Now approaching their 50th release, Portland's Hush Records has spent the past seven years establishing themselves as one of the more consistent and charming indie labels around. Known as the launching point for Kind of Like Spitting, the Decemberists, and tons more, Hush hits release number 50 with the beautifully assembled compilation MILE. Owner Chad Crouch talks about the history of the label, the importance of artwork, and, with great reluctance, calls people stupid and tasteless.

MILE CD Release with Kind of Like Spitting, Blanket Music, Graves, and more will be at Holocene on May 5th.

Can you explain the concept behind the MILE compilation?

The concept is pretty simple, and kind of trendy. Tons of indie labels have issued milestone compilations--either commemorating years in business or the number of albums released. This particular release packs 50 tracks on to one enhanced CD: 14 audio tracks and 36 high-quality MP3s.

When you first started the label, did you ever think you'd make it to 50 releases?

Well, honestly--no. I mean, I thought I would be successful in that naïve way a young person thinks everything will come up roses, but I didn't have any plan, or even a rudimentary understanding of the music business.

How much does being based in Portland affect Hush as a label?

Hush is Portland-centric. I try to become interested in out-of-town bands, and I've talked with many about working together--but for one reason or another, perhaps the absence of "face time," any deals have all dissolved. Over the years, some artist affiliates have moved away, so Hush is branching out a bit.

As someone who pays the bills as a visual artist, how important is releasing records with well-designed packaging and artwork?

I don't really dictate the artwork. I do retain veto power, but the artists usually have an idea about how they want to present their music, and I try to facilitate. My friend E*Rock can be kind of dictatorial with the design for his Audio Dregs label, which I kind of envy, but I'm pretty low maintenance. The one thing we both agree on is that the cover should look like the music sounds. One thing you figure out quickly if you're ever in the position of getting promos or demos is you can judge a CD by its cover.

Fill in the blank with an album you've released. People are stupid and have no taste in music because they failed to purchase _______________?

Well, I want to say MILE, but seeing as it isn't on the market yet, I can't rightly be calling people stupid and tasteless, can I?