ver since cutting his teeth in the Chicago music scene with seminal bands Bill Ding and Turtletoes, John Hughes knew what he wanted to do: form a record label, so that his creative vision could be heard unhindered from any constraints. In order for Bill Ding and Turtletoes to be heard he formed Hefty Records with some seed money and the project has evolved from there. The label formed in the mid 90s after Hughes short time at both Northwestern and Ohio University. School merely got in the way of his first love: music.
As the label branched out to include bands that didnt feature Hughes himself, the job of label head and artist became a more serious one. Fortunately, the mid 90s, as opposed to turn of the century were the ideal time to start a label, as the market wasnt as saturated as it once was. Hughes, in an earlier interview with me, hinted that perhaps the present time was one of the worst times to be getting into the record label business from a strictly economic sense.
The strong stable of artists producing innovative electronic based music for the label, however, have made Hefty a viable economic and artistic force to be reckoned with on the Chicago scene.
Artists such as Telefon Tel Aviv, Scott Herren (Savath and Savalas), Twine, and Retina Italy all create varying musical landscapes- but these label artists all have a common organic quality to their music that has become the hallmark of Hefty releases.
Also, the re-release of jazz trombonist Phil Ranelins work points towards an exciting eye on the past for the label, which may result in future reissues from artists that deserve to be heard again (and for the first time for most fans).
Label Roster Highlights: Slicker, Telefon Tel Aviv, Savath and Savalas, Twine, Retina Italy, Phil Ranelin, The Aluminum Group, Beneath Autumn Sky, and Bill Ding
Five Essential Releases:
Various Artists- Immediate Action
Slicker- The Latest
Phil Ranelin- Vibes from the Tribe
Savath and Savalas- Folk Songs for Trains, Trees, and Honey
Retina Italy- Volcano Waves 1-8