“We live in a Lolipop bubble,” says Wyatt Blair, one of the founders of Lolipop Records, the small label/record store based out of LA. Yes, Wyatt and his fellow Lolipoppers run the store, press the tapes, put on all the in-stores, and somehow find time to record their own projects. Everyone involved with Lolipop seems to be in like, seven bands on the label. Daniel Quintanilla (another co-founder, who also chatted with us) even sleeps in the store. That’s dedication, and we love them.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Wyatt: It started out of boredom, living in my parents’ house in south Orange County. I originally wanted to put out comedy records, ended up putting out a tape for this band called Ugly Sister and it just became more and more. Then I was going to move to LA to open a record store with my friends, and Wyatt…
Daniel: Basically, I got in a car accident, and then didn’t buy a new car with the insurance money.
Wyatt: With the money from the car, we were like, “Hey, let’s put tapes out.”
I love that cassettes are finally coming out from being, like, a hidden cult.
Daniel: Yeah! There has always been a cassette community, but it’s sort of being reinvented. A lot of credit goes to Burger with that—exposing a larger audience to the charm of cassettes.
Wyatt: They’re like five bucks to make. Compact, small, you can touch it, you can put it in your mouth, you can smell it, and, like, fry it in a pan if you want to, you can watch it spin. It’s real, it’s a real tangible thing. Its not some file lodged in a chip somewhere.
Daniel: I sometimes just stare at a tape for a while. For me, one of the most romantic things to do is pop a cassette in my car.
Do you think cars have something to do with why the cassette revolution is a little regional?
Daniel: In LA it’s so car centered. People our age drive old cars with tape players. So tapes throughout the entire West Coast are pretty popular—but then you come out here and nobody drives.
Wyatt: In New York, people care. They go to shows, people are sweet, I like everyone, but I just think maybe there is this general “I don’t give a shit about your cassette” type thing. Like, “I can just listen to that on Spotify.” I could be completely wrong. But as for in LA, people are excited about it.
Do you think it’s better in LA? Yeah, it also seems like our music scene is dying fast.
Wyatt: It’s less expensive and people have more money. It’s a slower pace city…I mean, if you’re trying to land job, go to New York. If you want to be independent and a freelance artist, and try to make things happen through your own self, go to LA.
Best bands to check out on Lolipop?
Wyatt: I don’t have a favorite. That’s like asking who your favorite kid is if you were a parent. But the newest record we are doing is Corners—it’s full-blown Lolipop; recorded in our studio and we manufactured it and distributed it. Other bands we have with upcoming releases with are The Electric Magpies, Drinking Flowers, and (NYLON faves) Winter.
Daniel: We also just released Encyclopedia by The Drums on Cassette Store day.
Listen to some of Lolipop’s music below, but make sure to buy the tapes. They just sound better.