Jared McKay of Coral Morphologic Talks Discosoma Records and Random Fandom

You might have visited Coral Morphologic/Morphologic Studios (AKA Jared McKay and Colin Foord) during the third leg of the Weird Miami tours. Or maybe you checked out the duo's recent zoanthid photo show at the Biscayne Nature Center. Or you might have even discovered Morphologic in the latest edition of Nylon Magazine, where the girly hipster mag highlights all the amazing stuff that these marine biologists are doing in their home studio.

Well, McKay and Foord just started up a record label, too. With the help of a few friends, the tag team have launched Discosoma Records and immediately put out recordings by some of South Florida's best bands.

See the cut for an interview with Jared about coral, music, and other stuff.

Who exactly runs Discosoma records?

Discosoma Records is a side project of Coral Morphologic/Morphologic Studios, which I co-own with marine biologist Colin Foord. The name "Discosoma" refers to a genus of corallimorphs, which are circular-shaped cousins of corals and sea anemones. Our day job involves researching and aquaculturing the discosoma species that are local to our reefs. I do the daily stuff. And when we receive the records back from the pressers, I hand-number and stamp them individually with our corallimorph logo. Then I combine the band-made sleeve art with the records and info-inserts, designed by our Australian friend, Michael F. McPeake. So far, we have kept the pressings limited to 100.

What releases have you guys put out? And what's next on the agenda?

We have released three 7" singles since August: "Innovator" by Miami's Plains, "Take Your Time With Me" by West Palm Beach's Guy Harvey, and "LKLL" by Beings, another amazing Miami band that everyone needs to know about. Our fourth release will be an ANR 7" due in December, followed by "Flannel Beach", a double LP vinyl compilation of South Floridian bands in February, with sleeve-art by Miami artist Justin Long. We will be donating the profits from this comp to the Coral Restoration Foundation's coral farm in the Florida Keys. We are planning a Kickstarter fundraiser around the project, so stay tuned!

Why start a label?

Colin and I have been vinyl collectors since high school, and pressing records has always been one of our dreams. Now that we are living among a tight community of bands that deserve to be pressed on wax, the time is right. Our motivation is more about the bands than it is about the company. And there is definitely room for more people to put out records locally.

The independent music scene in Dade, Broward, and West Palm Beach counties is really inspiring right now. I try to post as much about the local scene as possible on the Discosoma Records blog. I really believe that the South Florida scene we half-jokingly refer to as 'Flannel Beach' is ripe for national recognition. Surfer Blood broke through last year, the Jacuzzi Boys are well on their way. People will figure it out eventually. The only thing that the South Florida scene seems to lack is a big audience. At most shows, it seems like the audiences are usually all comprised of members of other bands and their buddies. But at least there isn't any hype. It's all very real.

What are some bands that you are listening to? Either from Miami or not.

I listen to a lot of local musicians, almost as much I listen to musicians from elsewhere around the world. I am really excited about what's happening up in West Palm Beach, especially the Jameses, Band in Heaven, Guy Harvey, Sumsun, and Love Handles. I am fortunate enough to be able to listen to a lot of local material that hasn't been officially released yet, and the new solo project from Animal Tropical drummer Jorge Rubiera,"Can't Stop" is totally awesome. His upcoming debut LP, Neighborhood, is the best record I've heard in a long time. But I don't just blog about music and put out records. I write and record all the music for Coral Morphologic's video soundtracks, and I also work the bass in the live lineup of Michael McGinnis' Plains. The blog is a good place to dive into all the music I'm digging.

What are Discosoma's most hopeful prospects right now?

We are lining up some shows to compliment the "Flannel Beach" comp, which will be a cross-county thing. The main goal with the label is mostly to add to the local musical archive of vinyl records. I think that a vinyl record means a lot more than an MP3 in a historical context. We will continue to put out at least one 7" every couple of months, so in a few years we hope to have a serious back catalog. In 2011 we hope to find the funds for a picture disc featuring a Discosoma image. This is actually where the idea of Discosoma Records started. As vinyl collectors, we have always had a thing for cool picture discs. We were doing some fluorescence photography of Discosoma polyps in the lab a couple years ago and it sort of dawned on us like, "Damn, these would make amazing picture discs." Picture discs are super expensive to produce and there is usually a 1000 disc minimum, so in the meantime we're happy to press on black vinyl with handmade artwork.

Does doing limited edition runs make it easier on you and the bands?

The limited run/handmade art idea is a way to satisfy actual demand for these 7" records. We've learned from our friends in other bands that there is no point in pressing 1000 copies, even if you get a better price break, if you are only going to end up selling a couple hundred of them. Pressing 100 means that there really isn't any room for profit, but that's not the point. Plus, pressing 100 allows for the custom artwork which is more work for both us and the bands, but the collaborations are fun.

Do you guys have any distro?

Due to our 100-count runs we haven't really had the need yet. Locally you can find these vinyls at Sweat Records or at the release shows. Otherwise, you can order them online from our blog.

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Miami New Times staff