Your New Favorite Label: Acrobat Unstable

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Founders: Martin Hacker-Mullin, Eric Smeal, Greg Smeal
First Release: 2018
Location: Charlotte, NC
Recent Signings: Ultimate Frisbee, Common Sage, Infant Island, Carpool, Charm

Acrobat Unstable Records have only been around since 2018, but their roster and impact on the DIY scene would make you think otherwise. Run by Martin Hacker-Mullin and Eric and Greg Smeal, the label (whose name references a Lemon Demon song) has been putting out a steady stream of great albums. Want a giant band feel with horns and melodic sing-a-long verses about climate change? Check out Short Fictions. Want to be pummeled in the face with dark, atmospheric hardcore? Put on any Infant Island album. Want to chill out with some catchy, conversational folk rock? Cicala is there for you. The roster is deeper than you would expect from such a young label, so there is plenty to discover.

For you tapeheads looking for more playful plastic to click and clack into your tape player, Acrobat Unstable has put out some creatively colorful cassettes. Stress Fractures’ Short Films is covered in cheetah print and Carpool’s Erotic Nightmare Summer is clad in black and blood splatter, just to name a few. This is a label to keep an eye on, so I spoke to Martin and Eric about Acrobat Unstable’s beginnings and inspirations below.

What made you want to start a label?

We were/are really interested in helping our friends get to the next level in their careers! It’s very hard as a small/independent artist to get yourself out there, and tons of great bands and musicians will go unheard because of how much music is coming out all the time, so we wanted to give some people we love the opportunity to have their music reach a wider audience and have some really high quality merch made.

What are some labels that inspired you?

We are really inspired by our friends’ labels like Counter Intuitive Records and Chatterbot Records, as well as some labels that have been around since we were first getting involved in the punk/DIY scene, like Run For Cover, Topshelf, and Epitaph.

If you could go back in time before you started and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

I’d probably encourage myself to not let my emotions get the best of me and keep moving forward when things seem tough. I feel like I probably missed a lot of opportunities because I had convinced myself I couldn’t do something, and learning to break that habit has allowed me to make some of the best memories I’ll ever have.


Spotify Playlist of Recent Acrobat Unstable Releases:


Jami Fowler // @audiocurio

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