Interview: Grunge Pop Records

Interview: Grunge Pop Records
Band: Minatore Photo by Andrew Ball

We hired the Sub Pop founder who signed Nirvana & Soundgarden“.

When we mention the name of Seattle we immediately think of this grunge scene from the late ’80s to early ’90s with bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and many others, but this nostalgia for the ’90s is suddenly back and a great bunch of guys have just launched a new label and are determined to bring grunge back to the forefront. Its name: Grunge Pop Records. 

We caught up with one of them to find out more about their determination to revive the grunge machine that is well over thirty years old.

You just launched a new grunge label, what made you want to start this new project? Who are the founders of the label? 

We were there from the start of the original grunge explosion and we looked at what’s being pushed to the youth today, and it wasn’t as good as the bands that Sub Pop and other great labels released back in the glory days of grunge. So we just said it was time to bring back that loud, distorted, underground and unpolished rock; and to find and sign young new bands that have that classic grunge noise. We searched and listened to hundreds of bands, and then we started finding ones that blew our minds. As for the label founders, we remain anonymous. The only public knowledge is that right at the start we hired the Sub Pop founder who discovered and signed Nirvana and Soundgarden, Bruce Pavitt, as an A&R consultant and label advisor. Bruce’s vision changed the whole world, not just the music landscape. He’s a living legend.

What advice will you give so that a band can sign with you? 

Their music has to be as great as any great band from that original Seattle era. We’re not looking to introduce a new genre of rock, we just want to bring back the realness and attitude of that era. Our label’s mission is to be “the new sound of rock” and to see our bands become the mainstream as compared to what’s on the top of the global charts now, which is predominantly solo artists that go by band name monikers and their music is over-produced rap style, auto-tuned, guest-star filled garbage to our ears. We only want real rock bands that write and play their own music and can destroy the stage with a vengeance. The youth are finally getting bored with rap and are listening to bands like Nirvana and they’re open to finding new bands that carry that grunge flame. They never got to be part of the ‘90s grunge scene and this is there chance to be a part of a new movement that they can call their own. 

How many bands do you have on your label so far? How many releases are out now?

We have ten bands at the moment: Barb Wire Dolls, Stereotyped, Sun Puddle, Alien Feelings, Triptych, Rockford, Minatore, The Timeouts, Prince Of Lilies, and Royal Distortion. We’ve already released singles and their accompanying music videos by all ten bands, with much more to come out this year including the start of our collectors vinyl singles club.

The first album the label released was Vent by Prince Of Lilies, and it was produced by Steve Albini. How does it feel to have the labels’ first album to be produced by the legendary Steve Albini? 

It’s very cool since Albini stands for real bands making real music. He’s a indie icon who has become synonymous with the words “utter respect”.

When we talk about Seattle, we obviously think of the grunge phenomenon. Do you think that a scene as rich and impactful as that of the ’90s can resurface after all these years, but especially with a new burst of freshness?

Yes. There are scenes growing bigger each day all around the world that are revolving around that original Seattle grunge sound. Even BritGrunge has become a reality with the grunge revival being strongest out of the UK at the moment.

A British journalist named Everett True from Melody Maker magazine had heard in the ’80s that a scene was forming in Seattle and he came directly to see if what he was hearing from England was true. In addition to being blown away by the bands of the time, what also marked him was the audiences who went to the concerts. Are audiences still as crazy at concerts as it was back in the ’80s?

Oh yes. But mostly in the DIY underground shows or at underage shows that allow the youth to come. The house parties go absolutely wild like back in the day.

What are your goals for 2022?

To see the mainstream music industry, from radio to TV to print, put real rock bands on top. We expect that in a few years some of our bands will be the biggest bands in the world and headlining major festivals. Our bands are the future of rock.

Disclaimer: Grunge Pop Records interview by Gian Alex. The original version was previously published in the French language.

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