The story of Light in the Attic begins, curiously enough, with a motor crash in Madrid, Spain. Light in the Attic founder/co-owner (most of us call him Matt) was but a teenager in the middle of one of those requisites of American post-high school life―the “find yourself” hostel-hop through Europe. The journey usually involves, at the very least, a Eurail pass, a backpack, and a pair of hiking boots.
This particular sunny day in Madrid back in 1997, however, was to have lifelong consequences for young Matt Sullivan. Aside from the sight of the totaled Fiat (tin cans, they are), something of even greater interest immediately caught Matt’s eye. The unlucky car he had just hit was filled to the brim with records―Stooges, Spacemen 3, Suicide, Love, Monks, MC5―in other words, REALLY GOOD records. Matt introduced himself to his unwilling yet amiable “crash mate,” Iñigo Pastor, who just happened to own the stellar Spanish label Munster Records (and soon Vampi Soul). The shock of the accident suddenly took a proverbial backseat in the scheme of things as the two immediately began to talk music. Within an afternoon’s time, a transatlantic bond based on the love of music was formed.
Matt immediately ditched his plans for the rest of his European sojourn and soon began camping out at the Munster headquarters in Madrid. Though Matt and LITA co-owner Josh Wright’s love of music began at their high school radio station, KASB in Bellevue, Washington, way back in ‘93, in Spain, Matt was able to see firsthand the actual BUSINESS of putting out records. He soon discovered that the thrill of finding a long-lost gem and reissuing it to a grateful public was often tempered by the more loathsome side of the music business―endless unpaid orders, flaky artists, and threats of lawsuits from myriad hustlers and frauds. But Matt remained undeterred and, with guidance from his Spanish mentors, began making more concrete plans for a record label of his own.
Once back in the States, the Master Plan began at once. The idea was to build a label which placed as much emphasis on releasing quality reissues as it did developing new talent. As the dot-com boom went bust, Sullivan was thankfully laid off from one of those shaky establishments. On that glorious day in July 2001, Light in the Attic’s humble roots came to be from a little basement apartment in Fremont, Seattle. Suddenly unemployed, Matt wasted none of his newfound free time. Instead, he began building LITA from scratch. His tools? A little savings and a lot of tenacity.
The first release landed in October 2002 with deluxe album reissues from hip-hop pioneers The Last Poets. With the LITA ball finally rolling, Matt soon called upon lifelong friend Josh Wright for help with the business. Josh provided the necessary energy and business know-how needed to transform Light in the Attic into the thriving company it is today.
Since that first release, Light in the Attic has proven that its company mission is simple: put out great music, wherever it may be found. It’s this dedication to music―first and foremost―that has created a diverse and respected catalog of releases. In addition to its own catalog, LITA also distributes over 100 excellent labels and has grown to be a truly well-curated machine, selling direct to hundreds of record stores and retailers around the globe. With its deep catalog, the company has an incredibly talented music licensing department, placing songs in film, television, and advertisements.
With its commitment to quality as well as its disdain for convention, LITA has released over 250 instant classics. Highlights include the reintroduction of Sixto Rodriguez, a Detroit-born artist and star of the Oscar-winning film, Searching For Sugar Man and the GRAMMY®–nominated collections Native North America (Vol. 1) and Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990. And who can ignore the reissues of funk goddess Betty Davis, larger-than-life crooners Serge Gainsbourg and Lee Hazlewood, folk great Karen Dalton, private press classics from singer-songwriter Jim Sullivan and teenage farmers Donnie & Joe Emerson.
Since those early basement days, the LITA family has vastly expanded, with a staff located around the globe, along with a brick-and-mortar record store in Seattle.
Light in the Attic continues to defy convention by refusing to pigeonhole itself. It’s safe to say that you can expect more surprises―and more great music―in the very near future.
And they owe it all to a badly mangled Fiat.
Well, sort of…
Head of Sync & Creative Licensing
I’m a left-handed Libra who grew up on an alpaca farm in rural Oregon. Aside from that, I come from a background of music journalism, visual art and video production. Which somehow led me to music licensing, which somehow led me to Los Angeles, which somehow led me to Light in the Attic. I am very thankful for all of these things.
Account Manager, North America
Raised on the West Coast. Calypso enthusiast. Owner of a local tape label - Youth Riot. Find me on MySpace
Supply Chain Operations Coordinator
Originally from Richmond, VA. My dad is a musician who managed a local record store (Plan 9) and venue (Twisters) during my childhood, causing my life to be immersed in music at an early age. On my days off, you can find me at an estate sale or flea market. I collect vintage band t-shirts, Victorian jewelry, mid-century furniture, and anything that looks like it would belong in Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.
