If you’re a fan of modern hardcore then this label really needs no introduction. Having put out many solid releases from some of the most notable names in the scene, Double or Nothing records is simply the result of two friends looking to give something back. In the interview, I caught up with co-owner Nick to discuss the labels beginning, philosophy and future. Enjoy!
SP: First off, who are we speaking with and what is your role at Double or Nothing records?
Nick: My name is Nick and I mainly deal with the bands, distro, and e-teaming. There are actually about 100 other things too.
SP: Are there any other players at DON records, if so, what do they do?
Nick: Pete handles all the web stuff, mail order, and anything design related. I am sure he does a lot more though as well.
SP: Give us the DON records story and why you started it? Do you have a certain feeling that you want people to take away with each release?
Nick: I went to Afghanistan with the Army, came back with a little money in my pocket and decided to start a label with my long time friend Pete. At the time he was working at Eulogy full time as their main art/layout guy, so he had some knowledge of how labels work. Our approach was to just keep it core despite the changing of times, trends, etc. For the core, by the core. We are a couple of hardcore kids who just wanted to put out diverse hardcore bands that we enjoyed or were friends with. We attempt to make every release unique in its own way rather than just spitting out releases like most labels do. Essentially, this is seen with our packaging and the ways we have promoted our records.
SP: Is DON your full-time commitment or do you have another job that pays the bills? Take us through Nick’s typical day from sun up to sun down?
Nick: Jesus…well I just finished an 8 yr commitment in the Army. Currently I have been touring around on guitar with The Mongoloids. When I am not out with them I try to manage a print shop and take my dogs to the park. There is nothing typical about my days anymore haha.
SP: DON has put out excellent records from some of the more present heavy hitters (with the likes of Steel Nation, Crucified, the Mongoloids, Know the Score, Colin Of Arabia, Kids Like Us), what is your approach to the artists you work with and what do you look for when signing?
Nick: We try to work with bands we enjoy and who are doing good things for the core so to speak.
SP: DON has a distribution deal with RED (Sony), how did that come about and what does it mean for the label?
Nick: Our friends at Eulogy threw us a bone. We can get our CD’s in some stores that still carry them haha.
SP: What does 2010 have in store for the label? Any new signings/ releases that you guys are stoked about?
Nick: Very much so: The Mongoloids “New Beginnings” 7 inch,” full lengths from Wolf City, Crucified and Take Offense as well as a slew of other things that will be announced soon! 2009 was a pretty wild year for us; it will be hard to top.
SP: How did you get into hardcore and what does the term mean to you?
Nick: I got into hardcore from skateboarding and listening to punk and metal at a young age. There were tons of local shows in my area that I would always go to since the club was a couple blocks away. From attending those, I kind of had a concept of what hardcore was but it didn’t sink in until I discovered Sick of It All. They pretty much paved the way for me to explore the vast genre of hardcore. To me, hardcore is a platform for individuals to come together and release their struggles without the pressures of any type of mainstream expectations and attitudes. A forum of expression and energy that may be negative but relayed in a positive manner.
SP: Top 5 records of all time?
1. One Life Crew – Crime Ridden Society
2. Machine Head – Burn My Eyes
3. Helmet – Meantime
4. Integrity – For Those Who Fear Tomorrow
5. The Ditty Bops – Moon Over The Freeway
SP: Having been involved in both the music and business side of the scene, let’s see what kind of advice you may be able to give to a younger generation looking to carry the torch:
SP: What are two things you learned that you wish you would have known when you first started?
Nick: What works for other labels may not work for you. Focus more on the ideas of the music and interesting ways of marketing it.
SP: What kind of budget do you think is ideal for a new start-up label?
SP: The most important characteristic to have when running a label is______?
SP: What should a new label offer bands from the get-go? (Recording, distribution, publishing)
Nick: Do what you can, don’t try to offer the world and wear yourself thin. Labels are not developed through first impressions.
SP: What kinds of qualities are important to look for when signing a band?
Nick: Artistic value and clear communication.
SP: What’s the best way to approach a targeted band?
Nick: It’s hardcore, talk to them at a show or hit them up on Myspace and give them your cell. No one is unapproachable in this scene.
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.)?
Nick: If you really want to know, try interning at a label. You’ll learn plenty in a couple of weeks to get you started. Score is a great resource for legal information in the future.
SP: Any recommendations on decently priced printing plants?
Nick: Nope. We have worked hard to find our places haha.
SP: Are there any new music projects that you guys are involved with? When can we expect an On Our Own reunion show?
Nick: Jesus Christ, I can’t believe you mentioned On Our Own haha. They did a reunion or something like 3 years ago; I wasn’t apart of it but heard it was fun. I actually have about three projects, who knows if they will ever see the light of day.
SP: Where can we find out more info on the label and do you have any closing words?
Nick: www.doubleornothingrecords.com myspace.com/doubleornothingrecords blah blah blah buy straight from the bands on tour, not us. Thank you for the interview.
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