Sarah Mason of Pelican Pow Wow Records, my favorite local label other than mine (Defunct), is on the cusp of a First Annual Pelican Pow Wow-Pow Wow Festival, 4th of July weekend, celebrating one year of existence and already approaching a dozen releases! I once put on a festival called The Rockening and her dealie is very much a continuation of that: tough, raw punk rock of all varieties, right in line with the records she puts out. You got your Buck Biloxi & the Fucks. You got Trampoline Team. And you got Heavy Lids. All this and more, little girl.
So tell me who you are.
Sarah Mason: My name is Sarah and I am owner and boss and president and genius behind Pelican Pow Wow Records, an independent record label from New Orleans, Louisiana, founded in 2012. We put out really awesome records by bands from the Gulf Coast and beyond.
What do you look for in a record to put out? Is there a Pelican Pow Wow sound?
Well, I don’t think there’s a specific sound that I’m looking for in a record. I just want to put out records that are maybe not going to get put out otherwise. At least that’s how it started. I really wanted to put out a record by the Manateees [from Memphis] because there weren’t any. By the time I got around to putting it out there were a lot of them in the works. The Manateees are one of the toughest-sounding bands around. And I would say that Heavy Lids, who are also on Pelican Pow Wow, and Gary Wrong Group are also some pretty tough-sounding bands.
So you would say that the Pelican Pow Wow sound is tough.
No… Well, yeah actually. I’ll say that. I want to put out tough-sounding records. I’ll go with that. We put out punk and tough shit!
Pelican Pow Wow is a phonograph- record only label so far. What do you like about this format?
I like that it sounds good, but I would be lying if I said that I was a true audiophile. If you came over to my house and you looked at the setup I listen to records on, it’s pretty piecemealed together, so it probably doesn’t sound that much better than mp3 downloads, to be truthful. But I’ve collected records since I was a kid. I’ve worked in record stores. I just have a personal affinity for records. I like collecting them. I like having them. I like talking about them. I like touching them. I think they look cool. I think they’re fun. They’re a lot more long-lived than CDs, which I pretty much scratch by looking at. Cassettes wear out a lot faster, and I usually break them, too.
What was the first piece of recorded music you ever owned?
Picked out by me, not like my Sesame Street records, right? It’s a tie. It would be Michael Jackson’s Bad and Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual on cassette.
Why name your label Pelican Pow Wow?
The name Pelican Pow Wow came from my dear friend, the Brown Ranger (Neisha D’Souza), who used to have little record dance parties on her porch. She called them Pelican Pow Wows and I stole her name for her parties, or more precisely, she gave it to me. It’s that simple.
Pelican Pow Wow is a New Orleans-based label. What’s the most recent thing you’ve done by a local band?
The Trampoline Team debut EP came out earlier this year. They are a local three piece that has been playing a lot around town over the last couple years. They are the least tough-looking band on Pelican Pow Wow, but go see them live. They are badasses!
Do you have any tattoos of Tweety Bird?
I have three tattoos of Tweety Bird. They are all Tweety Birds. Two of them look like pelicans and one looks like a butterfly bird.
I could tell they were Tweety Bird because they all have beaks.
That’s what makes a bird Tweety Bird.
Have you ever thought of doing a reissue?
I don’t know if this counts as a reissue, but I would like to put out sort of a “best of ” of a band called Mente that is from Boston, from the late ‘70s, early ‘80s. They produced some of the most brilliantly stupid songs I’ve ever heard. If Mente would ever let me do that I would put out an LP of Mente’s greatest songs in a heartbeat.
I’ve heard rumors that there’s going to be a Pelican Pow Wow- Pow Wow that’s going to be a multi-day fest.
It’s going to feature some local bands as well as some Pelican Pow Wow bands from out of town and maybe some future Pelican Pow Wow artists. Then on the 5th there’s going to be a free day show party at Euclid Records. If you go to both of the night shows (the other one being at Siberia), you get a free gift at Euclid, which will be a very special piece of Pelican Pow Wow merchandise. It’s a secret. If you come to both nights of the Pelican Pow Wow then you get to know what it is. And you get to have it.
The Pelican Pow Wow POW WOW takes place on July 4th at the Saturn Bar, with Buck Biloxi & the Fucks, nots, Golden Pelicans, and The Planchettes; and continues on July 5th at Euclid Records, with Overnight Lows and Die Rötzz, then later at Siberia with Manateees, Heavy Lids, Mac Blackout Band, and Trampoline Team. For more info, check out pelicanpowwow.com