Rock Label of the Week is focused on highlighting some of the biggest – or most obscure- labels that you may – or may not – have ever heard of.
- Name Of Label: Dine Alone Records
- Founded: 2005.
- Location: Toronto, Canada.
- Label Type: Independent.
- Distributors: Fontana North
- Genre of Focus: Everything from Indie Rock-Hardcore.
- Current Roster: At The Drive-In, City And Colour, Jimmy Eat World, Kate Nash, The Jezabels, The Lumineers, We Are Scientists, Yukon Blonde.
- Inactive Roster: Alexisonfire, Attack In Black, Children Collide, Hot Hot Heat, Deer Tick, Johnny Truant, Songs From A Room, The End.
- Website: http://www.dinealonerecords.com
Dine Alone Records all began with Joel Carriere in 2005. Carriere, one of the more ambitious dudes in the industry, was managing Canadian hardcore band Alexisonfire under Bedlam Music Management when the realization hit that the management company could also take care of label duties. Dallas Green (City and Colour, formerly of Alexisonfire) was looking to release some of his solo work, and Carriere took initiative, creating Dine Alone Records and releasing cd’s. The first release would be Dallas Green’s album Sometimes with the moniker City And Colour.
The fact of the matter: Carriere is a man of music. Having been a child in the hardcore music scene, he knew at an early age he wanted to work in music. Before Bedlam Music Management, he worked for PolyGram, and after leaving there founded Bedlam Society, a website dedicated to music exposure in Canada. This is where he would meet lots of bands, including Alexisonfire (arguably one of their biggest successes on the label). Alexisonfire would go on to release 5 successful studio albums before their separation in 2011, leaving their legacy on the label. Alexisonfire (and Dallas Green) would give Bedlam Music the push into the creation of Dine Alone Records.
Because Bedlam Music Management was already established at the inception of Dine Alone Records, Carriere was able to utilize his contacts to build his roster for the label. Bands that were already signed to Bedlam Music Society were being signed to the new label, giving Dine Alone creative and financial control over the artists (this also meant less interference with other labels). But when it comes to A&R, Carriere explains what’s important when signing a band:
“On the label side, it’s obviously all about the music and that’s something my employees have to love. There have definitely been times where not all of them are feeling a certain artist, and I don’t think it would be fair for me to sign a band that I just love. If they don’t like the bands they work with on a day-to-day basis, then it will seem like I’m putting them into that major label kind of world. I don’t want them to have to work on stuff they don’t like, at least not at this point.” [Blare Magazine Interview]
However, Carriere makes a point to acknowledge that you cannot sign everyone you like:
“There’s always that art-versus-commerce thing you have to play with and being such a big music fan it’s tough. I sign everything because I’m a huge fan of it, I can’t sign everything I’d like to sign because I’d go bankrupt.” [City News Interview]
Dine Alone has gone on to sign some big, yet diverse, acts. While Alexisonfire was a strictly hardcore act, Dine Alone also signed Jimmy Eat World under the same merit (considered to be more on the rock/alt rock genre). Then there are the super successes, like the Lumineers, who are signed to the label. The folk group has released one self-titled album, which has been nominated for two Grammy Awards and two Billboard awards. Their single, “Ho Hey” would reach platinum in the United States, and is featured in numerous television series.
With the success of Dine Alone, Carriere created a new label this year called New Damage Records (named after a song by Soundgarden). The new label focuses on music in the hardcore/metal realm, with their roster boasting the likes of Architects, Cunter, Hawk Eyes, and Misery Signals. Due to this roster and Carriere’s legacy, the label has gotten the attention of others in the industry, and the outlook for the future of the label is positive. In a statement about the inception of New Damage, Carriere shares his positive outlook:
“Come watch us succeed or fail at building a new brand from the ground up. One thing is we are going to have a ton of fun doing it.” [Sonic More Music]
New Damage Records Logo.
Further, what better venture to get into than food? Dine Alone Records has gone on to create a food line too, called Dine Alone Foods. Run by Carriere and Jordan Hastings from Alexisonfire, the food line is made up of sauces, from hot sauce to BBQ. In conjunction with the food line, Dine Alone Records created a game titled Dine Alone Iphone Game in which you fatten up your avatar in order to get access to downloads from City and Colour and Yukon Blonde. On why the conjunction seemed right, as explained by John Higney:
“MuchMusic, MTV, they realized 20 years ago that what they’re involved in is lifestyle marketing, So many people that are into indie music are into food. It becomes one of these ancillary lifestyle things that go along with indie music—like craft beers.” [Canada Interview]
Dine Alone Iphone Game.
In all, the ventures all add up, and Dine Alone Records has blossomed into one of the youngest success stories in the record label industry. Carriere has his head on straight, and in an end to the article (and my time in artist management class!) Carriere explains the recipe for success:
“I think every company has a different recipe that works for them. Our recipe has always to learn from our mistakes and grow as a company each year. We started with one artist and two staff members and did a great job and continued to develop from there. Every time we saw an honest opportunity to further our collective careers, we went for it. I think we are pretty fearless, ethical and honest. We are a group of people who are massive music nerds and get to live out our dream job, but we’re also aware of the business side of it all – making sure we notice which musicians are actually focused on music and are willing to put their head down, hustle and work really hard. Not taking any of this for granted is very key. The quick ego inflation in this industry is something we see and we don’t want to be a part of. Some bands or peers like how we roll and some don’t.” [Blare Magazine Interview]
SAMPLE THE CURRENT ROSTER
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