It's not everyday that you hear of a record label actually giving away the money they make, but Human Kindness Overflowing does just that. They are a non-profit label that works with bands in order to raise money specifically for donation to charities. HKO was originally founded in 2011 by Keith Hampson and Denton's Paul North, when the two of them began plotting a way to give back to the community while getting some good music out as well. Their cause eventually sparked Xavier Abraham's interest and he has since been working with Hampson to revamp the label. North, meanwhile, stepped down this month to focus on other things.
Since its foundation, HKO has worked with bands including Eskimeax, Happened, Exorcism and People Songs and is looking to expand its roster of charities. Hampson and Abraham talked to us a little more on what their organization does.
Tell us about what you two individualize in within the organization?
Hampson: I work mainly with A&R and the management side of the organization. I deal with booking bands and setting up deals with charities.
Abraham: I tend to stick to the PR and marketing of HKO. I work with publicity, releases, and reviews.
How did you two meet and eventually become business partners?
Hampson: It was actually a connection through Paul [North]. I had been talking about it for years with him to put things together.
Abraham: I got whim of what they were doing and it really sparked my interest. From then, I sent him an email about it and we began collaborating.
What sparked the idea to start this organization?
Hampson: I had an album that was ready to be put out, this was about a year ago, and was trying to be more positive with it. I was really sick for a full year and became obsessed with the idea of karma, and wanted to turn the whole album into something positive.
I felt like I was almost cursed, so I liked the idea to make the album beyond me; to make it a positive thing and help people in some way. From there we realized it worked really well and others might be interested in doing the same thing.
Abraham: The whole aspect of making it a positive concept really attracted me to it, and everything started flowing really well.
What is your greatest accomplishment so far?
Hampson: We have been able to work with a lot of good bands. I was pleased that the Power Animal project went so well, because that is actually some of my music. Seeing the good reviews from Power Animal project was awesome and a great personal accomplishment for me.
Abraham: We have worked with some big outlets in order to get the awareness out there. Raising a good chunk of money and knowing that we're helping people feels really great.
It looks like you work a lot with the 'Philabundance' charity in Philadelphia, what got you started with them, and what other charities have you started working with since you created HKO?
Hampson: Mostly we have just been working with them so farm, and they are a great charity. They do a great job of taking our money and putting it to good use. We want to find a way to make it more hands on though. It would be awesome to raise some money and just buy a bunch of sandwiches and actually hand them out to homeless people in person.
Your site references interest in charities in Denton or Philly, are you restricted to those areas, or have you branched out?
Abraham: A while back I asked if Keith if he wanted to work out in LA with some of the smaller local bands as well, since that is where I am currently residing, and it sort of gave us the idea of wherever the band location is at to find ways to support that area; whether it be California, Texas, wherever. So now we are in the process of growing and trying to take it in that direction.
Hampson: We are really excited about working with Softcat, which is a Denton group, on our next project. Hopefully Paul's brother, Joe, and his band Northern will help out as well. We'd love to get some more projects going on out there in Denton, since that's where a lot of it started.
How well did Eskimeaux, Happened, Exorcism, and People Songs do for their intividual charities?
Hampson: They did pretty well. They raised a few hundred dollars each for Philabundance and got us started up. People Songs actually started off the whole label during the tsunami disaster in Japan so their profits went to that.
Abraham: We didn't really think the first one [Exorcism] out as well as we should have. Exorcism was about to be on tour so we were kind of rushed to release it before it began, but it still did really well for being what it is.
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Are these events restriced to online music sales or do you ever have events at live venues?
Hampson: We are definitely trying to start working on that, we want it to be more than online and get involved in fundraiser shows. I am working right now with another friend, who does light and art insullation. We are trying to have our first show be a 24 hour long performance with four, eight hour long pieces of music as a fundraiser in Philly. It's going to be a lot of work, but it should bring a ton of awareness and hopefully funds to donate.
Abraham: We are excited to see where these next few months take us, and after all of the upcoming projects we complete, hopefully this summer we will be heard a lot louder.