crowd and it’s like slow motion i mean just anything’s possible at this point we just uh logan paul versus mayweather and what like that’s that happened okay anything’s possible right so yeah that’s insane it’s gonna be cool just to happen now man our punk shows need to happen now oh my god it’s going to be amazing you know mxpx is down for it and we’ll we’ll uh we’ll do it up dude we’ll get we’ll get all the wiretap bands in on it uh it was fun talking to all your all your people i’ve talked to so many of them uh i wrote down i got i was had taken days on audio karate like you said decent criminal although they worked with you guys i don’t know if you have a release with them or not do you ever you do yeah we put out their last record yeah oh okay there you go mercy music divided heaven moving in stereo spanish love songs so many um and i think i’m gonna have um what is it uh love breakers oh nice i think i have somebody from the library everybody’s out of the uk yeah we putting out their record coming up um end of the month this year uh so yeah they uh another great band that has that uk-ish kind of like um i don’t know i i say it’s like a modern-day jam the jam you know very kind of uk-ish kind of like you know influence like by the clash and very very poppy you know not poppy but a pop punk is not not like in a pop-punk skateboard kind of like not american style pop punk yeah yeah not american stuff like like more like the police meets like you know like just good old you know rock and roll stuff from the uk um they recorded with davey from sharp shock david warsaw yeah dave he’s been on the podcast yeah yeah that’s right yeah another another another connection there yeah so that’s great man that you’re gonna have the guys on so yeah that’s that’s uh excellent so is that your next release love breakers yeah yeah that’s coming up the end of the month this year um uh the record’s called primary colors that comes out on june 25th um what else we got we just put our new record from uh um toronto band called talk show host talk show pretty pretty solid record uh if you know i try not to put records on of that i put out on my own album with your list but this i’m gonna make this make an exception i’m putting that on my own and my own my own top 10.

if i did i would just be all yeah if i had a record later it would be almost exactly stuff everything i put out on my topic exactly and then moldy roses is a new one too yeah moldy roses um they uh put out uh uh their self-title debut ep um a few weeks ago um you know really good orange county you know orange county band that’s got you know punkish kind of you know emo-ish kind of pop-like influence we really get you know three song ep so there’ll be more from those guys hopefully by start of next year that will put a full length of them so cool a lot of stuff man you know um you know we have right right release coming up from um floor team band called auto robot that’s coming out um next this hopefully this coming year um just keeping busy man you know trying to trying to put out as much as we can you know right on all right well tell everybody where to go online to follow you to you know your website i want people to be able to get that and i’ll put it in the show notes as well but so yeah now you can find us on all socials at wiretap records um wiretap records.

com is where you can pick up all the physical um you know obviously um i mentioned the spotify place earlier hashtag punk radar would uh help out all the artists and help us kind of grow that in general um if you want to follow what we’re doing on the side label by magrito at migrito on social on everything um myget. net um yeah you know trying to keep busy and hopefully everyone’s uh picking up what we’re putting out there so absolutely appreciate mike thank you for all the support man dude love what you’re doing man keep it up thanks for watching thank you man cheers.