Page 2 of 3
Ashby, Gintowt and Matt Dunnehoo (of Baby Teardrops, formerly of KC's Doris Henson) are all established songwriters who have been playing in bands for years, which makes it somewhat unusual that they would team up with 20-something upstarts.
"Approaching bands that you really like and telling them you want to help them put out their music is really nerve-racking," Brown says. "You don't want to blow it. We all play a lot of shows, so we get to know a lot of bands, and naturally we become big fans of certain bands. But it can be a strange thing to say, 'Hey, I'm a big fan, and also maybe I can help you out with this label I have.' I think the basis of what we've done along those lines so far has been approaching bands with a combination of humility and confidence. Sort of saying, 'You've been maybe doing this longer than we have, and maybe you don't need our help, but if you do, we love your band, we're in this for the long haul, so let's talk about it if you're interested.' "
"They expressed interest in putting out the record before we'd even put all of the finishing touches on it or started considering who we might want to put it out, which was flattering," Ashby says of the Caves' upcoming LP. "All we knew was that we didn't want to do another self-release. So it didn't take very long for us to come around and organize a meeting with them to start discussing details."
Breaking even on an album's sales is no small feat these days, but it's also no way to build a business. And so new revenue streams are being explored. In early July, Golden Sound hosted the Crossroads Block Party on 19th Street between Wyandotte and Baltimore, a free showcase of the label's talent as well as some acts from the Record Machine, another KC label. Shoare estimates attendance at around 800 throughout the course of the night — an encouraging success that further illustrates the evolving nature of record labels.
"The block party was an example of us trying to kind of immerse ourselves in Kansas City commerce," Tomasino says. "There are all these great local businesses to partner with in Kansas City. And for us, it's a new way to sell our bands."
"Music is so accessible and easily streamed and consumed," Brown says. "And I think part of our role is to bring it back from Internet land, to bring more of a human interaction to it."
"I think, really, what people want from us is an extra reason to keep going," Tomasino says. "To be in the music industry is to just tie your hands behind your back and take beating after beating after beating. Shitty show after shitty show. Not getting paid. You need an extra hand every chance you get, some extra footing. And I hope that's what we can be for people. I think that's why bands buddy up together: You do a joint tour, you do shows together, you look for some organization that can give you reason to take the next steps. Knowing you have people in your corner helps."