Generation Excess is a term that has been used to describe today's twentysomethings, overconsuming underachievers more likely to move back in with their parents after college and "find themselves" instead of look for a job. But 25-year-olds Adam Heathcott and Sara Padgett blow that stereotype out of the water. Not only are they employed -- both work for the advertising agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky -- but they also boast a studio for their artistic endeavors, own a comfy house in Coconut Grove and a Weimaraner named Castle O'Grady, and run a record label. If anything, the last, a project dubbed Hometapes that they have nurtured since high school, is a poster child for anti-excess. Maybe it's their upbringing in the homey state of Arkansas, or the homegrown talent they found while attending Savannah College of Art and Design that has inspired Heathcott and Padgett's unpretentious approach to promoting and supporting music. Whatever the reason, Hometapes has managed to achieve that rare combination of success and integrity.
It was as teenagers in a punk band that the pair first began to produce albums and release them under the name Hometapes, which came from a friend's observation that they worked out of their home (which they still do). The name was also appropriate because, back in the Eighties, major labels tried to discourage piracy by stickering cassette tapes with the label, "Hometaping is killing music." Heathcott laughs at the association, since Hometapes promotes music from a very grassroots approach. "We come from a very DIY mentality," adds Padgett.
There are four artists on the Hometapes label: local electro-orchestral outfit Feathers, Kentucky solo artist Shedding, D.C. punk band the Caribbean, and Paul Duncan, Heathcott and Padgett's pal from their Savannah days. The duo credits their growth, which has found them getting coverage in indie-rock magazines such as Venus, to a few steadfast caveats. They seek out talent they admire (Heathcott cold-called Chicago-based poster artist Jay Ryan to create the vinyl jacket for Shedding's vinyl EP, Now I'm Shedding). Each album is adorned with intricate artwork: The Caribbean's William of Orange EP, for example, uses handmade signs, photography, and a tax form to present track-list and production information.
Most important, and at the risk of sounding idealistic, all involved with Hometapes -- from the musicians to national distributors such as Insound and Forced Exposure -- are personal friends of Hometapes. "They always say don't do business with friends, but it's so much more rewarding when it's not just you but your friends as well," says Padgett. "This label isn't just us, it's a collective of people. It's a family."