Teenbeat is a Washington DC-based label run by one Mark Robinson, best known as a member of Unrest.Mark is now in Air Miami, and Teenbeat has also moved on as they have a large roster including the likes of Blast Off Country Style & Viva Satellite plus other names perhaps more familiar to UK readers. Tuscadero, whose 'Angel in a Half Shirt' was a big favourite on the Peel show a couple of years back, have 2 lp's out on Teenbeat, while another Festive 50 entrant (albeit on Hemolia) were the Eggs, whose 'Government Administrator' was one of their few releases not to appear on Teenbeat.We talked to Mark about the label...
How did Teenbeat start off - perhaps you can give us some background (I'm assuming you started this off yourself to release your band's records)?
Unrest formed while I was in high school and we started making tapes. We would make covers for them and pass them out around school. In 1985, it evolved into making 50-100 tapes of Unrest, and other bands in the school.
It's Unrest that's at the heart of the label, in fact Phil Krauth, ex-Unrest, has another solo lp coming out on the label. Nice to see some ex-band members still getting on...
The stuff on the label's quite varied - what do you look for or what prompts you to sign a band? the label. Nice to see some ex-band members still getting on...
Usually 3 things:
1. I love their music a lot. (most important)
2. I like the people in the band. (also very important)--and that they have a similar
philosophy about the music business.
3. I like to have local bands from the D.C. area (extra points).
That's another thing about the label, despite their rise in reputation there's still a sense of
fun about - some of the catalogue numbers for instance, refer to gigs, or posters. And if that sounds like something a certain Manchester label might have done in the late 70's/80's, there's anoher connection -Cath Carroll, late of Miaow, and now living in the US, is one of Teenbeat's higher-profile signings, at least as far as this side of the pond is concerned, with her slightly country-tinged lp, 'True Crime Motel'. But the music on the label is pretty varied -
Do you feel the label has anything defining about it, like a 'sound' or a general intention, or is it merely a channel for music you like?
I think we definitely have more of a idea/image than a sound. There might be 2 bands that sound similar on Teenbeat - but never 3 or 4. I think we usually offer 5-10 different genres of music at any given time.
Versus "Deep Red" EP - 5 all new pop songs and
The Feminine Complex "Livin' Love" CD. - an exciting album from all-girl 1969 Nashville Also, Phil Krauth's "Silver Eyes" LP, The Olympic Death Squad "Blue" LP (this is Mark Robinson's solo project), and an lp by Los Marauders.
A new Versus lp in July: "Secret Swingers"AugustAir Miami all-new 12" EP/CD. Never before heard new stuff,including a 10 minute version of "Pucker."
Teenbeat's stuff comes into the uk via Caroline, so should be available from all good record shops...Reprinted from bigwig, 1996