The Self-Made Man: Chris “Reject” Regec
Entrepreneurs, regardless of what industry they’re trying to disrupt, often want to affect change on a large scale. Many entrepreneurs make big, grandiose statements about this, especially in the tech sector, even though a lot of them don’t have a longterm business plan beyond trying to get bought by Google.
In the music industry, people are a bit more realistic (about that, at least). In cases like this week’s Self Made Man, Square of Opposition Records owner/operator Chris “Reject” Regec, they’re even fatalistic in a good-natured way about the true reach of their efforts.
“It’s not like I’m changing the world or reaffirming someone’s faith in humanity by putting out some dumb record. I know I’m not changing people’s lives,” Regec told Lehigh Valley Live back in 2011. “I learned how to positively affect the world around you, even on a small scale.”
Regec started his record label, a truly DIY effort, in 2001 with two of his friends, and is the sole operator today, still running things out of his house in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. He puts out mostly punk rock and hardcore, and has released stuff by a lot of really good bands, including Literature, 1994!, Spraynard, and Snowing, among many others.
Practically all of the bands he’s dealt with have been friends of his, and many of them are/were based in the same area as him; community spirit is very high on Regec’s list of priorities.
Fun is another one. As much as he crows about the expense of running a small record label and “how terrible it is on your credit to put out your friends’ records,” getting involved in the music that he loves, with people he also loves, is what keeps him going.
He also loves the word. “The records…are interesting, seeing each project through to fruition is rewarding,” he said in an interview with Ox Fanzine. “It’s a constant learning experience, both in terms of technical aspects and personal growth.”
To fund his record label, Regec also runs a screen-printing company called Lehigh Valley Apparel Creations; like Square of Opposition, his screen-printing business operates on what he calls “blatant localism” and he tries to source all of his materials from no more than two hours’ drive from his house.
Chris Regec’s message to other people in the punk scene can easily be applied to entrepreneurs in general. “Without you making something that matters – even if it’s just something that matters to you and 5 of your friends – without that spark, that creative energy, DIY and punk and whatever name you want to give this scene/community that we’re all in together, WILL die … all that matters is the passion that you have.”
I’ll end with that, and I’ll link you to Square of Opposition’s Bandcamp page as well, just to give you an idea of where all of Chris’ hard work is going.
About Dave Kiefaber Dave Kiefaber is a Baltimore-based writer who regularly contributes to Adfreak and the Gettysburg Times. His personal website is at www.beeohdee.blogspot.com.