We’re back with part two today, which takes fans of the label past the music and gives a better look into the employees that make Run For Cover as great as it is day in and day out. We have three videos, all shot by Alex Henery, that tell the story of employees at the label and also give us a look into mailorder, customer service, and Small Talk/Tuesday’s With Tay.
Be sure to check out RFC’s oral history here and part two of Inside below!
Part One: An Oral History
Inside is a new in-depth PropertyOfZack feature that focuses on a label, artist, or company in our music scene over four weeks in ways you’ve hopefully never seen before. Over the next month, we’ll have separate features on one of our favorite record labels, Run For Cover Records.
There’s a great story behind the label’s success, and we wanted to share it with an Oral History of the label done with founder Jeff Casazza, with some extra commentary from different people that have seen the label grow over time.
The Oral History piece is certainly long, detailed, and interesting, so we truly hope that you will take the time to read it whenever you can. Enjoy the first part of our new Inside feature, and we hope to see you back next week!
Run For Cover was born ten years ago out of your dorm room with a release by These Days called Death Sentence. I think a lot of the RFC fan base would be interested and maybe surprised to know that the label was hardcore driven for the majority of its first releases. Why did you start there? Can you shed light on the beginning of the story and those first bands?
In the early 2000’s, I met this guy who became pretty infamous in the New England hardcore scene around that time. He had a label he just started called Championship Vinyl, and their first release was a split between Suicide File and R’N’R. The details are fuzzy because this was so long ago, but somewhere along the lines this person (who I essentially didn’t know at all) asked me to help him out with the label after I showed interest in the release. He took a few hundred orders for the record, got test presses, and pretty much disappeared and it never came out.
It wasn’t like he dropped all this responsibility on my shoulders or anything, I would have loved to have taken it over and made it happen properly, but I had really no control over the situation, no knowledge, and was 16 or 17 years old. During this whole thing, a bunch of older guys in the hardcore scene told me I didn’t want to be involved with this person and to just do my own thing if I wanted to put out records, so I started my own label. As frustrating as it was watching something with a lot of potential slip away out of the laziness and irresponsibility of someone else, without that all happening I probably wouldn’t have ever realized that I should just do it myself.
Hardcore was very important to me at the time. It still is, but in a different way. I started there because, to me, hardcore and punk were something I already was interested in, but also something I felt that someone could be involved in to any extent they wanted. I made zines when I was 15-16. There were classes I had in high school where I would spend the whole period emailing record labels asking them to send promo CD’s to me to review. I would then spend tens of hours laying out interviews, reviews, and photos on my mom’s first generation iMac. It was crazy to me that bands I looked up to like Converge, American Nightmare, AFI, Boy Sets Fire, were all willing to sit down and do an interview for my zine, which I pretty much created to give myself something to do. I remember I got a call at my house about confirming press passes for Warped Tour and my mom picked up. After I talked to them she was just like “What the hell are you doing? Do these people know you’re 14?” I was like, “just don’t worry about it!”
Was it as simple as, “Hey I like your band, can I help you put this out?” for bands like These Days, Sinking Ships, and Revenge? What about bands like This Is Hell and Crime In Stereo? There’s more history behind those bands with the Long Island emo/hardcore scene.
Each one sort of has its own story, but, in general, I would say it was that way. Our first release was These Days, which was a small band from California with just a demo out. I had spoken to their guitarist Alex about either design work, or trading AFI records, or something like that. I am sure somewhere down the line I heard his band and said something like, ‘Hey I want to start this thing, let me put out a 7” for your band’ and he said okay. Alex ended up making our website and being a pretty integral part of the first few years of the label, designing stuff and whatnot for us. These Days eventually put out a few records after the 7”, and then broke up. Their members went on to form Ceremony, Skin Like Iron, Sabertooth Zombie and a few other bands.
The “big three” in our corner of the scene for kids growing up is looked at as Run For Cover, No Sleep, and Topshelf. Growing up for you, it was Bridge 9, Deathwish, and Revelation. Things were different in terms of money, touring, and the Internet ten years ago.
You didn’t start RFC just five years ago — it was more like ten. Tell us what it was like figuring out how to run a label then. Putting the dorm room aside for a minute, how did you learn where to order from? Who to order from? Was it a disaster? There was no Tumblr to ask your favorite label owner how to start a label.
