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Best of Olympia 2018: 2060 Records

Writer's pick: Best record label

Acid Smoker by Acid Smoker. Photo credit:

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A well-functioning music scene consists of passionately interwoven people working their hardest to support one another in mutually beneficial ways. At the local level, there's an interplay between bands, venues, audiences, visual artists, bookers, promoters, radio stations, and journalists, all working toward the goal of a healthy, enriching environment in which art can flourish. If one or more of these factors is not pulling its weight, everyone suffers. One crucially important factor of a music scene, which not every community is fortunate enough to have, is a dedicated, locally-minded record label.

For Olympia, I'd say that the best label they've got going right now is 2060 Records. I caught on slowly to 2060, after I began noticing that many of my favorite current bands (and favorite bands that have since dissolved) coming out of Olympia had releases on that label. The shaggy road music of Le Grotto, the psychotic warble of Acid Smoker, the emotional alt-rock chug of Molten Salt, the winsome fuzz of DUNZO -- all of these bands, and many more, had been exposed to me via 2060, and their nuance, variety and oddness is indicative of the label's knack for intuitive curation.

2060 Records got its start in 2013, formed by John Winter, along with Keir Allison-Bourne, Sheriff Massey and Mike Elliott.

"The label has honestly grown more than we initially imagined," said Winter. "Inspired by the likes of K, Sub Pop, and Kill Rock Stars, initially it was an umbrella for local artists to have a place present their music. A spot where artists could focus on their art, and not the cumbersome baggage of promotion, distribution and general networking. Our goal has always been to get artists exposed, and sometimes when traction starts to pick up, we gladly hope to see our artists make it on bigger labels that have the capital to envision their larger success (although we also welcome their loyalty, ha)."

The label mostly releases its artists' music online or on cassette, taking advantage of both the most immediate method of musical consumption, and the most tactile. They accept submissions from any band that wants in on 2060, but they're selective.

"We receive a lot of submissions, and sometimes it can be difficult to curate accordingly," said Winter. "This being said, we strive to showcase and collaborate with like-minded, eclectic, and passionate artists who care about their communities, whether it be a self-sustainability ethos or practices of diversity, equity and inclusion."

So much of this process, Winter said, simply amounts to keeping your ear to the ground for local talent -- namely, local shows and music that's featured on community radio stations like KAOS.

When asked for advice for people looking to start their own label, Winter responds with a thought that we would all do well to keep in mind: "Show support for your community, and show pride in your work. Sometimes the music industry can seem very jaded, exclusive and cynical. It doesn't have to be that way. Be positive, professional, and when you can, realistic."

2060 RECORDS, Olympia,

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