Nate: Tell me a little bit about the change from a booking company to a label.
Chad: Your looking for a long story aren't you? Well here goes; I was getting sick of booking bands, and wanting to do something new. Element101 asked me to be their road manager for all their tours coming up and move out to Jersey. Which would mean that I wouldn't' be able to concentrate on booking as much as I used to. I gladly accepted their offer and was planning to move to Jersey in Feb. of this year. Around December, a friend in passing (Rory Felton – who helped run Arise records - they put out stuff like the Juliana Theory, Reflector, National Acrobat, Recess Theory, etc.) got a hold of me and asked me what I was doing with myself. I told him Militia was dead and that I would be moving to Jersey. He asked if I ever wanted to start a label. A label has always been a dream of mine, so I told him "of course!" The only problem I had was that I am always broke so I could never afford to do a label. Rory then responded "what if I had the money?" Ever since then - it's been a loving relationship. We hold each other tight at night and - well never mind...that's personal.
Nate: Who is involved with the label and where does everything go down?
Chad: It's just Rory and I. My friend Dorian will be heading up the street team. We have a pseudo office in Huntington Beach, Ca.
Nate: What bands has Militia signed, and why did they get signed?
Chad: We have signed Rufio, The Lyndsay Diaries, Tora! Tora! Torrance!, Veronica and Noise Ratchet. We signed them because we think they are good and need some exposure to get to the next level. Everyone in the bands are also great people and hard workers, which made us want to sign them even more.
Nate: You're a relatively new label, what does the future hold? How many bands would you like to sign?
Chad: I hope the future is good for our bands and us. This is only the beginning and I think we have accomplished even more then I could have imagined. I believe if we keep our heads on straight and do the right things, we will be blessed. As far as how many bands we sign, I don't want to get so many bands that we are neglecting any one band. I would never say "we only want 5 bands on our roster" because tomorrow we could hear an amazing band and want to sign them. We have a great roster now and I hope that continues.
Nate: You have signed a deal to get distribution from Revelation, how did that take place?
Chad: That was all Rory. Rory has a gift to make people do things and is a great talker. If he was in ever to look for another profession, he could make a killing being a used car salesman. That sounds bad, but it's true.
Nate: What are the requirements for a band to get signed to the label?
Chad: Be good, be willing to work hard, and be genuine nice people.
Nate: What does a band need to do to get your attention?
Chad: Put out a quality demo (many bands feel the need to go to a crappy studio and record 15 songs - they should put their money into a good studio and focus on three good songs) and have a good local following, that's always good.
Nate: What are the obvious changes that took place in becoming a label? What are the not so obvious things?
Chad: It takes a butt load of money, time and heartache. We never realize how much money is put into one CD until you actually put one out. You never realize that you will have no life if you want to succeed and make your bands happy.
Nate: Why do you think there is a market for as many independent labels as there are?
Chad: People like to listen to good music. The majors put out N'SYNC and Crapstreet boys. And that's all the radio plays and MTV plays. Its good pop music but is just missing the heart. People are getting sick of it and turn more to the regular people who are passionate about music and passionate about putting out good records. The economy is doing well (I think) and that means more people are willing to experiment and try new things rather then what the majors are shoving down their throats.
Nate: What tips would you give to a kid who's thinking about starting a label? What challenges are there? What are the rewards?
Chad: Only do it if you can do it right. You need lots of money, time and basic knowledge of how the music business works. Get an internship at an indie label and learn from them. Get your feet wet before jumping all the way in and realizing you don't know what you are doing. The challenges for a label is just trying to make your money back and not pissing people off that help you out. We are not into it for the money, but again we are, because we need to make the money back. We took out so many loans, that if we don't make money, we are screwed for the rest of our lives. The rewards of doing a label is seeing kids buy your product that you invested in, seeing the band succeed and doing what you love. Its been my dream since I was a little one and seeing a product that I put out and that people enjoy is so awesome. It's almost the best thing in the world.
Nate: What trends do you see in music right now? Are they good or bad?
Chad: Rap rock must die - Ska must die - thank you.
Nate: Let's get it straight from an Indie label, Napster, good or bad?
Chad: I think both. It's great to get your band heard and out there, but I would want them to buy the record after they heard it. We spent lots of money we need to make it back. I know when I use Napster, I get the whole CD and then burn the record and never think about buying it. So I am a hypocrite. I think mp3 is good, the band gets paid and it's free for anyone to download. I don't really care to tell you the truth. I hope someday I can type in Rufio and sees thousands of people have it on their computer that means people like it. As you can see, I'm very confused about this issue. Here is something that Rory wrote about this issue recently which explains what I think way better then I can put into words: "Napster is good because it helps unknown bands get their music out and readily available to many people, except the band gets nothing out of it. Mp3.com is better because the band can actually make money on the number of downloads. I think if Napster turned into a $5/month, I'm sure it would benefit everyone because $5 a month is nothing to most kids. But I would encourage kids to check out our bands via Napster or mp3.com either way. It's also nice to not lose money on an album you invest so much of your time, effort, and money into." - Rory Felton
Nate: Who would you sign to your label out of the following three: Cinderella, Spinal Tap, or The Might Be Giants?
Chad: Cinderella of course.
Nate: How has being a booking agency paid off (as far as contacts) with the running of a label? I'm guessing its pretty easy to book shows for your bands.
Chad: It has open many doors that we don't have to force open now. People are more receptive to the idea. Booking shows is super hard. Who is going to book the Lyndsay Diaries in Idaho when they don't have a record out yet? It will get easier and I plan on booking tours, but the record needs to be out for a little bit to actually book a decent tour.
Nate: What is the mission statement of the Militia Group?
Chad: Put out quality product and have integrity.
Nate: Why should we be on the lookout for the future projects of the MG?
Chad: Because I think the stuff we are putting out is great (obviously) and I really hope people think the same thing. The bands are quality performers, quality people and have produced a quality product.
Nate: Any comments?
Chad: Ha - please buy our records! Please? Rufio, The Lyndsay Diaries, Veronica and Tora! Tora! Torrance! are all out now!
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