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QRD #47 - Record Label Owner Interview Series
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Label Owner Interviews with:
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Record Label Owner Interview with Andrew Weathers & Andrew Marino of Full Spectrum
January 2011
Name: Andrew Weathers & Andrew Marino
Label: Full Spectrum Records
Artists Roster: Andrew Weathers, Andrew Marino, Nick Hennies, Radere, Noose of Laurels, Corey Larkin
Websites: www.fullspectrumrecords.com

QRD – When & why did you start your label?

Andrew Weathers – Me & Andy started this, somewhat on a whim in December of 2008. While I was on tour with Northern Valentine, I came up with the idea to do a collaborative photobook with Andy, which turned into our first release. 

Andrew Marino – Andrew & I had been working together for about a year at the time, & it just seemed like the natural thing to do. 

QRD – Where did you get the money to finance your first few releases?

Andrew Weathers – It just came from our personal savings, which has been the case for most of them. My father also gave me a small loan for my last full length.  

QRD – How many releases have you put out?

Andrew Weathers – 10 so far, working on the 11th & 12th right now. 

QRD – How many releases would you like to do a year?

Andrew Weathers – It honestly depends on the year. Our first year, we put out three, & this year we’ve put out 7. Ideally, I would say 4 to 6 a year.  

Andrew Marino – 4 to 6 sounds comfortable for just two people. We’re busy with a lot of other things so we don’t want to overload.

QRD – How many hours a week do you work on the label & how many would you like to?

Andrew Weathers – Due to other commitments, I’m really only able to spend a couple hours a week running the label. I would really like to spend more time on it in the future.  

Andrew Marino – Depends on the week. If it’s a week where we physically put together a release, we’ll spend more hours than just a typical week of updates & sending orders out.

QRD – What are the fun &/or rewarding parts about running a label?

Andrew Weathers – I really enjoy all of it. I like going to the post office to mail orders & I like putting together releases & I like being a part of music that I love that I haven’t made.

Andrew Marino – Simply the fact of making something is rewarding. 

QRD – How have your motivations for having a label changed?

Andrew Weathers – I don’t think they’ve changed too much; we’ve only been around for 2 years.

QRD – What do you feel is the biggest waste of your time running the label? 

Andrew Weathers – For me, it’s been dealing with website things. I just do not understand it at all.

Andrew Marino – Hand dubbing tapes.

QRD – What are some labels you admire or feel a kinship to?

Andrew Weathers – Aesthetically, 12k & Kranky. Ethically, Dischord & Gravity. Genetically, Silber. 

Andrew Marino – 12k, Root Strata, Type, etc.

QRD – What other work experiences prepared you to have a label?

Andrew Weathers – I mean, I’ve been in bands, playing shows & self-releasing since I was 14, so therefore absolutely none.

Andrew Marino – Nothing really.

QRD – What makes you label special & unique?

Andrew Weathers – Well, the goal behind the label was to release work by younger artists & try to do a good deal of debut full lengths. 

Andrew Marino – We are young?

QRD – How has your physical location effected your label?

Andrew Weathers – We are very happy to be from Greensboro & I think that shows in the way we present our label. At the beginning of August, Andy moved to Cary, NC & that’s just changed the way we organize ourselves. Less label meetings over beer at Tate Street, more meetings over video chat. 

Andrew Marino – It’s tough living away & when Andrew goes out on tour, but we make it work somehow.

QRD – Do you enjoy music as much now as you used to & how has running a label effected how you listen to/hear music?

Andrew Weathers – I’ve really enjoyed that it forces me to listen to possible releases more critically.

QRD – What’s your demos policy?

Andrew Marino – I don’t know. Send us something finished & we’ll give it a listen at least. 

QRD – How do you find out about new artists for your label?

Andrew Weathers – Most of the people we’ve put out so far are friends, or music we’ve discovered online.

QRD – How do most fans find out about your label?

