Interview: Trouble in Mind Records a Chicago grown label

So you’re an indie head, been one since you were 16 and heard your first Le Tigre or Sleater-Kinney album. But, as the years have come and gone, and your indie pallet has advanced, you’ve started to notice that the pop-formula you strive to avoid in your selective audio also applies by the same rubric towards your supposed “indie” classics. All in all there’s a million and five indie rockers and just about as many indie rock bands out there jamming to the the same tunes. Benign aspirations of snobbish individuality aside, you’re tired of mega-star Pitchfork approved line ups running your life, dictating your tastes and pulling your purse strings. You set your feelers out in search of some indie labels that really sound apart, while holding your attention and coaxing a homegrown aesthetic.

Trouble in Mind Records, a Chicago native record label, is one such option. Bringing the very best in folky rock and pop punk, Trouble in Mind Records hosts a slew of stellar bands that will surely get you grooving. In my recent correspondence with vinyl enthusiasts and audiophiles,  Bill and Lisa Roe, partners and founders of Trouble in Mind Records, we talked a little about the label’s style, Chicago’s rich indie label landscape, and how to get your demo or band page in the hands and ears of TiMR.

Thanks for taking my questions. I was wondering, what sets TiMR apart from other indie labels?
Hmmm… I don’t really know exactly. That’s a hard question to answer ourselves, almost like asking a band what they sound like. It’s a weird question. I suppose that an outsider looking at our roster might think it’s kinda varied sound-wise, but we think everything works together as a whole. It’s all pop music when you boil it down to it’s essence, and that’s really our first love, pop music.

Why Chicago?
Really just ‘cuz we live here… best reason I can think of!

How do you select your artists? Is there a process?
No real process involved. If we hear a band that we like, or a band approaches us with material that is great then we ask them if they wanna work together.

Let’s say I have a stellar band that vibes with your roster, how do I get my music on your label?
Best thing to do is contact us through the website ( & send us either a link to songs on your Bandcamp or MySpace (does anyone use that still?), etc. Or you could send us a DL link. Basically if you send us something and we like it, we’ll be in touch. We get a lot of submissions and we try to listen to everything, but only so much can make the cut, so we have to be REALLY selective.

Where can people get their hands on some of your vinyl?
Either through our mail order site (the aforementioned: or via our distro Carrot Top’s retail store ( is probably the best way, but tons of brick & mortar record shops like Permanent, Reckless, Laurie’s Planet Of Sound, Goner & Amoeba all have our records in their physical & online stores.

Who are some other indie labels in Chicago or the Midwest that we should all look out for, and what kind of sound are they pushing?
Lots of great Chicago labels! Permanent Records has an in-house label that rules, Slow Fizz, Moniker, Tic Tac Totally, Rotted Tooth, Hozac, Addenda, BLVD Records all have GREAT bands in their rosters that runs the gamut from more tasteful rock & indie, to gnarly garage rock & psych, to flat out ugly noise rock! There’s another great label from Milwaukee that we love called Dusty Medical Records too… Kevin (the label head) has awesome taste!

Any new artists to watch out for on TiMR or any other home grown label?
WELL so glad you asked! This Summer sees us releasing the second album from Denton, TX’s awesome Wax Museums (great spazzy punk!), & also the debut LP by The Night Beats; a Seattle psychedelic rock band in the vein of the 13th Floor Elevators or The Black Angels… also we’ve released 2 LPs by The Paperhead from Nashville – a trio of 19 yr old guys who play psychedelic music so authentic, you’d think it was recorded in 1967! We’re also releasing a single from an awesome new band from Bloomington, IN called Apache Dropout. In the fall we’re gonna have LPs by the Estrogen Highs & a solo LP by Mikal Cronin (from San Francisco’s AMAZING band The Moonhearts)… he’s old buddies/bandmates w/Ty Segall & is gonna be touring with him in the fall. ALSO next spring promises the second LP by local Chicago band Hollows – definitely looking forward to that!

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