Okay, so my last post was a little negative. This time around, I’ll try to be a more upbeat and optimistic.
If you’ve read some of the previous blog posts from my fellow students, you’ll know that Berklee is working towards building an in-house record label. The process, so far, has been fun, frustrating, and everything in between. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how this experience compares to some of my favorite labels as well as the construction of my own record label with a friend from back home.
One of my favorite labels for years has been Stones Throw Records. To me, Stones Throw epitomizes what it means to believe in what you put out. Over the years, they have offered opportunities to some amazing new artists that have gone on to do big things (Mayer Hawthorne, Aloe Blacc) and have dusted off and repackaged works by legendary artists that otherwise might have not be introduced to a younger digitally inclined audience (Steve Arrington, Gary Wilson). Stones Throw is a label for DJ’s, by DJ’s, and I believe much of their success can be attributed to their creating a diverse, yet consistent, catalogue.
I am trying to emulate the same sort of spirit with my personal label, YoungBloods, based in the US. My friend ( co-owner) and I both have similar tastes and know what we like when we hear it. To that end, we are signing artists we believe in, regardless of the size of their fan base. As I’ve found with DJing, if you love what you are playing, chances are someone in the crowd will understand what you’re doing.
Disrupcion Records (the Berklee Valencia run label) has offered a different sort of experience. Naturally, it differs in that I am not working towards putting the label together with one close friend. Instead, I’m working with a large group of friends, all of whom have different tastes and expectations. While it is complicated to coordinate with everyone and come to a consensus regarding operational methods and music, it has been an exciting challenge to try to establish a consistency.
Things have been slightly tumultuous lately. There has been miscommunication that has caused confusion with who is doing what. However, I think that after we get in the groove of things we eventually might be able to achieve the same sort of organizational consistency that is present in a label like Stones Throw. It may be more difficult than working with a few close musically likeminded friends, although it will be interesting to see how the rest of the semester turns out.