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Four years ago, Sean Peoples put his record label, Sockets Records, to rest. At the time, he told City Paper that “making a record label sustainable (not necessarily profitable) is expensive. And, at this point, sustainability requires the kind of resources that neither Sockets, nor the bands currently have banked.”
But now, Peoples is back with a brand new label, and a renewed sense of vigor for putting out music. Socket Records is dead, long live Atlantic Rhythms.
After Sockets ended, Peoples moved back home to New Jersey for personal reasons, and during that time thought a lot about how to put out new music, without getting into a lot of the financial burden he had with Sockets. “I’ve been thinking about doing another label for a while, one that was much more streamlined and narrowed in focus,” he tells City Paper.
At first, Atlantic Rhythms, which is putting out its first two releases—Wasatch Mecha, a solo tape by Protect-U‘s Aaron Leitko and TOWN – Live at Trans-Pecos, a collaboration between saxophonist Sam Hillmer and composer/guitarist Arto Lindsay—on Oct. 7, started out as a “design project” with Philadelphia-based designer Nick Apice.
But after Lindsay approached him about releasing a trio of live improvisations he made with Hillmer, the idea for a label—something that married his love of experimental music with a design element—emerged. “He was like ‘Do you want to put it out?,'” Peoples says. “Saying no would be the dumbest thing ever.”
There was also Peoples’ return to D.C. this May, after two years away, that inspired him to start a new label. When he moved back, he says he was amazed at how much the music scene had evolved, and wanted to dive back in to that world. “It was hard not to want to get involved,” he says. So, Peoples and Apice came up with a concept, that basically evolved from a poster. He approached Leitko about putting out a tape of his solo synth recordings, and thus Atlantic Rhythms was born (Disclosure: Leitko is a former City Paper contributor).
Peoples says he wants to keep the label modest, with about three or four release a year; nowhere near the proliferation of Sockets in its heyday. No vinyl, though: Peoples says he accrued a lot of debt after Sockets ended. “It’s hard to do vinyl in any kind of affordable way,” he says. Instead, it’ll be a mostly digital label, with limited-run cassettes and hand-screened posters that have a distinct design element to them. “Labels kind of live and die by people being able to recognize [it],” he says. “So if i’m going to do something, I want it to be beautiful.”
Both Wasatch Mecha and TOWN – Live at Trans-Pecos will be available for purchase Oct. 7 via Atlantic Rhythms. Aaron Leitko plays a tape release show with Sean Peoples on Oct. 7 at Red Onion Records, 1628 U St. NW. $5-7.