ROCK LABEL OF THE WEEK: Rise Records

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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: Rise Records
  • Founded: 1991.
  • Location: Beaverton, Oregon
  • Label Type: Independent
  • Distributors: ADA, INgrooves.
  • Genre of Focus: Metalcore/Post-Hardcore/Pop Punk
  • Current Roster: The Acacia Strain, Dance Gavin Dance, The Early November, Memphis May Fire, Of Mice & Men, Issues.
  • Inactive Roster: Attack Attack!, Drop Dead, Gorgeous, From First To Last, Isles & Glaciers, Small Towns Burn A Little Slower.
  • Website: http://www.riserecords.com/

Craig Ericson founded rise Records in 1991. The label originated in Nevada City while Ericson was still in school. He sold a few 7” records for bands Up To Here and Slydog before he put Rise on hiatus while he went to college (he would attend Chico State for cartography). Fast-forward 8 years later to 1999, where Ericson relocated to Portland, Oregon. It was here he pulled Rise out of hiatus with the release of One Last Thing’s album The Foster Portfolio in 2000. At this time, they would also release 7” recordings for Tenpin, The Lonely Kings, and The Secludes.

Originally geared as a punk-screamo label, some of the first bands they founded included Anatomy Of A Ghost, Fear Before The March Of Flames, and Drop Dead, Gorgeous. However, things began to really pick up for the label in 2006, after they signed The Devil Wears Prada. Ericson, who had been working a day job as a cartographer, took on Rise full force in 2007, hiring two more people to help with the duties of the growing company. Ericson describes a day in the life of Rise:

“I think there’s a lot to it and there’s a lot of little stuff you need to do. All three of us that work here multi-task. We all pitch in. They do have duties and I have duties, but we all three manage the bands and talk to them and make sure they’re all good. We do all our stuff here. Matthew, our general manager, is a graphic designer, among other things. So we have someone doing graphic design, we have our distributor that we always have to be in contact with. There’s a whole bunch of little stuff. Making sure we don’t miss deadlines on artwork. Getting CD artwork is always a pain in the ass because you can’t put a time limit on art sometimes and we’re like, “We need the cover in two weeks.” We’ll give them a little reminder and it’s tough. We always have to bug people about deadlines, which sucks, but you’ve got to do it.” [Property of Zack Interview]

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Dance Gavin Dance filming their new music video through Rise Records.

What many people notice about Rise Records is the diversity within the roster. From the band Man Overboard (pop punk) to Emarosa (post-hardcore) to The Acacia Strain (metalcore), Rise is all over the place. Numerous fans have given Rise a lot of slack for avoiding conforming to a single genre of focus. However, Rise choses this path out of tact. The shelf life for a lot of these bands is short, so by signing many different types of genres, the label allows itself the ability to see what trends are rising or failing. Rise also gives itself more diversity, and whether people like it or not, the focus is on whether a band is good, not what genre it falls into:

We will continue to sign metalcore bands. We will continue to sign rock bands. We will continue to sign Pop-punk bands. We will continue to metal/thrash bands. We will continue to sign hardcore bands. Get my message?? [Limited Run Interview] 

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Issues playing around on the streets of Portland, Oregon.

As of this year, Rise Records has relocated from Portland, Oregon to Beaverton, Oregon. For Rise, the move would save them money in taxes that they had been paying in Portland (thought to be somewhere in the hundreds of thousands dollar amount). While many critics say, for a current 5-person team, Rise probably wouldn’t save that much money in the move. However, as of late, 35 bands are signed to Rise Records .As of 2012, Rise was making $3 million in profits and $10 in revenue, which means city taxes are killer. Through a smart move, the relocation to Beaverton will save some money, and will allow Rise to flourish even more than it has. [The Oregonian].

However, no label is without a little controversy (or if you are Victory Records, a ton of controversy). Jonny Craig (former frontman of Dance Gavin Dance and Emarosa), who had been signed to Rise through different bands, was caught in the middle of an internet fraud scandal. Jonny Craig had promised to sell Macbooks to over 16 fans online, and while the fans paid, they never received their computers (it was believed that the money was used for Jonny’s drug addiction). When the story broke, Rise Records and Artery Recordings arranged for Jonny to go to rehab, and reimbursed the people who were subject to the fraud Jonny caused. [Alternative Press Article].

