There’s this hype around vinyl right now… So i thought i’d just go ahead and talk to a friend about what it’s actually like to run a label. 🙂


What Michael Is All About:




welcome back to another video you are
may be new to this channel my name is
Sasha I’m talking about all types of
band stuff how to not die in the very
dangerous music industry and for example
about topics like today what’s it
actually like to run a label if you want
to learn more about this stuff please
make sure to hit the subscribe button
and the notification door so you don’t
miss anything so let’s go to today’s
video I had my dear friend Michael over
from the United States of America
coming through Skype and he is doing all
sorts of cool things for example running
a label which is distributing vinyl so I
thought a lot of people are like wow
it’s the boom of vinyl wow it’s the boom
of I don’t know I want to start a label
no matter what
so I actually talked to him and asked
him what it’s actually like to run a
label I hope you enjoy this conversation
thank you very much
okay so today we’re talking about what
it is actually like to run a label
because nowadays you know I wasn’t at an
industry party like one month ago and
then oh man if I would buy a vinyl press
I would be I would be rich
because everyone’s buying vinyl now of
course and you know it’s like but people
are treating it like it was the easiest
thing now like you just do it and then
everything’s gonna be fine and I and I
think like with a lot of other stuff
that’s not actually true and no one
actually knows what’s behind that and
distribution and all this other stuff
and a lot of you know young dudes think
yeah let’s just start a label out of
just because they think it’s cool yeah
and I’m going to introduce you here real
this is Michael you’re a great friend at
first the drummer of like table a drum
teacher van owner CEO that sounds
of silent pendulum records drummer of
downfall of Gaia drama of down fall down
fall of the number the number
looks like you and we’re actually
meeting next week but it’s easier to do
it in a skype thing so we are yeah we
have met the first time roughly I think
it’s around these this state we met
three years ago exactly move years ago
when both of our bands were touring
together yeah almost to the day yeah and
it took like three or four days and
everything everyone was everyone was
pretty cool with each other which was
great yeah it was a very good atmosphere
yeah so what have you done today what
have I done today yeah I actually spent
some records this morning I also packed
some stuff for Europe because I’m doing
some trading you usually do that with
moment of collapse and also the bed exes
so I’m bringing some records when I fly
over there I’m taking some records here
my distro okay so it’s super nearly it’s
here so the day’s getting started
I got rehearsal later so it’s pretty
smooth easy day rehearsal for a band but
yeah number under looks like you
we’re writing a our debut full-length
record with a new band because they’ve
been broken up for eight years okay so
you don’t have a debut yet but you
played with Dillinger on there that’s
how you do it
I shouldn’t say debut I mean it’s the
return record it’s the debut of the two
new members my bass player DJ and I yeah
okay cool so what’s your doing a lot of
is there a main focus like I’m I have
things going on and I I don’t have a
main thing that I’m focusing on I’m just
doing everything you were doing a lot of
stuff and I just wanted to know what’s
like do you have made focus right now or
is it the same you have things going
on and you kind of trying to balance
everything yeah I think it goes like
this it depends on the project depends
where a band is in their cycle for
example right now downfall a guy we’re
still doing our touring cycle for the
last record atrophy of it that’s what
I’m gonna see I’m gonna see you next
week it’s the last leg of this tour and
then my priority this whole summer is
gonna be practicing and writing the new
downfall a guy record and the new number
looks like you record okay amazing I
think it’s I think it’s similar to what
you do I mean I have a bunch of things
going on and depending on tours or when
it’s time to write or record something
becomes a priority or something else
becomes a priority and then you just
push it to the forefront and then
exactly and so I want to double down on
this talk on you on silent pendulum
because I don’t want to empathize the
thing of running a label and what it’s
actually like because I have no idea and
people are gonna be yelling yeah you
should have talked to the A&R of blah
blah blah and nuclear blast or I don’t
know but I think there’s actually no
difference because everyone’s trying to
sell music after all
and so forth and so do you and I should
definitely talk to someone of those
levels at some point but you are running
a New York based vinyl label and distro
specializing in black experimental and
postman I took that from band from band
camp no and I think that’s just as good
so when did you start that and why and
was it always the same name wasn’t
always the same name it started out of
necessity when when we released the
first black table EP Sentinel about four
or five years ago we there was our first
album and we released it ourselves
so I did all the emails the the payment
you know contact with United pressing
which I believe is in the west coast of
the US and the test presses blah blah so
I did all that and then after that I
realized I kind of liked like all the
