What is the mission of Awfully Good Records?
We work to catapult bands to the next level of their career.
How do you contribute to promoting young bands?
We start by co-crafting a strategy and plan to agree on which metrics each band treats as the most important. Some bands have a set number of plays on YouTube, placement in a specific magazine, or a certain number of shows.
Once we agree on a goal we offer some strategic coaching to achieve that milestone. Usually there are many small steps that need to be accomplished before reaching that goals so we work to provide assistance in any way we can along the way. Our promotion can be anything from social media ads, online press, assistance booking shows, connecting them with other teams or resources, and even grassroots techniques like giving out promo materials in show parking lots.
What is the most important thing in today’s music business?
The most important aspect of today’s music business is to get off the noisefloor. Music is so accessible that bands are competing for attention more than ever. It’s really important to work towards getting attention, building up an audience, and proving you are ready for bigger opportunities with the help of that audience. Once bands can build themselves a pedestal more opportunities appear often.
How would you define the aggressive pop punk style?
Bands like A Day To Remember and Four Year Strong have done a great job adding a sharper edge to pop punk. I’m a big fan of bands that take that happy melodic pop punk spirit and give it their own spin. We work with a lot of metal bands as well so I’m looking for something a bit different that we can put on the same bill.
Why does it need to be “aggressive”?
There are tons of great traditional and modern pop punk bands but we target something different. I was introduced to local music through hard rock and post hardcore. As we work with bands in those genres we want to expand their bubble a bit outside of their comfort zone. The added intensity, guitar riffs, and speed of aggressive pop punk has blended really well with melodic metal. It’s great to see fans of both genres headbanging together.
What was the best moment of your career?
The moment that sticks out in my mind the most was before starting Awfully Good Records. One day Tim Armstrong of Rancid recognized me out of the blue and asked about By the Barricade. I’ve been a big Rancid fan for years so when he noticed me in Downtown Disney before a show it really made my day. That experience really reinforced that we were doing something right and made me want to double down on getting involved.
And the most difficult one?
This is a great question! We had an instance where an artist misunderstood some contract specifics. Making sure bands know what they are signing is our number one priority and we do that though genuine integrity, communication and transparence.
It was hard to not take the issue personally as it intensified. The label was built to provide complete transparency so the issue seemed to undermine everything we stand for. We worked diligently to agree on a solution. It was tough but I believe everyone on the team grew stronger moving forward.
The music industry changed quite a lot, what are you missing compared to the “good old days”?
I’m not really missing anything. Labels have had to change with the times and I can see several that are successfully pulling that transformation off. As a music fanatic accessibility is better than ever. With streaming services you can literally think of a song and listen to it in seconds.
The barrier to entry is so much lower now that bands can really go after their dreams with just a Soundcloud account. There was even a rapper who recorded his entire album on Gurageband using a demo computer in an apple store. Musicians have more power, accessibility, and opportunity than ever before and we are excited to be a part of that changing landscape.
How AGR is reacting to the digital change in music and streaming compared to buying physical copies?
That was the first hurtle that we wanted to tackle before forming the business. However, we’ve found that people really do still buy CDs. With our first compilation we distributed 1,800 physical CDs to places like Europe, Japan and all over the United States within the first week. We are really thankful for the amount of people who still buy CDs from our artists both online and on tour.
CD sales aren’t what they used to be but there are more revenue streams than ever with all of the new technology. Physicals, streams, videos, publishing, shows, etc… There are so many ways for artists to recoup their costs. With the right promotion an artist can make a bigger impact with one YouTube video than a year of touring. The music industry is changing quickly but we are excited to work with artists in all of the newly available areas.
What is the name of your favorite song (lyrically speaking)?
Rise Against was the first band that really amplified my love of music. The chorus of their song Drones captures the spirit behind what we do and what we want to accomplish.
“We’re setting the fires to light the way,
We’re burning it all to begin again,
With hope in our hearts and bricks in our hands,
We sing for change.”
The name of one band/artist to follow…..
I’ll never pass up an opportunity to plug all of the artists that have supported us so keep an eye on Filmspeed, Firing All Cylinders, Desolate The Few, From Zero 2 Hero, and The Sex Tape Scandal. If you’re looking for a band that isn’t on our roster check out Assuming We Survive. They’re great genuine guys and will be on Warped Tour all summer long.