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Jonny Craig was the center of controversy at Rise Records.

Rise Records was able to pull themselves from an otherwise crappy situation, and continue to be a desirable label to work for, to this day. And whether your into pop punk or metalcore, Rise will give you something to look forward to. Take it away, Craig Ericson:

We’ve always gone against the grain. We know that word of mouth sells records and spending money on advertising doesn’t necessarily sell records. We’ve worked hard over the years to build a brand that the all-ages music scene can rely on. Whether it’s metalcore or pop-punk, kids can trust that Rise will release great albums from multiple genres. [Limited Run Interview]

 

SAMPLE THE CURRENT ROSTER

  

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Band Agreements – Four Things you Definitely Want Covered

Poor Robin

With all this talk about contracts between artists and managers and agents and promoters and publishers and record labels and all kinds of other money grabbing people and things, it becomes easy to overlook one of the most important and fundamental  agreements a band can have: the band agreement. The band agreement is exactly what it sounds like – an agreement between the band members that outlines the business aspects of their art. I know that for all the cool kids out there that are in bands with their BFF’s because their ‘vibe is just so pure and wonderful and it’s all about the music, not the money’ – this doesn’t apply, you guys just high five and call it a day. But, for anybody else here are some things you might want to consider about the band agreement.

First of all this is something that should get done in the very early stages of the band. It brings up very important questions that you normally wouldn’t necessarily think of. These are best discussed when there isn’t too much money coming in (or any at all) and everybody in the band still loves each other. This just ensures everything gets done in an easy and friendly way. Sometimes it is difficult to bring up depressing things like breakups and it might be a good idea to hire a lawyer to overlook the whole process and bring up the negative stuff for you. You may never need the agreement but it will definitely be better to have it rather than not.

So we have established that they should be done in the early stages and that they might never even be used but what exactly should the band agreement entail, what questions should get asked? Here is a summary of Martin Frascogna’s four things that should always be covered at a minimum level and I think these are pretty good starting points.

1. Decide How the Band and Will Decide

For any decisions the band makes from buying new equipment or software to who to hire as a manager, there should be a defined way that they are made. A simple vote makes sense but what if the band has an even number of members and the vote comes in 50/50? Furthermore try and think about which decisions will require a unanimous vote and decide who has the power to break a tie based on things like financial investments and individual workload.

2. Income Structure

When the band makes money where does that money go? With certain income streams and depending on other contracts you might not have a choice but for when you do have a choice this comes in handy. Do all members get a cut? Is some of the income put aside for investments in the band? Establish who the songwriters are, in other words if you register a song for copyright (or a creative commons license woop woop!) Whose name is it registered under; the band as a whole or a certain individual?

3. Trademark

Who owns the band name? If you assume everyone shares equal parts that means 3 people could leave a band that originally had 5 members and start using the name. In a weird way them quitting would be like the other two getting fired. Figure out what you want because once a band gets started they will be spending a lot of effort and resources in branding themselves and getting the name out there/developing a fan base. There is a lot at stake with band names and trademarks so it is important to discuss the best way to go about it. If this isn’t determined often times a court will decide that no one can continue using the name and then both sides get screwed out of it. Furthermore, if your band has registered the name and somewhere down the road you come into contact with someone else who has the exact same name but isn’t registered, you can probably guess who wins and get’s to keep it.

4. Jurisdiction

The band needs to know under what laws their disputes (if any) will be governed. If you ever need to go to court will it need to be in California? or Massachusetts? or Valencia? This are more important than one thinks. If you live in Boston and you have a deal with some company in Los Angelas, that says your jurisdiction is in California you would need to  pay California Courts, travel expenses to and from LA, and you might even need to deal with different laws you were unaware of. In any case, make sure you pick a home base!

Remember that a band agreement is as important as any other contract and the earlier it gets done the less painful and expensive it will be for everyone if you ever need it. As a manager this should be one of the first things you organize for a band if they don’t already have it.

Phillip Richard

Sources and Further Reading:

http://blog.midem.com/2012/06/martin-frascogna-4-minimum-requirements-for-artist-agreements/#.UIgyFLTevWY

http://www.themusiciansguide.co.uk/blog/13/why-you-need-a-band-agreement-contract-guest-post-by-daniel-ward/

http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/stories/020311samename