The peculiar world of Stay Strange is expanding. Sam Lopez, founder and curator of the regular live-music series, is launching a new tape label, also called Stay Strange. And much like the eclectic, experimental acts that play the live showcases he organizes, the record label will stick to a similarly unconventional, experimental aesthetic.
"It's gotta have that Stay Strange fiber, where something's—not really right," Lopez says.
Monochromacy's Cement Cathedrals, a set of guitar-based noise and ambient music, is Stay Strange's first official release and will be out June 28 on cassette and as a digital download. It's not uncommon for noise or experimental labels to issue cassette releases, but because of the relative scarcity of the format in 2013, Lopez also offers digital formats as a more convenient means of hearing the music.
"I'm taking advantage of a nostalgic piece of audio, and mixing it with today's technology," Lopez says. "So you get a tape, with a download code. It's a cool piece of artwork. To me, that's what it is—it's art."
Right now, Lopez hasn't announced the next release for the label, but he's carefully considering what cassette will bear the Stay Strange logo next.
Running a label is "not a cheap thing to do, and I wanted to do it right," Lopez says. "I'm going to be selective a bit about what the next release will be. I'd like to see Stay Strange have a roster that's like a demented jukebox."
Lopez is also working on expanding the Stay Strange brand into other areas, including a TV series that he describes as "snuff film meets Pee-Wee's Playhouse." It's currently in production and will feature animation, shorts and live performances.
Lopez says he'd like to launch a clothing line, but, for now, he's concentrating his efforts on the label and his live series, which happens at such venues as The Void and Space 4 Art.
"I want to be in the same realm as someone who has been doing this a while," Lopez says. "I take pride in what I'm doing."
Mrs. Magician have announced they'll release a B-sides album on July 30, titled simply B-Sides. They're also taking some time off from performing live in order to record their second full-length album.