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Mr. Hyde is a record label which focuses on making definitive compilations of the rock music being made in Hyde Park, which is a neighborhood on the south side of Chicago.
Our personnel changes frequently; our mission does not. We are not a commercial or for-profit label; we exist as historians and archivists of our scene. We wish to promote musical growth and scene visibility by being positive, inclusive, and diverse. We believe that getting our scene's music heard is the best way to inspire the creation of better music.
All our releases so far have been handmade in small batches, just like Matt's chocolate chip cookies. A few very talented people have helped turn our cd packaging into beautiful works of art. Meanwhile, we've tried to encourage Hyde Park bands to make better recordings, and we spend a lot of time messing with the tracks so that they sound good together. Our goal is to make listenable snapshots of Hyde Park rock music history that people will feel proud to own.
Mr. Hyde Records was started by members of the Hyde Park rock band Millimeters Mercury, who released the first Mr. Hyde compilation, Bands That Hug, in January 2003. They used it to promote the scene at an out-of-state show they played that month, so most people in Hyde Park never got a copy. The concept of putting our music together on compilations was a very valuable one, though, so people stepped up to help put out more comps, and the "Mr. Hyde" label stuck.
The name "Bands That Hug" came from the fact that a lot of Hyde Park band members were very friendly with each other at shows and related social functions. There was an incredible amount of hug-based energy at shows that happened around that time. Hyde Park tends to feel like a very lonely place to make music; perhaps the hugs were our way to show support for each other's work and presence in our musical lives.
Also, then as now, many of the band members were adorable, so I think we were all secretly hitting on each other.