Published on March 12th, 2016 | by Joseph Humphries0
Grace King: Not Your Parents Mixtape
The once dead cassette tape has made a return with many independent and up-and-coming bands. With the affordable price for mass production, why not sell tapes? New Orleans-based Grace King has tapped into this market to become what is now called, a tape label. When people talk about cassette, tape labels like Burger Records are brought up, leaders in the reemerging market.
A selection of cassettes are available at Oxford’s The End of All Music. Owner and founder David Swider said, “We’ve been open four years and I’ve definitely seen it [cassettes] grow a lot in these four years, probably double.” Swider has also produced two tapes. A compilation of Oxford musicians and also a mix of his personal greatest hits for the Mississippi band, Plume.
Grace King represents nine bands, many from New Orleans along with Oxford’s Bonus. Bonus is a four person rock band who played a free show at Ajax Diner last Thursday with Reels of Oxford and The Brainstems from St. Louis.
Bonus’ first EP, Night Brain, was released on Grace King’s label. Bonus guitarist and vocalist, Kieran Danielson, has been working on his sophomore album. He is unsure if he wants to release it with Grace King or not. “I met Patrick [McKee] at a Dude Ranch [Oxford DIY venue] show last February or so and he told me he really liked a couple of my songs and asked if he could put it on a cassette. The album came out in September and it was so cool to have a bunch of tapes to sell at shows and online.” said Danielson.
Grace King started in August 2015 and has produced eight cassettes for nine bands, with two bands splitting one. Founded by Patrick McKee and Graham Hamaker and later joined by Ruy DeMagalhaes. Hamaker has since left Grace King to work on other projects, Graham is currently living in Oxford. McKee is a former Loyola University international business major and future Ole Miss transfer student. DeMagalhaes, a New Orleans resident, plays in a band under the Grace King label, Yuppie Teeth.
Grace King has tapes available in a number of record stores across the South, including The End of All Music, and on the Grace King Bandcamp page. The label outsources the making of the tapes to assure professional quality and credibility for the company. The process costs between $200 and $300 for 100 tapes which Grace King sells for $5 each. McKee explained that that price is down since he decided to do a lot of work by himself. The profit is not large but he seems to have a passion for the work. McKee said the the record store Sisters in Christ in New Orleans helped out a lot with sales and inspiration.
“I think the genesis of the whole idea came from the fact that we knew so many people who make incredible music that was sort of begging to be heard.” McKee said.
Grace King will host a showcase of music with Bonus in March. The venue will be the Dude Ranch, this will be included in a number of shows across the southeast. Grace King will also host a showcase at South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas over spring break week. The showcase at the Dude Ranch will be the following week, the exact date has not been confirmed yet.
“Now that there are virtually no barriers to recording and uploading your music to the internet there’s this massive proliferation of music online and anyone who has a cellphone can share their music with the world.” McKee said as we closed out our interview.