fanzines and three-inch CDs: an interview with Cloudberry Records’ Roque.
BY TIM HINELY
Just when you think you know everything there is to know about music, along
comes yet another label done out of a pure love of music that shows you that
you don’t know jack. Miami’s
Cloudberry Records has been around for nearly 5 years now and released what
seems like thousands of cds, records and zines (ok, so only 161). Hot on the heels
of the release of their latest zine, There
is Peace in the Surging Prow, label owner Roque (Rocky) took some time out
of his busy day to answer some question for me.
BLURT: Who are you? Where are you
My name is Roque, and I’m a pop enthusiast and collector who happens to run
Cloudberry Records. I’ve been involved in the indiepop community for quite some
time now. I’m from Lima, Peru, and I live in Miami Beach, Florida.
How and when did the label get
The label started on February 1st 2007 with the release of the Celestial
3″ CD single. Since late December of 2006 I had been planning to start a
new label. At that time I was involved with a label called Plastilina back in
my home country so I had some experience already. That December I also released
a tape called C-06 with many fantastic bands and it was quite a success. It’s
really cool to see that some of these bands household names in indiepop. I
think this tape was the start of Cloudberry as I learned the dynamics of doing
a release on my own and going through the whole process in a DIY way with a
small budget. After some planning, after designing the whole look of the
sleeves and the overall aesthetics of what I envisioned for the label, I
finally put out the first 3″ and the rest is history I guess.
What or who was the initial
My initial influence was the 3″CD series by Marsh Marigold. They only
released a handful of them, but they were all so pretty. But that was back in
the day. I wondered why no one else was using this format at all. I thought it
could be a successful format for indiepop singles and that you could do a small
run unlike vinyl. But of course, that wasn’t the only label that influenced the
sound and the aesthetics, there are a couple of labels that I think inspired me
to do this label, from Heaven Records to Sarah, passing by Pushbike, A
Turntable Friend, and Sugarfrost.
How did you want to give the label a
uniqueness from other pop labels out there?
Well, I like to think this is a very personal label. I don’t aim consciously
to give it a uniqueness compared to other labels to be honest, I just do what I
think would look and would sound better. I do know that by some choices I made
the label is very different than other labels, from the 3″ CD series, to
the fanzines and the 7″s. But that’s it really, I don’t try to give it a
uniqueness, that’s something that just has to happen naturally I believe.
Why the 3″ cds? What is your favorite
Because of a couple of reasons. Sure, they are small and cute, and that goes
very well with indiepop. Also they are more special than the regular 5″ CD
and not many labels were using them. I wanted to release singles and not full
lengths, so it was indeed a waste to do them on 5″, so 3″ was just
the perfect format. They are not that expensive and they are cheaper to post on
the mail. So, yeah, lots of virtues on the small 3″. It was the perfect
format to start a DIY label.
My favourite format? the 7″ vinyl of course. As soon as I could, I started
releasing records in this format. I still remember with awe the first day 500
7″s came to my home for Cloudberry 1001. It was fantastic.
How many releases do you have out? Is
seems like it’s in the hundreds?
To be exact 161 releases so far.
Do you seek out most bands or do most
come to you via unsolicited demo?
I seek out most bands. Some have come via unsolicited demo, but the vast
majority I’ve found myself. I don’t do it much these days though, but one of my
favourite things is scouting for new exciting bands!
Would you be able to pick out your
favorite Cloudberry release?
That’s tricky! I don’t think I can. Of course I have a soft spot for the
first 3″, the first fanzine or the first 7″, but that doesn’t mean
they are my favourite releases.
Tell me about the zine? Is this your
first one? Where did the name come from?
Oh, all of my zines are just called Cloudberry and the catalog number. The
difference between them is that each of them have been printed in one different
color. The last one is the sixth one and was printed in pink. Before that I’ve
had a blue, red, green, purple and black fanzines. I do the fanzines as a way
to promote future releases, introduce up and coming Cloudberry bands, and of
course to spread my thoughts about the indiepop community.
Name 5 defunct bands you wish you
could release a record by?
These might be a bit obscure, but I think the sound and aesthetics of these
bands would fit in so nicely: The Wilderness Child, The Sedgwicks, Evergreen,
Merry-Go-Round, Nine Steps to Ugly.
Where do you see the label in 5
years/ 10 years?
Hopefully still going. I want to be able to fulfill my dream of 100 7″s
by 100 different bands, after that I can close the shop. That’s my only
ambition release wise. I would love to do some sort of Cloudberry festival at
some point too. But aside from that I don’t plan becoming the next Creation
Records or something.
Final thoughts? Closing comments?
Words of wisdom?
Thanks for the interview Tim. Well, more like words of self-promotion. I
just came back from the UK
following Very Truly Yours on their UK tour which ended at a fabulous
Indietracks gig and all I can say is that they were just wonderful. To catch a
glimpse of their great pop, a mix of the Fat Tulips and Heavenly, check the
latest Cloudberry 7″! I promise you won’t be disappointed!