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Thomas Lopez, Slope Records

Thomas Lopez from Slope Records talks about his independent record label

Based in Sunnyslope, Arizona, Slope Records is an independent music record company that features a series of punk-rock artists, both classic and emerging. The name is derived from where the head offices of the label are located. Founded in 2015 by Thomas Lopez, also known as “Tommy Blank”, the record label has quickly grown, galvanising a loyal and devoted follower-base. Thomas’ experience as the lead singer of the band, The Blankz, has also had a big part in cementing the label’s success.

Thankfully for us, Thomas answered a few of our questions about his label and the current music industry.

Thomas, how did the idea for Slope Records originate?

Back in 2015, I recognised what I saw as a gaping hole in the record label industry. I found that a lot of great, authentic punk bands weren’t getting the recognition or traction they deserved. While it initially started out as just a fun hobby for myself and some friends, I quickly found the label growing and the demand for our services growing as well.

What was the main goal of Slope Records?

Clearly, we felt like a lot of new punk-rock talent was slipping through the cracks. As a result, the goal of Slope Records was to bring attention to some of the amazing, burgeoning talent based in the Phoenix music scene. At the same time, we also wanted to reinvigorate awareness for some of the best and more classic Arizona punk rock bands.

Who are some of the most well-known musical items you have associated with?

In just a few short years, we’ve been lucky enough to work with an amazing array of diverse, talented bands. In fact, we’ve collaborated with The Feederz, who have been a highly controversial band since the late 1980s. Despite this, they continue to be regarded as one of the best, most important first-wave Phoenix bands of all time. Their songs are known for being critical of the government, religion and forms of mass consumerism. Moreover, The Feederz released their first new music in over 15 years through our label, with the EP titled “WWHD: What Would Hitler Do?”

We’ve also worked with Nip Drivers, including a White vinyl re-issue of their classic 1984 album, “Destroy Whitey” (which was released by New Alliance Records) and a Red vinyl re-issue of their classic 1985 album, “Oh Blessed Freak Show.” In 2018, the famous punk-rock band, U.S. Bombs released their first full-length LP since 2006 through our label.

What have been some of the more controversial moments with Slope Records?

There’s no doubt that our label and our affiliated artists have been involved in some controversy in recent years. In April 2017, The Feederz were planning to release their new album, “WWHD”, through our label, which featured highly controversial cover art. The album cover featured United States President Donald Trump dressed as Adolf Hitler, which was created in response to his contentious foreign policy manoeuvres and Muslim immigration ban. That’s certainly been the most controversial moment in recent times.

How do you hope Slope Records evolves?

I think the best thing right now for Slope Records is to stay true to its musical roots. We have a vision that focuses on celebrating past, current and emerging punk-rock talent, and that’s something that we don’t want to lose touch with. Naturally, we hope that our range of artists continues to grow, develop and diversify, so we can successfully operate a label that pays homage to our punk-rock roots. Likewise, we hope we can expand the number of tours we run each year, thereby ensuring that our talented artists are getting the recognition and exposure they deserve.

What were some of the big tours for your label this year?

We had a series of great tours for several of our acts this year. We organised a direct support spot for the US Black Flag Tour with The Linecutters, which ran from early August through to mid-September. The Linecutters performed in several US cities, including Dallas, Austin, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, Kansas City, Detroit and Pittsburgh. Likewise, we also organised Conflict’s 2019 Tour, which also featured The Linecutters. It was a shortened tour that included performances in Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento and Las Vegas.

Slope Records is an independent music label on the rise. Having specialised in punk rock sounds for many years, the label has been a shining light in re-invigorating awareness of the Phoenix punk-rock scene. We’d like to thank Thomas Lopez for answering a few of our questions about Slope Records and re-emergence of punk rock in the United States.

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