POZ Label Talk: Violently Happy Records

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 12, 2012

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PropertyOfZack had the pleasure of doing a great new Label Talk feature with Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory, who has started a new imprint via Bridge Nine called Violently Happy Records. Fans have been incredibly interested in Gilbert’s plans for the label and to find out more information about Candy Hearts, and we’re stoked to have chatted with Chad about that, and much more like plans for a solo record. Check out the full Label Talk below!

Violently Happy, your imprint label via Bridge Nine, was announced a few weeks, and fans were definitely surprised. How long was the label in the works for?
I guess, I would say it’s been since last December. Last December or the beginning of this year, probably. There were talks of it because I really loved Candy Hearts and I wanted to produce them. On the Pop Punk’s Not Dead Tour, I was sending Candy Hearts’ album to a lot of labels because I really wanted to produce them, but they’re a smaller band and I record in California, so they didn’t really have a way of getting out there. They were just really tiny, so I would send the record out. Bridge Nine and a few other labels loved it. I was thinking about all the opportunities that I could potentially bring them, and wanted to sign them to a label, but I wished that I could still be involved. After producing a lot of bands, like the Terror record, we came up with all these cool ideas to set up the record and we felt the impact. Some bands I produce, and that doesn’t happen. I record it and it comes out. Because Candy Hearts weren’t on a label, I felt like I could do a good job helping them promote and market. It made me not want to give the project away. It made me want to be a part of it. When Bridge Nine said they were into it, I asked if I could stay involved by starting this label. They were into the idea. 

In a press release about the label, you mentioned that your main desire behind starting it was to lend a helping hand to younger bands punk/hardcore scene. That’s something that New Found Glory has been doing for years in terms of bringing younger bands out on tour, but do you see this as a bigger and even more gratifying step for you?
I love it. I love being involved in music and in anything. I like being creative and productive. I like feeling like I’m contributing to something, so it is definitely gratifying and cool. I can’t wait for it to actually come out.

There’s no denying that Candy Hearts have an incredibly infectious sound. When exactly did they catch your ear?
The first time I heard “Tongue Tied,” Steve was playing it on the bus. Then I got the record and became a super fan. I think what I love about the band is that, I feel like the punk rock/emo scene is filled with singers that sound very similar. They go for that one sound. When I heard Mariel’s voice, I was like, “Finally a singer that doesn’t stick to this formula.” She’s got her own sound and a unique sound. I feel like her voice reminds me of the 90’s, which I really love. I love the band That Dog, and when I heard her voice, it reminded me of a few things from the 90’s. You could hear it on the Clueless soundtrack, and I thought that was really cool. I really like her lyrics too. Even something as simple as, “Erasing every comma so all my thoughts collide.” Lyrics like that are so cool and impress. This band, if they got out there, could do really, really well. 

You produced the EP this past spring. Did you see them take a big step during it?
The thing about Candy Hearts is that they’re nowhere near their potential. That’s another reason why I wanted to be a part of it. Candy Hearts is still growing as a band and they need to tour a lot and get tighter as a band. I think everyday with Candy Hearts is a step. I don’t think they’re anywhere near their full potential as a band yet. This is a band that I love. It’s not a race to make them popular. We just want them to tour and to be promoted. We’re going to try to get them to as many people as possible.

We’ve seen you branch out a lot in the past few years with producing, and adding a label to the list must be time consuming. Is time a concern for you now between New Found, producing, and the label?
There’s a lot going on. I do have a lot going on, but I always reference my father. Up to the day he passed away, my dad worked non-stop. Even when he was sick. He built pools, was a foreman, and did so many things. He worked everyday in the hot sun of Florida from 6AM to 5:30PM. Every single day. I feel like my whole family is like that. All the Gilbert guys work once they hit 13, and I feel like I grew up around that and have that work ethic in me. I’ve been fortunate enough to make it where it’s not out there all day with cement, but at the same time, just because I’m in a band and have the opportunity to have a lot of downtime doesn’t mean I want it. I don’t feel like I’m productive unless I’m doing things with my life and am productive and am contributing because I have these opportunities. It is a lot, but for some reason it’s not overwhelming. Somehow I know how to balance all of it, and it all has never felt overwhelming. Bridge Nine is also a huge help. They really love what they do, and they’re not the biggest label, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about being focussed and into what you’re doing instead of being stuck in your ways. That’s what’s cool about Bridge Nine. They give me the tools for my vision. 

You’re producing other bands right now, but do you have plans to bring in more bands to the label?
I don’t. New Found Glory got signed back in the day to Drive-Thru and eventually MCA started working with us. Back then, and I feel it’s the reason New Found Glory did well, the label really understood our band and working for our band. They didn’t care about when or how fast, they just knew that they wanted to give us tours for us to work and grow the band to really build us up. Now, labels will sign a band, release a record with promotion, and then after two months you don’t hear about the record ever again. Labels are constantly signing new bands. I don’t think when you sign a band, any of bands are getting anything out of it because there’s no focus. I understand it’s a business and people need to run their labels and make money, but for me, I don’t have to do that because I don’t have a big office. It’s me and my laptop. I really don’t want to sign all those bands. I want to work with Candy Hearts for a really long time. The pre-orders for the EP are starting, and I’m wondering about what tour to get them on next April. It’s not about signing another band. It’s about signing Candy Hearts and working with them for a long time to work and grow their career. 

Two solo EPs were released this year as well. Could that material come out on the label in the future, if there’s more of it?
Yeah, 100%. That was another thing with Bridge Nine. The Cheap Shots EP could have been on Violently Happy, but we had some timing issues. As far as the full-length goes, I definitely see that coming out on the label. I hope to be playing shows soon as well. It’s all about timing and having the time and energy. Holidays and New Found touring is coming up, but hopefully there will be What’s Eating Gilbert shows next year.
POZ: So there will be a solo record?
Chad: For sure. I’ve got tons of songs that I’m writing and save in my little recorder on my iPhone.

In terms of you, the next year will be Candy Hearts, producing, and solo stuff?
We’ll see. You never know what happens. There are some other things in the works, but who knows. 

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