Compass Records was founded in 1994 by artists Garry West and Alison Brown. Called “one of the greatest independent labels of the last decade” by Billboard, Compass specializes in roots, bluegrass, and Americana — and boasts the largest Celtic catalog in the world. On this episode, we hear about the label’s philosophy and history from co-founder Garry West. Compass artist Laura Cortese also shares her perspective.
Light in the Attic founder Matt Sullivan joins us to talk about the inspiration behind the Seattle label, their emphasis on reissues as well as their distribution service and more. We also hear from Ishmael Butler, whose work with Digable Planets has been released with LITA.
Merge Records has been behind some of the independent world’s most popular releases from bands like Spoon, Arcade Fire, Neutral Milk Hotel, Waxahatchee, and of course, Superchunk since 1989. We hear about the label’s beginnings from co-founder Laura Ballance (Superchunk), and are joined again by MC Taylor of Merge band Hiss Golden Messenger.
Since 2003, Chicago-based independent record label Numero Group has been celebrating the obscure, the rare, and the long-forgotten through their meticulously crafted reissues and compilations. On this episode, we highlight the label with co-founder Ken Shipley and discuss the ways they’ve creatively adapted to major industry changes, always seeming to stay one step ahead of the game. We also hear from Andre Gibson of disco group Universal Togetherness Band. The prolific act was rediscovered over thirty years after their breakup by Numero Group.
One of the most exciting labels in Portland, OR, is also one of its youngest. EYRST Records was founded in 2014 by artist Neill Von Tally and Martell Webster. Since then, the label has filled its roster with promising artists, including acts like The Last Artful, Dodgr and Myke Bogan who have gained national acclaim. We talk with Neill Von Tally and artist Blossom about being part of an indie label and Portland’s local music scene.
2010 was arguably one of the hardest years for the music industry, but that didn’t stop manager and publicist Jessi Frick from starting an independent record label with her father, Ken Hector. Since then, Father/Daughter has released acclaimed albums by Pure Bathing Culture, Diet Cig, Vagabon, Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, and more. The label has also gained a reputation for being fiercely artist-friendly. Jessi joins us to talk shop and we hear from Shamir Bailey, who just released ‘Revelations’ through the label.