Homegrown Labels: Hosehead Records

Meredyth Cole
Brandon Lal

Photos by Brandon Lal

Patrick McEachnie, one half of Hosehead Records, goes beyond the average music fan’s desire to compile a great record collection; his is filled with both records that he loves and records that he helped create. Invariably these are the same thing: “I listen to the records that I put out all the time, I put out records that I love.”

Since 2011, when McEachnie created the label with childhood friend Mike Simpson, the duo have seen the release of 28 cassettes and records. Starting the label was a decidedly low-key endeavor, requiring nothing more than a Kijiji bargain tape duplicator and lots of enthusiasm. The first cassette Hosehead released was for Simpson’s band, First Base. Other cassettes followed and the success of these initial tapes allowed Hosehead to start releasing vinyl, a move they were happy to make. A vinyl devotee, McEachnie is glad to see the days of cassette making behind him.

Though still relatively new, Hosehead Records is even newer to Vancouver. Earlier this year McEachnie moved here  from Toronto and already has releases from two local bands scheduled for early 2015. First up is the debut release by Fashionism, “the most exciting thing in my world right now” according to McEachnie, and then an LP from Nervous Talk to follow. With McEachnie’s co-conspirator still living in Toronto, the bi-city setup has allowed Hosehead Records to work with talented musicians from a much broader swath of the country than before.

“I probably wouldn’t have been able to release [Fashionism and Nervous Talk] had I not moved here,” says McEachnie.

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It seems like Hosehead grows and changes with the lives of its two founders, acting like a time capsule of the last four years. “When [Simpson and I] were both in Toronto, we were doing a lot of Toronto and Ottawa bands. I was living in Guelph, Ontario for a while and we had Guelph and Kitchener bands and since I moved out here, I have obviously been going to shows and learning about bands out here.”

The process of finding bands for the label is also personal. McEachnie won’t consider a band unless he knows his partner will also be enthusiastic, and many of their collaborations are the result of pre-existing friendships. Alternatively, a connection with a band might evolve out of admiration for their previous work. In 2012, McEachnie’s record of the year was  Nervous Talk’s seven-inch Introductions and he became interested in working with them. After moving to Vancouver and befriending the band, plans for a record quickly materialized.

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Illustration by Sharon Ko

But the easy-going way McEachnie approaches his work with Hosehead is deceptive: the behind-the-scenes intricacies of creating a record are extensive. “It takes a long time to make a record, from recording to final pressing — and that whole time I’m happy I’m doing it,” he says.

From their unabashedly Canadian name, to the toque-emblazoned website banner, Hosehead Records is a tremendously patriotic label. McEachnie sees their focus on Canadian bands as a welcome resistance to an unbalanced music scene: “Most of my interest lies in putting out Canadian records. There are lots of amazing Canadian bands that will never have their records put out because they’re not from New York or LA or Seattle,” he says. Although McEachnie thinks Canadian artists are especially deserving of attention, he happily works with bands from south of the border, and the company’s reach is growing. Hosehead will be releasing their “first ever band from Europe” in early 2015: a reissue of The Modern’s 1979 record Year of Today.

His work with the record label, and a love of live music and historic venues, has allowed McEachnie to bypass the dreaded adjustment period that befalls many new arrivals  to Vancouver. In fact, it seems that McEachnie has settled in effortlessly to what is allegedly an insular scene. But more than just appreciating local music, McEachnie is making a contribution to a scene he loves — and one that is happy to have him.

Releases from Hosehead Records are available at Neptoon, Red Cat, Luke’s General Store, and Audiopile. And keep yer eyes peeled for a seven-inch from Fashionism and Nervous Talk’s debut LP, scheduled for early 2015.