Five Questions For Hometapes

A wife-and-husband team’s homey approach to the record business

Edited by Zach Dundas By Robert Ham February 24, 2012 Published in the March 2012 issue of Portland Monthly

Sara adam hometape records l0he6b

Image: Adam Wickham

Hometapes has operated from Portland for four years. But unlike many of the small labels that make the city an indie-music hotbed, you don’t trumpet yourself as a “Portland” label. Why?

Adam Heathcott: We didn’t want to show up and be, “We’re the new record label!” I’d rather make connections naturally, through the weird streams of life. Sara Padgett Heathcott: And, really, we work globally. We have roots everywhere. Little Rock, where we’re from, is just as important to Hometapes as Portland is.

You release and market 10 albums a year from your house. How does that work?

Sara: We have speakers in every room, including the shower. Beyond that, the house is a hub of activity: people who work for us, visiting artists, and our own creative frenzies.

How goes the matrimonial division of labor?

Sara: Adam and I comanage the label. I work full-time to run the day-to-day activities—everything from artist management to visual art to print production to PR to accounting. We get additional assistance from friends willing to spend a night watching a movie and stuffing envelopes. Adam has a day job at Wieden & Kennedy, and that’s a factor, too. He brings home influences from there, and that affects my work.

And now you’re releasing your first Portland act, the anthemic art-pop band AU. Why them?

Adam: I heard their last album right about the time I had the job offer from Wieden, so I said, “When I get to town, we should hang out.” When I finally met them, it was all hugs and smiles, and I thought, “If we ever sign a Portland band, it will probably be AU.” That’s kind of how it works with most bands. It’s more than a business relationship.

How does living in Portland differ from living in Little Rock?

Sara: I don’t feel as nutty here—I feel like we share a nuttiness with the city. And when I travel, I now realize what a weirdo I’ve officially become.

Five Hometapes Artists

From East to West

  1. Slaraffenland Copenhagen, Denmark: Electronica meets art-rock in peaceful, free-form anthems.
  2. Megafaun Durham, North Carolina: Folk collides with jazz and sound collage.
  3. Shedding Louisville, Kentucky: Eerie vocals atop birdsong and sci-fi hum
  4. Nick Butcher Chicago: Evocative loops of notes and found sounds
  5. Ormonde Seattle (and Texas): Lush, laconic duets that modernize the desert ballad
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