Andrew Weathers – I think from being fans of the artists we’re releasing. 

Andrew Marino – Lots of word of mouth.

QRD – What’s been your biggest selling release & why do you think it was?

Andrew Weathers – That’s my album, A Great Southern City. Touring as much as I do helps, as our online presence isn’t huge yet.

QRD – What release that you’ve done was the most important & special to you personally?

Andrew Weathers – Definitely A Great Southern City. That album means a whole lot to me. It captured a drastic musical change & a very intense period in my life. 

Andrew Marino – I really enjoyed the photo book + CD Andrew & I did for our first official release.

QRD – What is the thing all releases on your label have in common?

Andrew Weathers – Drones.  

QRD – How involved are you with a band for acting as a producer as far as hearing demo ideas or selecting tracks to be on a release or mixing & mastering?

Andrew Weathers – We get pretty involved. A lot of the times, we try to have a dialog about the material to be released. Also, I tend to mix & master our releases.

QRD – How involved do you like to be in the artwork design for a release?

Andrew Weathers – I would like to be more involved in this, but I am terrible at this.  

Andrew Marino – Anywhere from not at all to designing the whole thing. Lately I want a dedicated graphic designer to join us.

QRD – How long is it from when an artist delivers an album to you until release date & why?

Andrew Weathers – This really varies - it’s been as short as two weeks, & as long as a year.  

QRD – If a band breaks up between the recording of a release & the release date, how does that effect what you do?

Andrew Weathers – Hasn’t happened yet. We mostly deal with solo artists, so I can’t really see this happening in the future.  

QRD – What’s a record you’d like to put out that you’ll never be able to?

Andrew Weathers – Belong - October Language 

QRD – If you really like a band, but aren’t sure you could sell many copies of their record; what do you do?

Andrew Weathers – Usually put it out anyway. We do fairly small editions, so one poor seller won’t break us. It’s when all of the small editions don’t sell that there’s a problem.  

Andrew Marino – We try to prepare a release as best we can by sending it out to review a little early & generating some buzz.

QRD – How is financing of a release split between artists & the label?

Andrew Weathers – It depends on the situation, sometimes we split it, sometimes we don’t.

QRD – How do you split profits from a release between artists & your label?

Andrew Marino – It varies, based on the amount each of us throws in.

QRD – Do you have written contracts with your bands or handshake deals?

Andrew Weathers – Always handshake deals.  

Andrew Marino – Digital handshakes & high fives.

QRD – Do you take a cut of a band’s publishing?

Andrew Weathers – No.  

QRD – Do you handle promotions in house or hire out & why?

Andrew Weathers – In house, we have no money.  

QRD – How do you maintain contact with your fanbase?

Andrew Weathers – Twitter forever. & we have a new update blog that Andy’s behind. 

QRD – How big of a staff do you have & how big of one do you need?

Andrew Weathers – By staff, we mean us & our friends. That’s all we need, we’re a small operation.

QRD – Do you view advertisements as a way to generate interest & revenue or more as a way to financially support magazines & websites you like?

Andrew Marino – Both.

QRD – What is the job of your distributors?

Andrew Weathers – Make the releases available via a different outlet than our website, which hopefully is more convenient for folks. 

QRD – How do you decide how big the initial pressing of a release should be?

Andrew Weathers – It usually depends on the artist’s fan base & how much they tour. 

Andrew Marino – Available money has a lot to do with it.

QRD – What percentage of a pressing do you use for promotions?

Andrew Weathers – A very small number, I try to only send out copies for places that I know will be interested. We also have been using digital distro for promotions.

QRD – Do you sell merchandise other than the music (t-shirts, etc.)?

Andrew Weathers – We got stickers. 

QRD – Do you sell music that is not on your label?

Andrew Weathers – No.  

QRD – How has running a label effected your own artistic career?

Andrew Weathers – Well, it’s definitely made me busier with music stuff.  

