Interview: Mike Park of Asian Man Records Talks Label Origins, 20 Year Anniversary Show, and More

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Article belongs to Dying Scene. Picture from Mike Park.
Originally published on May 28th, 2016.

I remember buying Big D & The Kids Table’s “Good Luck” from a local record store at age 15 and finding inside the ten year anniversary Asian Man Records mail order catalog. In this catalog there was a letter from label founder Mike Park explaining that they were not a big label. He said he ran it out of his parents’ garage, had one phone line with no call waiting, one computer, and two employees (his mom being one of them). This blew my mind and was my simple little introduction to DIY ethics. So when I got the chance to interview the man behind the label himself, it was no small deal to me.

I got to sit on a couch and drink a beer while Mr. Park walked his dog around his neighborhood on a very windy day in San Jose, California. While there were several moments in our interview that I could barely hear him due to the weather, this was still the best interview I’ve ever done and a dream come true for me. Read it below.

DS: First Question: Is mail order still fun in 2016?
After 20 years or so – actually more, because before Asian Man I was doing it for Dill Records – some days it’s fun, some days you’re like “meh.” It’s pretty monotonous. Still, I’m pretty lucky to be able to go at my own pace and pack records. So no complaints, but some days it’s a little monotonous.

But you guys still do mail order though? Like I could buy an Asian Man Record…
Oh yeah, a lot of our business is all mail order. Without mail order we would fail. My stuff is not in stores. That’s our bread and butter – without mail order we’d be doomed. We don’t really have good distribution. Go to your local store, your Mom & Pop, and see if they have any Asian Man stuff. If they do, it’ll probably be a couple records by Alkaline Trio, maybe a Joyce Manor record and that’s it.

Read the rest of my interview with a punk rock hero here!

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