Concert Crap: In regards to the music, where have you worked in the industry?
Eric Walden: I was really lucky and got asked to start reviewing concerts and interviewing bands for a website called Soundcheck411. As I went to more and more shows I started to get involved in the Southern California music scene. There were so many awesome bands that played almost every weekend. It was like a door opened up to a part of music I had never seen before. I started By the Barricade to highlight those local bands though interviews and reviews. Eventually as that progressed and the team expanded we started Awfully Good Records to really get behind what we believe in. I’ve been lucky enough to have the support of friends and family helping me pursue that dream.
CC: You are currently affiliated with Awfully Good Records. Can you explain to those who may have yet to hear of it what it is and what you do on a daily and weekly basis to grow the business?
EW: Awfully Good Records is an independent record label based in Seal Beach, California. We have a small roster of bands so I’m usually at my computer each day working to create new opportunities. We pride ourselves on being able help out wherever a bands need us so we’re never doing the same thing two days in a row. This past week we’ve helped facilitate some upcoming national tours, consulted with new bands to create release campaigns, and worked with licensing agents to place songs all over the country.
CC: Why did you decide to create Awfully Good Records?
EW: I’m a writer for the website By the Barricade. We interviewed so many awesome bands over the years that we wanted to release a compilation CD to promote the artists. That CD needed a home so Awfully Good Records was born. After distributing more than 1,500 CDs to countries all over the world in less than two days we realized something big was going on. Since then we’ve released another album called the SoCal Split featuring Firing All Cylinders, The Sex Tape Scandal, Desolate The Few, and From Zero 2 Hero. The label has expanded and we have a lot of plans for this year.
CC: How did you come up with the name?
EW: I’m a big fan of oxymorons but it might sound weird to call a label something like jumbo shrimp. After spending a few months brainstorming Awfully Good Records stuck.
CC: What bands and genres do you work with?
EW: We work with hard rock, metal, and pop punk bands. We have a small roster but it’s always expanding. Firing All Cylinders are an awesome metal band making waves in the local scene. Desolate The Few mesh pop punk and metal influences to create a really interesting sound. The Sex Tape Scandal breathe new life into aggressive glam metal. And From Zero 2 Hero make heavy pop punk in the best way imaginable.
CC: How do you decide when a band or artist is worthy enough to be part of the team?
EW: It’s not about being worthy, it’s about co-crafting a vision. I view myself as the bands’ employee. If we see a way that the label can provide additional value to a band’s release than we start to discuss a partnership.
Selling out hometown shows and a detailed yearly plan are some of the first things we look for. The more a band is doing by themselves the more we are interested. Part of our job is to expand a bands’ fan base in additional directions. It’s a lot easier to push a bolder if it’s already moving fast than a bolder that’s sitting still.
CC: How can bands contact you if they are interested in working with you or joining the team?
EW: The fastest way to reach us is by sending an email to Eric@awfullygoodrecords.com. Bands can also mail demos and previous releases to our address PO Box 62 Seal Beach, CA 90740. Receiving something in the mail may be slower but it shows a lot of effort. We have made a vow to listen to everything that is delivered so that’s a surefire way to peak our interest.
CC: Where do you see the business in five years?
EW: In five years we hope to have a full dedicated staff. We mainly judge our success by the success of the artists that work with us. Awfully Good Records is a stepping stone to bigger and better things. In five years I see each of our artists with a strong independent team and being able to have new opportunities faster than they ever thought possible.
CC: What does music mean to you?
EW: Music is my lifeline. I’ve been going to shows as often as possible since I was a teenager. Before getting involved with the local scene I would go to arena shows a lot. To be by the barricade we would wait in line for hours and started seeing the same people over and over. Building friendships in line and waiting for shows literally changed my life. I want to have that much of a positive impact on other people though our projects someday.
CC: Is there anything else you would like to say?
EW: Let’s have a little fun. The first person to email “Concert Crap Rocks!” to Eric@awfullygoodrecords.com gets a free AGR shirt. Thanks for this awesome interview! So many people have shown me more support than I could have ever imagined. We’ve got some big plans for 2017 so keep an eye on Awfully Good Records! We’re always listening so reach out sometime if you want to be heard.
Post band interview by Corey Kleinsasser
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