Here at ScenePointBlank, we haven't done any interviews with record labels as often as the readers have been requesting. The other day I got an e-mail from "Robert" (not his real name). He lives in Brazil. "Robert" threatened to destroy the United States of America if we did not do more label interviews. I live in the U.S. of A., so I conducted an interview with State of Mind.
State of Mind comes from the state of New York. Do they have a New York state of mind? Good question that I should've asked in the interview. They've released albums by This Is Hell, Dead Hearts, Instilled, No Roses and bunches more. The one thing a lot of these bands has in common is that they play hardcore in an unusual way. Nobody knows the future, but for State of Mind, betting men and women would predict good things.
ScenePointBlank: What is your name and what do you do for State of Mind Recordings?
James Cooper: My name is James Cooper and I am an owner of State of Mind. It's also owned by this other guy who's name I can't say for certain reasons right now...maybe I can later, but I can't right now it's too long of a story and our lawyers told us to keep it well you know.
ScenePointBlank: When did you realize running a record label would be something you'd be interested in? Why do you run a label?
James Cooper: Well pretty much since day one of going to shows and being somewhat involved in the hardcore community I always wanted to give something back to the scene, to help keep it moving. Right now I am final at a position where I am more the capable of running one, I have always wanted to I just didn't think I was ready. I run a label because I can't sing and dance.
ScenePointBlank: What record label most influences yours?
James Cooper: O man!! A shit load to start, Wreck-age, Exit, Traffic Violations, and Framework.
ScenePointBlank: What do you feel about the state of punk/hardcore today?
James Cooper: I have a lot of mixed felling about it. I think with the Internet today it HELPS out a lot, and that is good. But with that I think a lot of things are lost. When I first started going to shows, kids flyered shows. I hardly get flyers at shows now. Kids also did paper zines, a few kids still do today but not like a few years ago. Everyone is doing on-line zines now a days, which is still good... but shit, I can't take a dump and read an online zine. I used to see ADL (Animal Defense League) kids a lot at shows and I really don't see them anymore. I used to see shows where if you brought a can of food, clothes, a blanket or something for the homeless, it was a dollar off the door cost or something along those lines. I used to see diverse shows all the time, now I pretty much see all the same styles of bands playing together. But what I do see from all the media and Internet is A LOT more kids are getting into the hardcore community and that is good.
ScenePointBlank: If you could release any one record, what would it be?
James Cooper: I have a ton, uhm an Envy (from Japan) record, that band is amazing I can't stop listening to them. A Silent Majority record, probably my favorite band ever, besides Coalesce.
ScenePointBlank: Your second release was a hip hop one, do you wish to do more releases like this or was this a one time type of deal?
James Cooper: Well that's an interesting question, much like The Game said in his last interview covering his dismissal from G-Unit you have to "keep it Compton," but being we are from Long Island it's kind of hard to accomplish that . . . Besides, Compton is so '94. Nowadays it's all about East LA. And yes, the Jeff Cunningham solo CD is one of the most honest slabs of rock music laid to hard drive in the past few years, it's a shame everyone slept on it . . . Hopefully the world won't make the same mistake with his new band Slingshot Dakota, one of the few bands you'll be kicking yourself over not getting into sooner when they blow up in 2006.
ScenePointBlank: You've released both CDs and vinyl, how do you decide when to do each? What is your preferred format?
James Cooper: This really goes from release to release. But most of the time we release the CD first and if it does well in the first 3-4 months we press it on vinyl. I preferred CD's, my car doesn't play 7 ins.
ScenePointBlank: How do you determine what bands/albums to release? Why the lack of West Coast bands?
James Cooper: We factor a lot of things in. Mainly we look for bands that tour, and tour, bands have been around for a year or more and have a few tours under their belts, and bands that tour. Did I mention bands that tour? But overall we are looking for bands that want to live in their vans and play music. The West Coast hates us; we have talked with a few West Coast bands but we weren't on the same page. We have a lot of love for the West Coast.
ScenePointBlank: How did the A Days Refrain discography come about? Was there any complications with getting any of these OOP recordings?
James Cooper: Well one day, the other guy (kid who I run the label with who's name I can't say) and I were in the city visiting my uncle, Nino, at his restaurant in NYC and we got to playing this game with these guys in the back room and we won the rights to everything they ever put out. And we traded Andy from Robotic Empire a big (not too big) bag of green sticky stuff for the Split they did with Neil Perry (who are a awesome band I might add).
ScenePointBlank: What upcoming releases are on your plate?
James Cooper: Well we have the following: Day of the Dead "A New Healing Process" CD A Days Refrain "Complete Discography" double CD plus a video Crime in Stereo / Capital "Split" Tripface "Discography - ..some part hope"
ScenePointBlank: Both positive and negative, how have mp3z effected your label?
James Cooper: I think MP3s are awesome, I'd rather have a kid listen to a mp3 and say this sucks and not buy the CD then buy it and hate it. I think MP3's are a great way to check out a band before buying their record.
ScenePointBlank: Your label does a lot of EP releases, why not more full length releases?
James Cooper: We are starting to do full lengths now, we wanted to lay some ground work before we started dropping full lengths.
ScenePointBlank: How do you go about publicity/promotion and distribution?
James Cooper: Distribution is handled by the wonderful folks at Independent One Stop, and our Publicity is handled by "other guy" and me.
ScenePointBlank: What have you been listening to lately?
James Cooper: From the CDs in my car and the vinyl I have at home, I have been listening to: Envy - "All The Footprints You've Ever Left And The Fear Expecting Ahead" Silent Majority - EVERYTHING Motive - " I Vs. The Beckoning Of Darkness" JR Eking - "The Perfect Drama" You and I - "Saturdays Cab Ride Home" Inside - Both 7 ins Saves the Day - "Can't Slow Down" Milhouse - "Obscenity In The Milk"
ScenePointBlank: Any last words?
James Cooper: I want thank you for the interview, and all the loyal die heart New York Rangers fans! Check out www.stateofmindrecordings.com for all the latest news and updates, tour dates, a bunch more. Go see This is Hell, TAEA, Dead Hearts, and all our other bands on tour. Peace!
The State of Mind website can be found by clicking this.
Interview by Zed.
Graphics by Matt