Molly Compton, founder of Ur Mother Data

Molly Compton Credit score: Victoria Marie @victoriamariephotos

Molly Compton is a scene mom and mentor who established the unbiased label Ur Mom Records in December 2021, making use of her financial savings and guidance from household. Compton is a recognizable confront in the area Do-it-yourself music scene: she hosts two times-month-to-month COVID-safe home shows for regional and touring acts, both at her place or in her neighbor’s yard she will help new artists having difficulties to make their possess merch she is effective as a tour supervisor for bands touring out of state and she performs with a solo project that’s also termed Molly Compton. 

Compton researched professional audio and voice in faculty at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, in which she learned her way around engineering and manufacturing. When she graduated in 2018, she imagined she was ready to transfer to Nashville to study vinyl mastering. But as a substitute she came to Chicago, due to the fact Martin Atkins—who’d began educating at Millikin her senior year—asked her to be his government assistant.

Atkins, cofounder of extensive-operating industrial supergroup Pigface, operates the Museum of Write-up Punk & Industrial Music out of a Do it yourself room in Bridgeport he also operates the label Invisible Information. Atkins has composed several guides about the tunes business, which includes Tour:Sensible: And Split the Band and Welcome to the Tunes Business enterprise. You’re F*cked! Compton worked for him for four years and even now uses his museum house for merch and file building. 

Currently Compton will work from dwelling complete-time for vinyl membership assistance Vinyl Me, You should and operates Ur Mother Data out of her apartment. Her label has labored closely with nine artists in its 1st 17 months, and it has 3 acts on its roster so significantly: Leche Malo, A Day Without Enjoy, and CalicoLoco

The driving ethic of Compton’s label is that everyone justifies a very good mother in their daily life and all people has the capacity to care like a great mom. “When we all do that,” she says, “things get greater a ton more rapidly.” 

As advised to Debbie-Marie Brown

When I labored 4 many years at Chicago’s Museum of Post Punk & Industrial Audio, I did everything from packaging orders to email strategies to a tour with Martin Atkins’s supergroup Pigface. There were being about 19 rotating customers in and out of the bus on that tour, likely by the U.S. and Canada. Atkins is crazy. He’s crazy. We experienced a second bus subsequent powering comprehensive of students who had been interning on the tour. You find out a whole lot real quickly. And then all through the pandemic we did, oh, gosh, at the very least 100 digital gatherings, like a couple of conferences for the Midwest Music Expo.

That was what my lifetime was like for about four a long time. I did that 24/7—so numerous distinct issues occurring all the time. And now absolutely nothing scares me, suitable? Any of the items that I encounter now on a working day-to-day foundation, my time at the Museum of Submit Punk & Industrial Tunes was the scariest it could have been. And I did not know what I was performing. So now I know what I’m performing. The sheer volume of get the job done that it takes on a tour for a four-piece band vs . 19 people—that tends to make, you know, a five-day Diy tour above a very long weekend with CalicoLoco truly feel like absolutely nothing. I could do that any day. 

I generally knew that it was crucial to think ahead and give myself more than enough time to complete these jobs to have a launch, a tour, or a show go actually effectively. But I don’t think I understood the urgency that can appear together with that right up until it was my each day. There is just so numerous matters, like, if you really do not do it, it is not gonna get performed. Like hanging posters all around the city. These posters, I have them printed. But if I don’t dangle them up now, they are not gonna be any very good to me future 7 days. Possibly for the reason that of time or due to the fact of income or due to the fact of strength, I won’t be ready to do this future week. So I assume possessing that foresight is a little something that that career seriously ingrained in me.

Often, in my very own report business, I make extra get the job done for myself on goal. There are items that I could outsource, but it loses the story for me. Like, there’s no story in sending your PDF off to be printed. But there is a story in me unintentionally taking pictures the monitor backwards, owning to redo it, and then just printing it myself. 

Martin was doing the job at a scale where by there were loads of things we’d just ship off to the printer. But when it actually mattered, the priority was to have the engagement with the artwork. Each time you are functioning a label, you can get divorced from the artwork of it. You get really bogged down in the quantities or the outcomes. But it is however seriously quite a great deal an art to me, in particular with the releases that we’re performing.

a woman sits on a barrel in a doorway decorated with chalk art reading "save our stages" and showing musical instruments and the initials b and k for beat kitchen
Molly Compton in the avenue doorway to the are living area at Defeat Kitchen area Credit: Victoria Marie @victoriamariephotos

Here’s the approach to make vinyl. When records are pressed, it’s done by two major steel stampers. They are seated up, and you press them alongside one another and then that makes the history. But before you make the stamper, you cut into this massive sheet of metal, 18 inches diameter, included in this varnish identified as lacquer. And you cut into that lacquer—which is pretty, very fragile—with a slick sapphire or diamond needle on a lathe. And that cuts the info on the lacquer. And then the lacquer is set into a nickel bathtub and electroplated, so the nickel gathers on that. And then you peel that off, and basically you have your stamper. 

There is a lot of nuances in there that we never want to get into, but that is generally the procedure. I was apprenticing correct just before I graduated to do the incredibly 1st aspect of cutting it into the lacquer.

But then Martin—his 1st yr at Milliken was my last year—he’s like, don’t go to Nashville, arrive to Chicago and be my assistant. I used some time in Nashville. And there is a lot of “If you aren’t doing the job with a particular caliber of this or that, you are however a hobbyist” or one thing. Which I hardly ever connected with—I believe art is for every person. Interval. If you make art, you are an artist. And the metropolis of Chicago in common has agreed with me. I imagine Nashville has the nicety of southern society, and Chicago, although not generally outwardly wonderful, is certainly substantially kinder. It does not make a difference what you do through the day—like, if you make artwork, you are an artist, you know? Like, no one particular cares. They want to see your artwork.

