Revitalizing the Kamloops music scene

City welcomes new tape-based record label Factotum CO

Factotum Cassettes and Oddities is a new tape-based record label operating in downtown Kamloops. The owner grew up in Kamloops and returned to the city after an academic career in Vancouver at UBC and currently plays in the band At Mission Dolores.

“Kamloops is still a little culturally stunted,” JP Lancaster owner and founder of Factotum CO told The Omega. “I think there are more and more people wanting to make interesting things happen here.”

The first release by Factotum was in October of 2016 and since then there have been ten physical releases and additional digital releases through Factotum’s Bandcamp page. Factotum started as a way to promote local music and to recapture the excitement behind a music scene that was once popular.

“With Kamloops being a small city it was interesting that there was a punk-focused CD store, this was before records came back, and then a hip-hop CD store,” Lancaster said about the history of music distribution in the city in years prior. “It’s interesting to have these two fringe stores in a town that at the time probably had about 70,000 people.”

Sadly, both of those stores have come to pass but Factotum certainly picks up the torch of fringe, releasing the physical copies of their label’s music solely on cassette tape.

“Factotum’s goal is pop-based but with some degree of weirdness, both geographically and stylistically it’s not on the mark,” Lancaster said. “With cassettes, the biggest thing is practicality for production. Being able to do a lot of releases on cassette, if I were to do vinyl we’d only be able to do one release a year and you would make more on that investment, but it’s a lot to put up upfront. Whereas I thought tapes were cool because you could bang out a whole bunch and it’s easy enough to break even on it. You’re not going to make a lot of money or get rich but that’s not really the point.”

Originally the label started out as a locals-only avenue to promote Kamloops artists. However, since the amount of people in Kamloops producing music is shy of demand, Lancaster has started to bring in artists from other cities around Canada. Winnipeg natives Lounge FM and Vancouver residents the Prettys have both released music with Factotum.

Lancaster also takes it upon himself to help organize and promote concerts in Kamloops. Bands that are touring around British Columbia or even Western Canada now have an easier time finding booking in Kamloops, particularly at the Blue Grotto.

Lancaster’s band At Mission Dolores is playing a show in Kamloops at the Blue Grotto on Jan. 24 before travelling out of province. If you’re interested in discovering Factotum, a great way to get started is listening to the Engine Noise Compilation available on the Factotum Bandcamp page. The compilation features many Kamloops bands as well as other Canadian artists associated with the Factotum label.