Interview with Artery Recordings Eric Rushing and Razor & Tie's Sean Lynam
What is your assessment or description of the Artery brand?
Sean: Artery is heavy music for young adults. The bands are young, the fans are young. They hang out together at shows. They become friends. It's a culture. The type of music played by the bands that Artery deals with has been described as metal, screamo, metalcore, doomcore or -- yes, even crabcore. However, there isn't one word that really works for all of them. Yet, the fans -- these dedicated fans -- know that there is this set of bands, and they know if a particular band fits or not. That's Artery ... the ones that fit.
Eric: We've been branding Artery since the day we opened our doors five years ago. We wanted to build a brand that kids can relate to, like their favorite label or favorite brand of clothing. This has really worked for us in creating fans that are fans of Artery's work and artists that we put out. We will continue to brand the company with tours, merchandise, sponsorships and signing great bands!
Why did you launch the Artery imprint? Were you hoping to expand or further establish the brand?
Eric: We launched the Artery Imprint to be able to work with some more bands that we felt very passionate about. There are only so many labels out there these days and not a lot with great things going on. We felt that a partnership with Razor & Tie would be a great way for us to continue to put things out that we love and grow the brand as a label as well.
Band or release you are most excited about for Artery?
Sean: Really, all the bands have each shown great accomplishments in their own right, but Chelsea Grin is the breakout band for the label thus far. They've been on solid tours all year, and I found it amusing when the band Tweeted something along the lines of "Come see us on tour with Impending Doom and Through the Eyes of the Dead -- our first tour with bands in our genre!" They'll be part of the Thrash and Burn tour this summer, too. Also, if you search 'Chelsea Grin cover' on YouTube, you'll find hundreds of kids singing or playing along to their music. To me, that really shows that a band has been accepted by new fans since they're taking the time to actually learn the band's songs, film themselves and then post online. At the same time, I love Attila's 'Rage.' It's a really fun record, and I dig the band's party, don't-take-ourselves-too-seriously attitude.
Eric: Wow, well this is a tricky question, I'm very excited about our very first signing Chelsea Grin and our biggest band to date, but I absolute love the record that Bury Tomorrow put out through our label.
Can you give a little background on Razor & Tie for our readers?
Sean: Razor & Tie was formed by two lawyers in 1990. Despite their successful jobs, they weren't happy with their situation so they decided to create a music company for other passionate music folks like themselves. Oh, and they didn't want to have to shave or wears ties to work, hence the name. I deal with the record label side of the company, but R&T is also known for their incredibly popular compilations, 'Monster Ballads,' the publishing roster, media buying, home videos and of course 'KIDZ BOP,' which is music for kids, by kids. Some people think that since we do a lot of kids music, that we no idea what we're doing with heavy bands. Which is absolutely ridiculous. Just look at Ice Cube. He was in N.W.A. and 'Are We There Yet?' -- and he's still going strong.
Do you think 'the kids' are more interested in the merch (shirts, tote bags, bracelets) than music nowadays since they get music for free?
Sean: No. It might appear that way, but I don't think that's the case. The music is the easiest thing for a kid to get, but it's the music that they get first. A kid isn't going to buy a shirt or wear a bracelet for a band that he or she doesn't like or believe in, unless they have some sick art. I may own three Devil Wears Prada records, but I only own one T-shirt. Unfortunately the scene might continue to look like this, until kids can download T-shirt art and screen-print them with their iPhones.
Eric: No. I think kids are still generally excited about music, you just need to connect with them. Exclusive content and limited-edition stuff always keeps the kids happy and coming back for more. Of course kids are going to continue to download music for free, but we try and connect with them and educate them on how this is killing the industry. Some get it and some don't, but hopefully we can convert some kids to buying the record even if they downloaded it so they can get the art and the credits for the album.