work behind what a record label does I
read a couple books about how to start
your own label so I got a name I got a
Facebook page everything and then my
first real official release was this
band called North from Arizona and my
favorite record it is was never pressed
on vinyl so my initial concept was to
release records that are either out of
print or have never been released on
vinyl or could not be released because
of Finance is something like that okay
so that was my first idea and North
their label didn’t want to release it so
I contacted them and they agreed so that
was kind of how I started my label is
out of necessity because I I personally
wanted a copy of this vinyl and it
didn’t exist so I decided to help them
create that awesome do you do you print
stuff or do you produce stuff yourself
or do you buy it from plants a little
bit of both up to this point I’ve worked
with plants primarily the last four or
five releases are done through Pirates
press and the Czech Republic they’ve
been really good to me
and now I’m noticing for certain
releases to do their minimum of
copies as Justin
viable you know with the finances and
with the cost so also if it’s a
brand-new band they might not even sell
hundred copies than a year or something
even if they’re touring so my new for
the next couple releases my new idea a
new structure is to get or copies
made at a different plant and then I
want to silkscreen the jackets myself
okay so I have a few friends that do
silk-screening so it’s gonna be a little
bit more custom it’ll be a little bit
you know more artistic and more of a
collector’s item as well awesome so your
main focus is probably to first release
also stuff that you like yourself and
where do you want that to go like you
have seven seven or eight you’ve done
seven or eight vinyls for until now or
is it more I think it’s I’ve worked on
twelve releases so some of them were was
an only silent pendulum it was a co
release or I ended up working with them
after it was already released in let’s
say Europe I would be the u.s.
distributor okay so but I think you’re
correct like seven or eight I’ve done
solely as my project and released only
under the silent pendulum umbrella so
and to answer your other question yeah I
mean my primary goal is to just release
music I love and you know half of it is
half of my releases are bands I’ve
either played in recorded with or are my
bands currently so it’s it’s you know
partially I’m searching for new music
that can’t get out there and also the
other part is you know just my my
business my dance yeah the cool thing is
if you look at your web presence and you
look at the Sun pendulum page you
wouldn’t know that it was started out of
necessity because you are releasing your
own bands which is a great thing so if
someone who doesn’t know the label comes
to the site it’s like hey that’s a cool
label and I they have no idea that
you’re the drummer of this band that is
released on the label yeah it’s pretty
funny it happens quite frequently people
go oh wait a second that’s you you’re
that label yeah that’s me awesome
so when you when you started to scale
like when you started the second release
and third release so I think you
probably had something you might oh this
is actually going to be a thing like I’m
going to run a label and what is it
actually like versus what you thought it
would be like I think you have to stock
stuff and you have to pay for more stuff
than you thought you would have to pay
for because running business is a pain
in the ass yeah I think everyone knows
any business any band you have one idea
and then there’s always costs you would
never anticipate so I think that was the
biggest learning curve over the last few
years is yeah
shipping materials you think you think
you have enough you think you estimated
correctly priced things correctly and
then all of a sudden oh wait I need
extra bubble wrap or I need I’ve only
bought two rolls of tape I need rolls
of tape you know there’s things you
can’t estimate so there’s no learning
curve with that and then I knew would be
a lot of work but two things I didn’t
anticipate are how time-consuming
packing records is even you know my most
successful release was the first
pressing of rosy-red by the number
looks like you and we sold out in
hours so it’s never done on vinyl as
their first album and I even the whole
band all four of us packed all
records and it took us I don’t know
maybe a week as you do it we would do it
after work we would do like four hours
one night and you know two individually
packed records with download codes
to take the vinyl out and put it into
the plastic sleeve taping printing you
know I did all the addresses from home
just with a scale you know for my laptop
so I don’t have to go to the post office
yeah and yeah so it’s definitely time
consuming and it’s a labor of love but
yeah that was something I didn’t
anticipate was how much time it would
take and also how much space it takes
you know how much room you need to store
your your back catalog to store all the
supplies I started getting vinyl
shipments on pallets so I needed a
garage you know they would come and said
you know this whole hoping
but uh yeah so those are the two things
I didn’t expect but it’s still been a
lot of fun to learn kind of little
tricks here and there it’s so where are
you running all of this like dude do you
have an extra space and I know you’re
renting out some stuff do did you take a
part of that real estate or did you have
