Published Jun 22, 2008Name: Reluctant Recordings
Date of Birth: Spring 2004
Releases to Date: 27
Biggest Seller: You Say Party! We Say Die! Hit The Floor
Upcoming Releases: Ghost House Ghost House Years EP, the Famines (cassette)
As a bored college student and enormous fan of record labels who released coloured vinyl in limited runs, Edmontons Evan Carleton started Reluctant Recordings to release a record for his cousins band, the Franklins. Joining the group on tour, he stumbled upon Vancouvers defunct post-hardcore geniuses the WPP and ended up releasing their opus, He Has The Technology. Since then, Reluctant has released some of Western Canadas most important indie and punk records from groups like the Doers, Run Chico Run, Ghost House, and SNFU. Having recently expanded to include John Cow and the Doers Sean Maxey as partners, the label continues to push the boundaries without caving to the aggressive marketing standards of the modern music business, instead branching out to release outdated formats like cassette tapes. "All we really try to do is pick music that we believe in and release it in a unique way, Evan explains on the phone from his job at a fertilizer company. "Theres definitely no aspiration of working up to some level where weve got huge distribution across the world.
Just Do It Yourself
"Ive heard that when people get together at SXSW, NXNE and Pop Montreal, its a lot of bigwigs from medium-sized labels moaning and groaning on how its all gone to pot and no one can sell records. I have absolutely no sympathy for that, because its obvious how much money all these labels are sinking into heavy promotion and marketing. I think that people who are really into music find out about it through their friends and through seeing bands live. They buy albums at shows and independent record stores.
Reluctant About MP3s
"Weve decided that we dont think MP3s have any monetary value. All it really is is a digital file. It seems so ridiculous that people pay money for MP3s. Its not anything tangible; if your computer crashes its gone. Its such a weird way for people to buy music. We dont agree with it, and we want to shy away from it completely. I also think that music shouldnt be looked at as a moneymaking device. If someone cant afford to or doesnt think they need to pay for music, and they find a way to get it from a friend for free, I dont think any of us really have a problem with that at all.
Hands On "Other than SNFUs In the Meantime and You Say Party!s Hit The Floor, all of the packaging has been handmade. Two years ago, we graduated to getting a diecut made and getting diecutting done, then the packages come pre-cut and scored. But we still have to print, fold, glue, and stuff it all. What usually ends up happening is that well start a project late and Ill be printing and assembling the records two days before the release show. We dont ever end up with a solid release date where its already being played on the radio with advertisements for the date. The one advantage of it is you can decide how many to do. I can get 500 bulk CDs made for a fairly low cost, and if Im thinking it probably isnt going to fly off the shelves right away I can print a smaller run of 200 jackets.
Revert the Format
"When people buy CDs now, they just drop them on their iPod and put them on the shelf; to them its probably just something to listen to while they drive to work. Its not a complete piece of art, and they might not even remember what the cover art looks like, which might be something the band put a lot of work into. It seems so boring. Well definitely be focusing more on the analog formats. I wouldnt say were not doing CDs anymore, but were not too thrilled about it. In the summer or in early fall Im sort of planning of putting together maybe a run of about 100 boxsets for all three formats, an LP boxset with every LP weve released up until now in a box for a really reasonable price. Then if I sold 100 copies that would remove all the bulk. I was thinking of doing that with the LPs and CDs, and Im also reissuing all the full-lengths on cassette, and Ill do a boxset with those too.