OIM Records Vol. I artists (credit: Odell Hussey Photography)
You may have seen the name Oaktown Indie Mayhem around this blog and others. The brainchild of Sarah Sexton, a producer and promoter from the other side of the Bay, OIM has been an instrumental force in cultivating, expanding, and generally living and breathing the Oakland music scene, which, though just as rich, sometimes plays second fiddle to that of its next-door neighbor San Francisco.
Now, they’ve expanded into OIM Records, a new label dedicated to cultivating, expanding, and generally living and breathing Oakland artists. With a new compilation on the way and a few Oak-centric artists already to their name, we talked with the team behind OIM Records about their vision.
THE TEAM: Sarah Sexton, Angelica Tavella, and Jeff Saltzman.
The Bay Bridged: You cover this a little on your site, but what prompted OIM to expand into a label?
OIM Records: We were all just blown away by the music and the camaraderie of Oakland musicians and art scene. Everyone seems to play a little here or there with everyone else and they seem to really love and respect the diversity of styles that each bring to the table. We believe that this cross section of skills, style, and creative vision has really helped evolve Oakland’s current scene into what it is now. Musicians—and even aspiring musicians—are not afraid of one another but (instead are) inspired, which leaves a lot of room for growth.
TBB: Any genres you’re focusing on in particular?
OIM: Although there is a little more of a range on the compilation, in general we’ll be focusing on indie rock and…highlighting artists that we find (are) pushing the limits in “experimental” manners. We’ll let the bands take a stab at defining what that means…(but) things are definitely liable to get weird, so be prepared.
TBB: What Bay Area band would you love to get on OIM?
OIM: Is it too late to say Tune-Yards? But seriously, we’re gonna keep this one under our hat for now.
TBB: What do you hope OIM will contribute to Oakland’s music scene?
OIM: Opportunity. This is a label comprised of folks that have a deep love for creating, distributing, and promoting stellar music. We have great resources, a mega dope studio and producer, and a whole ton of dedication to put behind those that we believe in. On a larger scale, we believe we can really help in Oakland’s ever expanding progress towards the national scene. Oakland is progressive in its music and creativity, and we think a larger audience will be eager to taste the great stuff that is coming out of this city.
TBB: OIM Records is made up of three long-time Oakalnd art evangelists… what do you think each of you brings to the label?
OIM: Well, for the folks out there who don’t know him, Jeff Saltzman is a crazy skilled producer (e.g. The Killers, Department of Eagles, Blondie), but he started off in entertainment law years ago, as well as having managed artists like Green Day in their early success days, so the knowledge this guy has is so lush. The stories are pretty sweet too.
Angelica Tavella is one of the artists featured on the comp, Nyx, and is the only musician among us. With her background in music and technology, she is instrumental in helping us build our roster and develop our artist support. She is also to thank for all of this coming to fruition, as it began with her and Jeff working on her debut EP.
Sarah Sexton is the owner of Oaktown Indie Mayhem, from which the OIM acronym was spawned. A key figure in the Oakland music scene, she’ll bring her undying love of and dedication to Oakland to the table, along with her mad organizational skills, promo prowess, and occasional propensity towards madness.
TBB: Your roster so far is made up of very ‘Oakland’-y bands. What now-defunct Oakland band would you have wanted to sign back in the day?
OIM: En Vogue…duh.
TBB: With all the worry about rising rents, what keeps you in Oakland?
OIM: We refuse to give in to fear! Right now, there is an amazing scene in Oakland, and we want to help capture some of that. What (will happen) in two, four, or six more years as it potentially becomes near impossible for artists to continue living here I cannot say, but if and when that happens…we’re just gonna keep rolling. Oakland is electric right now, and we aren’t willing to miss it for a second. Oakland also has some of coolest, most progressive-minded yet laid-back people in the country, and who does’t want to lap that up?
The first track from OIM’s debut compilation, “YoungBlood” by Yassou Benedict, is out now. The full album will be available on June 23rd.