Features Music Year End 2013 Pass The Mic: Record Labels on 2013

Year End 2013

Music: Pass The Mic: Record Labels on 2013

Tobias Jeg (Red Scare Industries)

1. What are your top five albums that were released in 2013? (In order 1-5)

  1. Criminal Damage - Call Of Death (Feral Ward Records)
  2. The Flatliners - Dead Language (Fat Wreck Chords)
  3. The Copyrights - Shit's Fucked (It's Alive Records)
  4. El-P & Killer Mike - Run The Jewels (Fool's Gold Records)
  5. Off With Their Heads - Home (Epitaph Records)

2. What band did you discover in 2013 (can be a brand new band or an older band) that had an impact on your life? What made them significant?

It's kinda weird, but I really got into Hard Skin this year. For people who don't know them, they're like a joke Oi! band. They've been around forever and the thing is, their band is totally awesome and the songs are too fuckin' funny. 2013 was kinda dark for me, I got fucked up in a bike wreck and I also got robbed at gunpoint, so maybe I was in need of some mirth with my music?

Red Scare also puts on a lot of shows in Chicago and I get to see a buncha new bands that come through. I really enjoyed All Dogs, and I know everyone is falling all over themselves praising female-fronted indie-punk right now, but that band stood out for me.

3. How will you remember 2013? (In terms of music)

I think it was pretty good for the label and the bands. 2012 was our best year yet and we kept things moving forward in 2013 with new records from Direct Hit! and Elway. We also did a "label package" tour that was 5 weeks long. Hard work, but it was super fun to press a tour 7" and make a cool poster. I reckon everyone involved and attending had a good time.

4. What can we look forward to from you in 2014?

Red Scare will probably be doing new records with The Copyrights, The Holy Mess, and The Brokedowns. Our biggest project will be *fingers crossed* a 10-year anniversary comp of Red Scare bands. There's bands that are broken up that are getting back together to do songs, so that's super cool for me. I'm trying to get a 7" out of our British friend Sam Russo. At the bar, Brendan was saying he wants to do some more Falcon and Wandering Birds, so that would obviously be super cool. That's some of my favorite stuff to work on.

We'll also finally have vinyl for the Direct Hit! and Nothington stuff we put out last year. LPs take forever to press, but that should finally happen in January. Now that we have a new distro a lot of our vinyl stuff will be back in stock and on sale, and with a little luck we'll actually get paid for it too!

5. What records are you looking forward to most in 2014?

It'll be interesting to see if we can pull of this 10-year anniversary comp and show. It requires bands to be on their shit and bands can sometime be...not so on their shit? I am looking forward to see what happens with The Lawrence Arms now that they've gotten a second wind and have a new record on the way. I tour manage them and we've been buds for a long time, so it's exciting to see renewed interest in what my friends are doing. New Menzingers record should be pretty cool and different.

But you never know what will be the most compelling thing until it hits you, ya know? The best stuff is the stuff that surprises you, and I welcome all surprises in 2014!

6. There is a lot of debate over streaming sites and royalties, namely with Spotify. What is your stance on the economic policies behind the current streaming services? Do you have a preferred one?

One thing that bums me out about Spotify is that the big labels colluded right away to make sure they had an ownership stake and had better rates than the rest of us. That was the one key demand that the big boys had when it came to working with Spotify in the USA: they wanted a bigger, better cut. Now, as someone who has been in the biz and working in the underground the entire time, none of this bullshit comes as a surprise to me, but it's just kinda depressing that even in the digital age major labels are still strongarming other creative entities. When will it chaaaaange?!? Answer: never. But whatever, Spotify seems fine and all the industry folks say it's a welcome revenue stream. I've seen some labels only make one song per album available on the streaming service, and I find that kind of interesting. Maybe it works to serve the purpose of having something readily available to stream, but at the same time, people would still have to buy it through iTunes if they really wanted it, which is better for the band and label.

I rarely use Spoitify, but I consumed music in a lot of different ways this year. I pulled some long drives, so I ended up buying some CDs to play in the moving truck. It was great to have the artwork then be able to upload the songs to my phone/mp3 player later. There was the occasional vinyl purchase, and of course I bought some downloads. Too much discussion revolves around format; what matters most is the content and the music and the message. See, that's because I was around in the '80s, so I don't care about your cassette revival and how cool you may think it is.

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Words by the SPB team on Jan. 11, 2014, 4:46 p.m.

Photo of vinyl records by Dan Machold.

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