A Conversation with Sean Bohrman, Burger Records Co-Founder
By Yvonne Villasenor
What started out as a local record label is now making a global impression in the world of music.
Burger Records is an independent record label that was created in 2007 by Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard. In 2009, both Bohrman and Brian Flores decided to open a record store in Fullerton, California and have changed the music scene ever since.
While on tour with his band, Thee Makeout Party!, Bohrman got the idea to release albums aside from his own on cassette while at Kirby’s Beer Store in Kansas.
It was then Burger was born.
“When we started, there were no distribution companies carrying cassettes, no one really cared about cassettes, but we kept doing it and doing it…” Bohrman said.
Before they knew it, they had released 900 releases out on cassette and had pressed 400,000 cassettes over the time span of nine years.
“Their [Burger’s] DIY mentality and the fact that they started small is really inspiring. It shows that anyone can make it happen no matter how weird or different your music is,” Chelsea Brown of dreampop band, Summer Twins, said in an earlier interview with Sucker Magazine.
Burger has started a revolution in the music scene and has gathered a large fan base, from art school kids to goths, punks, greasers, Tumblr kids and hip dads.
One of the biggest festivals in Orange County, known as Burgerama, has been held every year since 2011 and has been successful in selling thousands of tickets, attracting fans from not just Southern California, but all over the states as well. They also throw other festivals such as Burger-A-Go-Go, Burgermania, Burger Boogaloo and the Burger Caravan of Stars. They have provided more shows for bands to play and have put the O.C. local music scene back on the map after so many years of it being inactive.
You could say they put more “unity” in “community.”
“They took a giant leap for freak kind,” Jessie Jones, solo artist and singer of Feeding people, said.
Now that Burger is so well-known, even on a global scale, Burger is dealing with a thousand different bands – meaning there is a lot of work to be done. Bohrman has maintained the exhausting schedule of 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. every day for years and describes himself as a “workaholic” and “obsessive compulsive person” – it’s no wonder as to how Burger has been able to accomplish so much over the years.
There are thousands of releases Burger has put out, whether it is new music or re-issued like T.S.O.L., Adolescents and Built To Spill to name a few. Legends like Iggy Pop, Dave Grohl, Beck, Weezer and Kim Gordon have shown Burger recognition and have even collaborated with them. Some popular artists who have released music through Burger consist of FIDLAR, The Growlers, Ryan Adams, together PANGEA, Ty Segall, King Tuff, Black Lips, The Orwells, Nobunny, Thee Oh Sees and Hunx and his Punx. Of course Burger has helped their fellow local Southern California musicians like The Lovely Bad Things, Jessie Jones, Summer Twins, DABBLE, Cosmonauts, MELTED and The Side Eyes gain more exposure as well.
When asked what differentiates Burger from other record labels, The Side Eyes responded, “Their true love for putting out music they actually like, rather than trying to make money off of what’s currently popular.”
With such a rapidly growing fan base, Burger is looking to expand.
After opening Gnarburger in Los Angeles last year, Bohrman is planning to open another store in the San Francisco Bay Area and relocate their current store to somewhere bigger and better hopefully in the near future.
Last year, Japan had a Burger pop up store for most of the year. Bohrman flew over and cut the ribbon on it its first day. Burger has also just licensed its logo to a Japanese company who will make their shirts in bulk.
They are also planning festivals in the UK, Spain, Chile, Morocco, Buenos Aires, Peru and Mecca in the near future. (Prepare yourselves, international Burger fans!)
It’s no doubt that Burger has made a worldwide impact and there is no sign of their influence and progress stopping any time soon.
“We are totally obsessed with Burger, and it’s all we do and all we think about. My whole life is Burger…This our legacy – what we’ll be remembered for when we’re dead. That’s the most important part to me. Cementing our place in music history,” Bohrman said.