Under the moniker Breakeven Booking, promoter John McHale has tended to the fires of South Florida's hardcore, metal, and punk scenes for more than a decade. McHale's work booking national touring acts and showcasing up-and-coming locals has enriched the area's music community immensely over the years, and his consistency has played no small role in transforming South Florida from a risky trip for touring bands to an essential destination with a reputation for great shows stacked with solid local openers.
Recent years have seen the promoter also step into the role of frontman with his own group, Guilty Conscience, and now — with the help of bandmate and friend Andre Hopman — McHale has taken on the role of label owner with the advent of Eighty-Sixed Records.
If McHale's track record is any indication, his latest undertaking is undoubtedly something you should be paying attention to if you're even slightly interested in South Florida's music scene.
We spoke with the new label owner to find out more about how Eighty-Sixed finally came to be, its releases, and what his hopes are for the label's future.
New Times: What motivated you to finally start a label after all of your years promoting and facilitating things for South Florida's scene?
John McHale: Myself and my old friend and bandmate, Andre Hopman, realized that there are a lot of awesome bands coming out of South Florida right now. We were already in the process of self-releasing our own band, Guilty Conscience, and we decided we should just go the rest of the way and do a proper label to showcase some of the other great bands in the area — and maybe even beyond it.
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I've always wanted to do a label. I tried to release something years ago — in the early 2000s — also under the name Eighty-Sixed Records, but it didn't pan out for various reasons, so it'd be really cool to see it get some legs. We're well aware of how difficult selling records is right now. Even with vinyl being cool again, it's not the easiest game, but we're prepared to face it.
How does the label's release schedule look at this point?
We just released Day by Day's EP. The release that's going to immediately follow that Day by Day album will be the first full-length LP by Fort Lauderdale's Gouge Away, which is finished already. We're going to drop that towards the end of the year. Following that will be a seven-inch by an awesome hardcore band called Hit List. We're really trying to rep the bands we think make our scene great.
What's the scoop on Day by Day?
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Day by Day is a newer band out of Broward — they've been around less than a year at this point — but everyone in the band has been involved in other notable bands from the area, like Featherweight and Kickturn. They just recorded a five-song EP with Cory from Unified Right and had it mixed and mastered by New York hardcore legend Don Fury, which is pretty wild. The guy worked with iconic bands like Youth of Today and Breakdown, so it's really cool to have him involved on this one, especially being only our second release.
Would you say this endeavor speaks to the positive state of affairs in South Florida's hardcore scene?
Right now, yeah. We're definitely more on the map than ever as a scene. People on a national level know about a big chunk of the bands coming out from around here. It's weird because people always come through on tour these days and say they've heard such good things about playing South Florida — which always kind of blows my mind because for years we were so overlooked — but it's a good time to be a part of this community, and it's been a long time coming.
For more info, visit eighty-sixedrecords.com.