It’s been quite a while since I’ve last interviewed a record label. I’m really happy and excited to introduce you today to Pine Hill Records, a DIY label managed by Tino Valpa. Check out the full interview below!
Hello Tino, thanks for your time! Can you please introduce yourself, as well as your record label Pine Hill Records to our readers?
Hi, Tino Valpa here from Pine Hill Records. It’s a label I formed in 2013. Have put out releases from punk/hardcore to swing/jazz, horror surf, lounge, post-punk/new wave. It’s a whole mix over here at the lovely Pine Hill headquarters (a spare bedroom in my house).
What made you concretely get into the music industry and how did you start this label?
I started it out of necessity as a means to put out my own band’s music. I had already done a few labels when I was very young and I really didn’t want to get back into it. But… I did. And almost 40 releases later I’ve put out a lot more than I imagined. Only initiated it at first because I didn’t want the back of my own records to be blank. There couldn’t be a worse time to get into the music industry than today. And that’s not even a corona-related statement. Things are just rough and there’s no rhyme, reason, or direction for anything anymore.
Out of all the experiences you had with Pine Hill Records, is there been one that has stood out to you? If yes, which one and why?
A lot of cool little things that have added up. One of my favorites was my very first (of many) phone conversations with Sol Yaged telling me to reissue his first record and to “do it before he drops dead.” That was a funny moment and also a meaningful moment. Never thought I’d be bringing a record back to life that my grandparents spun regularly in 1956. It ended up coming out great and they listen to the reissue version to this day!
You’ve just announced the first ever USA release of Zygote’s album, “A Wind of Knives”, out on Dec. 2nd via your label (pre-order HERE). How did this collaboration happen?
That’s an album I’ve been listening to since I was 16. I actually listened to more Zygote than I did Amebix and really dug it. I love both those bands. But yeah, reached out to them and it came together pretty quickly. It makes perfect sense to do. That record has had such minimal appearances over here. It’s time to make it available for once!
How does a label develop its roster? Do bands approach you directly or is it rather the other way around?
Bands do approach me but like 10 times out of 10 it’s bands you don’t want approaching you. Bands that whom you can tell through their actions that they don’t even care about themselves. They don’t tour, they don’t’ push. They have like 2 singles up online. It’s like……dude… what would me putting this out do for either of us?
More realistically, it’s me approaching the artists I love. Whether it’s a new or older band. Generally speaking, it has to make sense. It has to be either an older established artist and/or a band that is touring full-time. There have been a few exceptions to that but that’s my general model.
If you had to choose between a vinyl or a CD, which one would you pick and why?
Vinyl. It’s bigger and more artistically wholesome. I really feel like I own the album and it paints a great picture of it for me when I own it on vinyl. And that’s not to discredit CD’s. CD’s are cool too. I just don’t press many because they’re not in demand. CD’s are still good though and are still a piece of art. I also like cassettes, 8-tracks, DCC’s, hell I’d even buy a mini disc if it was something I liked. Physical albums in any format will always prevail. But as far as all of these, vinyl is my favorite for sure.
Last but not least, what are Pine Hill Records’ projects for 2021?
Push the Zygote record for the first quarter and then a couple other releases I won’t mention yet because it’s too early!
Thanks for your time!