HI I'm Lee. I live, and operate this label, in Echo Park, though the tendrils of it's soul are in the Nashville area. No Kings was born in 2006 in Pinkerton Park, Franklin Tennessee, when my friend Steve Molyneux and I found a pile of these big iron letters which had once been part of a sign for some construction company. When rearranged, they spelled NO KINGS. We left them stabbed into the grass on a hill.
At the time it was really just a name to print on the back of CD-Rs that we burnt and handed out a shows for our bands Horsehair Everywhere, Poet Named Revolver, and various related projects. But we lost steam and stopped.
This year, inspired by all the great music I've been hearing on many boutique labels and working with a few like Bathetic, La Station Radar, Tape Drift, I figured out that I had the time and energy to start it up again. Geoffrey Sexton, back in TN, is my primary council, with some occasional advice from the rest of the dudes. And the first two releases this year, Sparkling Wide Pressure “Some Triggers” and Horsehair Everywhere “Vol. I” were reissues of albums we had burned on a few CD-Rs a few years back. These came out in August.
The thing that excites me probably most is packaging. I do believe that you can judge a book by it's cover. So often, for so many people, understanding is about context, and I want to provide an incentive to be interested in the music No Kings releases by taking great care in the design details. And last year I was interning at a small letterpress and design studio in Koreatown called Uno, and I couldn't wait to put that facility to use for cassette packaging. There's something good about holding a nice piece of paper with heavy ink on it. I love the physicality of it. And I think that people can tell that many hours of work went into printing, painting, cutting and assembling, even if I'm not the most gifted designer. I'm pretty pumped about the letter-pressed black-light sensitive fluorescent ink on the Gremlynz release. Geoff is a great designer and will do some collage style art for several upcoming releases.
It goes without saying that I think my friends are some of the most interesting musicians around and their music ought to have and adequate presentation. Thus, we make tapes.
And I know it seems like, if you pay attention to the obscure music / label community, that everyone on Earth has a cassette label, but honestly 90% of people I've told about this project still say, “Wait, tapes? Why?” or, “Oh, how novel.” I don't think we've reached the saturation point like it may seem. They're cheap, fun.
Sparkling Wide Pressure “Some Triggers”
Frank Baugh is a certified genius. His touch is gold. Get into his prolific discography now!
Horsehair Everywhere “Vol. I”
Our hang-out improv group / recording society. Fun for us, and no one else!
K-LUB “Way Down Low Down”
Caleb Steelman's solo basement recording adventure. I love this tape. Please buy it.
Scott played with Horsehair at our Nashville release show in August, and we had to get him to do something. So awesome.
Some kind LA friends making chamber-folk-pop. I'm really into releasing debuts.
Gremlynz “Arkansas Vampire Eater”
Bathetic dude and my pen-pal William Cody Watson side project. Always release anything this man does, labels.
-Derek Rogers live.
-Another WCW project, Malibu Wands. Gonna have some artwork by street artist GIVE UP.
-Geoffrey Sexton's second audio release.
-The soundtrack to Geoffrey's new film, by Horsehair Everywhere (on lathe cuts?)
Gosh we really don't have a plan. This is a tiny operation right now, but eventually I'd like to have strange people submitting music to us, and to work with artists I love from all over. There are so many talented people making music. If I had my way, No Kings would be a giant warehouse that had a recording studio and a printing studio and a venue and a filmmaking cooperative. Some grand conglomeration of creative output is what I imagine. Looking for patrons!
Download the No Kings digital sampler here, or the individual tracks in the player below.