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Music

Heck Records Drops Debut Compilation Album

Utah label on their collection of local classics

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Brad Rhoades (left) and Chris Hrynyshyn (right) - SHALLISE HARPER
  • Shallise Harper
  • Brad Rhoades (left) and Chris Hrynyshyn (right)

If you've lived in Utah for any length of time, you've probably heard the phrase "Oh my heck" uttered a few dozen times—which is where local label Heck Records got its name. "That's our sense of humor," said Heck Records co-founder Chris Hrynyshyn. "We'll embrace heck and frick—the nice way of saying, 'Sorry about that.' A nice way of saying naughty things."

"But," said the other half of the label, Brad Rhoades, "we say the naughty things."

DIY label Heck Records got its start when Rhoades and Hrynyshyn got the idea to put together a compilation album of some of their favorite local acts from when they were younger in the post-Y2K and post-9/11 world of the early 2000s. The two have been friends since their junior high days; growing up in the same neighborhood cemented their relationship, and they've been friends ever since.

"We've always been kind of involved in the music scenes in specifically Utah County, really," Hrynyshyn explained. "Brad has always been the musical one out of the two of us, and I would like to consider myself music-adjacent, if that's a thing. So, in the same circles of people, going to shows together, knowing the same people."

In recent years, Hrynyshyn has moved away from Utah, but still feels nostalgic for the bands the two always saw during those formative years of their lives. "We had the idea to do the compilation before we had the name," Rhoades said. Once they had the name for the idea, the rest was history. They got to work putting together a collection of some of those long-forgotten songs from locals in the early aughts.

Thus, Echoes From the Valley (heckrecords.bandcamp.com) was born. Rhoades and Hrynyshyn brainstormed and wrote out a list of some of their favorite bands they loved when they were younger, and began reaching out to them to see if they were open to having their songs featured on the album. The songs that ended up on the compilation are from about 2000-2006. "We didn't want to just slap together a cassette tape and sell it without permission," Rhoades explained.

Luckily, they got a pretty good response—enough to create a balanced compilation that preserves some great local music history. The decision to put the album on cassette comes from a mix of nostalgia, and tapes coming back in a big way. Everyone from major pop acts to local groups are putting out cassettes, which is just a fun way to consume music. Rhoades put out a punk cassette tape with his band Frick, and seeing how well those sold put the idea in his and Hrynyshyn's mind to do this album the same way.

"In my opinion, there's always something more when you have something tangible to go with it," Hrynyshyn said. "CDs are easy—they're cheap to make and all this stuff, but I don't know that anyone really gets excited about that, or thinks it's anything interesting. ... This is probably pretty niche, but it was just kind of a fun project for Brad and I to just see what this could be."

The name of the album is poetic as it relates to the contents, but it also just sounds cool—like you're diving into a fantastical world, ready to discover new treasures. It was easy to give this collection a loving name from a special time in the local scene. "We grew up in Utah Valley and Salt Lake Valley," Hrynyshyn said. "There's multiple valleys, but I think everyone has an association with the area that they call theirs. Echoes just seemed appropriate because it's something that, it's a sound that's not currently happening, but you still hear it. I'd like to say that it was this super-brilliant idea I had, but I think it was more a cool name and we found a way to associate it."

Going forward, Heck Records is open to producing another compilation album, and potentially working with current artists who need help getting their music out into the community. "I think we're kind of waiting it out to see how these tapes sell and everything and see if there's people that still want them," Rhoades said.

For now though, preservation and giving some of these older bands the recognition they deserve is the main focus. "You can listen to stuff on the radio anytime, but these smaller bands, they don't last forever," Rhoades said. "Being able to get them to a point, if we can put out a tape or a CD or something of this really cool local band, if they don't last another five years or something, we have that and that lives forever, rather than just them playing in the garage and not recording anything."

"I also think there's quite a bit that had never been released in any real way," Hrynyshyn added. "I actually think there's a lot out there that would be really sad to just disappear and never get its time to shine. I think in keeping with that sort of nostalgic thing, if there were opportunities for us to put out some of these things that maybe went under the radar or never released, I think that would be really cool too."

So, what the heck? Why not check out a time capsule of great artists from around the valley and discover something new? Echoes From the Void is limited to a 50-cassette run, so grab yours over on BandCamp while you still can.

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