Frank Jake Fiolek III
Manager, Light in the Attic Record Shop
I came to the Light in the Attic Record Shop after working for over a decade at Sonic Boom Records in Seattle, where I managed the used department and ordered new products from a handful of awesome labels and distros, including Drag City, Traffic, Fat Beats, LITA, and others. I grew up with my time split between the San Joaquin River Valley in California and Tucson, Arizona, before moving to the redwood forests of Humboldt County, and then to Seattle. I write poetry and fiction in my spare time, and somehow found myself very sporadically covering jazz for the International Examiner, a local free paper. I DJ disco and boogie, listen to mostly bedroom ambient, folk, and deep soul, but I have a real soft spot for Lana Del Rey and 90’s country music.
Supply Chain Manager
I grew up listening exclusively to the oldies station and my first concert was the Beach Boys at a Braves game on the Fourth of July. In my tweens, I developed a devastating crush on Elton John. Thankfully - before it got too weird - we relocated to Philadelphia, next door to a former record store manager who generously let me comb through her CD collection nearly every day after school. When I'm not swimming in spreadsheets, you'll find me backstage at one of our local music venues or tinkering with my fixer-upper house in North Carolina that I share with my partner, John; three cats; and a lovably-neurotic dog named Nigel.
Since I was a teen, I’ve been holding space for artists and musicians. I grew up in a lovable yet often pretty deranged family of artists, painters, and filmmakers but never ended up barking up those particular trees myself. Instead, I found myself more attracted to organizing, documenting, and building within the DIY music and art communities in which I was a part. My outlets include playing records, scavenging free piles, figuratively and literally banging the drums, repotting plants, and playing ball with our border collie Ed.
Born and bred in Nantes, France, I've been lucky enough to meet some great people and work in record stores, music labels and distribution companies in France, London and Tokyo. I now take care of various international things for this wonderful company that is LITA! I also run a label called 180g, and when not dealing with records I love playing sports, watching NBA, going camping, enjoying a good dinner with friends and spending time with my wife and kids.
Customer Support Specialist
I was raised in San Francisco by two British mods on a mixture of Talking Heads, Otis Redding, David Bowie, and Cornershop. Childhood evenings were spent sitting around the living room listening to music, my Dad interrupting the track every few minutes to point out an amazing bassline or sax solo. At the age of 10, my favorite song was "Alive" by Pearl Jam, and it's still my go-to at karaoke. I moonlight as a live music photographer and vinyl DJ, have lived in Seattle and New York, and am thrilled at the opportunity to spend more time thinking about vinyl!
Marketing Coordinator, Digital & Streaming
Born and raised in the suburbs of LA, I was brought up on the sounds of Spanish radio and my mom’s Uruguayan folk music. I made a post-punk mixtape for Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man my sophomore year of high school with an accompanying essay relating the songs to the story as liner notes, full package design and all. I knew from then on that this music thing was going to be pretty serious. I also host a monthly NTS show called "Heaven and Earth Magic” — a sort of personal auditory mood ring, dream journal, and research center.
Product Asset Coordinator
Born and raised in Alhambra, CA (SGV for life). I come from a long line of music geeks with little to no musical talent. Wannabe polyglot, sometimes hiker, fanatical crocheter, very, very novice jiujiteiro. Going to keep this brief because I have a tendency to go on tangents.
My lovely wife often says, 'who ever decides what they wanna do with their life at 16?' Well, I'm that nerd. I'd be an overgrown teenager obsessed with college basketball if it weren't for my 10-watt high school radio station KASB and teacher Mr. Zujko, who crowned me Music Director, thinking I was the only student who wouldn’t steal the promo CDs. I knew then that I would start a label. After years of college radio and zillions of hours cleaning toilets as a label intern, Light in the Attic was born in 2001.
Director E-Commerce and Digital Strategy
Cleveland-born, South Florida-raised, seasoned in New York, boomeranged to Cleveland. Believes in being nice/working hard, the power of heavy bass lines, and that burritos fix everything. Can find me in the wild at live concerts, seeking out obscure grooves, singing poorly in the car with my boys, and still donned in an overwhelming amount of accessories.
Born in San Diego, CA I got my first job bussing tables at Outback Steakhouse to subsidize the habit of riding my bike to the local Music Trader to buy CD's. I played the Tuba through college, spent my 20s playing guitar in bands, and now reside in Los Angeles, CA where I am the proud roommate of a rescue hound dog named Bill.
Co-Owner/Sales & Distribution
Born and raised in the epic metropolis we can only call Bellevue, Washington. Nearly 20 years have passed running this ship we call LITA.....hoping to parlay this record gig later down the line into a spot on the Senior PGA tour, or running a poke/karaage shack on Kauai.