LA's Hipster Crusader | New Times Broward-Palm Beach


LA's Hipster Crusader

With record labels going the way of the dinosaur these days, it's hard to fathom why anyone would want to go into the music business. But popular Los Angeles DJ and entrepreneur Franki Chan and his crew are thriving while other labels have caught the blues. In fact, after founding IHEARTCOMIX in 2003, Chan and co-owner Travis Hayden have been able to turn a business that started out as just a way to throw parties around the L.A. area into a full-fledged record label and promotions company. In a few short years, IHEARTCOMIX has become synonymous with the worldwide blog-house movement, giving hipsters across the globe reason to dance.

Artists like Matt & Kim, Toxic Avenger, Designer Drugs, HEARTSREVOLUTION, Acid Girls, Roxy Cottontail, and Juiceboxxx all call the label home, but Chan isn't looking to cash in on record sales. In fact, most of the tracks by these artists can easily be downloaded via websites like Hype Machine, and Chan seems OK with that. He is more focused on selling the label as a lifestyle brand.

"We came into being a label through pretty abnormal means, having been doing shows for a long time. We've been focusing less on making cash through selling music — which is still nice — and instead focusing more on merchandise and live shows. It's my belief that the old ways of doing things are dying. Having a larger presence on the internet is helpful to us because a lot of the marketing and promo is basically free. You can make a song, post it on the web, and, if people like it, it spreads."

It's this kind of DIY attitude that has made the label a strong force via the internet and probably the reason hip car company Scion gave it its own compilation, IHEARTCOMIX Remixed, through its Scion A/V series. Some locals will remember Chan stopping in Miami earlier this year with Brooklyn DJ Drop the Lime and British duo Radioclit in support of that project. While the last tour was heavy on the beats, Chan promises a non-stop party when he and Toxic Avenger make their way through South Florida.

"This tour is a lot more focused on IHEARTCOMIX artists and the IHEARTCOMIX style of doing shows," Chan insists. "In general there is more a feeling of this is what it's like to be at an IHEARTCOMIX party, more an overall IHEARTCOMIX style versus the Scion thing, which was intentionally [more focused] on super-heavy beats."

Franki Chan's Current Top 5 Favorite Tracks

1. Designer Drugs "Zombies"

2. The Death Set "Listen to This Collision (G.L.O.V.E.S. Remix)"

3. MGMT "Kids (Soulwax Remix)"

4. The Kills "Cheap and Cheerful (SebastiAn Remix)"

5. Nadastrom "Pussy"