With how easy it is to communicate and transfer information these days, it definitely is different, but still wasn’t very hard. My first real foray was interning at Stab and Kill Records, who had to change their name to Perfect Victim somewhere along the way. They were a relatively small record label definitely in their infant stages when I helped out for a few months. I would actually take the train an hour into Boston and then the T for 45 minutes to go put 7”s together for 5 hours. I am not sure I necessarily learned much about running a record label, but it instilled motivation in me and was proof that you could really just start a record label in your living room. By the point of putting out a few releases, I had met people along the way that I could talk to and get advice from. I had a friend who worked at Bridge 9 who I actually tried starting the label with, but he sort of faded out of the equation before ever getting involved. Either way, he was definitely knowledgeable and I would go to Bridge 9 and help him do mail order or whatever and just see how ‘real’ labels functioned.
I wouldn’t say the beginning years were a disaster, but things could have gone better for sure. They also could have gone significantly worse. The problem was almost always that I was selling too much stuff to keep up with. There are obviously worse problems to be having, but it was still pretty frustrating. Considering 99.9 percent of our sales were directly through our store, pretty much from the second release it was too much to keep up with while in school. By the time Sinking Ships was selling 3-4 thousand copies, it was way too much to keep up with and insanely overwhelming. People would say to get help if I couldn’t do it myself. Problem was, I was in college full time, and that was a pretty big thing that I couldn’t get away from.
Our 100 Words Or Less Podcast with host Ray Harkins is back with friend of the site Alex Henery who you may know from Basement and Run For Cover Records. Ray and Alex discussed the formation of Basement, how he tries to capture a “feeling” with his video work, religion as a central part of his life, and much more.
Sharks have broken up just several months after the release of their second album, Selfhood. The band has cancelled all upcoming dates, but may play final shows.
Andrew Fisher from Basement has started a new project called Honey Milk. A demo EP has been released and recorded.
Issues have finally released their new song and music video for “Hooligans.” The band has been playing the track live for months, but are only now releasing it as a digital track.
Owl City will be releasing an acoustic EP towards the end of July, but also has hopes of previewing new music to fans for his next record in the fall.
ex-Panic! At The Disco’s Jon Walker will be releasing a new record this fall or winter.
Sometimes the best records are the ones you never hear, but should have, and hopefully eventually do. We’re halfway through 2013, but we bet you’re enjoying some records right now that came out in 2012 that you only found recently. PropertyOfZack thought it’d be a great idea to make a new Friday Discussion post of The Best 2012 Albums Of 2013 so our readers can find out about records that they may have missed and so we could find out about some records we might have missed as well. Check out the feature below and make sure to reblog to let us know what great records we missed from last year as well!
Basement - Colourmeinkindness
Like many others familiar with the Run for Cover family, I’d heard plenty about Basement before, during, and after they announced they were calling it quits. I had seen them once at Asbury Lanes on one very intoxicated summer evening and was impressed, but never followed up save for a few songs from 2011’s I Wish I Could Stay Here. Early this year, I put Colourmeinkindness into rotation on a whim, and very quickly regretted not making this band a priority listen in the past. There’s nothing I could say about them and their sound that hasn’t already been said (from my notes: “grungier Balance and Composure;” “reprisal of 90’s alternative”…can we get a rousing DUH?), but the way that “Comfort” bleeds into final track “Wish” creates one of my favorite closing sequences that I’ve heard in years. Unfortunately, sleeping on this band was one of negative consequence, considering they no longer are one - but I’m predicting other kids might go the same route in back-cataloguing adventures and Basement just might have quite a splash to make in the reunion circuit down the road. - Adrienne Fisher
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - The Heist
Has any commercially successful pop artist had a bigger breakthrough in 2013 than Macklemore and Ryan Lewis? The answer is an emphatic no, thanks to the unexpected success of the duo’s quirky hit “Thrift Shop,” which became the first song by an independent hip-hop artist to reach the number one spot on the Billboard Top 100 Singles chart.
The duo’s 15 minutes of fame have recently been renewed thanks to second single “Can’t Hold Us” also reaching the number one spot on the Billboard Singles Chart, which may prove that the Seattle underdogs are here to stay. With songs like “Same Love,” “Cowboy Boots,” and “Thin Line” combining Macklemore’s unique style and charisma and Lewis’s slick, old-school production, this may only be the beginning of the rise of The Heist, which was released last October. The slow-building success of “Thrift Shop” is clearly the cause for this album picking up steam in 2013, and given the creativity and personality that exudes from that track and so many others on The Heist, we should all be very thankful that the breakthrough of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis happened.
Representing an independent, DIY attitude that is taking the music industry by storm, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are doing things that simply haven’t been done before, and in today’s industry, whether you’re a fan or not, that deserves your attention. - Donald Wagenblast
Dads - American Radass (This is important)
I didn’t get around to checking these guys out until I realized they were one of the bands on the site that got a lot of attention that I wasn’t very familiar with. And then they won our March Sadness poll and I knew I really couldn’t sleep on giving them a chance any longer. I mean, who ever beats Brand new for anything?
