label head: Ed Mazzucco
location: Portland, Oregon
as part of a new series focusing on indie labels, we introduce (those who don’t already know him) y’all to Ed Shelflife! Not too surprisingly, he also has a day job, is a massive karaoke aficionado, is a soccer dad, cat lover and longtime vegan! Shelflife has put out loads of records that we adore. Meet Ed…
chickfactor: What year did you start a label? Where? Why?
Ed Mazzucco: Shelflife started in 1995 from my bedroom in Southern California. I was inspired by a lot of the great international bands I was discovering at the time and I really wanted to help get these bands a little more exposure in the US. That was basically the label’s mission at the time and our first release (the Whirl-Wheels compilation) was the product of that.
What has been the most fun bit about running a label?
I love working with so many amazing artists and helping bring their visions to life. I never grow tired of holding a brand new release in my hands for the first time. It’s a pretty magical experience working from start to finish with our artists to create a product together that will soon be shared and loved by our community. I put a lot of time and energy into making each and every release the best it can be.
What have been the biggest challenges?
Right now the vinyl production bottleneck is causing me quite a headache. It’s all a bit insane, going from 3-4 month to 6-7 month turnaround times. We are doing our best to navigate through it, but really hoping the plants can catch back up in 2022.
What are the top sellers of all time on yr label?
Off the top of my head, probably Airiel, The Radio Dept, and The Ocean Blue.
What new stuff are you working on in the coming year?
We just released wonderful new albums by The Catenary Wires (ex-Heavenly), Always You, and Pastel Coast. We haven’t announced our fall releases just yet, but there are some really exciting things coming up.
What labels have inspired you?
Factory, Sarah, and Slumberland are the first to come to mind. Slumberland probably was the most influential for me in starting Shelflife. I still remember writing letters to Mike asking for advice.
How do you find new records (not on your label)?
Usually word of mouth from friends or sometimes on Instagram.
What are some great record stores and mail orders still operating?
I have to give a shout out to My Vinyl Underground in Portland, OR. Hands down the best indiepop shop around today.
Can people get your releases outside your country?
Yes, but sadly shipping costs and taxes are making it harder these days. Our solution has been to work with an overseas partner label on most of our releases, so fans can have a local label to service them. That helps a lot with keeping shipping costs down.
What bands/records are you really excited about?
I have been really into the new Lightning Bug “A Color Of The Sky” LP and Submotile’s “Sonic Day Codas” CD.
What are you drinking, eating, listening to, reading, watching these days?
drinking: Fort George 3-Way IPA
eating: Modern Times Crunchwrap
watching: Unsellable Houses on HGTV
Do you also play music? Tell us about it.
Yes, I play guitar in Tears Run Rings. We’re working on our 4th album right now.
Anything else you would like to add!?
Thanks Gail for the interview. We miss you in Portland. Go Timbers!