Creator Chats: Kenny Tompkins (Yellow K Records) & Katie Garcia (Bayonet Records)

Welcome to Creator Chats - a conversation among two groups, bands or people in the music industry. Today we welcome Kenny Tompkins of Yellow K Records for an interview with Katie Garcia of Bayonet Records.


Kenny Tompkins: For starters, what is your favorite song this week - old or new - just your personal favorite?

Katie Garcia: Giles, Giles & Fripp feat. Judy Dyble "I Talk to the Wind", Kendrick Lamar "Humble", Yaeji "Feel It Out" , Snail Mail "Thinning."

When you reach a point where you need a break from new music and need to refresh your appetite for listening to new records/artists, what records/artists do you put on to clear your palate?

Katie Garcia: I'll put on a podcast to clear my head a little bit, but if I were to put on an older artist it would likely be Neil Young, some shoegaze or Aphex Twin's more ambient tracks. 

Lately I've been gravitating towards more electronic stuff because it's so different than a lot of the music I work on both at Bayonet and at Secretly. It puts of a lot things into focus for me and helps give me a new perspective on music as an art form. I've been loving Braille, Leon Vynehall, Autechre, and Pantha Du Prince in recent weeks.

I also recently downloaded this white noise app called A Soft Murmur that rules! You can mix the sound of wind, rain, the waves etc to your liking. The ultimate palate cleanse. 

Whether you are an artist or a person who runs label, I feel that it is really difficult to gauge the "success" of a record. It feels like a dirty and dangerous word in this conversation. How do you personally measure the success of a record if it falls short of the obvious industry achievements most labels and artists hope for?  What are some ways you would acknowledge or celebrate successful moments and milestones?

Katie Garica: I feel like if one person tells me that a record I put out was their favorite of the year or means something to them, that feels like success to me. It's always a bummer when records don't do as well sales-wise as you'd hope, but not everyone can hear greatness at first pass I guess! Every single record I've put out on Bayonet is a success in my mind. 

After doing Yellow K for a few years it's clear to me that a lot of artists still hope to work with labels and take it hard when they don't receive responses about demos and new records. I hate being this type of force in an artist's life but it is unavoidable even when you are running the smallest label. When you hear a new artist that excites you personally and find that they are not currently signed what are some of the reasons you may not choose to invite that artist to work with Bayonet? 

Katie Garcia: Oh this is a wild question, but I do have some answers! Right now, I feel like it would be really hard for Bayonet to sign an artist from another country (Canada and Mexico excluded) so that would probably be something we would pass on even if we really loved the music. I just don't think we can provide the infrastructure for that yet and I wouldn't want to build up expectation that we could. Other than geographic concerns, I would say that we probably wouldn't sign an artist that we didn't align with morally. Alt-right bands need not apply.

I'm a little torn about the role of small record label in 2017. I often think thatthe best we do is curate something with a consistent quality and aesthetic . But then again, I'll hear something great that maybe doesn't fit into the label aesthetic and want to do it anyway. Do you get caught up in this sort of thinking?

Katie Garcia: I try not to get caught up with trying to stick to an label sound. I think with Bayonet one of our goals was to try and have an "aesthetic" that wasn't any particular aesthetic. Our aesthetic is aestheticless and I feel like we do have a strong label identity though logically it seems like we wouldn't! We actively try to sign things outside of our perceived scope to further expand the sounds of our roster. If you start that pattern and people recognize it then that becomes your identity: sonic expansion!

Using only emojis - please tell us what it feels like to be Katie Garcia: