When Slim Moon founded Kill Rock Stars back in 1991, he knew it was the job he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He's surprised it actually happened.
"It feels great for it to still exist," says Moon, 53.
As the label arrives at its 30th anniversary, KRS has a lot to celebrate beyond its mere survival. Over three decades, the label—which Moon started after dropping out of high school in Seattle and moving to Olympia, Wash., and has been based in Portland since 2007—has helped define the sound of Pacific Northwest indie rock.
It released the first records by now-foundational artists like Elliott Smith, Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney, and later the Decemberists, Gossip and Horse Feathers, all while managing to withstand the rise of both Napster and Spotify.
Moon's insistence on handshake-only contracts has allowed his blue-chip acts to move on and have their KRS releases reissued by other, bigger labels. But as it turns out, there's still plenty in the archives to spotlight.
Among other planned anniversary releases, KRS will be repressing all the albums Elliott Smith recorded for the label, as well as reissuing three legendary compilations from the '90s—Kill Rock Stars, Stars Kill Rock and Rock Stars Kill—featuring rare tracks by Nirvana, Rancid and Melvins.
But KRS isn't just leaning on its past. Earlier this month, the label released the fantastic debut album by Israeli post-punk artist Tamar Aphek and a collection of misshapen pop tunes by Texas band Tele Novella.
"We're always going to market the label as a curator, even though it's not as easy to do that as it was in the '90s," Moon says. "I'm very much an enthusiast and still excited about new things and new possibilities."
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