8 Up Records is quickly making a real name for themselves in the scene. It’s because they’re doing it right. It’s that easy. It’s all about the love of the music, and providing opportunities for bands to be heard… that’s what they do, and that’s why some of streetpunks finest are finding their way to the 8 Up banner. When you look into the quality of people involved, whether it’s the bands or the label heads themselves, you’ll notice a familiarity among all of them… they give a fuck. Going beyond creating great music, they lend their art to projects to stomp out depression, for example. These are bands who don’t just jump on charitable compilations for the exposure… this isn’t just a label looking for attention. They all practice what they preach, so it’s no surprise all of these key figures in our scene found the same place to call home… 8 Up Records.

Let’s meet the guys who are making this all happen. Introducing Sam King and Jason Po.

Let’s start with the label’s history. What the Hell possessed you to take on a record label? Haha.

Jason: Started making comps in ’04. Burning by hand and printing out CD sleeves, then cutting them out and gluing them by hand. Free printing, as I was a teacher at the time. Lol. Gave them all away. One year I kept track and had done 4,300. Basically, couldn’t see any reason to just put my band (The Dead Pawns) on the CDs. Not much fun in that. The comps allowed me to hear new music and share mine with others. At the time, it was free. I’d just make and send a bunch of comps out. Whatever I could afford.

Sam: Jason was helping bands out since I first met him, which I believe was around ’04 / ’05. He had no reason to help the bands. He just chose to, and I saw the goodness in him. I too always had that drive to help out others ever since I can remember. I started creating blank CD-Rs with Jason using those paper sleeve covers that we made on our own. Jason and I even traveled around together in 2008 within MO, PA, MD, DE, NJ, NY trying to get those CD-Rs out at shows, music shops, and tattoo shops. We had a goal to get them in at least 2 locations per state. Jason had released my old bands (AssLunch and The Unpatriotics) through 8 Up Records along with numerous other bands on comps, and he always promoted by bands to the max. It was a proud feeling. A feeling I wanted to give to other bands, so helping running the label helps me achieve my goals.

I’m personally a fan of the “Give Us A Future” compilation series. Overall, how has that series been recieved?

Sam: I spearheaded that series. It was recieved well by others. Not many sold, but that’s ok. We gave away a bunch and bands that were on those comps often times would buy copies from us whatever it cost me (some would even refuse to buy it at cost and bought at retail price to help us out). Bands used the copies they bought as merch at their shows or online. They sold them for whatever they wanted and kept the money. We were just happy we were moving with them with the help of the bands! It was a fun series. It was really nice to see bigger bands just hop on to help out the smaller bands and help our label gain a name. English Dogs was one of those bands. We thank all of the bands, bigger or smaller, for their contibutions!

One comp I was really happy to see was “Oi! Lis’sen To This!: Give Depression The Boot”. Would you tell us about this one?

Sam: That was a collaboration between Daniel of Mob Mentality, myself, and Jason Long of Smash The Discos. The proceeds of that comp (digital and physical) went to AFSP.org, a suicide prevention charity. Suicide is something that hits close to home for us here at 8 Up and for many of the bands on the comp. Suicide is a huge issue that needs to be addressed. The way that we gathered bands for this comp was quite easy, and actually really cool. We just reached out and asked bands, bigger and smaller, and we explained to them what the cause was and where the proceeds were going. Many bands were so supportive of the cause, and we thank them all for their kindness and contributions. We had raised over $200 dollars, which was donated to the suicide prevention charity. If morebof these sell in the future, we will be able to donate more to this great cause.

So, recently you’ve been signing bands. Who’s on the charts?

Sam: Not so much signing them, as just making an agreement with them. Bands who appreciate our help, we are willing to help by promoting them, releasing them on comps, creating full length albums for them, or split vinyls. All the bands still own the rights to their music and are free to venture to other labels. We give them complete freedom because we want them to get as far as they can. Bands can buy them at cost and sell them for whatever they want. It is pretty much a family here at 8 Up, and we help each other out. Nands have also been meeting each other through the 8 Up label which creates a tighter bond. There’s an 8 Up family show in the works which will probably take place in the Philly burbs or NJ toward the end of September ’19. Wish we could do more for the bands, but we’re just two working class dads trying to keep the label afloat with what we can afford.

Bands within the 8 Up family are: Mob Mentality, Blue Collar Criminals, Reptilian Race, 5 Go Mad, Mike Puke, The Hooliganz, The Unaccepted, Blank Screen, L.O.A.D., Dreams Of Carnage, Try Subversion, Diamond Dogz, Nic, The Dead Pawns.

What are some of 8 Up’s plans for the future?

Jason: More vinyl!!! The 9th, 10th, and 11th are in the works at the moment. Hoping to get more rolling out quicker.

Sam: To keep adding more appreciative bands to the 8 Up family. Also, to eventually gain enough funds to sign bands one day. Currently, wr have 3 vinyl comps in the works, as Jason mentioned, plus 4 more CD comps coming out. We are also saving to do a 12″ full length for Mob Mentality, so please help us out and buy some merch if you can. We do not pocket any money. It all goes into future releases. If you buy from us, you are helping us invest in our future, and we thank you wholeheartedly.

Being a label head, the first thing new bands on our scene are going to wonder is “What are these guys all about?” What’s your outlook on the scene and its current state?

Jason: We just attempt to be kind to others. Neither of us are greedy or egotistical. Our motto is ‘If you take the money and ego out of music, you will still have music”. I started writing and playing music as another art medium. The tecotd label is another way to share that with other like minded people. Playing shows and touring got me to see a ton of great bands for free and meet cool people. To me, the scenes are just people sharing ideas, music, and culture. Just adding to it and sharing is a success as long as it’s a positive contribution.

Sam: We totally just try to be good to others. It is a huge goal we have. Help those who appreciate the help. All we care about is making this a positive and fun experience for the bands and ourselves. If you can’t have fun, then what is the point? If you are too serious and care only about image, then what is the point? The scene to me is like one big family. Sometimes you have the happy family, sometimes not. But, families stick together, and we should never lose sight of that.

Keep up the good work. Any final thoughts?

Jason: Thank you for letting us share our thoughts. If people pull their resources, they can get more accomplished. It should be about working together and helping each other out.

Sam: Thank you for interviewing us. Yes, I do have a final thought. I am going to dive a little deep on this one, as I think we all need reminding of this sometimes. Be kind to each other and help one another out. You never know what the person next to you is going through in their life, and your kindness could go a long way for them. Kindness is a choice and a strength. Life is about everyone and everything trying to work together. Please keep your mind open and live life the happiest you can. Never lose sight of the fact that it never hurts to lend a helping hand.

Dr. Sam signing off. Lol. Thanks again for the chance for us to speak. Take care everyone.

Come check out 8 Up Records Bandcamp and 8 Up Records Facebook Page