Home team wins
Local label Poprockit, run by longtime indie rocker Kevin Seconds, makes a bid for Sub Pop-style recognition
Poprockit Records, a local independent record label, is moving beyond Sacramento toward the national stage. It now has a worldwide distribution deal; its first release is a compilation effort from four artists who are known around the world yet have strong Sacramento roots.
The label is the brainchild of Kevin Seconds, whose punk band 7Seconds has fans across the globe. But Poprockit started out with modest aspirations: Seconds merely wanted to start a small label to help expose some of the talent he was hearing at his open mics. The label’s first recordings were cassettes in plastic Ziploc baggies, which the acts sold at shows.
“We ended up doing something like 15 or 16 releases,” Seconds said. “We had 100 Acre Wood, Anton Barbeau, Jonah [Matranga], Keri Clarke, the Pilgrims, Daycare and Go National. We were doing stuff left and right just for the fun of it. The idea was to put stuff out until the bands could start doing something on their own.”
That was as far as Seconds initially expected to take Poprockit. Playing in two bands and maintaining a solo career didn’t leave him enough time to develop Poprockit into a national entity. But recently, having taken on the burden of co-owning the True Love Coffeehouse with his wife, Allyson, Seconds figured it was time to take Poprockit to the next level.
“This was the year I thought, ‘I’m going to make an effort to get some sort of distribution deal,’” he said. “And if I can’t, I’m not going to do the label.”
Enter Blackliner Records, home to Sacramento acts the Skirts and Daycare. Seconds talked with Blackliner head and Skirts singer Lynn Mayugba and found they were on the same wavelength. Seconds also was impressed with Blackliner’s accomplishments.
“They had a really good track record on getting their stuff out all over the country, in stores and online,” Seconds said.
Seconds added that despite moving Poprockit to a bigger arena, he hopes to keep things fairly low-key, working with a few Sacramento-based bands. His main focus is to keep Poprockit artist-friendly, treating people well.
Poprockit’s next release is a compilation, HomeTeamBeatsRivalsBy10: Songs From Sacto. Vol. 1. It features Seconds, Matranga (of Far and onelinedrawing), Barbeau and Kepi (of the Groovie Ghoulies), each of whom has played internationally and has a worldwide fan base.
“What I liked is that everybody was from Sacramento,” Seconds said. “Even though Jonah lives in the Bay Area now, he still maintains strong ties to the Sacramento scene. Everybody does get out of town and will bring interest from outside of Sacramento to this project. To me, that’s the main thing. Anything that will shed some light on the Sacramento music scene is a good thing.”
Seconds and Matranga had been kicking around the idea of doing a split for some time. Once Kepi and Barbeau came on board, the idea really began to take form.
“It just sounded like a fun idea,” Seconds said. “It worked out really well between everybody’s schedules. Everybody brings their own little fan base, and it’s all different musically, but at the same time, there’s some kind of weird thread that runs through it all.”
Seconds said he’s happy with the way the split turned out and that it will get a big push through his work with Blackliner.
“They’re helping us with some marketing, advertising ideas and stuff like that,” he said. “When the CDs come out, you’ll be able to order them online at Barnes & Noble, CDNow, Amazon.com and places like that. You can find Blackliner stuff all over the place, nationwide.”
After this, Poprockit will be releasing records by Popgun; Seconds’ other band, Go National; and a full-length solo effort from Seconds.
“That’ll probably be it for the year,” he said. “I’ve talked to the guys in 7Seconds about doing a little EP or 7-inch, and they’re pretty up for that. I would say we will probably do no more than five releases a year.”