Andrew Marino – I learned how to design websites, now it’s kind of a side project for me.

QRD – Ideally, would you release your own material?

Andrew Weathers – We do.  

QRD – What do you do to try to build a sense of community within your roster?

Andrew Marino – We refer to the roster as “the fam.” We also try to do shows where we feature an artist or release every now & then.

QRD – What’s your most common conversation with bands as far as balancing artistic integrity & financial viability?

Andrew Weathers – At this point, financial viability isn’t really a concern of ours, as far as the music goes. The only place where money gets into our product is in the packaging - there are a lot of things that I think we’d like to do, but can’t because it’s too costly to produce.

QRD – How often do you look at your “return on investment” & adjust your business model?

Andrew Marino – At first we tried to keep track of everything on spreadsheets but after a while we dropped the ball on that. Right now we just work from project to project.

QRD – Do you worry about search engine optimization & website traffic?

Andrew Marino – No.

QRD – What have you done to cut costs over the years?

Andrew Marino – We don’t take paid vacations. We also try to do a majority of the work ourselves. 

QRD – Do you think the album format is dead?

Andrew Weathers – No, I love album format.  

QRD – Do you think the return of vinyl & cassettes is a fad?

Andrew Weathers – I hope not, because I like these media. I think that eventually something else will appear & become the dominant media.

Andrew Marino – Somewhat, but all that matters is appreciating the music & the medium the artist choose.

QRD – Is it important to have physical releases over digital ones or does it not matter?

Andrew Weathers – Yes. While I definitely respect digital-only labels, I don’t think that we have a desire to go that route.

Andrew Marino – I prefer having a tangible object over a digital file, but in our case I think it’s important to have both available when our limited pressings run out. 

QRD – What do you think of ultra-limited runs of releases (less than 100 discs)?

Andrew Weathers – Rad. I think the small edition has enabled a lot of excellent work to get out there.

Andrew Marino – They are affordable, but I feel like they mostly limit the growth of the label.

QRD – What do you think of “print on demand” discs?

Andrew Weathers – Not that rad.  

QRD – How much content do you feel should be available free to fans?

Andrew Weathers – As much as the artist desires.  

QRD – What do you do about people distributing your music without financial compensation (piracy & file trading)?

Andrew Weathers – If we haven’t given the go ahead, I don’t think this is cool or respectful at all.

Andrew Marino – There’s nothing you really can do. Most people can’t afford to buy all the music they want. 

QRD – What changes in things would cause you to stop your label?

Andrew Weathers – If it became too much of a financial burden, or if digital become the only way it would not be possible to continue.

Andrew Marino – Lack of available time.

QRD – What would you suggest to someone starting a label today?

Andrew Weathers – Do it.  

Andrew Marino – Have fun.

QRD – Where do you think money is currently most available to labels/musicians & where in the future?

Andrew Weathers – Right now, money is really in performing & licensing fees. As for the future, I can’t say now.

Andrew Marino – On a larger scale, advertising generates pretty good money. 

QRD – Why do you think labels are still important to artists?

Andrew Weathers – I think labels are a good place for people interested in music to go to discover good new music. I think labels should strive to have some kind of consistency in quality & content. I know I’ve found a lot of music I love, just because I was a fan of the label they put out a release on.

Andrew Marino – It can be a beneficial relationship, but I often look past what label an artist is working with & focus more on what the artist themselves are doing.

QRD – Music has had different hotspots on the internet over the years (newsgroups, MP3.com, MySpace, LastFM), but with MySpace’s decline, what do you see as the place where “normal” people go to find out about & get excited by new music?

Andrew Marino – Blogs.

QRD – In 20 years what do you think/hope your label will be known/remembered for?

Andrew Weathers – Releasing the greatest music the world has ever known.

Other QRD interviews with Andrew Weathers:
Andrew Weathers interview (March 2009)
Guitarist interview series with Andrew Weathers (June 2010)