In 2010, I finally got to do what I wanted: write about underground music full time. This could not have been possible without your support, and I am grateful for that.
Some folks have taken ads with me. This has been particularly helpful!
Ryan, Mike and Brandon are three such friends. They recently started RECORDCODE.COM. RC hosts your newest album (or single or video—whatever your project is). You then take the unique RC download codes and put them on t-shirts, vinyl LPs and singles, artwork—anything you want to sell on tour.
It’s a helluva lot more creative than CD-Rs and a lot less polluting, too.
I hope you enjoy this profile of the RECORDCODE.COM guys. They are from Cleveland, Ohio, my old adopted hometown and have done a ton for the music scene (including host the Ohio premiere of 40 Bands 80 Minutes!, so yes they know about and appreciate the music you are making).
It’s really hard to start a company that benefits underground musicians. So I did this interview not just to support them but to learn:
Who is RECORDCODE.COM and where are you guys at?
RECORDCODE is split between Cleveland and Brooklyn with Mike Ocampo, who does the programming, and Sebastion Wagner, who does graphic design, both in Clevo. Brandon Stevens, who does promo, and myself, are both in Brooklyn, NYC. I handle the day-to-day, getting orders together and bugging everyone else about deadlines and such.
How are things going in New York? What the music scene there like?
Yeah I moved to Brooklyn over the summer. It’s been a blast, but also daunting at times and hectic. I was pretty entrenched in Cleveland so moving has been a long and complicated process for sure! As per the music scene in New York, I was kinda familiar with some things from playing around with Mystery of Two before actually moving. But you know, living somewhere is way different from visiting. So far I’m still meeting folks and getting my bearings. I’ve been helping out at a studio here and there and have the early beginnings of a new band project in the works. It’s such an active place, so I’m excited to get more involved.
How did you become involved with the music originally?
I started playing trumpet and then guitar when I was super young. Sophomore year in High School I got turned on to Black Flag, which led hanging out at a punk record store in Cleveland, and otherwise just going to and playing shows in and around the Cleveland scene during the late 90’s. From there I studied audio in college and it’s been a long string of questionable decisions ever since!
What other bands have you been in?
I sometimes play guitar with Home and Garden, which is a Pere Ubu spin-off band formed early ’80s by Scott Krauss and Tony Maimone (drums and bass.) It’s great fun to play with those guys—they’re an amazing rhythm section. Currently I’m working on that new project I mentioned earlier, and Mystery of Two is still planning on playing here and there when we’re all in the same town.
You did an important all-ages space in Cleveland called Parish Hall.
I actually just finished closing the studio space in Cleveland a couple weeks ago. It was up and going for three years and was a wonderful tracking room. Everything got condensed to a little tiny mixing and overdub station and moved to the Brooklyn office/room. The studio had been a work in progress for the time it was operating and by the end I was really excited about how everything was sounding.
Parish Hall was a collective that grew out of an art gallery I helped run before moving to the hall. We presented several art and music events a month in a giant old church hall on Cleveland’s near west side. It was an amazing space with 18 foot ceilings, wood floors, and all the headaches that come with a space that size. We ended up getting non-profit status for the organization, which forced the hand of having to choose between focusing on that or continuing with music. I ended up stepping out of it to focus on music and that’s when the studio started as a designated space.
What’s the purpose of RECORDCODE.COM?
Years ago I went on a record shopping trip to Chicago, and in the midst of it, I remember wishing there was a way to get the music as a download so I could rock it while I was out and about. Some LPs used to come with a CD, but it was sporadic at best, not to mention expensive to add as a label or artist. That was the original thought for it all. Years later Brandon and I were trying to figure out a way to get codes for our releases with Exit Stencil on the cheap and had a hard time finding low run, flexible, download codes. So we got in touch with Mike and started working on RECORDCODE.
How does it help musicians become more creative and get music to fans?
I feel like it opens the doors to what a physical release can be. Of course, the obvious use is to attach the code to an LP or cassette. But you can literally attach it to anything and in a variety of ways.
So for instance, a visual artist could do a run of photos or prints that are related to the music and include codes printed, hand written, or stamped on it with directions to visit RECORDCODE.COM and download the music. In the case I just mentioned the release becomes a more cohesive art piece, and the visual component to the music isn’t confined to LP or CD packaging. You could attach the code to a bong or whatever… The code system creates a bridge in order to link the digital files with something tangible, and in turn allows music to live on something other than a round spinny thing while still allowing musicians to sell something at their shows.
What do readers get if they buy codes from you?
They get the deep discount of 30% off their order.
What other services do you offer?
We can create a landing page (i.e., www.recordcode.com/yourband), or send you HTML code for a little widget that you can put on your project’s webpage. That way people can visit your website to enter the codes and download the music. We can also help people get things printed outside of our normal options if that’s something they’re interested in. The cost on that is just dependent on what performers want to do with our service.
What’s up for 2011?
We’re working on overall site improvements, including the ability to see stats, log in and administer your account, and also a new graphic design. Otherwise tons of music.
If you could pick a song to represent this past year what would it be?
Hahah, geez Sean, That’s a tough one… I’m going to go with Hank Williams’ “My Buckets Got a Hole In It” because moving to New York is wildly expensive.
Podcast title: California über alles…again! New underground music from the Golden State
Host: Sean Carnage
Recorded: 11/3/2010 in Los Angeles
1 “Silver Cities (demo)” – The Monolators
2 “Helicopter” – Essay
3 “DC 40” – NASA Space Universe
4 “I Never Know” – The Tleilaxu Music Machine
5 “I’m Not Ready” – The Myonics
6 “Unfiltered Light” – Whitman
7 “Moses” – Chelsea Wolfe
8 “Girls at Night” – Total Fang
9 “Fountain” – W.H.I.T.E.
10 “Siento Tu Amor” – Dicso Bunny
All tracks © the artists