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QRD #52 - Indie Label Interview Series
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Indie Label Owner Interviews:
Bar la Muerte
Cape & Chalice 
Dusty Medical Records 
Gilead Media
I Had An Accident
Listen Loudest
Low Point 
Prairie Fire Tapes
Saxwand Records 
Silent Media Projects 
Sloow Tapes
Tompkins Square
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Interview with Indie Label Owner Gareth Hardwick of Low Point
March 2011

Name: Gareth Hardwick
Label: Low Point
Artists Roster: Numerous
Website: www.low-point.com

QRD – When & why did you start your label?

Gareth – Low Point was started in 2006 initially as a private press to release my own music. Other artists soon got involved & it blossomed from there.

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

Gareth – My day job & savings.

QRD – How many releases have you put out?

Gareth – By the end of the year it should be close to 50.

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

Gareth – I never start a year with a set goal in mind, things generally get released as & when they’re ready. 2011 will be Low Point’s busiest year to date though with 8 vinyl releases planned.

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

Gareth – The music & the artists Low Point works with.

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

Gareth – None.

QRD – What makes your label special & unique?

Gareth – The artists Low Point works with.

QRD – How has your physical location effected your label?

Gareth – Not at all.

QRD – What’s your demos policy?

Gareth – Unsolicited demos are currently not accepted, mainly as it’s hard to find the time to listen to them when they’re sent over.

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

Gareth – However I can.

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

Gareth – I’m guessing word of mouth, internet forums, reviews, probably even file sharing.

QRD – What are some things that make you want to work with an artist?

Gareth – If I like their music primarily.

QRD – What do you wish bands on your label would do?

Gareth – Find an appreciative audience so that we can sell more copies of their releases.

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

Gareth – There is always an unknown quantity when selling every release. Some records that I have loved sell far less than what I hoped, some releases I’ve had doubts about have done really well – it’s just the way it goes I guess...

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

Gareth – Low Point finances all releases.

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

Gareth – It’s a 50/50 profit split.

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

Gareth – Everything is on a handshake basis & is as clear cut as I can possibly make it.

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

Gareth – Absolutely not.

QRD – How important is it to you to have touring acts on your roster & what do you do to encourage it?

Gareth – Playing live always helps promote a release, but I don’t expect it from an artist.

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

Gareth – In house, mainly because I cannot afford to pay someone to do it for me.

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

Gareth – I don’t advertise.

QRD – What is the job of your distributors?

Gareth – To fill orders.

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

Gareth – Educated guess.

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

Gareth – No.

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

Gareth – In some ways it’s helped, though the fact that I’m so busy with the label hardly gives me any free time to record my own music.

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

Gareth – Every musician I know in a band works a day job as they have rent & bills to pay. I doubt that earning a living from music alone in this current climate is financially viable.

QRD – Do you think the album format is dead?

Gareth – Absolutely not.

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

Gareth – For vinyl, I hope not. I haven’t listened to a cassette in about 15 years.

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

Gareth – It matters.

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

Gareth – Useful for CDRs & private press releases.

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

Gareth – I’ve never considered them.

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

Gareth – It’s sad. Most of the artists Low Point works with do not make a living from their music. If I showed up at someone’s job on payday & grabbed their wages as they were about to receive it, that would be wrong. I see file sharing as exactly the same thing.

QRD – What’s something you see other labels do that you think of as borderline unethical?

Gareth – Not paying their way.

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

Gareth – Be prepared to lose money.

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

Gareth – I would like to think so.

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

Gareth – Releasing great music.