Randy Iwata and Bill Baker started working together at CITR-FM, the University of British Columbia radio station. Three years after graduation, they decided it was time to move on from the station. However, they wanted to stay connected to new music, so they founded a record label to release the best up-and-coming music of the city. They have been known to sign artists during drinking sessions.
Since its conception in 1991, Mint has put out over 130 releases. Most of their catalogue is available for sale through MapleMusic Recordings' e-commerce site. One of their earliest successes was a band called cub who, alongside Bunnygrunt and labelmates Maow, helped pioneer the vein of indie pop known as cuddlecore.
In the late 1990s, the label was heavily affected by the financial crisis at and eventual bankruptcy of distribution company Cargo Records, when Cargo's failure to pay the label for Gob's album Too Late... No Friends led to the band, then Mint's most lucrative act, defecting to rival label Nettwerk.
In the year 1998, Mint Records album Get Outta Dodge by Huevos Rancheros was nominated for a Juno Award in the Best Alternative Album category, and in 2001, Mint album Mass Romantic by The New Pornographers won the Juno Award for Best Alternative Album. Mass Romantic was listed at #17 in the 2001 Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll, and later ranked at #24 in Blender's 100 Greatest Indie Rock Albums Ever list.
Electric Version by The New Pornographers was listed at #7 in the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll of 2003. In 2009, the album was ranked at #79 on Rolling Stone's 100 Best Albums of the Decade list. New Pornographers album Twin Cinema was voted the #9 album of 2005 in the Pazz & Jop poll of 2005, and PopMatters ranked the album at #1 on their Best Music of 2005 list. It was later shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize in 2006, while Pitchfork Media placed Twin Cinema at number 150 on their list of the Top 200 Albums of the 2000s.
In October 2006, in conjunction with Exclaim! magazine and CBC Radio 3, Mint Records mounted a cross-Canada tour called the "Exclaim! Mint Road Show!" with headliners The New Pornographers along with Immaculate Machine and Novillero (except the final show in Vancouver, which featured Young and Sexy and Bella).
- Hogan, Marc (2007-05-10), Pitchfork: Album Reviews: Cub: Betti-Cola / Come Out Come Out, Pitchfork Media, retrieved 2010-05-17
- Michael Barclay, Ian A.D. Jack and Jason Schneider, Have Not Been the Same: The Can-Rock Renaissance 1985-1995. ECW Press. ISBN 978-1-55022-992-9.
- Pitchfork staff (September 28, 2009). "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 200-151". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
- CBC News http://radio3.cbc.ca/blogs/2009/01/The-Buttless-Chaps-Calling-it-Quits
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