Gross Out Records: Making music connections
by Logan Portteus
The first project of its kind in the current Bellingham house show scene, Gross Out Records is fundamentally opposite to the stereotypical idea of a record label.
Gross Out is the collaborative effort of former KEXP DJ Assistant Jake Rehdfeldt and Nate Kahn, the guitarist and backup vocalist of local band Hello, I’m Sorry, Shark Jump and Nate Kahn and the Maple Bacon Band. While they are far from becoming an official record label that produces music, they’re currently operating as a promotional and connection-building force in the house show scene.
“A lot of people are playing music in this town, but not many are doing the organizing part like Nate and Jake,” explained Zach Sullivan of Cop Talk and Hello, I’m Sorry.
Their primary focus right now is to make a name for Gross Out through organizing showcases and concerts. “We want to be a stronghold for good music and people in town,” Khan said.
Khan has been a well-known figure in the house show scene for the past several years, performing in many bands and projects, and booking shows at his home and established house show venue, Grandma’s House. Rehdfeldt explained that since he and Khan come from different Bellingham social spheres, their reach is more extensive in the community.
“Nate has always been very business minded,” Sullivan said. “In any band we’ve played in, he’s always the one to book the shows, deal with the merch and money. He has that mindset and is naturally talented at that side of it.”
Through hosting events and social media networking to promoting local bands, the duo behind the project have ambitious plans for the future both short and long-term.
Gross Out Records is currently collaborating with the Bellingham Arts and Music Festival (BAMF), and hosted a fundraising show at the Firefly Lounge in downtown Bellingham in early April. The show raised nearly $500 for BAMF, which was far more than Khan or Rehdfeldt anticipated.
In exchange for the benefit show, Gross Out will curate a block at BAMF for the 2019 lineup on May 31, which will include acts like Glitchette and Portland-based dream pop band Bathrobe, as well as the bands that played in the benefit show – Cop Talk, Shimmertraps, and Hello, I’m Sorry.
Two members of Shimmertraps, working under their graphic design name Gauzy Vox Collective, have created designs and posters for Gross Out and their shows. This includes the Gross Out official logo – a green slime with two lopsided eyes.
Gauzy Vox creators Zach Moses and Brodie Cole have had a part-time working relationship with Gross Out since the two projects discovered each other. Moses and Cole are primarily focused on their next album with Shimmertraps, but are open to working with Gross Out on designs for their stage block at BAMF, as well as future projects.
Gross Out Fest
While collaborating with BAMF is a large step for Gross Out’s exposure, their short-term sights don’t stop there. The duo plans to host Gross Out Fest in the fall of 2019.
“A lot of the coming Gross Out shows in the Spring will be getting the word out about the festival, so that when we do announce Gross Out Fest, people will already be aware of us,” Jake explained. “We have an evolving concept of people buying a ticket, and the event will begin at, say, Everyday Music, and then another show at Avalon, so that it would work as sort of a bar-crawl vibe.”
Rehfeldt said that they are looking into booking at the Majestic in Bellingham in order to potentially book a bigger-name act to conclude their event.
Origins and Future
Kahn and Rehfeldt began working together on Gross Out Records in their DIY music business course at Fairhaven College for their final project, with the full intention of following through with their proposed plan. After the school quarter ended, they hosted their first official Gross Out show in April of 2018. The show took place at Grandma’s House, formerly known as Mind Palace.
“Jake is also from Seattle and has roots in the music scene there, so he understands where I’m coming from as far as my idea for Gross Out,” Kahn said. “We started getting together, and I explained this idea of being broke college students but wanting to put the work into making the foundation for what could be a business model later.”
Khan’s post-Bellingham vision for Gross Out is to eventually have their own space which would include an office, a show venue and a recording studio, where they could expand the project to include more employees beyond Rehfeldt and himself. Once they are both graduated from Fairhaven College, they are considering moving back to their city roots in Seattle or Portland.
For more information follow @grossoutrecords on Instagram and Gauzy Vox Collective: @gauzyvox.