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Calling All Lame-Os!

August 6, 2014

Lame-O Records by Rachel Del SordoText by Beth Ann Downey. Images by Rachel Del Sordo.

Lame-O Records has given itself a simple description: “Punk. Indie. Coffee. Pez Dispensers.” That’s how the label describes itself on Facebook.

Though there’s a lot of that, there’s one more thing that founders Eric Osman and Emily Hakes modestly left out: Lame-O Records is run strictly on passion.

Osman started Lame-O in order to help friends in local pop punk band Modern Baseball put out their first LP. He was managing the band at the time, as he still does today, and decided to use the money he’d been saving working coffee shop jobs to fund pressing 300 copies of Sports.

“We just wanted something bigger than a Bandcamp release,” Osman says from the label’s headquarters, aka his West Philly apartment. “I wasn’t really thinking of it as a label thing. As things progressed, I gave it a name and a logo. But originally, I had no plans to continue the label after that.”

Those records were all pressed on different colored vinyl and LameO02OnlineOsman didn’t see a cent of profit. But releasing Sports physically may have been a defining factor contributing to Modern Baseball’s success. Osman decided to continue with label in order to help other bands have the similar opportunities.

“I thought, since I’d gotten lucky enough to sell a bunch of copies of the first record I ever put out on a fluke or a whim, that it would be silly of me not to take advantage of the situation and put forth bands that are doing cool things that otherwise wouldn’t have been recognized,” Osman says.

Hakes didn’t officially become involved with Lame-O until the planning stages for putting out The Hundred Acre Woods’ Cold in the Morning 7-inch. But Osman says she played a huge role in Lame-O from the beginning.

“We would talk every week while I was doing my radio show at WKDU,” Osman says. “I would ignore all of the songs that were being requested on the radio as Emily would talk to me about what she thought I should do. And she was always right.”

Both are still students at Drexel University, Hakes majoring in music industry and Osman in entertainment and artist management.

“It’s very busy,” says Hakes. “But doing Lame-O is easy because I want to.”

“I leave a lot of things to the side, most notably school,” adds Osman. “I’ll find myself doing a lot more Lame-O stuff and management stuff. We’re busy people.”

Their latest release is from Scranton-born, Philly-bred Three Man Cannon, a project formed by former members of the band Tiger’s Jaw. Lame-O released the band’s new album, Pretty Many People, in May.

Matt Schimelfenig, vocalist and guitarist for the band, calls Hakes and Osman “the best pair in Philadelphia right now.”

“I think they come at it from the right direction,” he says. “They put out records because they like the record, not because they want to sell a bunch of records. That’s not what it’s all about for them. We all really like that aspect.”

Lame-O will soon announce a partnership with the label’s first band from outside Philly. Though they’re glad to work with any deserving band, Lame-O definitely still has a strong hometown loyalties.

“There’s just so much great music here,” says Osman.

“It’s so easy to run a record label in this city,” adds Hakes. “All you have to do is like people. Finding bands is not an issue. At all.”

No matter how successful Lame-O becomes, its end-goal will remain simple.

“If we can get anyone to listen to a record who otherwise wouldn’t have heard that record, that’s the coolest thing we can do,” Osman says. “Help those people keep making music and help keep Emily and I entertained – and busy as fuck.”

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