A new record label with strong Tucson ties is in the works.
Proclaiming "We believe in the transcendent power of rock 'n' roll," Seth Olinsky (from the experimental folk-rock band Akron/Family) introduces us to Lightning Records, more of an arts and music collective than a traditional record label.
Olinsky and conceptual artist Ali Beletic started Lightning Records to focus on sharing music and other art with a like-minded group of musicians, adventurers, surfers, dirtbike enthusiasts and builders, racecar enthusiasts, premier coffee roasters, fashion and product designers.
Though Olinsky and Beletic live in Los Angeles, they say the spirit of the project comes straight out of the time they spent living in Tucson, where Olinsky began performing his Cy Dune side project and Beletic created large-scale sculptural works with a strong connection to the desert.
"Both the land and the community there were so inspiring, the perfect place to dream and make music and art, and the most amazing community to get inspired by and share inspirations," Olinsky says.
Lightning's first project brings together a quarterly series of recordings, a counter-culture journal and hand-roasted coffee.
The bands involved include Tucson's Ohioan and Algae & Tentacles, artists who offer their own rewards to Kickstarter donors: John Melillo of Algae & Tentacles offers a one-on-one consultation on the history of noise and words, while Ohioan offers a camping trip in the Sonoran desert, complete with a campfire performance.
"As a band, Algae & Tentacles occupies some uncomfortable space between noise and sweetness and I think that Lightning Records is going for that. It's not just in the choice of projects, from Japanese noise-makers to dark western crooners, but also in the very organization of the thing. I think Seth and Ali hit on a great idea to make it part of a series of happenings related to writing, art and events, not just another label but a real multi-media project," Melillo says. "I think the coolest selling point is that it's meant to create more interconnections and happenings: real things happening in the world. Fun-havery."
Lightning Records has exceeded its Kickstarter goal of $12,500, but rewards still remain (including my favorite, a T-shirt that says "The Fight's Not Over, Save Rock n Roll.") The Kickstarter campaign concludes tomorrow (Jan. 8) at 9 a.m.
"Business and the world keep changing. People love to say that the music industry is changing, but in reality, music is the tip of the iceberg. The whole landscape is transforming underfoot, momentary glimpses lit by lightning, and Lightning Records looks to be part of that change," Olinsky says.