So I've been fixated with the ease of home recording and music making since high school. Even though I didn't realize it then, the internet coupled with open source and stock recording software has made it wildly simpler to create and distribute music for free. Now the concept of owning a label doesn't necessarily mean you mail out CDs or tapes, it could be just a collective of artists on a bandcamp page. That's a bit what I was aiming for with MHB, but at first I was thinking of having other people be a part of it. Now it's ended up as a sort of faux record label- bar one of the projects on the "2k14 Mixtape" called N@ Geo (some tracks my dude Carson made), the rest is all of my doing. The reason it does sound like a fake record label is because the sounds vary greatly from project to project. I can put a lot of hours and time into a project like Coral Florist, or I can make long mix tapes of reworkings of bad pop songs like the Dusk .FM series. That option to create something from scratch or to play with something I find is freeing. Plus there's no money involved, so I can make whatever I want.
In addition to the label, you also run a webstore called BADPLANT. Can you tell us about that?
Yes! As well as making music I also make a lot of art and I skateboard. A few years ago I was on blogspot with a site called The Jersey Deli, it was all photos and posts about skateboarding around my area in North Jersey. It had fizzled out a little bit, but soon I got heavy into zines. One of the first ones I made was called Badplant, and it's a skateboarding/diy/art project in an 8 page zine. At this time tumblr became a thing, so I made badplantzine.tumblr.com. Eventually I wanted an online marketplace to put up things me and friends were selling, so I made badplant.storenvy.com. All of it's about having fun and getting stoked.
What other zines are you into?
I wish my collection was bigger, but I do have some favorites. Booger Brie makes amazing drawings and has a bunch of zines out, Later Dudes and all the hamburger eyes stuff, Fun Fun Fun skate zine is rad, Karate Foot, Skate Jawn's a good local skate zine from the tri state area. My friends have made some amazing one-offs- Pizza Party by Brian Cordes, Maris by Carson Cooper, and some fun skate and music related ones by Euan Lynn. And duh Half-Gifts.
You covered an Ariel Pink track for the Half-Gifts Halloween Compilation. Why did you choose that song to cover? What other bands are you into?
Yeah dude, I love Ariel Pink. In that same vein I can get into people like R. Stevie Moore or Martin Newell, there's something about a good pop structured song that isn't recorded in a professional studio, and is self aware that it's a pop song.
As far as other music, it's always tough. I've been doing an online radio show for the past 30 weeks, so I'm constantly sniffing out new stuff. I do have all time favorite groups and people I've really dug into over the years, but it's just the tip of the iceberg as far as the amazing things that floats around out there. So some newer music, TOPS, Punks on Mars Ariel Pink, Chairlift, Yeasayer, Neon Indian, Mac DeMarco, Gang Gang Dance, James Ferraro, Sam Mehran and Outer Limits Recordings, Software Blonde and Adeodat Warfield, Sun Araw, Tallest Man On Earth, Thievery Corporation, Zonotope… Then there's older stuff like Steely Dan and all Donald Fagen's music, DEVO, Cleaners From Venus, MF Doom, Talking Heads, Spike, Zappa, Pat Methany, Wu, The Rippingtons, Värttinä, and for some reason I really like Fleetwood Mac. Some of those groups I feel like almost every thing they've made is spot on, which is rare.
Awesome, digging that list! What other stuff are you into besides music and skating?
I create a lot of things, like art wise. I like painting and drawing, I screen print on skateboards, sculpting's really fun. I post all that on my main site jonprokopowitz.com. Other things I'm into, I like learning about what other people have gathered about the unseen nature of this place. People could label it paranormal, but the nature and possibilities of dimensions and planes, and what people have found about energy and techniques like meditation or lucid dreaming. Condensing it further, ideas about life, death, and creation. I think it's good to think about these things, what makes sense and what doesn't. I'm not saying the internet has the answer to everything, but it does creates a peer-review system where evidence in favor or against these controversial topics is readily available. I think there's a lot of misconceptions out there, but gradually people are starting to learn and focus on the right things in life. It all starts with questioning and conducting thought experiments. We just gotta get that spark to want to know what's going on and what's actually important.
Your bandcamp makes reference to Pajama Sam and Lego Island. What are some of your favorite old-school PC games?
Yes! We have the funniest connection with that. So I grew up in a time where a home PC was beginning to become a standard thing, so naturally I got games and played them often. Through my grade school and library I was introduced to stuff like the jumpstart educational series, the Magic Schoolbus games, Kidpix, Mavis Beacon Typing games, Math Blaster, etc. I also had fun games like you said, Pajama Sam, Lego Island, Lego Racers 2, so many pinball games, Extremely Goofy Skateboarding, among others… I think one of my favorite I got free with a box of cereal- Dirt Track Racing Sprint Cars. That was my favorite game because the in game physics weren't exactly right, so you could race the track backwards and try to slam a car, but if you did it right your car would launch spinning high into the air. That was really fun to me, I don't know why. It's funny how those crappy weird environments from the games get stuck in your head though. I don't play any video games now, so those fake experiences are still stuck in my memory. Especially with beautifully bizarre games like pajama sam, the feeling of being in the game is what lasts. It's like reading a book, but not really.