Reel Time Records was started in 2009 by Brett Kucharski. A veteran of the Rochester punk scene, he has played in bands such as Bad Taste and the Insubordinates for the last ten years. In late 2009 he decided to branch out into other mediums, putting out the Rotcore comp and zine featuring ten bands such as Spoonful of Vicodin, Bad Taste, Insubordinates, and Wombat Syndrome. It was an attempt to capture a wide range of styles, with some conditions; you had to be a working band from the Rochester area, you had to have played out, and you had to be somewhat a part of the same community. It wasn’t intended to be an exclusive thing, contrary to what many believe about that particular sector of the “scene.”
“The comp took forever to do because working with ten bands is a pain in the ass. You put all of your time and effort into something with bands that half of the time take six months to get you artwork, by that time old bands are broken up, new bands are formed. I just feel that it’s a real thankless task. I don’t do it for the thanks yous, but I think my time and energy is better spent working with one or two groups at a time.”
In early 2010 he put out his first two vinyl records, a Brain Car’s 7”, ‘Rock + Roll Bologna EP’ (which came with a slice of bologna), and The Narcs 7” EP.
“Those were the two big releases for 2010, that was when I was getting used to distribution, getting contacts and getting the word out.”
In 2011 there were no releases for Reel Time, as Brett was focusing on recording and releasing for his band at the time, the Insubordinates. In 2012 he released the Flipshit EP, his favorite release that he’s had a chance to do.
“It was done (recorded) all locally. The front of the sleeve was pressed on a turn of the century Heidelberg. Plates were made and a layer (of ink) was done for each different color. The backs were screen-printed at Galaxy Graphics, which is where I do all of the print work for the promotional posters and etc. The vinyl was cut on the Columbia Records late which was used in cutting thousands of releases for over 60 years.”
Followed by that in early 2013 is the Bad Taste/Brain Car split 7”, which served as the final release for Brain Car as well as Bad Taste.
This year Reel Time has kicked it into higher gear, expanding into online sales and work. 2014 has also seen the start of a tape imprint, Jelly Music.
“Tapes are easier, sound great, and look fucking great, and you don’t have to drop $500-$2000 on a release. The BEASTMAN tapes are great, I’m really happy with the way they came out. They may soon be putting out a 7” on Reel Time.
One thing that Reel Time is committed to is the analogue medium.
“Reel Time is primarily involved in producing records from analogue source masters, which has been a focus of mine since I started the label, producing everything from reel to reel or tape masters, and transferring it directly to the plates, so it’s never touched digitally; not that there’s anything wrong with digital promotion, I’ve come to do that more and more in the last couple years. I think music should have an analogue purity to it, an unpredictability. It’s a hard medium to work with, you have to manipulate it to get a good sound. Digital recording are just 0’s and 1’s written like that for all time. When you transfer it to CD or upload it to a site (unless you compress it) it’s going to retain it’s original sound and quality, while analogue degrades. But, the first analogue recording is the most pure form of music that can be devised; as you record it and transfer it from medium to medium it will take on a form of its own, becoming unpredictable. It can end up in more magical than you could ever have hoped. That is the thinking behind the original plan of Reel Time.”
Kucharski now runs a zine, tape and record shop out of Reel Time HQ, complete with vintage and local vinyl, cassettes, books, t-shirts, pins, patches, and art. He also is soon starting a zine with Brandon Gaffney, who runs Media Schlitz, another local label/distro. The zine will focus on other cities around the country, while having a hold in Rochester culture. It will contain an ongoing music review section that will focus on multiple genres, including the small sub-genres that somehow find a way to manifest in such a small city as this one, while “somehow managing to isolate itself into it’s own inferiority complex.”
“We’re going to try to bring everything into a larger scale in terms of bands and genres of music, breaking the bubble that Rochester seems to surround itself with, and exploring things around the country that may be as good if not much better, instead of shunning and closing their eyes, people could learn a lot through the cross pollination of listening to music originating outside of Rochester.”
Located on the wall of the Reel Time Shoppe is a bulletin board where all are free to post fliers for upcoming shows, no matter who or what, as long as it’s local. There is also an ongoing art gallery, once displayed at Smugtown Mushrooms that is all for sale.
“I really miss playing music with other people. I don’t really miss being anyone’s entertainment though. I’ve been doing it for 10 years, I don’t really want to do it again for no reason. If I do it again, I’m going to be in a band focused on touring and recording. I just feel done with it. We would still play shows locally; there’s nothing wrong with it (entertaining), there should be something like tht always happening, and there’s a lot of great bands, but I’m, just done with it for now. I still love music, and I really want to help make that a possibility on a larger scale in a more positive way.”
On May 30th, BEASTMAN and The Punks are touring in support of BEASTMAN’s release on Jelly Music Inc., the “BEASTMAN S/T.” They will be playing in Rochester on 5/30, Columbus on 5/31, Chicago on 6/1, Milwaukee on 6/2, Bloomington on 6/3, Cleavland on 6/4, and Pittsburgh on 6/5.Kucharski is in the process of making the tapes available to numerous zines, radio stations and websites. If you’re interested in checking it out, go to jellymusicinc.bandcamp.com.
If you’re interested in contacting Brett and seeing the store, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to reeltimerecordss.bigcartel.com.