Starting from a basement studio, soundproofed with foam mattress pads, currently managed by Seamus Coyle and Connor “Blanco” McKay, Rage City Records is redefining what it means to be a young musician in Anchorage.
Rage City Records is a record label and artist collective started in Anchorage by three local young adults a few years back. Seamus Coyle, Erik Falskow, and Lucas Karp were searching for a way to express themselves, creatively.
“Essentially, it all started kind of by accident,” Coyle said about the origins of the collective. “I was just tagging along with my friend Lucas when he was recording his first mixtape, and we had set up a studio in our friend Erik’s basement.”
From their amateur basement set-up began a local domino effect of local talent. This wasn’t just limited to musicians looking for a place to record, they were coming in contact with artists, photographers, and graphic designers — all looking for a way to break into the creative scene in Anchorage.
“So the three of us just kind of started to assemble this team of local artists that we could help out and introduce, and in doing that we realized that we could do this on a larger scale and really build a community,” says Coyle. “There are plenty of really amazing local collectives, but we just found that the music scene in Anchorage could be hard to break into and we wanted to ease that transition for a lot of people, especially younger people like us.”
The label and collective as a whole are managed day-to-day by Coyle and McKay. The two work together to keep everything running smoothly for their signed artists; connecting their musicians with graphic designers if they are searching for album artwork or even a director if they are looking to get a music video shot. Rage City Records takes pride in the collaborative aspect of the label, teamwork dominates and leaves little room for any competitive nature.
From musicians to videographers, members of the label are always inspiring one another. They take pride in keeping things fresh and different from what can commonly be found in the local music scene.
A constant flow of ideas is a must for the label, “We can all bounce ideas off of each other from these unique perspectives that we all have. It’s hard because promotionally, every formula only works once,” Coyle said. “As soon as you figure out the key to a successful release, you have to throw it away and start from scratch the next week. You have to improvise and pretend to know what you’re doing, and yet it still has to feel inspired and thoughtful.”
Coyle has a unique perspective, not only as one of the label’s managers but a filmmaker, having directed music videos for the group and also helping direct a documentary about one of the musicians, Lucas “LukieB” Karp. He mentions, as an example, taking inspiration from his favorite films but also taking great inspiration from a photographer and friend of the label, Toshio Matsuoka.
The creative process for the label isn’t always fun and games. Coyle emphasizes the hard work that is put into every single release. There is countless time spent recording music, taking photos, filming music videos, producing music, and executing those ideas cleanly.
“It’s so easy as a consumer to just stare at something for five seconds and retain the information, but the producer on the other end spent three days making it that easy for you,” Coyle said.
The goal for them was never to make money, Seamus emphasizes the fact that nothing that the label does is for-profit. While they all aspire to break into the larger music and creative industry, the emphasis, for now, is being able to create and inspire one another.
Look out for Rage City Records and their next release.