Established in 2012, Mutant League Records is owned and ran by Nate Steinheimer. The Chicago-based label has released records from the likes of Seaway, As It Is, Belmont, Home Grown, and more. From the signing of Wilmette to their impressive roster to the announcement of Belmont supporting Grayscale on their upcoming tour, it has already been an exciting year with more yet to come!
More Information: https://www.mutantleaguerecords.com/
All questions were answered by Nate Steinheimer.
Q: What bands and artists sparked your interest in music in general when you were growing up?
A: When I was a teenager, bands on Epitaph Records and Fat got me into punk and opened my eyes to the world of alternative independent music. It didn’t feel like you were just buying a ticket and going to a concert. I liked the idea that I could be involved in the scene by going to friend’s shows and playing in bands.
Q: What was the inspiration behind the formation of Mutant League Records? What is the story behind the name?
A: I had friends that played in a punk band called “Mutant League” when I was a teenager. They had named themselves after a Sega Genesis video game they all played called “Mutant League Football”. Years later when I started the label I thought it would be fun to name my company after them. Ironically, the “Mutant League” videogame creators got together to put out a new version of the game last year for XBOX and Playstation last year, and they were nice enough to let us put a bunch of music from our artists onto the game’s soundtrack. So in a cosmic sort of way this has all come full circle.
Q: Since your label’s emergence in 2012, have you learned anything that you wish you would have known then? Is there anything you would have done differently?
A: Sure- it’s tough starting a business when you have very little money and no one knows who you are. Probably the best advice for anyone in that situation is to ask for help. I’ve learned tough lessons trying to overextend myself doing certain things that I’m simply not good at. It’s all about delegating those tasks to others and focusing on the things you do best.
Q: Wilmette has been getting a good amount of press lately and have even been featured on Spotify’s Pop Punk’s Not Dead and New Punk Tracks playlists ahead of the release of their EP ‘Anxious Body’ on July 19th. How did their signing come about, and what convinced you that they were a good fit for the label?
A: I’m really excited about these guys! Alex Zarek is an ace videographer and friend of my mine who has produced music videos for a few of our bands- he hit me up about Wilmette after doing some filming for them. I gave the band a listen and was really blown away. Their new album is incredible, can’t wait for people to hear the whole thing.
Q: What is one album (or a couple albums) that you have released on the label that you have the strongest connection with for any reason? Please explain.
A: Cop-out answer, but it’s hard to single any of them out. I feel a strong connection to pretty much all of the albums that make up our catalog. No matter how big or small, each album has had an influence in how the label continues to operate. They’ve all framed different parts of my life over the last seven years.
Q: Belmont will be going out on tour with Grayscale on their ‘Nella Vita North American Tour’. How proud of them are you?
A: Extremely proud. Releasing albums for those guys has definitely been a highlight for me. Their debut LP had the biggest first week of any release we’ve ever done- but regardless of any accolades or bragging rights, those guys have remained just as genuine and fun to work with as when we started. Excited to see them continue to grow.
Q: What are some other things going on with bands on the label currently that you are excited about?
A: Mutant League is doing another vinyl release for my friends in ‘Lucky Boys Confusion’ that I think a lot of people are going to be excited about. Also- our groups ‘Chief State’ and ‘Vacant Home’ are both working on new records. There’s a lot going on that’s yet to be announced… hopefully we’ll be able to get the word out about some other new signings and upcoming releases soon!
Q: Do you have any advice for new bands? What about for those of us (like me) dreaming to have a career in the business side of the music industry?
A: I feel pretty estranged from the “music industry” so I’m not sure I’m the person to look to for advice on the topic. But my thoughts are that if you’re interested in music: become involved. Participate in your local scene- go to shows, soak up the culture. The more you surround yourself with likeminded people who have similar interests the larger your network becomes for sourcing opportunities and learning new things.
Q: What are your short-term and long-term goals for Mutant League Records?
A: Short-term, I’d like to continue expanding upon what we’re already doing: discovering new artists and creating a demand for their music. Long-term, it would be cool to have 100+ releases in our catalog and sell a million albums. We’ll see what happens.