Apparently these guys, and it’s definitely deserved. American Radass (This is important) exemplifies being sad down to the core. “A permanent bee sting/In my throat/I can’t ever catch my breath/ It’s not fair to tell me to cheer up.” That line from the song “Get To the Beach!” is just one small paradigm of how these new contenders show that they can fight in any heavyweight match. This album is drenched in painful nostalgia, heart-wrenching one-liners, and cynical vocals. It’s been on repeat on my iPod for the past few weeks, and everyone should give it a chance (really, you would be dumb not to). – Brittany Oblak (@brittanyoblak)
It’s been a few months since the TAYF10 tour, and it looks like the band is all rested up and ready to go once again. Hopefully we’ll have a new Taking Back Sunday album in our hands this summer or fall.
Hiatus rumors be damned. New Found Glory are officially working on new music that may be seen as bonus tracks on their live release later this year.
This should be a surprise to no one, but we’re all still allowed to chuckle a bit. Hopefully this doesn’t take away from a blink or AVA tour.
This is an interesting move. fun. are of course likely to win more than a few Grammys this coming weekend, and Some Nights just went platinum. The band is booked up touring wise through the summer, but some are concerned about Nate reaching too far outside of his wheel house. What do you think?
Out of the blue, Desaparecidos announced and released two new songs for a 7” before they head out on tour this winter. This is a band that knows how to do a reunion right in terms of both touring and music making.
Many of us missed out on seeing Basement’s final US and UK shows, but we may get a chance to see some of the magic all these months later.
This is a good thing.
Kellin Quinn has wrapped up vocals for the new Sleeping With Sirens record. The release is pegged to be one of the biggest in our scene this year.
This looks like a high budget and great music video. More on February 11th.
It’s the weekend again, so PropertyOfZack is back with a brand new Team Recommendations Playlist! Each weekend, different members of our team recommend both old and new songs for our viewers to listen to and enjoy. Check out our Team Playlist and listen to the songs on Spotify while reading everyone’s thoughts!
Fireworks - I Support Same Sex Marriage
Because fuck For Today. - Michael Meeze (@mikemeeze)
Fall Out Boy - Saturday
Because I could argue that everything on this album is pure gold. Also, hardcore dancing in a FOB music video. - Mike Sheffey (@SheffeyzTweetz)
The Boils - The Orange And The Black
Between Gary Bettman’s incompetence and the owners’ intransigence, I had pretty much given up hope that there would be an NHL season this year, so you better believe I’m stoked that hockey is coming back! 2007’s The Orange And The Black EP, from rough-and-tumble Philly punks The Boils, features six scuzzy shoutalong anthems that would be the perfect soundtrack to a YouTube clip reel of Broad Street Bullies crosschecks and high-stickings. LET’S GO FLY-ERS! - Jesse Richman (@jrichmanesq)
Basement - Wish
Who else has already started their “Records I’m Fucking Kicking Myself For Missing in 2012” list? This particular Basement track from last year’s Colourmeinkindness is sounding to me like a nice blend of Core-era Stone Temple Pilots and our beloved Balance and Composure, and the melody on that chorus is so simply lofty and 90s and awesome. Recommended for anyone craving a true-blue headbang, or is seeking temporary reprieve from bands singing about their hometowns (I currently fall into both those categories). - Adrienne Fisher (@adriennerayfish)
The Front Bottoms- Legit Tattoo Gun
This band has been seriously blowing up since the release of their Self Titled full length in 2011. It took me a little while to really get into the record but once I saw them open for Motion City Soundtrack last year I was hooked. With plans to see them open up for Bad Books in February and recent news of them recording a new record, I don’t think I’m going to be able to listen to any other album for at least a week. This is my favorite song on the album. - Justin Graci (JustinHMGraci)
Yellowcard - Here I Am Alive
Just because they’re my favorite band and I couldn’t be more excited to see them on this upcoming tour. “Here I Am Alive” is one of my favorites on the new album and the title has become a sort of mantra for me. I also love Tay’s vocals and I think they work perfectly with Ryan’s. - Becky Kovach (@beckystrz)
Pianos Become The Teeth - Hiding
Pianos Become The Teeth easily get grouped together with bands like La Dispute and Touché Amoré, but as time goes on I can’t help but feel that those bands will one day get grouped together with Pianos. The Lack Long After is still an incredibly powerful album, but I was curious about what we would hear from the band after it. “Hiding” is a taste of new material from their split with Touché Amoré, and it’s a song that instantly grabbed their entire fanbase and more by the heart and successfully created a whole new wave (pun not intended) of excitement for the band. “Hiding” is a heart-wrenching song, and I can’t wait for more from the band. - Zack Zarrillo (@zzarrillo)