Independent Record Label | Est. 2009
Wilmington, North Carolina



Saturday, March 6, 2010

Q1.FY10 UPDATE {1st Quarter of the 2010 Fiscal Year Update} - LET ME INTRODUCE YOU TO THE FAMILY

There has certainly been a lot going on since the last update in January.  The was right about the time I was getting strapped in on what I knew was going to be the roller-coaster of a ride to starting up a Record Label, and it has been nothing short of that!  If you have not been doing so, you can follow along via our Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter pages for day-by-day updates of the steps we are taking to getting our first release out to you!  The day has been set... Tuesday, April 20th, 2010!  This will be when Young Mothers' 7inch will be available for all to enjoy!  We are actually going to make it available for all of the city of Tucson on Saturday, April 17th.  This is Record Store Day, and the fine folks at Zia Records are partnering up with us to see that Fort Lowell Records and Young Mothers are able to offer this debut to Tucson on Record Store Day!

Early in the process of developing Fort Lowell Records and what I wanted it to represent, I felt this sense of 'community' (as Zach from Young Mothers put it) being developed.  Two months later, after going through all of the creative design work that it takes to put a record together, I am really proud of what Fort Lowell Records has shaped up to be.  For some, the idea of putting out a record may be all about the band.  They provide the music (obviously), and sometimes may also provide the artwork, the liner notes, they may even design everything, etc., etc.  For a full album release, I can understand this.  It is literally "as if you gave birth to a kid," as put by Tracy Shedd, so having the band manage all aspects of a full album makes sense.  One reason we have chosen to work with 7inch Records only for Fort Lowell Records is how much 'fun' they can be to release.  Bands don't have to take things so serious with 7inch Records, and often they don't.  Sometimes bands will release music they would not normally want associated with a full album, or they may do silly things with artwork that they normally would not do for an album.  So, I decided to use Fort Lowell Records as a way to have a lot of 'fun' with a lot of people... not just the band.  I wanted to give other artists an outlet for their work, in addition for the band to have an outlet for their music.

clamdiggin was the first group of artists I reached out to, to partner with me on this project.  When we first moved to Tucson AZ, my wife and I stumbled across an Art Exhibit of their work, and fell in love at first sight.  This POSTER entitled "Patsy" was what got us hooked.  Then, I received this shirt called "Observatory" for Valentine's Day a year or so later.  There was tag on the shirt that said, "A portion of the proceeds from this shirt is contributed to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA)."  From that point, we knew that clamdiggin was a great group of people, and represent a good purpose for their work.  Through the grape vine, we realized the various connections we had with clamdiggin with close friends, and reached out to them directly.  We basically offered clamdiggin complete control over the artwork that would be generated for the B-Side Label on the Vinyl Records themselves.  So, the A-Side will have a fixed Fort Lowell Records designed label with all of the necessary information about the music.  But then, clamdiggin will present their work on the flip side.  For our first release with Young Mothers, they have decided to use the artwork from their "Removal of plant life if prohibited" campaign.  I love the way it laid out with the circular format!  We all can't wait to see what other beauties clamdiggin present to Fort Lowell Records.  The offer was made for clamdiggin to have this outlet for their work on all future releases with Fort Lowell Records, so stay tuned!

At 10:40am on February 2nd, I posted on my personal Twitter Account, "Need help finding a Tucson Photographer to partner with for Cover Art for @FortLowellRecs 7inch Records. Know someone? Have them contact me!"  I had an idea that I wanted to find a local Photographer to work with on all of the artwork designs for each release.  One of my favorite Record Labels of all time is 4AD.  I love the fact that you can pick up a 4AD Record and know it is a 4AD Record simply by the artwork.  The same is true for Blue Note, Sarah Records, and Teenbeat; other Record Labels I am very fond of.  I think a good part of this is because of the imagery their designers work with.  The other major part of it is that they are working with the same Graphic Designers, and that is where I personally come into play with Fort Lowell Records.  Other than simply being the guy to get all of these great artists together for a common purpose, my artistic contribution is going to be to manage the Graphic Design of each release, something that I am very passionate about (other than Vinyl Records).

Within minutes of posting my Tweet, a very close friend of ours, Loreto Echevarria, contact me saying, "I've got your Photographer!"  Two days later, she arranged a scheduled meeting with local Tucson Photographer, Alaina Brownell.  Before even looking at her work, I knew that Alaina was the right Photographer to bring on board.  A major factor in developing this 'community' and choosing who we want to work with is the energy that each person brings to the project.  This goes for the bands as well.  I remember learning this from Mark Robinson with Teenbeat.  A Record Label can truly end up becoming a family, which is a beautiful thing, so you have to be aware of this in the beginning, choosing carefully who you partner up with.  Being that Alaina was trusted and respected by a friend of ours presented a comfort that she was going to have the right energy we were looking for.  Then, when we dove into looking at her photos, I all of sudden felt like I had wasted so much time in the past looking for various images to work with on previous work that I had been doing for so many years.  Alaina's photography has exactly what I am always looking for when searching for photos to design posters or album artwork.  They are very personal and tell a story.  You can see there is a clear connection between her, as the Photographer, and her subjects.  On top of all that, she takes her photographs on film... the equivalent of records in the Photography World... they are analog!  Alaina gave me one of her World Famous I'm-Gonna-Hit-You-So-Hard-You're-Not-Gonna-Know-What-Hit-Ya'!-High-Fives when we had that discovery!  I think that is what sealed the deal!  So like clamdiggin, Fort Lowell Records will be featuring the photographic images of Alaina Brownell's work with each release.

