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26 November 2012

Interview: Wyatt Parkins of Saint Marie Records.

When The Sun Hits interviews 
Wyatt Parkins of Saint Marie Records
Interview by: Amber Crain 
How and when was Saint Marie Records formed? Was it a solo venture or do you have a staff on hand?
The idea was hatched in 2010, and truly started in February 2011, which seems all so long ago at this point. We have 27 artists and 20 releases as of this month. I have my business partner, Anthony Davis and my wife, Kali Parkins. I do all the day-to-day stuff with a lot of help from Kali. We recently started another company as a spin off of Saint Marie Records named Got Sync Music that has 6 employees.

Can you tell us what the label has been up to recently and what you've got forthcoming in the near future?  We had three releases in November: Spotlight Kid, Keith Canisius and a 2-disc compilation. We have one in January by The History Of Colour TV and two in February by Lotte Kestner and Panda Riot. I have also followed in the footsteps of WTSH and started my own blog named FEED ME WITH YOUR KISS. Things have been going well so far! We have interviewed Ringo Deathstarr and we have one with School Of Seven Bells on the way.

Do you consider the music on SMR to be part of the current shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene? Defining one's sound by genre can be tiresome, but do you feel that SMR caters to any genre(s), whether purposefully or not? How do you feel about genres in music, in a general sense?  Yeah, the label really is about 80% Shoegaze/Dreampop, so it is hard to deny. Genres don’t bother me so much; it is really just to get you in the general area so you might know what you are getting yourself into. I know many folks hate it, especially in the Shoegaze arena, but who gives a fuck, really…?

What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop/psychedelia artists, any favorites? There are some amazing acts of very high quality. Aside from our artists, I would have to say my favorites are School Of Seven Bells, Ringo Deathstarr, SPC ECO, Tears Run Rings, Screen Vinyl Image, Heaviness, Astrobrite, and Gliss just to name a few.

What is your process for releasing music via the label? How do you choose your bands, and once signed, what’s the process for releasing music? Do you feel your processes are similar to comparable record labels?  Our process is probably pretty similar, but we do things in-house that other labels contract out. I do a lot of the artwork for SMR releases, and most the ones I don’t do, I piece together. We also do our own PR in the US, which helps save a ton of money.

How do you feel about the state of the music industry today? There is no doubt a massive change underway; how do you see it and do you feel it’s positive at all? How do you feel about your role in it?  I am still not entirely sure what is going to happen; I am along for the ride wherever it goes. Hopefully, whatever happens, we will still be relevant.

When it comes to label releases versus DIY/bandcamp and the like, what is your stance, if any? Do you encourage your bands to release via bandcamp AND via SMR; how do you handle the myriad ways bands may want to release their music outside of the label?   Having run a label for 2 years now, I see more than ever why a label is so important to an artist. The amount of work we do for an artist is so mind blowing when you step back from it. Being organized, having contacts, the right software, great distribution, the passion, on and on and on is so important. DIY has its place but at some point you need a label.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?  For listening, digital is the only way to go, but I still require a physical CD or vinyl record if it is available.

Can you tell us a little about what you are currently into (books, films, art, bands, etc.)?  I am a nerd, and really into anything DC Comics, especially Superman. No real time for films, but some of my favorite shows are The Big Bang Theory, Ancient Aliens, The Universe, Through The Wormhole, How The Universe Works, Family Guy and so on.

If you had to choose one track that was the ultimate definition of the shoegaze/dream pop sound, which would it be and why?
There are so many right answers to this. The Dreampop portion came right to me but Shoegaze is a tough one.

Dreampop: Slowdive – Alison
Shoegaze: Pale Saints - Hunted

What advice would you give others out there who want to start their own record label?
I hope you have lots of time, money, patience and passion.

What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?
Speak your mind, live your life and not someone else’s.

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