A Conversation With Fire Hazard Records

by Beck Macey

A Conversation With Fire Hazard Records

I sat down with Fire Hazard Records owner, Jon Herroon, at the beginning of April to discuss what its been like starting a new independent label in Philadelphia during COVID-19 as well as in general. Fire Hazard is an independent DIY Label based out of West Philadelphia. They work to promote all kinds of DIY music from the Philadelphia area as well as the Midwest.

Beck: What inspired you to start your own label?

Jon: I’m a real nerd for ethical business practices in the music industry. I’m very much enthralled with stuff like Dischord Records out of DC. They set the ground work for doing the indie label thing but doing it ¬right. There are countless other labels that went on to follow in their footsteps, like Look Out Records and Asian Man Records, all of whom inspire me greatly.

Beck: If you were to talk about some projects you are working on/ worked on, what has gotten you the most excited?

Jon: So, the label is still in its infancy, but my favorite project would be putting out my own bands record out on vinyl. That project was a year or two coming. So, the fact that it’s all happened, and I have boxes of records sitting in my room is very satisfying. As for what’s coming down pipe, there’s a dead band that my friends are in called Sandboxing and were doing a discography tape for them, hopefully this summer. There’s some other unconfirmed stuff as well. But that’s what’s on my plate for the immediate future.

Beck: What has been the most challenging part of starting a label during COVID-19?

Jon: When we did the Mechanical Canine Record I thought, “this is gonna be easy”. I thought I had done the hard part by getting the records made and getting the records to me. Now we just play a bunch of shows and sell them there, but because of COVID-19 we aren’t able to play any shows. This means we aren’t able to sell the records, and the pandemic hit 2 weeks after the record release. So, we had a whole bunch of touring lined up, and that’s obviously not happening anymore. However, I did post some Fire Hazard releases on a few different sub-reddits, like r/emo, and I was posting about this other band on the label, Death Cow from Lincoln Nebraska on like r/grunge, and I moved a ton of Death Cow tapes. In fact, it was most of the Death Cow Stock. And even though we didn’t sell any Canine LP’s, I did sell a Canine CD to a guy in the Netherlands, and a ton of other distro titles sold really well too.

Beck: So, you’re working with a band from Nebraska that’s pretty far? Why?

Jon: I’m from Nebraska originally, and there’s really an astounding all ages scene out there because there’s really nothing else to do. And I’ve been friends with the folks in Death Cow since high school. They were in town last summer, I had booked them a show out here, and they had heard I was planning on starting a label and were like “hey put out our EP!” and I was like “your friends of mine alright!”

Beck: Has COVID-19 affected the label in any other ways?

Jon: Yeah, we had plans of taking a bunch of copies of the Canine LP to local record stores in the Philly, NJ, DE area and being like “hey we made this record! Can you buy some please” but since the record stores are all closed, we weren’t able to do that. Thankfully, I didn’t have any immediate releases coming down the pipe. And manufacturing is all over the place as well. So I’m glad I’m not trying to get anything made.

Beck: What are your future hopes/ plans?

Jon: I definitely hope to grow the label in the sense of getting the music to more people. It be cool to get a bit of money out of it, but it’s not a money making endeavor. I do it because I like it! As long as I keep liking it, I’m gonna be satisfied.

A Conversation With Fire Hazard Records

by Beck Macey

A Conversation With Fire Hazard Records

I sat down with Fire Hazard Records owner, Jon Herroon, at the beginning of April to discuss what its been like starting a new independent label in Philadelphia during COVID-19 as well as in general. Fire Hazard is an independent DIY Label based out of West Philadelphia. They work to promote all kinds of DIY music from the Philadelphia area as well as the Midwest.

Beck: What inspired you to start your own label?

Jon: I’m a real nerd for ethical business practices in the music industry. I’m very much enthralled with stuff like Dischord Records out of DC. They set the ground work for doing the indie label thing but doing it ¬right. There are countless other labels that went on to follow in their footsteps, like Look Out Records and Asian Man Records, all of whom inspire me greatly.

Beck: If you were to talk about some projects you are working on/ worked on, what has gotten you the most excited?

Jon: So, the label is still in its infancy, but my favorite project would be putting out my own bands record out on vinyl. That project was a year or two coming. So, the fact that it’s all happened, and I have boxes of records sitting in my room is very satisfying. As for what’s coming down pipe, there’s a dead band that my friends are in called Sandboxing and were doing a discography tape for them, hopefully this summer. There’s some other unconfirmed stuff as well. But that’s what’s on my plate for the immediate future.

Beck: What has been the most challenging part of starting a label during COVID-19?

Jon: When we did the Mechanical Canine Record I thought, “this is gonna be easy”. I thought I had done the hard part by getting the records made and getting the records to me. Now we just play a bunch of shows and sell them there, but because of COVID-19 we aren’t able to play any shows. This means we aren’t able to sell the records, and the pandemic hit 2 weeks after the record release. So, we had a whole bunch of touring lined up, and that’s obviously not happening anymore. However, I did post some Fire Hazard releases on a few different sub-reddits, like r/emo, and I was posting about this other band on the label, Death Cow from Lincoln Nebraska on like r/grunge, and I moved a ton of Death Cow tapes. In fact, it was most of the Death Cow Stock. And even though we didn’t sell any Canine LP’s, I did sell a Canine CD to a guy in the Netherlands, and a ton of other distro titles sold really well too.

Beck: So, you’re working with a band from Nebraska that’s pretty far? Why?

Jon: I’m from Nebraska originally, and there’s really an astounding all ages scene out there because there’s really nothing else to do. And I’ve been friends with the folks in Death Cow since high school. They were in town last summer, I had booked them a show out here, and they had heard I was planning on starting a label and were like “hey put out our EP!” and I was like “your friends of mine alright!”

Beck: Has COVID-19 affected the label in any other ways?

Jon: Yeah, we had plans of taking a bunch of copies of the Canine LP to local record stores in the Philly, NJ, DE area and being like “hey we made this record! Can you buy some please” but since the record stores are all closed, we weren’t able to do that. Thankfully, I didn’t have any immediate releases coming down the pipe. And manufacturing is all over the place as well. So I’m glad I’m not trying to get anything made.

Beck: What are your future hopes/ plans?

Jon: I definitely hope to grow the label in the sense of getting the music to more people. It be cool to get a bit of money out of it, but it’s not a money making endeavor. I do it because I like it! As long as I keep liking it, I’m gonna be satisfied.