The Fullerton, California based independent record label Burger Records recently wrapped up their Burger Caravan tour that led them through New Mexico and Arizona, en route to South By Southwest 2013. Before they reached their Austin festivities, the label hosted a number of shows in North Texas, including a couple of showcases at the 35 Denton Music Festival. A couple hours before their showcase at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio, co-owners and founders of the influential record label, Sean Borhman and Lee Rickard, joined Radio UTD for an interview inside the warm and dry confines of their van while a terrestrial downpour transpired outside.
RADIO UTD: Why Burger Records?
LEE: Well, I love burgers. It’s like Americana.
SEAN: Yeah, it’s something recognized all over the world.
LEE: Basically, it’s from a love. I mean, maybe the Beatles really loved apples. I don’t know why they called it that, but for me, I love burgers. I love gourmet burgers, fast food burgers, mom and pop shop burgers, homemade burgers. Burgers all day. I’ll eat multiple burgers in a day all the time. I’ll probably die at a young age but it’ll show how sincere I was about my devotion and love and passion for burgers. Beef, baby! Better believe!
RADIO UTD: What’s your favorite burger?
LEE: I love a bacon cheeseburger with an egg, easy medium, whatever. Nice and messy. It has fresh jalapeños or grilled jalapeños and grilled onions. I’m all about it. Dijon mustard, baby, baby! I’ll eat that burger all day long! So good.
RADIO UTD: Do you guys have dreams of Burger becoming this sort of pop culture in the future?
LEE: I mean we kind of already are. We’re into like bubble gum music and marketing so we’ll make beer koozies and buttons and stickers and calendars. We’ll make whatever like with bobby socks or earrings or like sleeping bags and pillow cases. I mean like, cereal…if we could get hooked up with a cereal! I love fanzines and posters and just stuff that’s fun and playful. I love teeny bopper stuff and that energy because it’s like the only thing that matters in the world is the Beatles or David Cassidy or Bobby Sherman.
RADIO UTD: Like “100 Things You Didn’t Know About Shannon & the Clams!”
LEE: Exactly! That’s what I want, too! But we love pop culture. We’re fanatics! I love the Monkees and the Beatles and Elvis and Casablanca Records.
RADIO UTD: Have you made a recent push towards college radio because I feel like I have noticed one?
LEE: A little bit.
SEAN: We started Burger PR and got the contacts to all of the college radios in America and Canada and sent them the links to all of the Burger stuff. I sent that to a bunch of people and it worked out really well. Random bands like ENJOY who are side project of a tiny band are getting like #3 on the Cleveland charts and stuff and it’s just random, totally random.
LEE: But it’s hard for us to keep up so we need the radio to keep up on stuff. It’s like if we push you, we need to be pushed back and then we feed off that energy and then it can be a contagious spread.
RADIO UTD: Is Nashville one of your bigger markets? I feel like that sound is very similar to you guys.
LEE: Nashville is rocking right now. Natural Child, Heavy Cream, Useless Eaters, JEFF the Brotherhood.
RADIO UTD: Diarrhea Planet…
LEE: Yeah! But a few years ago we couldn’t get a show or play with anybody. It’s just crazy that Nashville is on the map now. But I believe it. I mean, everything is in cycles.
RADIO UTD: How did you guys get in contact with Evan Henry and Matthew Vickers with Dallas Distortion Music?
SEAN: Oh, they were just fans of Burger for a long time and were always buying our stuff.
LEE: Evan is the coolest kid and I met him at King Tuff and he was like, “hey, man I started this thing because of you guys.” I was like, “what!” He was just really outgoing and sweet and I was like, “oh my god!” It’s just these kids, I call them kids but they’re really young adults. They’re more together, focused, and driven than my scattered mind. But I believe in them and all of our bands love teenage bands and love encouraging bands and helping them get their name out there. I like taking bands on their first tour and putting out first records.
SEAN: And like 90% of the LPs we put out are debut LPs. I think that shows a lot.
LEE: I believe in good people and I try to surround myself with as many of them as I can and we’re constantly doing that through our fans. Now we’ve met Evan and I don’t wanna let Evan go. He’s a part of the Burger family forever. When we can put him on payroll, we’ll put him on payroll. I wanna help him with what he’s doing. That’s what we’re doing with Gnar Tapes and White Fang and the Memories. We love those bands and they have their own thing and are highly prolific. They’re just constantly putting out releases and they duplicate all their tapes themselves.
SEAN: And record themselves.
LEE: Yeah and they have their own solo projects. I’m envious of them because they’re way more creative than we get to be.
SEAN: It’s a lot of work. I always take calls. I get off on putting people together and making things happen. Today I was alone in the hotel for about four hours. Right when I got there and realized they had free WIFI, I was like, “hell yeah!” I took a 5-Hour Energy and started working. That’s what I did during the four hours, and that’s what I wanted to do.
RADIO UTD: Yeah, you got back to me on that text very quickly.
LEE: Yeah, he had just chugged a 5-Hour Energy! But yeah, I believe in the cosmos and the universe and like everything will unfold and provide. If you put in good energy, good energy will come back to you. If you’re a bad or negative person, that stuff is gonna come back to you. I believe in Karma, for lack of a better word. I believe in Burger Records.
SEAN: Yeah, we have our hands in everything we do.
LEE: We touch every tape, record, hand numbering. Everything.
SEAN: It’s like we’ve dug ourselves this giant hole and there’s no way we can get out.
LEE: A giant hole of positivity! It’s so soft! It’s silky.
RADIO UTD: It’s a soft bun on a burger.
SEAN & LEE: Yeah, man.
Burger Records just wrapped up their 2-day Burgerama festival this past weekend in Santa Ana, California. For up to date information, catch up with them on Facebook, Twitter, and check out the Burger Records online store where an abundant amount of tapes, LPs, shirts, buttons, and overall awesomeness lies.
Interview by Laura Carroll and Eric Martinez
Edited by Eric Martinez