In our eternal quest to give you guys a little more insight into how the magic behind the music happens, we’re continuing our label spotlight series, this time with the folk over at Anchorless Records. For those not familiar with the label, it’s been responsible for releases from the likes of Brendan Kelly, Jeff Rowe and more recently the new Sainte Catherines album, “Fireworks”.
Founder, owner and all round cool guy, Neil, answered our questions on just how Anchorless operates and you can read all about it here.
Who and what are Anchorless Records?
Anchorless Records is an independent punk rock label located in Allston, MA. I am the only actual employee at Anchorless. Over the past 5 years we’ve had a number of interns to help with everything from packing orders to artwork.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I am working on getting out the debut self titled record by Wolves And The Radio. Pretty much everything is good to go now. I really think folks are going to dig this record. It reminds me of bands I discovered via bigger bands’ thank yous in the liner notes. Like American Steel, Hot Water Music, and The Get Up Kids.
We have a lot of great things in the works for 2011. After the WATR record we will be releasing a 4 way split with Brendan Kelly of The Lawrence Arms, Mike Hale of Gunmoll/In The Red, Jeff Rowe, and Joe McMahon of Smoke or Fire.
What are you currently listening to?
Right now at this very moment I am listening to “We Chase The Waves” by Sundowner. This LP has rarely left my turntable since I got it. Some other records I’ve been digging include “Chamberlain Waits” by The Menzingers, “The Speakeasy” by Smoke or Fire, and the entire Madlib Medicine Show series. And honestly I still listen to a bunch of the records we’ve put out this past year like Jeff Rowe, Brendan Kelly/Joe McMahon, and The Sainte Catherines. Oh, also always a steady diet of Johnny Cash, The Clash, and Elvis Costello.
When did you get started?
I first started the label in 2004 in Orlando, but released our first 7” in 2005. About a week before the decision was made to release the Hurrah/History 7” some guy backed into my car, he didn’t have insurance and just wanted to pay me in cash to fix the damage. We went to a body shop they gave a quote, the guy gave me cash and that was that…I drove around with a dented car and used the money to start Anchorless and release ALR: 001.
Why? For the money and girls of course! I kid, I kid.
I had grown up on healthy doses of Lookout, FAT, Epitaph, and No Idea Records. Those labels had been consistently putting out great music and many of their artists were based in close proximity to their respective label. Being involved in the Orlando music scene I saw a number of bands that I felt should have records out; two of them(Hurrah/History) had members working with me at the local indie record shop (Park Ave Cds). I asked them if I could release a split 7”. From there we stuck with the Central FL punk scene until the 6th release, I think. Basically, I wanted to put out great music into the world from great people and that remains the model.
What bands are on your roster? (Current and previous)
The Sainte Catherines, Brendan Kelly, Jeff Rowe, Nightlights, Tumbledown, Yesterday’s Ring, Joe McMahon, Piebald, No Harm Done, History, Hurrah, Make or Break, HauntedLife, Wolves And The Readio, Junius, Fallen From The Sky and Mike Hale
What releases have you been responsible for?
The Sainte Catherines “Fire Works”, Brendan Kelly/Joe McMahon “Wasted Potential”, All Aboard: A Tribute To Johnny Cash (feat. Bouncing Souls, Gaslight Anthem, Chuck Ragan, Ben Nichols, MxPx, The Dresden Dolls, The Flatliners, The Loved Ones and a bunch more), Jeff Rowe “Barstool Conversations”, Wolves And The Radio S/T, Piebald “Nobody’s Robots” DVD(distributed), Tumbledown/Yesterday’s Ring split 7”, Fallen From The Sky “Victims” 7”, Nightlights “Long Way Home”, Hurrah/History split 7”, a Junius 7”, The first 2 No Harm Done albums, Make Or Break/Haunted Life split, probably a few other records as well that are just escaping me at the moment.
Of those, which is your favourite? Or a top 3?
I truly dig all our releases but since I am backed into a corner, and I am more into squares than triangles my top 4 (in no order) are: Jeff Rowe “Barstool Conversations” Brendan Kelly/Joe McMahon “Wasted Potential”, All Aboard: A Tribute To Johnny Cash, The Sainte Catherines “Fire Works”, Wolves And The Radio “s/t” (I didn’t do well in math, huh).
What are the challenges and pitfalls as a small label?
Not having enough hours in the day to do the jobs of 4-5 people by myself can make things difficult especially when there are new releases in production or right now when it is holiday time. It is also challenging to keep costs down without taking away from the integrity of the art. We like to do cool things for our bands like screen printed posters, hockey pucks, coasters, etc… and I will continue to do so, it just takes a lot of research to make sure it can work out in the end.
What are the perks of running your own label?
Getting the opportunity to put out music from bands I love and all the friends I’ve made along the way.
What does it take for a band or artist to get signed to Anchorless Records?
I have a pretty simple formula. I need to love the songs and want to listen to them on a consistent basis, have fun at the bands show, and the folks in the band need to be good people. Oh, and buying me cocktails helps things out most of the time, Makers. Rocks. please.
The birth of file sharing has seen the death of a lot of small labels. How has file sharing impacted Anchorless Records?
I don’t know because when we started up, file sharing already existed, so since the start it is something we’ve just rolled with. Kids are going to get music for free that is all there is to it. We are lucky enough to have a small minion of folks who pretty much pick up everything we release, especially on vinyl.
What measures have you needed to take to ensure the viability of the label?
Only doing a handful of releases a year. We make sure each record gets the proper attention instead of just signing a bunch of bands and seeing what sticks. Also, as a music fan myself I try to brainstorm ideas for releases that I would love to have no matter who put them out and work backwards from there. I think I share similar musical interests with fans of the artists on the label so if I dig it, I think they will as well. That’s how the Johnny Cash tribute came about, for example.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone wanting to start their own DIY label, what would that be?
Try to only work with good people…from the bands to the pressing plants.
What are 3 things that the world should know about Anchorless Records?
We have the most handsome bands in all of punk rock, our mascot and inspiration is my cat ruby soho, and here is a link to our webstore www.anchorlessrecords.bigcartel.com ha!
Any last words?
That is a very morbid question, no?
Ok…We are a small operation and really truly appreciate all the support we’ve received over the past 5 years. Thank you. Here’s to another 5!