Whether it’s the rainy weather or beautiful scenery, there is something about Washington state that has made it one of the most fertile places for independent music. Though Seattle may have a higher profile, indie labels are as numerous as nose piercings (and that means plenty) in the state capital Olympia, and the granddaddy of them all is Calvin Johnson’s K Records.

“I’ve sold my soul to K,” says Nissie, coyly exposing a shoulder tattooed with the label’s logo. As president and only employee of Tokyo’s Rebel Beat Factory, purveyor of K Records in Japan, a bit of skin isn’t the only thing he’s given up: A large piece of the floor space in his small Tokyo office is devoted to the label’s releases.

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