There's something about seeing a 16-year-old putting out music on their own label that is very exciting. Adam Moscinski has been running Parking Lot Records for the past year and has put out some really exciting releases from Absent, Magnolia, Rochester City Police Department & Thanks For Coming. The following is an exchange that Adam (AM) had with Rob 1340 (RF) over email.
RF: Can you please tell me the story of how Parking Lot Records came to be?
AM: Parking Lot Records is a brainchild of mine that I’ve been nurturing for a very long time. I always thought about crafting a label growing up. The older I got, the more fascinated I became with music scenes and the “behind the scenes” work that happened from the second a recording is made, to the moment a copy is in the hands of a fan. I wanted a way to contribute to the scene and release some jams! I was very into underground/DIY music from a very young age (I began browsing through “lo-fi” and “emo” tags on Bandcamp at the tender age of 13!) and eventually, I saved up enough money to do a run of tapes! In August of 2015, I released a compilation tape of an awesome lofi/bedroom pop songwriter called Thanks For Coming. That was PLR 001. Once school started after that august, I fell off quite a bit. Fast forward to 2016, and I’m taking everything so seriously. I’ve been hard at work making Parking Lot just what I want it to be. I’ve got all go made, tapes are starting to sell, and three awesome releases are in progress! I’ve also met many cool people and distro will be happening in the very near future. Awesome things will be coming soon.
RF: I find it interesting to see how people whose first experiences with music (at least their own music) were digital gravitate to physical media. When did you fall in love with physical form factor?
AM: Physical music is tangible and very satisfying I think. Lots of music fans prefer a package they can hold over a file on their laptop. I fell in love with building up a collection of my favorite records and tapes from a very young age. It’s also a blast to produce physical copies. I’m into graphic design quite a bit as well, so it's fun to make the jcards too.
RF: Have you ever designed a jcard for a release someone else did just for fun? I used to do that for CD burns I got from friends and loved doing it.
AM: Plenty of times. I’ve made dozens of random jcards for various releases just for fun. That’s actually how I got into making tapes! I tried designing jcards and dubbing tapes one weekend a while back and re
RF: Being so young, what labels have you looked to for guidance/inspiration?
AM: I would say the most influential label to me was Driftwood. Driftwood doesn’t exist anymore and I don’t support all that went down over there, but the influence it had on me can’t be denied. I took a lot of cues from the way they made, sold, and marketed things. Driftwood was far from perfect, but I doubt Parking Lot would have come to be if it weren’t for that label. A lot of Driftwood artists ended up being my favorites (flowers taped to pens, meryl streaker, fist benders, human kitten, etc). I also have to give a major shoutout to Joey Del Ponte at Sleep on It Records for helping me out a ton. He’s young too but knows a lot about the way a label runs and has been a great help. I’d highly recommend checking his stuff out, they’re great!
RF: How important are ethics to you in running a label? Are there certain moral creeds that you try to identify with?
AM: As far as that goes, I wouldn’t say I have a defined creed or anything like that. I’m just sure to be honest and do the best I can with everything I plan on doing.
RF: How do you juggle being in high school and running a label?
AM: It’s not too difficult. I’ll plan releases in my notebook and make jcards on my free time and dub when I get home. I work part time at Domino's too, though, but I make time. I think everyone should make time for what they care about as busy as they might be.
RF: Do you feel that being so young is a benefit or a deterrent to Parking Lot Records?
AM: I don’t think it's either. If you work hard and do good work, age shouldn’t be a huge factor. Making tapes isn’t any harder for a sixteen-year-old than it is for a twenty-one-year-old! It’s just something I love to do, and being too young never really crossed my mind.
RF: What is your current roster and how did you come up these bands?
AM: As of now, I’m working with Thanks For Coming (lo-fi/bedroom pop), Absent (screamo/melodic hardcore), Rochester City Police Department (lo-fi/noise/screamo), and Magnolia (punk/emo). The first three there, I approached via email about wanting to release their stuff. However, Magnolia blew me away with both a fantastic submission and the fact that they’re such nice guys. I wouldn’t release anything that I wouldn’t listen to daily, and I’m proud to be working with some really great people!
RF: Absent’s record is one of your most recent release. Do you think something beautiful yet dark can become consumable by the general public?
RF: I’m not sure I’ll ever be terribly concerned with the accessibility of the music I plan on releasing. I don’t see Absent as a band that is TOO far out there in terms of accessibility. I think Amends is a beyond beautiful record and I’m confident it’ll be well received. They’re great!
RF: I hate to go back to the age thing again, but I have to here. How did these bands feel about working with someone so young? Was there any hesitation?
AM: None. I never exactly opened up the conversation with “hey, I’m sixteen, let's put out a record!”, but most bands were surprised to hear of my age when it came up. Nobody expressed any hesitation and I appreciate that a lot. I understand that due to my age, I might have a little more to prove and I am more than willing and determined to do so!
RF: Are these bands all local to you?
AM: None of them are. I live in a very small town (under 14,000 people!) and the label is a really awesome way to scratch that itch I always had to be involved in something musical. In such a small town, there is not an existing scene. I drum in a band and we play house shows from time to time, but there really aren’t bands around here. There’s a cool scene in Milwaukee but between work, school, etc, I don’t make it into the city. I plan and put together releases all in my bedroom.
RF: Would you put out your own band’s record or no?
AM: I totally would. I probably will put out our first record or ep once that happens. That probably won’t be for a little bit, though.
RF: What is your dream for Parking Lot Records? When would you feel like you ‘made it’?
AM: My dreams are humble for this. If I’m able to consistently release music, meet great people, help out artists, and contribute to the scene, I’m happy. If can sell tapes and merch consistently and build a name for myself and those I work with, I’ve “made it”.
RF: Do you have any dreams of expanding into records or do you think you will stay with tapes for the long term?
AM: That would be really great. I would love to expand into records. I know how expensive and a pain in the neck that can be, but if I’d actually be able to release vinyl, I’d jump at the chance. I actually do have plans on releasing some lathes soon so stay tuned on that! I think lathes are beyond cool.
RF: Continuing on that, do you think tapes are a fad or do they have staying power?
AM: I think that as long as labels and artists need a cheap and appealing way to distribute tunes, tapes will stay. I see my generation shifting away from digital media. I think something is lost when all your music is digital. It’s far more convenient, but it's less personal. Tapes are just another way to play music and even if its niche, I don’t see the demand for tapes decreasing. Tapes seem like they play a prominent role in the scene and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
RF: If you could sign any band out there, who would you sign?
AM: To be honest, I’d have to say either the Saddest Landscape or Beau Navire. I’m a HUGE fan of screamo and I have plans on releasing a lot more screamo. I love me some chaotic and emotional hardcore. I’d just love to release anything from ex-Driftwood bands. I’d love to release a Fist Benders tape. That would be great.
RF: Do you think having a diverse roster is important to an indie label or if you could would you only release music in that genre?
AM: I think it's important to just do whatever you want to do, and do it well. I want a diverse roster for Parking Lot, but I could see why sticking to one genre might be for the best in cases. In my eyes, an ideal label sticks to a common goal or mindset rather than one genre. That’s what I’d like to do.
RF: How can people find out more about Parking Lot Records?
AM: Like us on Facebook and set our posts to be “seen first”! I hear facebook doesn’t really show anyone our posts unless we pay! Shoot me a message there! I’d love to talk to anyone and hear their thoughts on all of this.
RF: Thank you very much, Adam!