When I first got involved in the Kansas City music scene three years ago, The Record Machine (TRM) was one of the first (non-band) names I learned. I'm really excited to learn more about TRM. Can you tell the readers a little about TRM? (Who is makes up TRM? When did you get started? What motivated TRM to get started? Anything else?)
The Record Machine started back in 2003 by Nathan Reusch, Mike Russo, and Ricky Robinett as KC’s answer to Saddle Creek Records in Omaha. Since then we have taken several twists and turns by working with bands from KC/LFK to all over the country in various genres. Over the thirteen years of putting out some of our favorite music, Nathan has been the constant person pushing the label forward. Luckily, a few years ago Alex Ellis, Steven Ervay, and Anna Selle joined the team and have helped turn The Record Machine into what it is today.
One of your most known events is probably Middle of the Map. This festival is one reasons I fell in love with Kansas City and grew my love for live music. How did this festival come about?
NR: "The idea-seed of the festival was planted when I was at SXSW in 2010. After feeling the energy there, I wanted to bring it to KC. I set up a meeting with the (then) brand new Ink Magazine and pitched them on the idea. They readily got behind it and helped us bring our dream into a reality.”
Various Blonde at the Record Machine showcase at the Crossroads Music Fest
What is your favorite part of the festival? NR: “Personally I love how the festival has grown. We didn't anticipate that it would be more than a music festival, but adding the film fest and Ideas portion has made the festival feel very rewarding. It's not just the one dimensional event.”
Do you think this has changed the music scene in KC? NR: “I think that Middle has created a lot of good opportunities for local music to come together as a community. It is a lot of fun to see Record Machine bands open for artists that they admire. I always enjoy telling bands who they will be sharing the stage with and they just start losing it and get so excited. It's a great honor to organize and work on the festival.
In addition to promoting and releasing music, you've been doing some pretty cool things and events.
It's been super fun seeing your "Show Us Your Space" videos of bands practice spaces. Who's up next? SE: “Our team member Anna Selle is spearheading this series with Mike Russo. They’ve done several videos already, available on our Facebook page, and have a few more coming out; one with a local hip-hop group, and another with an indie-rock outfit from Chicago.
Your Hip Hour podcast has been taking me deeper into the hip hop scene. Who's going to be featured next?
SE: “This project is executed by our team member Alex Ellis. He has a deep passion for hip-hop and it’s really rewarding to listen to the podcasts that he does and hear his excitement come through. I think we are on the cusp of something big in our hip-hop scene, and I’m glad that The Record Machine can help promote it, even if it’s just a little. All of the completed Hip Hop Hour Podcasts are available on our YouTube channel. I believe the final episode of the season will be featuring Domineko.
Last month you kicked off Sound Machine in epic fashion! Some bands were from your label and others not with a variety of genres. How did you select the bands? How did this event come about?
NR: “When selecting bands to play, we like to first cultivate a vibe for the night. The first Sound Machine culminated with Shonen Knife finishing off the night, so we wanted a more punk-influenced line-up. The plan is to make each Sound Machine a little bit different and be able to explore different genres. One of the goals of Middle of the Map is promoting the KC music scene, the music in our backyard year-round. Sound Machine is just an extension of that goal. Sound Machine is our take on what might happen in any room at Middle, just more regularly. The next event, November 11th, will feature Jaenki, GGOOLLDD (from Milwaukee), Various Blonde, and Valley Hush (Detroit).”
I've been enjoying the more intimate feel at Revolutions Per Month. These shows are at Ollie’s Local. It's been fun seeing people play in a little different formats at these shows. Are there any moments that stand out for you?
SE: “The owner of Ollie’s, Eddie, is a great guy. He came to TRM and asked if we would like to host a monthly acoustic show and I jumped all over it. It’s always fun for me to see the bands that I love in various settings. My goal for RPM is to select bands that don’t often perform acoustic shows in KC/LFK. Though I have loved every RPM so much (genuinely), one of my favorite performances was Pink Royal’s. Those dudes have so much talent, and seeing it translated into that stripped-down format was unbelievably rewarding for the music nerd inside.” The next show will feature Sons of a Great Dane and Shadow Rabbits on November 12.
The Good Hearts playing at Revolutions Per Month
Awesome bands currently on The Record Machine's label:
Valley Hush * Various Blonde * The Philistines * Historian * iLLPHONiCS * Light Music
Max Justus * The Noise FM * Spirit is the Spirit * Stolen Nations * Westerners
Find your next favorite band!
Posted 10th November 2016 by Kimberly