Record labels, you see their logos on the back of your favorite bands CD’s and for most, that’s where the inquiry stops. What you should know is that labels are really the backbones of the industry and are largely responsible (in a lot of cases) for a bands worldwide appeal.
One label that has consistently stood out from the pack and put out tons of solid records is Florida’s own, Eulogy Recordings. In attempt to answer the elusive questions of “what it’s like” and”what it takes” to run a label, I was stoked to catch up with and interview one of the Co-owners, John Wylie. In this, we talk about Eulogy’s beginnings, John’s typical day, the latest Eulogy happenings and of course tips and recommendations from someone who has been in this elusive industry over 10 years. So for those of you wanting to know the face(s) behind the curtain or for those interested in starting your own label, I hope that this will be an informative experience as it certainly has been for me. Begin!
SP: Alright, first things first let’s start off with who you are and what you do at Eulogy?
John: I’m John Wylie. I’m one of the owners of Eulogy Recordings. I perform a number of different duties here at Eulogy along with JC and Ian. Some of these include A&R, dealing with contracts, Advertising, web store and much more.
SP: Tell us about your background in hardcore and how Eulogy came to be? Did you have any college education, skills in business, or just an understanding of the industry and the will to learn?
John: Here is the summarized version. I started listening to metal/ hardcore as early as 8 or 9 years old. I remember my dad taking me to see Quiet Riot and Wasp as a gift when I was 9. I think in my fifth grade yearbook picture I have a Quiet Riot shirt on. From there I continued to listen to a lot of hair bands, thrash metal, punk, etc. and I played in bands ever since I was 16. I went to school for elementary education. I left right before I graduated to tour full time with Morning Again. My only business or related skills were self-taught through my life experiences.
SP: At the time of starting Eulogy, were you working other jobs and how long was it before this escalated into a full-time career?
John: I was touring and working telemarketing between tours. It’s the type of job you leave for a month and come back to. I also drove escorts around as well. I did the label for a few years before I was able to live off of it. I busted my ass though, a lot of driving to shows to sell CD’s. I also put on shows so it was a combination of a lot of things.
SP: Take us through John Wylie’s typical day of overseeing Eulogy?
John: I usually get up at 7 AM during the week to work on Eulogy stuff. I go through and make sure anything I own (website related) is working properly. I check out a few news spots related to music and work on e-mails. Once that’s done I usually have a huge list of things that are organized in order of importance. Most of the day consists of phone conversations, e-mails, and working on upcoming releases etc.
SP: Eulogy started in 2007 with just two bands (Bird of Ill Omen and Red Letter Day) and has grown exponentially and worked with such prolific artists as Bury Your Dead, Unearth, Walls of Jericho to some of today’s most popular bands (Set Your Goals, Black My Heart, Evergreen Terrace, Kids Like Us, the Mongloids, Shattered Realm etc.). What would you say is your key to success and is there a central message to Eulogy that attracts bands and their fans to your label?
John: I think the key to all of this is that I have toured and been in bands. I try to balance that with the business side of things. Every label offers different things to bands. There aren’t many labels that are a complete package. When I’m looking to sign a band I try to find one that fits with what Eulogy offers. If they don’t then we move forward in different directions. It’s no secret what Eulogy does and doesn’t do. Bands or fans either relate to us or they don’t. We have always worked with (for the most part) very genuine and sincere bands. We have also always had a diverse roster which I think is also beneficial to our fans and bands.
SP: As we all know, the economy sucks right now which has caused everyone to be a bit more cautious with their wallets. Has this affected Eulogy’s growth so far or has it caused you to be a bit more creative with your new artists, upcoming releases and the way that they are marketed?
John: The economy has definitely hurt us as well as the rest of the music industry. The sale of records is quickly dying. Everyone is still working hard to find a way to make music more valuable. We see it more as an advertising tool than a revenue stream at this point. It’s a means to build up bands merch sales and create a demand for them on tour. We focus most of our marketing and promotion online now. This is where people spend their time because magazines and radio are dinosaurs at this point.
SP: Tell us about any new projects or upcoming releases that you are stoked to be putting out?
John: Kids Like Us “the Game” CD came out yesterday, what an amazing record. Also coming soon we have the new the Mongoloids DVD, upcoming CD’s from Living Hell, Knock Em Dead, American Six-gun, and Rhinoceros all of which I’m very excited for!
SP: Having been in this industry for 10 plus years, let’s talk about some crucial things you have learned that you could offer as advice for people wanting to start their own label most likely on a limited budget:
-What are two things you learned that you wish you would have known when you first started?
John: Always have everything in writing when you agree on something with a band. I did this pretty early on but it would have been much easier right from the beginning. The second thing is that every relationship you have with a band will eventually be tested by the “business” end of things. Never take this personal!
SP: What kind of budget do you think is ideal for a new start-up label?
John: With the way things are now you can be really creative and not spend a lot of money. You can create and promote your own MySpace, Face book, Twitter and other related sites for free and the main cost is your time. You can also release music on a digital only format to avoid pressing costs. There is a lot more opportunity to start a label on a small budget. The actual definition of what a label does is going to change a lot in the next few years and we have already started that transition.
SP: What should a new label offer bands from the get-go (Recording, distribution, and publishing)?
John: Everyone’s opinion differs on this one but distribution and promotion are the two main things I feel that need to be offered. That’s why it’s important for a band to find a label that is the right fit for them.
SP: Are far as the business side of things, where do you recommend that people go for information (lawyer, any websites, SCORE, existing record labels etc.)?
John: The best thing to do is to talk to people that have been in the industry and experienced things whether they be good or bad. There are also a few books out there but most of them are quickly becoming outdated because things are rapidly changing in the music industry.
SP: What kind of qualities should a label look for when signing a band?
John: To be totally honest the first thing we look at is how much the band has already toured. The second thing is the music. From there we get to know them on a personal level and see if the band is a good fit for Eulogy. Those are all very important to us.
SP: That about raps it up, I know you have some other business ventures as well, in closing tell us a bit about those?
John: WWW.ACESHIGHTATTOOSHOP.COM This is my tattoo shop in West Palm Beach which is the best on this side no doubt!
WWW.INDIESTOREFRONT.COM We are still getting this up and running.
Thank you to everyone that still supports Eulogy and independent music in general. People know where to find real music by real people and we do this because it’s who we are.
Let us know your thoughts and reccomendations by commenting? We want to hear from you.!! Don’t forget to Support Still Proud Clothing by picking up a tee at the Store .