"We just want to deal with people we know because it makes everything easier," explains 22-year-old Chris Lelugas, who, along with Mari Giordani, also age 22, runs the local indie record label Star Crunch. "We'll put out anything as long as we like it. We don't like to get into defining the music. Anything we both love, we'll release. We just have to like the people doing it and know who we're dealing with."
Since last March the pair has issued four titles by South Florida bands on their Star Crunch imprint: singles by the the garage-punk Stun Guns and the defunct alt-rock duo Childress; Da Bronx Sity Chicken Machine Vol. II, the compact disc debut by avant-pop experimentalists Kreamy 'Lectric Santa; and, most recently, a split single featuring one side each by screech-noise combos Cavity and the Daisy Cutters. Star Crunch is just one of several recently formed labels -- others include Far Out, Smooth Lips, and Space Cadette -- mining what Lelugas believes to be the area's fertile and vibrant music underground. "Mari and I just thought there were a lot of great bands around town that deserved to have stuff out that didn't have stuff out," he explains. "In the past there just hasn't been an outlet for them, and we thought that needed to happen."
Lelugas and Giordani aren't expecting Star Crunch to make them rich. Any profits generated by sales are split evenly between the label and the artists, and graphics for record sleeves and fanzine advertisements are done in-house by their friends. Studio and recording costs are generally assumed by the bands, but the label has occasionally advanced money to a group to cover expenses. "Everything's cheaper for us because Mari and I split the costs," explains Lelugas, who matched Giordani's $3000 contribution to get the label going. "We're basically just doing this for the fun of it, but it would be cool to do this full-time and for the label to be self-supportive so we can use the money to keep releasing more stuff."
Upcoming Star Crunch releases include a single this month by Miami's Los Canadians and a second Stun Guns effort in February; also, a Kreamy 'Lectric Santa single is tentatively slated for March. Independent distribution via Rotz in Chicago and 1000 Flowers in Corvallis, Oregon, has made the label's small but growing catalogue available in indie-minded record stores around the nation. Locally, you can find Star Crunch titles at Yesterday & Today's Red Road location, Blue Note Records in North Miami Beach, and Echo Discs and Tapes in Davie.