Sean Ingram is the vocalist of Coalesce, who were one of the most innovative bands of the 90s hardcore scene. Along with bands like Converge, Botch, Deadguy, and Dillinger Escape Plan they pioneered the off-kilter, noisy, metallic that ended up laying the groundwork for metalcore as we know it today.
He’s also the owner of a couple companies including Blue Collar Press (who I highly recommend if you need to print some shirts) and Merchtable (who work with artists from Major Lazer and Dillon Francis to Kowloon Walled City and Old Man’s Child). And last but not least, he’s always been a somewhat vocal family man, which is something that I appreciate and admire a lot now that I am an old man who would like to have a family.
Sean in action with Coalesce back in 1997
Give us your life story in a few sentences: who are you, what is/was your involvement in punk/HC/DIY culture and what is your “real job”?
Well, from my perspective, I was a pretty run of the mill middle class white kid who grew up extremely angry for no particular reason I can exactly remember. I found straight edge, veganism, and hardcore music and all that rage found a reason and an outlet. I got involved with the hardcore scene first with sxe , then continuing into my 30’s in a band called Coalesce which was not associated with sxe at all outside of the crossover with some of the fans. I got married early as I longed for a family structure badly, and we ended up having 4 kids. I’m still married, and I transitioned the knowledge and work ethic I learned in hardcore into a screen printing and merchandising company called Merchtable.com and Blue Collar Press. I also moonlight with a bike company called fixcraft.
Cop this sick Dillon Francis crewneck from Merchtable!
What did you learn from your time in DIY culture that has helped you in a professional capacity?
Everything. I don’t complain that things don’t exist that I want to see. I just do them. Diy culture gave me everything. I’m so thankful the internet didn’t exist back then too. I can’t imagine shit getting done with the internet at that time. We had to work for it, because we were hungry. It’s interesting to work with employees who don’t have that same ethic. You get a lot of blaming going around, “ I couldn’t because so and so didn’t do this”, etc. I like to see employees take the reigns and make things happen after they’ve been here a bit. If you have to be micro managed you won’t survive at merchtable very long.
On the flip side of that coin, are there any bad habits or bad ideas that you picked up that have held you back professionally?
Too many risks. Sometimes I think I can do anything. I invested a lot of time and money into this cable sports network pilot. They are up at www.probikepolo.com. it was a grand experiment and we got a cable deal out of it, but I want to start from scratch already. People from the DIY world think they can do anything, and really they can, but we don’t always calculate our risks. Financially and in terms of personal time with our families which is actually worth more than money to be honest. This project was a big lesson in risks and time management.
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