Mariano Aponte makes a living engineering music, but for a long while he's wanted to expand his musical reach. "I'd been working for years with all these talented metal bands in Miami," the Kendall native says. "I grew up in the scene playing drums, going to shows, and then working with all these bands. Organically working with all these people, I realized we could get something going."
After a long talk with his friend with a background in the music business, John “JP” Guinanto, and a year of planning, the two are finally ready to kick off 2018 with the launch of their label, Apocalypse Records. "It's going to be rock music, but not just extremely heavy bands, though we will have that," Guinanto says, emphasizing they want to work with bands in every style of rock. "We're also talking and working with bands that have a pop/rock/folk feel and another that sounds like Matchbox Twenty-type alternative rock."
To start off the new year, the burgeoning label has two official signings, A Victim a Target and Revolution. "A Victim a Target was our first signing," Aponte says. "They played in the studio and sounded exactly like they did in their demo, which never happens. Revolution was someone we wanted because they rep Kendall metal. Their warehouse is legendary, and when we decided to expand beyond A Victim, we knew we wanted to work with good people that could draw a crowd. No one does that better than Revolution."
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Apocalypse hopes to set things off with a signing party at Churchill's Pub January 19. Revolution and A Victim a Target will each play a set along with more than a dozen other local bands, including Black Tide, Lochness Monster, and the Oski Foundation. "It's going to be a show with great production. The sound and the motorized lighting are going to make it really stand out," Guinanto says.
Beyond organizing the concert, the label is putting the finishing touches on scheduling for releases soon. Short-terms goals include putting out two new digital releases each month; long-term goals include a Southeast tour for their bands and releasing some of their music on vinyl after that.
The Apocalypse heads believe they have a good feel for the Miami scene, but they are open to submissions from both local and out-of-town acts on their website, apocalypserecords.net. "We're going to be a full-fledged distribution label that takes care of the development and marketing. We want to find bands that take things seriously and want to put out material," Aponte says. "After working in Los Angeles, I've come back to my hometown and heard all these incredible bands. We want to help nurture them."
Apocalypse Records Signing Party. 8 p.m. Friday, January 19, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com. Tickets cost $10.