We spoke to Michael Brockman of No Affliation Records about the new label, how it started, how things are working out in this competitive market and what their plans for the future are!
Tell us about the birth of No Affiliation Records
I was actually talking with another label for about a year about investing and joining their team. After that year or so and being unable to agree to terms I decided to move on. After deciding to move on it was still something I wanted to do so I decided to just start from scratch. I contacted Bill (Marcks) and Paul (Levesque) to test their interest level. Everyone was stoked on the idea and its been non stop ever since! As far as experience that contributed, I think we all bring something different to the table. First off, we are all musicians, so we approach the label from the side of the artist. Bill and Paul have been on independent and major labels with success so they definitely have the edge on the music industry experience, and then I have a more traditional background in business and management so I bring those skills. Together, we all compliment each other very well and it makes for a great partnership.
What relevance do you feel an independent record label has in a market which is notoriously underground and compared to other musical genres faces real challenges in getting talent to the top?
I think most musicians that want to share their music and art with fans want to do so at the highest level attainable. I think that an independent label like ours helps provide a degree of magnification if you will, to drive traffic and exposure to bands on the label. As far as selling out, I think taking on partners who believe in you and want to help does not constitute as selling out. We have 7 bands so far and haven’t told one which songs to put out, what their album art needs to look like (other than resolution requirements…) or engaged in any other invasive creative assault. We want our bands to put the best versions of themselves out, and we support that mission 100%!
So do you even think the Punk scene needs record labels?
I think labels can help reduce the burden of doing it on your own. Organising a release is time consuming and expensive. If you have a label like ours who believes in your band and your music and they want to assume some of that risk with you and make that journey, I think that’s an attractive partnership for both parties.
What should a record label do for artists?
We are the ultimate advocates for our artists! The label should be handling the logistics of the release, starting with organising the music and art to communicating with pressing plants, organising release dates, handling the shipping and fulfilment, sourcing merchandise, selling that merchandise….etc. We try to take as much off the plate of the band as possible so that they can focus on being musicians.
Your vision for the future of NAR?
I would really like to see NAR become a destination label. I am less concerned about selling more records than any particular label and more concerned at the impact we have on who we interact with. I want our bands to be proud that their represented by NAR and excited to be part of this family! Long term….we are going to be a main sponsor for Punk Rock Bowling in 5 years for the 25th anniversary….I’m calling my shot!!! haha
Hard one… Name a band that we should be watching out for?
First off….I love all our bands, that is literally the only pre-requisite for getting on NAR, being great at what you do! But….I have to give a shout out to Bricheros! I recently received the masters and have not stopped listening to their album! This is going to be a name that many people in this community will know. Latte+, Sun-0-Bathers, The Bastards, and The Follow Ups also have records coming out in the next few months and all of those records rip! We are very proud of our current lineup and could not ask for a better bunch of musicians to work with.