Goodbye Fortuna Pop: A Love Letter
Ever since I first started collecting music as a passion, I’ve always been one of those that blindly follows the labels I love; I buy anything they put out, whether or not I was initially impressed with what I heard…I trust these people. It probably started with Dischord, somehow merged into Saddle Creek and Vagrant…then the Internet exploded…and with that, so did my tastes. I had to find a new label to love…among those was Fortuna Pop.
Sadly, Fortuna Pop will soon be closing itsdoors after 20 years, and leaving behind a giant hole in the greater music community, especially for those indiepop fans. It’s never easy to say goodbye, especially to someone or something you love. That being said, I’ll do my best to express my feelings and highlight some releases.
For one, Fortuna Pop (along with the likes of Slumberland) has long been the Sun in the galaxy that is indiepop. It’s long been a central figure in what is considered to be a very tight knit global community of adoring fans. It’s been the foundation of what has spread into a great world…considering labels like Emotional Response, Cloudberry and Dufflecoat served as the outlying planets, circling this great central figure. But, at the core, it formed a community (whether intentional or not) of friends across the globe. Perhaps Sean just wanted to run something cool, but in doing so, he created a legacy that has watched me witness bands of friends sharing releases, shows and places to stay across continents.
Personally, it’s one of the labels that I’ve tried (possibly failed at) to use as a model for our own ATH Records. Community and family will always be the central part of what I do, and whether or not that explodes into something bigger is yet to be determined, but as long as I work with people I love who create art I love, I’ll feel like that alone was a moderate success.
Now, it all seems fairly personal, and it is, but I don’t think Fortuna Pop will be forgotten, even if its hiding in your record collection, as it very may well be. Whether the masses are aware or not, there’s been a huge impact on the music the label has supported. I can’t even fathom where the landscape would be without bands such as Pains of Being Pure at Heart or the Spook School…or to go even further back with acts like Airport Girl or Comet Gain. Recently, hits have come in the form of Joanna Gruesome, Allo Darlin and more, but just because music is loved, I suppose it’s not always financially fruitful in today’s climate. Whether it’s proven or not, the work of C86 and Sarah Records acts might not have made it into our lives, had it not been for the releases that bridged the gap…a majority that came from this very label.
People love lists, so here are my Top Ten Fortuna Pop associated bands:
1. Comet Gain 2. The Aislers Set3. Shrag 4. Pains of Being Pure at Heart 5. The Spook School 6. The Loves7. Allo Darlin 8. Darren Hayman 9. Milky Wimpshake 10. Tender Trap
That given, I think I own in some form of media, something from almost every band to ever have been fortunate enough to grace the label. If you want to sample tons of songs, just head over to the label’s Soundcloud and stream a ton of tracks…HERE.
Good news is that there are still a few more releases planned, such as the Continental Drift Compilation the label is working on with friends at Slumberland Records. I’m hoping, maybe even volunteering, there’s a mass retrospective box set coming…fingers crossed.
In closing, it’s important to love labels and the people behind them, probably now more than ever. Me, I love Fortuna Pop, and was fortunate to have met Sean this past year…like his label, he was warm and friendly, leaving a lasting impression, much as many of his releases have left on all of us. His label will be missed, but thanks to all his hard work, we’ll always have the music he leaves behind.
I leave you with “You Can Hide Your Love Forever,” my first purchase from the label…and something I still play to this day.