Interview submitted by Aj Fargnoli // contributing writer
Since Rochester, NY is one of the three major cities upstate NY has to offer in the music industry, there are many titles to keep up with. Being that bands like Polar Bear Club, members of Hit The Lights, Such Gold, and many other heavyweights in the business reside here, it’s with no surprise that a revolution will spark some of the town residents eyes. For some of them, they start bands, and for others; they start record labels. Casey Sanders and Jordan Serrano are kindle to the fire that is Hockomock Records; a new and upcoming label straight from the 585 to go above and beyond just any label that starts small with little motivation. With some time aside from his busy schedule, I got to take a minute to speak with Casey and get some inside news on the label, from their creation to their future ideas.
Where did the name “Hockomock Records” come from?
One time Jordan and I researched some places that are said to be paranormal activity hotspots. There’s one called the Bridgewater Triangle in New England and in that region there’s an area called Hockomock Swamp where people supposedly see ghosts. “Hockomock” is a Native American word for “place where spirits dwell.”
Why did you decide to start up a record label?
Starting a label is something Jordan and I wanted to do for a long time, inspired by other people that we’ve seen start labels like Jeff Rosenstock from Bomb the Music Industry! and some others.
What’s the hardest part of running Hockomock?
One of the lamer things we’ve had to deal with so far is having to tell bands that are legitimately cool (cool music and cool people) that we can’t help with a release because we don’t want to bite off more than we can chew at once.
What’s been the best experience so far with working with bands?
As a label, we’ve had a lot of positive experiences with the bands on our roster. It’s cool to make friends with the people you work with and that’s something we’ve definitely done. One time Jordan and I explored an abandoned boat with the dudes in Barbarossa and our friend Victoria. It wasn’t exactly a work-related experience, just a bunch of friends having fun, but it goes to show that we’ve gotten to be pretty close with some of the people we work with.
Has keeping things local so far feel like more of a success, or do you think branching out will really make more progress?
Jordan and I wanted to start local because the Rochester music scene is what we know best. We knew the guys in Amends and Barbarossa from the start, so introducing the ideas we had to them wasn’t an awkward or difficult process. Plus being able to run merch tables at their shows locally allowed us to get the Hockomock name out more than we could have otherwise. We’ll try to make it out to shows in Buffalo to support our dudes in Cedar Kites too since they’re nearby as well. In the future, expect to see some bands on our roster from farther away though! We’re already working with some bands from beyond upstate NY. It’s extra exciting because, in doing that, we will be able to get our name out to more people and places.
Do you have any favorite release you’ve been apart of?
That’s a tough call! We really love and stand by all of the releases we’ve been a part of.
Have you ever thought about pressing vinyl?
Yeah, it’s an idea that’s on the table for sure. Being able to provide vinyl to the bands we work with would be awesome. It’s incredibly expensive though, so we’re waiting until we have steadier footing before investing in that.
What’s one band you’d want in your dream roster?
Metallica. But a more realistic band for the dream roster might be Weatherbox. It’d also be awesome to be a label like Razor Tie, the label Such Gold and some other cool bands are on, cause their roster is ridiculous. I think that The Wiggles are on it.
Have any women been more provocative now that you’re the ladies man of the record industry in Rochester?
Not any more than usual!
Does Hockomock have any notable plans for the future?
We have a few releases on our plate right now, including a few cassette releases. We have some other surprises in store too!
If you had to only listen to one record and drink one kind of coffee for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
For me, I’d listen to Shed by Title Fight. My favorite band and I love that release. I’m not much of a coffee drinker though… my coffee is usually more milk than anything else. I do love this one coffee drink called Marley’s One Drop though. It has a single drop of Bob Marley’s blood in each can (I think).
What’s one song you wish you wrote?
I wish that I wrote “Bug Parade” by Polar Bear Club. Pretty heartfelt lyrics and man, that down-tempo “breakdown” at the end of the song always excites me.
And lastly, who’s the “muscle” and who’s the “charm” of the team here? Asking for a friend.
Jordan is the muscle. He is a big strong man because he puts hitches on trucks at his grown-up job at U-Haul. I’m the charm, just ask any foxy cashier in the Greater Rochester Area!