Nate: How old is Pluto and what led to its inception?
Brian: Pluto originally started in 1997 as a music store in Austin. After moving up to the D/FW area, we partnered with a few people to do a couple of releases. We had so much fun that we decided to do it on our own, and Pluto Records officially became a record label in 1999.
Nate: What is the goal of the label, and what practical approaches do you have for meeting that goal?
Brian: Our goal is just to put out the best bands we can find that want to work with us. There are a lot of bands out there that no one will give a chance to, and we want to offer that chance to some. We pride ourselves on putting out the best quality product possible, from the packaging to the music itself. We use every avenue possible to promote and get the word out about our bands and the label.
Nate: Tell us a little bit about who works for the label, where you are located, and the day to day operation of the label.
Brian: The label is made up of two individuals, Brian Cobbel and Eric Shirey. We're located in McKinney, TX which is near Dallas, and our day-to-day operation mostly consists of answering tons of email, regular mail, keeping the website updated, working on marketing and promotion, and plotting our world domination. Then we pull up a chair and watch Carson on TRL to see if any of our bands have made it there yet! Oh...I guess we should actually make a video first...
Nate: If you could sign any band right now, which would you sign?
Brian: Hmmm...that's a tough one. Probably Embodyment. They're innovative, creative, and all around nice guys. We've known them for years, and they're good at everything they do. True musicians. They've also been together for a million years, which shows dedication and longevity.
Nate: What do the bigger corporate labels lack that the independent labels (such as Pluto) have?
Brian: I guess the most obvious is just the hands-on, personal touch. We communicate with our bands on more of a personal level to find out what they want or need. We're always here for them day or night. And we don't have assistants telling everyone we're in a meeting or something, so they never have a problem getting a hold of us.
Nate: What interests you in a new band? You get a demo in the mail, what are you looking for?
Brian: Originality, something different, maybe a different twist on things. Just simply a band that's good at what they do. A band that has experience. They play shows regularly, build their own fan base, and have the drive and motivation to tour as much as possible.
Nate: Why are you interested in the independent music scene?
Brian: There are a lot of undiscovered gems out there. You don't hear them on the radio, you don't read much about them, but a friend tells you about some band and you find out it's the greatest thing you've ever heard. Independent music is all about the music. The bands want to play and be heard, and they do what they have to do to make it happen. Even if they have to live in a van and not shower for days...which isn't necessarily a good thing, but it does show heart and soul.
Nate: What is the goal of the Pluto street team?
Brian: To start a secret ninja crime family known as the Foot. Or just to spread the word about our bands and the label. We're actually just getting it going, so whoever is interested in joining can do so on our website at plutorecords.com
Nate: Is the name for your label refer to the dog or the planet?
Brian: It refers to the Greek god of the Underworld. No, that's not right. The planet.
Nate: Fill in the blank: The best part about running a label is___________.
Brian: Helping bands reach a wider audience. Having kids come up and tell you how awesome one of your records is. Sleeping in, because musicians don't get up until the afternoon anyway.
Nate: After seeing them live, what band left you speechless?
Brian: I think we would both agree on Dillinger Escape Plan. They were the most amazing, tight, and insane band. They had this guy spitting fireballs over the crowd, which was freaking' terrifying. I thought someone was going to go up in flames.
Nate: What's the music scene like in your neck of the woods?
Brian: We've got a pretty awesome scene. There are so many good bands. Punk, indie rock, metal/hardcore are all really strong here. It's nice being in such a major city. There is so many national acts here too that you get spoiled, because there is always a good show going on.
Nate: Where do you see Pluto 15 years from now?
Brian: Still putting out quality releases, just on a much larger scale. Better distribution, more artists, and once again, world domination. Maybe then an older, grayer Carson will be introducing our videos on TRL.
Nate: What upcoming project is Pluto working on now?
Brian: We've got the debut release from San Diego's As I Lay Dying in June, and also the full length debut from Canterbury Effect in July. They are both awesome records and awesome bands. My Spacecoaster is going into the studio later this summer to record their follow-up to Heartstrings. We're also working on signing a few more bands and probably will have a few more releases coming over the summer months.
Nate: What does Pluto records represent?
Brian: I would like to think we are known for our quality releases. Also, maybe a springboard of sorts to bigger things. We've had great success at getting our bands heard and promoted into the marketplace. If the bands are working hard, they will succeed. I think we have a pretty good eye for a great band.
Nate: Any other comments?
Brian: Not really...Ok, just to support your favorite independent bands. If you see them live, buy some of their stuff if you can. It helps them to live on the road. Encourage them by telling them what their music says or does for you. Artists are sensitive types. Even the ones in the metal bands. Don't let the growling and screaming fool you. Thanks to everyone who has supported Pluto, bought some of our records, or just offered words of encouragement. It really means a lot.
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