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Local Label Keeps With Indie Tradition

But if there were doubts about the health of the indie spirit in Chapel Hill, Rhodes and his "Rock Mafia" prove them wrong.

Rhodes, who graduated from Virginia Tech with a mathematics degree, moved to Chapel Hill only two years ago. It didn't take long for Rhodes to get bored with his day job as a Web designer and decide to start putting out records.

"I just had the idea to start off small and learn," he said.

Starting off small for Rhodes meant releasing seven-inch singles by local bands like Sorry About Dresden and Three Stigmata.

He even moved in with two of Sorry About Dresden's members.

"It's cool, but they practice there and it's kind of loud," he said. "It makes it hard to do stuff when you have a drum kit outside your room."

Things got off to a rocky start when Rhodes, who originally called his label Tri-Tone Records, got word that that name was already taken.

"We got a letter from a lawyer at Tri-Tone Records," he said. "I brainstormed for a long time with what I wanted to name it. I wanted to pick something I thought no one in the world would have."

Since picking up the name Moment Before Impact, the label has released material from area bands the White Octave, V. Sirin, Fin Fang Foom and Strunken White.

Two of the label's bands in particular have received some attention from fans and other labels nationwide. The White Octave recently released a full-length album (recorded by legendary producer Bob Weston, who has worked with Archers of Loaf and Polvo) on Charlotte's Deep Elm Records. Sorry About Dresden has also received attention from larger labels.

But Rhodes said he has no hard feelings when his bands release material on other labels; rather, he's happy for them.

This reflects the strong sense of community that has developed among the bands on Moment Before Impact, despite its short existence.

"Everybody has a good relationship with everyone else, and they are very supportive," he said. "If someone is playing a show, everyone goes. It's our own little scene."

And Rhodes is content with having his own "little scene" with just a few bands. Although he said he would like for the label to at least be self-supporting, he said he does not want to force it to grow too fast.

"If it happens it happens," he said. "I'm going to take my time and see where it leads. I think everything works out in the end, and I have faith it will."

Rhodes doesn't take himself or the label too seriously, adding that he and the bands on Moment Before Impact would challenge any other label in town to a game of basketball.

"I think we can take Merge (Records)," he joked. "They've got to be hitting 30 or 35, and we've got some size."

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at

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