Easy Killer Records is a collaborative project between musician/concert promoter Mike Judy and talent finder Kevin Gales. The label/lifestyle brand boasts a diverse roster, something virtually unheard of for an independent label. From the hard rocking Night Verses and Wilson, to Brian Marquis’ acoustic work and pianist Ramin Niroomand, Easy Killer Records has a band to fit everyone’s tastes.
I had the opportunity to correspond with Mike Judy and Kevin Gales via email to discuss their collaboration, signing bands, and the role of the record label in 2013.
How did you guys start working with each other?
Mike Judy: Kevin shot a video for a band I was in several years ago, and we met up a few times over lunch to discuss ideas. Our discussions would tend to branch off from the video and on to other various things about the music industry. It started becoming more and more apparent that we could really benefit from doing something together. We just didn’t know what that endeavor would be just yet. Several years later, here we are!
Kevin Gales: We’ve known each other for about 3 or 4 years, and have worked together on smaller projects off and on. Got together last summer-ish, and decided we wanted to do something major together; something significant.
How/Why did you decide to start a record label?
MJ: For me, I thought that this was the time to branch out from just booking concerts like I had been for nearly a decade. This partnership with Kevin just felt right.
KG: We knew we wanted to do something that would catch attention, and that would be a significant thing. A label seemed like the thing that continued to develop steam.
What sets your label apart from the others? What is your mission?
MJ: We’re hoping the combination of a diverse, talented roster along with the branding of the apparel we plan to offer should work well for us. I’m not sure if we have one specific goal. We just want to continue to expand our reach and do so the right way.
KG: The obvious is the apparel component of the company. But also the multi-genre approach. That seems to be rare these days. Most independent labels can’t function very well that way. We’re feeling great about that decision so far.
Our actual mission statement is: We will to be a highly profitable, nationally recognized lifestyle brand, with our 2 main components being a multi-genre record label and a high quality apparel company.
I think we want to always be free of trends and the obvious choices. Of course we want to be financially solvent to the point where we can be influential, and strong, and passionate, and zealous. But we’re saying that before we have some of those obvious things, we will be a company willing to stand alone with decisions and choices that aren’t popular because Mike and I, WE feel together like we’re doing what WE, Mike and I, want to be doing.
What criteria went into choosing and signing bands for the label?
KG: Mike is head of A&R, so he’ll answer that best. I know that we want a balance roster filled with really good artist playing really good music.
MJ: Put simply, we just wanted them to be good. I know that may sound pretty plain, but that was really the only barometer we wanted to use. We didn’t care if they were a heavy band, a poppier band, or even a solo instrumental musician like Ramin. If they could impress the hell out of us with the music they wrote, then we wanted them aboard.
What do you think is the most important thing a record label can do for their artists in 2013?
MJ: I think helping break out new artists by any means they can’t provide on their own has always been what a label is about. That still holds true today. If a band needs a van to tour but can’t afford it on their own, let’s help out there. If they need solid distribution, let’s do that. The extra set of opinions can also help an artist out. We’re here to be members of their team.
KG: For everyone it’s different. Some really need a van; others need managerial help; others need touring help; some need a good efficient producer.
All of them though, need their rights as songwriters protected, and in that regard, Mike and I plan to be world champions! Whatever Spotify, Pandora, or Rdio have planned for an attack on the songwriters royalties, we will be RIGHT fucking there making sure they get paid.
What does the label have coming up that people should be on the lookout for?
MJ: Tons of releases! Each artist on our roster has a record coming out in 2013.
KG: Great releases still this year. Of course Mandolyn Mae and Night Verses come out the same day, June 25th. How GREAT is that?!? But still, the rest of the year is loaded with amazing releases. More coming from our apparel as well. Stay tuned.
For the latest news on Easy Killer Records and to find out more about their artists and releases, visit the label’s website.