I’ve known plenty of people who have started indie record labels, and it
always sounds so easy: Find some acts, press some discs and watch the
money roll in. In reality, a ridiculous amount of effort goes into a
Signing bands, obtaining a business license, finding distribution, making sure your acts are touring (or, at the very least, actively promoting themselves)—it’s a whole lot of work. Luckily, there are people like Santa Fean Sean Hassard, who loves music so much he put together an indie record label so the world could hear great acts that mainstream labels would never embrace.
Hassard, aka ambient/psych DJ Mescalit0 (with a zero), is poised to officially launch a new psychedelic/electronic label called OtherWorld Records.
“We’re a very communal thing,” Hassard tells SFR, “and our main goal is to provide an umbrella for like-minded artists to not only have a creative outlet, but to make their music available.”
Though the label is still in its infancy, OtherWorld’s roster is already impressive and boasts national artists—such as Seattle, Wash., ambient jazz fusionist Chaotic Buddhist—as well as Santa Fe locals and expats, including chillout DJ AudioBuddha and psy/trance mistress Emily Skyrocker. Hassard himself just released an ambient fusion album on the label: Neuromancer.
For now, OtherWorld focuses primarily on digital downloads, but Hassard plans to expand to physical formats in the near future.
According to Hassard, “We just want to make sure that we bring in money with the art we make so we can take said money to make more art, like limited runs of CDs and/or vinyl.”
More often than not, mainstream labels operate with a “how much cash are you bringing in?” mentality, and many artists find themselves signed with their material shelved and no legal recourse to access their own music rights.
However, with the rise of internet services such as Bandcamp and SoundCloud, in addition to iTunes, musicians have growing DIY options without the risk of signing contracts with heartless demons.
Hassard’s efforts, however, are moving away from the DIY trend.
“The DIY thing is amazing, but I think it’s starting to come back to where people want to see artists and DJs that are unified and have label backing,” he says. “That’s partly why we want to create this opportunity for musicians we love and respect to have representation, but still have a personal stake in how it goes down.”
That stake extends into the community, for which live shows are already lined up. A new monthly event at Little Wing, called OtherWorld Nights, debuts next week, and Hassard is hard at work on a summer festival.
“They won’t be only ambient or chillout events,” Hassard says. “You could call it atmospheric, as we’ll have dubstep and techno and other styles outside our core focus.”
For now, Otherworld artists, who stay generally in the ambient genre, are picked up with a handshake, though Hassard plans to sign contracts before any official releases.
An official contract may sound mainstream, but Hassard maintains the label is still anything but.
“If I’m at the point of drawing up contracts with an artist, that artist will already know I fully believe in them,” Hassard says.
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