MCB Records is a locally owned singles-based record label owned by Tedd Pollard and Nick Stevens. I recently caught up with Pollard for an interview.
DR: What inspired you to start a record label?
What do you do for the artist?
What do you do with the artists' music?
TP: The inspiration was a love for turning great songs into great recordings, but we also saw an opportunity. We’re trying to fill the vacuum left by a music business that no longer develops young artists. Up until the late ’60s, record labels released only singles for new acts, and developed an artist’s career one song at a time. Fast-forward to 2011 and, for a multitude of reasons—including a broken business model and inexpensive technology—a budding artist has the ability to put out his or her own full-length CD of 12-15 songs. This young musician/singer is now the engineer/producer/art director/copywriter/distributor/booking agent. MCB was founded to take all of those job hats off of the artist and let them be just that—an artist. There is a quantum leap between having the ability to make music and becoming a recording artist and successful performer. It is in that void that MCB exists. Our production staff helps in writing, arranging, and producing songs; we work on video and photo shoots to acquire assets for the social network we’ve created; we book shows; and we work radio programmers and the TV/film industry for song placement. The idea is that artists have a team that is allowing them to do the thing they’re good at, that no one else can do for them — be the dream.
DR: How many artists do you currently have?
TP: We currently have 5 signed artists: Jordan Bales; Lotus Blake; Corey Brumback; kRi and Hettie; and Ted Stevens.
DR: Are you focusing on certain genres?
TP: We are very song-oriented. To a person, the entire company is in love with what emotionally can happen in the 3 or 4 minutes of a well-written song. It’s all about words and music here. We don't like to split hairs about existing genres or string together random words to describe new ones. That’s really for people who write about music. We are producing and releasing songs, one at a time.
DR: How can artists query you if they are interested in representation? DO you take queries?
TP: We are always in “search of talent” mode, and anyone can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our primary search criterion is, we are looking for singers and groups who can perform. If they can also write a song, or even put words and musical ideas together, that’s a bonus. But in addition to talent, artists have to have a strong work ethic. This is an extremely tough business, and the contract between MCB Records and the artist is a partnership. Success is out of the question unless both parties have a common goal and do their damndest to achieve it. We have been extremely lucky to have a group of artists who have all the bases covered.
DR: What's the typical process for an artist, once you sign them?
TP: The process begins with music. Because we sign artists who are virtually unknown, the music we record and release will define who they are to the listening world, at least for a moment in time, and maybe forever. The process of finding the right song for a singer or a band, or producing the artist’s own material, is at any given moment wonderful, awesome, or terrifying. But it is the be-all and end-all of what we do—that’s making records. And so as this musical “image” comes together, we start working on the actual image—social network sites, photo shoots, videos, bios—to portray the artist how they want to be portrayed.
DR: What kind of successes have you seen so far?
What are your plans for the future?
TP: We have not yet completed a full year of operation, but in that time we have signed 5 artists and launched their careers by producing and recording 21 amazing songs, put those songs up for sale on our own retail site and 13 other retail sites, got them played on the radio across the US, and booked our artists on the road playing their music. We have created and launched a beautiful website where you can listen to and buy music, see our artists, visit their websites and get to know them through their network. We have an incredible recording studio/base of operations where we cut real live music with people actually playing instruments on the best new and vintage analog gear you can find here or anywhere….. and we really could go on and on—but for now, it’s on to next year, and the year after, and recording songs that everyone will, someday, know how to sing.
Photos supplied by MCB records. Photos are of (From top to bottom) Corey Brumback, kRi N Hettie, Lotus Blake, and Ted Stevens