Welcome, Near Mint
It’s always fun to see a new label launch, so today is officially a fun day. Near Mint is a new label from our friends James, Corey, and Josh. Near Mint’s first release will The Obsessives’ Manners on cassette, and can be picked up here. Read a full interview with James about the launch and creation of the label below!
I didn’t plan to start a record label when I started Bad Timing. Did you plan on starting Near Mint, James?
Not at all. I started talking to a friend, Corey Purvis, about starting a label in April. We had a vision of what we wanted to do, but we got so caught up in other responsibilities and projects that it became more of a long-term goal. As our summers seemed to wind down, we found time to really plot out our plan of action. We were able to get going on securing a first release and planning the label’s image and mission in about a week. It’s amazing what a few months can do.
Tell us about your teammates, or let your teammates tell us about you.
I co-own Near Mint with Corey. Corey isn’t known by his words inasmuch as his art. He’s designed merch for everyone from You Blew It! to Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties. We met shortly after I saw he had designed the album artwork for Grey Gordon’s debut EP on No Sleep Records, Still At Home Here. Since then, he’s been fortunate enough to design layouts for physical media – his growing portfolio includes releases from Known Pleasure Records and Secret Audio Club. It’s only fitting that he became Near Mint’s creative consultant. He’s also been instrumental in getting the word out to labels that he’s worked with directly, like Topshelf and No Sleep. He’s the one who designed our logo (it’s in his handwriting) and also came up with our name.
Josh Morgan is running social media for Near Mint. While he’s not an explicit co-owner, he hopped on board to help us promote and really spread our ethos to another part of the East Coast. He spends his days working at a record store in Lancaster, PA and the fact that our label is a little closer to the Philly music scene is something Corey and I found invaluable when deciding to bring him along for the ride.
As for me, I’m mainly known as the Managing Editor for Modern Vinyl. This has allowed me to really work with labels’ PR teams and really see how music and writing intersect. All three of us collaborate on brainstorming publicity initiatives and ways to make our label compete with the great ones already established, but I’d like to think I have the best understanding of how that side of the industry works, even if I’m a novice at heart. Big shout-out to Emily Hakes from Lame-O Records for teaching me how to write a press release!
Running a label ranges from fun to a terrible on any given day. Starting a label though, that’s stressful. When dreaming up the label, did you set ideals to try to meet and build to, or is it more casual?
Because Corey’s a recent college graduate and I’m still pursuing a degree, it wouldn’t be realistic for either of us to abandon the tracks we’re on and tackle this project full-time. We originally had “Records” tacked on to the end of our name, but soon decided to drop it because we aspire to become more of an arts collective, rather than strictly a curator and distributor of great music.
Corey and I really would like to bring our individual strengths in this respect. We have plans to offer screenprinted T-shirts, limited art prints and posters alongside our discography. I wouldn’t be opposed to photocopying a zine or working to cultivate some sort of DIY publishing service for things like short-run comics or literature. I think by squeezing the juice out of many different creative avenues, we can keep it interesting for our followers and for us.
Everyone in Near Mint lives in a different state – I live in Virginia, Corey lives in Indiana, and Josh lives in Pennsylvania. To make mail order exciting, we’re randomly shipping orders from either my location or Corey’s. Depending on where an order comes from, you’ll be getting a custom impromptu piece of creativity – be it a sketch from Corey or a creative writing piece from me. We love the personal aspect of labels like Antique Records and Lame-O Records and hope that we can continue making supporting DIY businesses fun for everyone involved. This is the only long-distance relationship of mine that I can see working past the honeymoon phase.
Check out our friends! Thanks for the mention Near Mint.