Talking to Family Time Records

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Sam Woodson is the brains and soul behind the Family Time record label out of Riverside, CA. He's put the label on the map putting out an eclectic, yet structured channel of releases from the likes of Ancient Crux, Deep Sht, Kevin Greenspon, and numerous others. Though the range of sounds through the artists Family Time represents may be varied, there's a similar aesthetic in the tone and integrity of the artists in the label's roster.

Family Time was officially born in late 2008, by popping out the first Ancient Crux EP. Although the label had technically been in existence since months prior, but only as a musical source within a tight pack of friends — mostly centered around his own band No Paws and the now defunct Rapid Youth. After seeing his friends' bands and his own band opening up for a slew of acts in the area, he realized the true passion and power devoted to these acts. “I used to have a house shows where I lived and our bands were playing every show with touring bands or bands from LA. After a while of this I came upon the realization that we make good music, but we weren't
getting the right attention because we had no releases,” Woodson says of the initial spark behind Family Time.

Family Time served as the main source for releases from this group of friends, and Woodson says this is still the case, but as their exposure and hype grows, so does the output from the label. Woodson has made moves in recent days expanding the label. In the past year, the output of the label has grown beyond the small ring of Cali-friends, to include acts as distant as my own Pink Priest project and Deep Sht from the UK. This outward channeling will be maintained as Woodson even dreams of one day having a UK-based FamilyTime imprint.

Another definite sign of Family Time's growth is the fact that Woodson has already made the jump into vinyl territory, which is pretty outstanding for a label as young as his. The vinyl cherry was popped earlier this year with FAM013, a 12″ compilation of Family Time-related acts. “The Family Time compilation is something I will always be proud of. It was my first vinyl release and everyone on it means a lot to me. I feel like when I put those records together and got them to everybody it was an amazing feeling seeing their faces when they got it. For almost everybody, it was their first time on a actual record and everybody was super excited and positive,” Woodson explains of the impact of that first venture into vinyl territory.

Since then, Family Time has released stepped up their vinyl game with a 7″ from Dazzle Ships. Then last month, they dropped quite a heavy hitter on 7″ wax in the form of a split between modern day death rockers Blessure Grave and Bestial Mouths. Blessure Grave, who of course you already know — you've seen their releases spread out every cool label out there from Captured Tracks to Night-People to Alien8. Bestial Mouths are experimental synth-laden weirdos, who are channeling some ethereal Siouxsie-vibes with their blackened gauzy panic-attacks. In summation this is a killer split and a definite notch in the Family Time belt.

Blessure Grave – No Clear Picture by Family Time
Bestial Mouths – Loplop by Family Time

The next release right after the split 7″ was Kevin Greenspon's Common Objects LP, which after having spun it several times myself, I must say is a sure-fire win. I could try to sum it up myself, but the bio Sam sent me does a pretty perfect job, “On his 12” vinyl debut, Greenspon has written and arranged seven songs blending elements and techniques from ambient, drone, field recording, and harsh noise sub-genres into a concise album that seamlessly covers a wide variety of musical ground.” This is a highly personal, articulated album from a guy who's been kicking around the LA area's noise scene for years. On this long-player, he has certainly crafted a beautiful series of textured landscapes. Greenspon has been involved in the Family Time family for a while now. Woodson released his Bracing cd-r, a personal favorite of his. “I listen to Bracing and completely fall apart, I listen to that record and think about my mom and how I should visit her more often,” Woodson reveals. To further showcase how truly familial this entire scene is, a number of Family Time-related acts have also released material through Kevin Greenspon's Bridgetown label.

Kevin Greenspon – Glass Prison by Family Time
Kevin Greenspon – Threshold by Family Time

It's very apparent that there is a bright future lined up for this label. There's new projects in the works from the likes of Los Angeles's Mothers of Gut, a well-rounded psych band, as Woodson puts it. “They make psych music that is emotionally approachable, whereas most psychedelic influenced bands are all about the party, Mothers of Gut bring human qualities into their lyrics and add another layer of depth to a style of music that I don't think has yet to experience,” he details. Mothers Of Gut will be dropping a 12″ long player on Family Time in the near future. This label is seriously blowing up the vinyl spot right now. Following that LP, there will be a cassette and cd-r release from Voice On Tape. Woodson says regarding that project, “He is amazing. I have been seeing him play around LA since I was 17, he has a great work ethic while writing emotionally strenuous songs.”

More releases in the future include a cassette release from Gremlynzhey that's me, Dollchimes, and No Paws. In the end, Woodson just wants to see the label grow and is always ready to release more records. It's obviously a true passion for him and not just a hobby. This is a label spawned from a DIY scene, where Woodson's own grandmother and best friends have helped him put together his earliest releases, and it continues on in that tradition. This is a scene made up of friends, working together in a cohesive unit. Everyone backing each other and working for the greater good. It's really fucking positive and I wish Sam the best of luck. He's a killer dude who's batting a thousand right now. Get your head in the Family Time game and check out what goings on over there. All releases mentioned above can be snatched up here.