Brian Roettinger used to be in a band with Steve Aoki; he’s a talented graphic designer; he runs a record label called Hand Held Heart that also puts out books and screened posters; he’s a thoughtful guy, and like so many people we interview for the Meet & Greet feature, he’s a devotee of Factory Records. He also adapted the theremin into a usable text-based alphabet. Roettinger also likes the NBA. When you read about all the stuff he’s into, it sort of makes you pissed at yourself that you spent the last 20 minutes trying and failing to heat up some EasyMac. Read on, and be inspired. — Thomas Rooker White
Who runs the label?
Me, Brian Roettinger.
Where is the label located? Describe your digs…
I run the label and all other aspects of Hand Held Heart in a section of my home in Los Feliz; that’s in Los Angeles, for those that don’t know. We use roughly 250 sq. ft. Three laptops, six chairs, two desks, one scanner, 700+ books, and I have no idea how many records. Oh yeah, and a wireless network. And sometimes a dog.
How did the label get its start? Its name?
I started the label in 1997 under the name Unfortunate for the Fortunate which only released one 12″ and a 7″ with two French bands, Ananda and El Invention de Morel. It was in 1998 when the Orchid 7″ came out that I changed the name to Hand Held Heart. I made the name up, but was inspired by an HR Giger illustration on the insert for the Carcass album Heartwork that he designed. At first the name didn’t really mean much. Now I like to think it encompasses all the ingredients of creation that I enjoy, craft, collaboration and love. I also like that it’s vague enough for people to speculate about what it means.
How many releases do you issue a year, on average?
It ranges. Not all Hand Held Heart projects are records. So in that sense, we don’t call them releases, just projects. Posters, shirts, bags, records, books. This year so far: Skull Sküll 12″; Liars/Blood Brothers split 12″/CD; Untitled #1 (letterpress poster for the Drama); and LifeStyles, a book. Hopefully some more projects with Liars and No Age, too.
True or false: Digital downloads are okay, but 7″‘s are cooler…
Very true, I like them both. It’s CDs that I find so disposable.
Favorite label besides your own…
Factory! Tony Wilson RIP.
Favorite record ever…
Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures
Favorite movie ever…
Well it’s hard for me to call one as my favorite. But I can say I will always be up for watching Stroszek, A Women Under the Influence, Millennium Mambo, and Rushmore.
Vegetarian or carnivore?
I’ve been vegan for about 10 years.
Your guiltiest pleasure. The thing no one would believe you watch,
read, or listen to…
Wow, I have so many. I constantly have to hide things, turn things down, use headphones, clear my browser history. I love “Project Runway,” following the NBA and reading ESPN.com; it’s a sports statistics thing that I find entertaining. That’s only a tidbit. The list is longer, but I won’t bore you. Lately, my guiltiest pleasure for music is the Coconut Records (aka Jason Schwartzman) album. It’s nothing like anything else I find interesting or challenging for pop music culture, but when
I’m by myself I’m singing along.
[tags]Hand Held Heart Records, Project Runway, Brian Roettinger, No Age, Liars, Los Feliz[/tags]