During this entire process of finding a Photographer, and beginning to discuss artwork and design with Young Mothers [FLR001] and video? [FLR002], we could not help by recognize the energy that Ms. Loreto Echevarria was also bringing to the table.  Loreto is a Fashion Stylist in Tucson AZ and works under the name Lolo Chic.  Her and Alaina have been working on a project to promote Lolo Chic, so it was very natural for Loreto to be around during many of our initial meetings.  But what was unexpected was Loreto's natural ability to have a positive guidance with groups of creative people.  I think it goes without saying: heads can butt together when many creative people are involved on the same project... and that starts with my big melon!  HA!  There, I said it.  That is why I purposely wanted to build this community of artists to come together; to force others (including and mainly myself) to accept and respect the contributions of what others have to offer.  Loreto provided a neutral perspective, but yet helped each of us, as artists, understand each other.  So, we have decided to include Loreto in the family here at Fort Lowell Records, to assist in connecting the music to the photographs to the design.  I am confident in saying that this process would not have been as much fun without her!  We look forward to working on more future projects with our newly appointed Design Consultant.

Another major element of a Record Label is having distribution.  Why, isn't that the point... to get the music out to listeners across the world?  We are ever so happy and excited that we were able to rekindle an old friendship with finding a partner for managing the distribution of Fort Lowell Records.  24 Hour Service Station has been around since 1994, and began as a Record Label out of the Tampa FL area.  Their first release was for a great band called Rosewater Elizabeth.  Being kids from Jacksonville FL ourselves, we grew up in the Florida Scene with Rosewater Elizabeth and 24 Hour Service Station.  We used to work with 24 Hour Service Station quite a bit, booking various shows with their bands and what not.  When we started doing research for Distributors for Fort Lowell Records, we learned through our friend Pocket, whom Tracy Shedd sang vocals for on Pocket's contribution to 24 Hour Service Station's New Order tribute CD called Ceremony, that 24 Hour Service Station was now not only a Record Label, but also managing distribution for others now.  Going back to that whole 'energy' thing I keep talking about... We knew immediately that we wanted them to manage distribution for Fort Lowell Records.  24 Hour Service Station has always been very professional and yet personal.  We have always had a lot of respect for what they have done, and feel very privileged to be able to work with them again.  And the best part is... their Distribution Outlets are amazing!  Fort Lowell Records will be available for anyone to order in at their local Record Stores.  And a great addition... they are able to make each release available to nearly every Online Outlet, such as iTunes, eMusic, Amazon, Lala, etc.

So stay tuned... Fort Lowell Records is comin' at cha'!  April 20th is the official launch of our first release for Young Mothers, and we will have two more great records coming in the summer... one from video?, and the other will be a split release for Wet & Reckless and Tracy Shedd!  Please try and help us sell these records so we can continue to fund future releases.  We've got more exciting and great music from other Tucson bands lined up... but will need your support to get started, so 'Thank You' in advance!

Oh yeah... back to 'energy' and 'family' and all of that great stuff that makes up Fort Lowell Records... Here is a Fun Fact I like to point out: Emily Wilder, the singer / guitarist from Wet & Reckless is actually the Cover Star for Tracy Shedd's last full length album Cigarettes & Smoke Machines [Teenbeat 2008], plus she is the Director (AKA: "Stop Motion Kid") of Tracy Shedd's world famous video for the song "City At Night" from her latest release EP88 [Eskimo Kiss Records 2010].  Deanna DeVries, drummer for Wet & Reckless, is the one who (literally) built the Set Pieces for the same video!  These girls rule!  We can't wait to here what they have for us here at Fort Lowell Records!  More to come on that, when both Wet & Reckless and Tracy Shedd hit the studios soon!

PS: I am sure there are a lot of grammatical errors with my usage of "I" and "we" when talking about Fort Lowell Records.  Sure, this project started from me having any idea to start a Record Label and selling my 1976 CJ5 Jeep with 35" Tires and a 4" Lift Kit (I miss you Bumble Bee!), as seen in Tracy Shedd's video for "Whatever It Takes" from Cigarettes & Smoke Machines... but this is very much a "we" effort!  There is no way this would all be possible without all of the help and support from my friends, and most importantly... Fort Lowell Records' own Vice President of Corporate Affairs... Mrs. Tritten.   "We" appreciate all of the support so far, and can't wait to start populating the world with more Vinyl Records!

Support Local!
Support Vinyl!

~ James