a practice space where you put all of
that stuff yeah it’s been it’s been the
last few years it’s been all over so
depending where I’m living I do I do
have a property I told you about that I
believe so I had a garage there I was
storing some stuff but I’m renovating
that space now to make it into a
practice space and to my label distro so
now I have half my stuff my bass players
half of it at the practice base summer
and like friends basements parents
basements so it’s kind of peace you know
peace together right now but uh yeah
though the goal is in six months to have
a full distro location with a rehearsal
room and people gonna people can
actually even come and see all that the
release is something like this also so
you wonder is you you want to have an
actual office as well like where you can
work you could go there and then you do
label stuff exactly every yeah for that
that’s the goal it’s very important to
have a dedicated place for work yeah I
agree it’s I think it’s a good thing to
have it out of your living space it’s
not that cool as people think to work
yeah living space I think it’s very
romantic to work from home but then when
you start crossing those those lines it
gets a little I don’t know uncomfortable
well you can’t be as productive yeah
yeah then you have to do you you’re
starting to do dishes then there’s some
other stuff in the basement and then oh
it’s one hour it’s gone now we’re
getting the dog fighting with that right
now I’m looking for an office as well
yeah so what’s your what’s the most
favorite part about the whole label
operation my favorite part is is the
interaction with with people with fans
with other music lovers especially on
tour you know I’ll bring my for the US
I’ll bring my whole dis struggle on tour
and you know meeting people who have
ordered every release I’ve done and you
know just having that connection with
and then also connect it like we talked
about earlier connecting the dots pânico
you play drums in this band oh and
you’re also in the labels thank you you
know people are very very appreciative
of no records that were never pressed on
vinyl before especially that the one I
was telling you about before rosy red by
the number the biggest reason I
pushed to depress that was because I
wanted it and it didn’t exist so I put a
lot of work into the colors a lot of
work into the artwork making sure it was
you know -gram and thicker cardboard
matte finish so yeah I mean I think
that’s my favorite part is just
interacting with people and creating
something that hasn’t been available
before it’s such a cult like especially
if you I don’t know how it’s in the u.s.
never been there but if you’re traveling
around those smaller clubs and bigger
clubs as well like until a couple of
years ago you had only band stickers
everywhere and now it’s labels like
labels like you run and it’s it’s a
whole cult and people are interacting
with labels like if they were bands and
it’s I’m not a vinyl guy I own one one
single vinyl and but I think that’s
that’s pretty cool and I could I could
really I could really imagine how you
appreciate that that people are actually
talking about that and they have in mind
what it’s actually like and they
appreciate the music and the piece of
the physical release and that’s a that’s
a pretty cool thing that the whole I I
do not want to call it a trend because
it’s so cool that I wanted to stick
around that people who are dealing with
this have a sustaining thing going on I
mean yeah there’s a little bit of a
trend but also I think I really like
that bands and record labels are still
trying to maintain that physical
merchandise aspect because once you lose
that then it’s really I mean I think you
lose it’s going to be a lot of weird I
mean what are we good what are we going
to sell what’s going to happen here’s
here’s a download code that’s it there’s
nothing else here’s your seven shirts
here’s the code you can and you get that
slit d printing files I don’t know it’s
gonna be really weird that’s weird yeah
but I mean musicians adapt now and I
don’t know what whatever will come we’ll
all adapt again think exactly what’s
your least favorite part about it
and I think it’s nope you love do you
kind of like the pecking because you
know it’s going out I think I’m very
meticulous so I love packing I I’m you
know what I think one of my problems is
I’m very I think controlling over the
business so I want to make sure it’s
packed correctly because even if you
pack the vinyl a little bit loosely then
the vinyl can it’ll move and it’ll break
the packaging it’ll break the jacket and
then you have to send another one anyway
so they have to be very careful how you
pack a vinyl as opposed to a CD or
t-shirt it doesn’t matter they can’t
really break but a vinyl if it’s not
extremely tight then it’ll break so yeah
I can I really like packing but my least
favorite part I think would be just the
the wait times actually you know cuz
with CDs with recording I mean you
record an album you get the mix you get
the mastering like I’d call it’s it’s
done but then with vinyl like you were
saying you went to that industry party
there’s only a few companies that have
these machines to make records and
they’re really backed up because it’s
becoming like you said a trend and so to
when the day from the day from the day
you order to the day you get it at your
house or business it’s three to six
months depending you know if there’s any
problems with the master any problems
with the test pressing more like three