When I still left Martin, I was massively frustrated. For a wide variety of motives. But I was not working in the audio marketplace anymore I was complete-time at Ulta in Wicker Park. Martin likes to say, “Friends really do not let good friends commence file labels.” And he has a garage total of 30 a long time of history that he’s not turned into a museum. But at the coronary heart of it was I just desired somewhere to put this electrical power. At its main, I feel absolutely everyone warrants a good mom. I like my mom—she’s a single of my ideal good friends. I required to be ready to help artists who it’s possible just really do not have the time, ordeals, the methods, or the capabilities to make a thing that is likely to create a lot more sustainable occupations for them. 

Following I began Ur Mother Records, the initial get of business enterprise was getting artists who have been wanting for physical merchandise, whether or not that be data or tapes or shirts, to just assist them—to give them a small a thing so they can use that income on the street or someplace. 

Ur Mom Data unveiled a break up EP by Leche Malo and Jeremy Ferrara in February 2022.

I genuinely like to do a person-of-a-form items. The records that we do all have these 3 traces through the structure, but they are all a small distinct. So then the dialogue at the merch table will become, “Oh, which one particular would you like?” Instead than, like, “Please get my record?”

For Pinksqueeze, I took that line art that they had for “Midday Midnight.” I did some summary color function. And then I display screen printed the same line art above all the sleeves. So they are all just a very little distinct. They all have a distinctive vibe. 

For all my label things, I do most of it in my condominium. It is uncooked as hell occasionally. Virtually on some of these operates, there have been paw prints from my cat stepping in wet paint. If you get just one of individuals, which is an additional $5 for sure. [Laughs.]

a black cat sits on an array of screen-printed record sleeves spread out on a living-room floor and looks back innocently over its shoulder
Molly Compton’s cat, Jiji, aids with sleeves for Ur Mom Information. Credit score: Victoria Marie @victoriamariephotos

I have done everywhere from 20 documents to 120 records for a band, and usually all made by hand in my condominium. I haven’t been chopping them myself yet—I am doing work my way up to having my very own lathe to be capable to slice them myself. So I’ve been outsourcing that, but all of the sleeves have been handmade by me, possibly monitor printing, collaging, or painting. No matter what I can get my arms on.

Lathe-reduce data are a minor unique than traditional vinyl. They’re separately minimize, or slash a person at a time. And they are cut out of polycarbonate, which is a distinct material which is a small bit noisier occasionally. So they sound vintagey, which for me turns into a in addition. 

There was just a report that was put out last 12 months saying half of the vinyl procured was bought by folks that don’t have record gamers. So for me, that’s humorous. For independent artists and the stuff that I’m seeking to do, of course, I want individuals to pay attention to it, but nine moments out of ten they’re gonna stream it. And I’d considerably alternatively they choose this piece that we have labored really tough on, dangle it on the wall, and then have additional people today uncover my report corporation and my artists, rather than it go sit on a shelf somewhere. 

I’ve been executing those specific runs. The most latest 1, we just bought out. I did a 10-inch with an artist out in Philly named Brian Walker—“A Working day Without having Love” is his moniker. And we just put out a 4-music EP on a ten-inch identified as Tour Is Not a Street Journey! And I screen printed the design and style on sandpaper, so it is like white ink on a black sandpaper. It type of seems like a street.

Ur Mom’s 20 lathe-reduce copies of Tour Is Not a Road Excursion! bought out nearly right away.

Likely on the street for tour feels like that sometimes—wiping your ass with sandpaper—but you make it materialize. Which is the stuff that I definitely like to do: just take the ideas that these artists have now worked so tough on and convey some kind of physical manifestation of it. To acquire the tale a very little bit deeper, to make it a minor bit additional tangible. 

Now that so substantially stuff is on the net, it is so tough to make 4 minutes of music experience like it took you a lot more than 4 minutes. Each and every musician can explain to you it took them yrs to learn how to enjoy, considerably considerably less make this piece. But I assume for the typical consumer, it is so really hard to fully grasp that and value it. But I consider when there’s anything that they can hold, and you have to listen to it all the way by means of, there is a different reverence to that.

Diy transpires all more than the region, of course. But Chicago Do it yourself is so strong. And it is so important to the music scene—like, there would not be bars without having Diy musicians. I play mandolin and guitar and a pair of other items, plus singing. Do it yourself spaces are in which I was 1st able to share my solo art—from people today opening their houses, garages, and back again porches to so several. Which is how I met so many of my friends all over the state that are accomplishing this. Soon after lockdown, quite a few of those people areas possibly weren’t around any more, didn’t have the sources, or just weren’t safe—it arguably even now isn’t pretty safe and sound. But it’s been really essential to me to have a Do-it-yourself room that is COVID conscious. And to offer a protected house for LGBTQ+ touring musicians to arrive in and share their things and not have to pay to engage in, not have to make back again a least to pay back the bar team. 

This 2021 Molly Compton solo release predates the founding of Ur Mother Data by a number of months.

Some issues that I consider are critical and need to have to be constantly invested in are communities of shade in Chicago. The incredibly broad breadth of the artwork that is coming out of these communities is insane. And every thing that I say has been said much better and far more eloquently by an artist of coloration, I can warranty, in Chicago. I assume if you are in an indie band, and you look like all the other indie bands that are playing proper now, perhaps it’s time to make absolutely sure you are bringing the persons to the table that you truly explained you needed to deliver to the desk in fine print. 

I imagine these Diy spaces that are invested in, in west- and south-facet communities, are sort of against all odds, and they deserve each and every little bit of recognition and assistance we can give them. And wear a mask. It’s so simple to do. And it keeps more folks protected and more folks alive. It just does.