to four months but uh so that’s my least
favorite artist is the waiting game so
if if for anyone watching or listening
those all these industry people they
said like if you could buy vinyl press
and you could offer to all the labels
just set up an email tell them hey I can
deliver hundred vinyls within two weeks
and people are going to smash you
door because the people are waiting for
vinyls all the time and they not
everyone needs a thousand copies but
some people are just looking for or
and if you can assure that you can
bring to a to vinyls at that
specific point people are going to kiss
your hand and give you money I was like
holy there’s so much to that old
vinyl thing that I haven’t thought about
and it kept me going and I will somehow
wanted to implement it on my channel and
then I thought about you yeah it’s an
interesting industry because there are
certain parts of the process that are
not they’re not easy to expand for
example like cleaning the machines or
even making the the master plates and
stuff like this so that’s why they can’t
just hire anybody you have to be trained
in certain aspects of it so it’s a
little more difficult and what you just
spoke about there are a few companies
I’m talking to one of them is called I
have to double-check precariat cuts also
from Arizona the the drummer of North
the van I put out works for them and
they hand leave cut records to order so
if you only want copies they do it
but of course was something like this
it’s hand done it’s more time-consuming
so the price per unit goes up a lot more
than for example a machine cut one if
you get a thousand copies you know
that’s so it exists but it’s more
expensive so there’s you know not that
big of a margin to make to even break
even or to make a profit
are you selling CDs as well or are you
just limited to vinyl I was very against
it for my first releases but then I kind
of was not forced but a couple releases
really wanted CDs including one of my
bands yeah the number looks like you
we needed cities people were asking for
it so I ended up just getting them done
yeah it’s a cool thing about metal
people and want CDs oh that’s pretty a
lot of bad was it
that’s cool they go to concerts and buy
CDs yeah I don’t know how people there
are like years younger than us who’s
starting to metal going to metal shows
now don’t know if they are still playing
cities really I have to look at the
merch stand if they’re younger bands I
really want to know how they consume
from the get-go because in my head
they’re all living in Spotify playlists
and that’s it yeah I think that’s mainly
true what I’ve seen also a lot of the
younger bands the people young ten years
younger than us even the the consumers
it’s a lot of Spotify or Pandora or
whatever iTunes music stuff like this
they and at concerts they’ll buy a
hoodie or a t-shirt or a zip-up poster
flags but they won’t buy the actual CD
or vinyl because they have no use or no
means of playing it yeah they’re just
practical they’re not romantic with that
exactly that’s uh I mean sir where it’s
going after all but we’re still living I
mean we’re still we’re still got a
hundred years to live
yeah we’re still alive and we’re still
romantic yeah you talked about reading
books about starting a label do you
maybe remember one or two of them I
think if you google or Amazon how to
start a record label the first book that
comes up it’s actually called that but
maybe it’s called so you want to start a
record label I don’t have to look up the
author for you but uh it was pretty
informative it was about five or ten
years ago I read it and there’s the
fifth edition so there’s probably more
editions now and they were talking still
about MySpace and still about the the
beginning of Facebook it was before band
camp when I read it so they’re
constantly updating because yeah even in
five years the the platforms are
switching but a lot of the general
concepts are still you know maintained
within the music industry so any of any
of that I’m honestly any book based on
how to start a record label will be
helpful if anyone’s trying to get in you
get into it even if it’s just one
chapter yeah I mean the most practical
non-fiction books sometimes it’s just
one chapter that’s pretty helpful Ori
that you take away or that you still
think about in a month
yeah so if you are living around New
York area you are you closer to the city
or are you upstate from the city New
York I technically I’m considered
downstate don’t know if others because
there’s a Dallas as well yes it’s the
suburbs in New York City but people from
New York City will say anything that is
above Manhattan is upstate so it depends
who you ask
okay but uh yeah if you have yeah if you
have New York I’m Way south
almost in New York City it’s about an
hour away there’s trains and buses to
Manhattan and Brooklyn so I’m still have
words here but it’s also accessible to
new york city and also Albany stuff like
this okay so if you’re living around
that area need drama lessons
you’re still giving drama lessons I
think yes yeah your website says so yeah
check out Michaels website everything is
down below in the comments and that’s
all I had to it’s all I’ve noted for
these I didn’t I do not do these
-minute conversations right now at the
moment keep it short and consumable and
informative yeah and yeah so thanks for
uh stay thanks for hanging out yeah
thank you so much for having me
yep you’re welcome and I can’t wait to
meet next week that’s yep that’s what I
wrote on my documents