QRD - Current Issue   About QRD   QRD Archives
QRD #52 - Indie Label Interview Series
QRD - Thanks for your interest & support
about this issue
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
QRD - Advertise
Silber Records
Silber Button Factory
Cerebus TV
Silber Kickstarter
Interview with Indie Label Owner Caethua of Saxwand Records
March 2011

Name: Caethua
Label: Saxwand Records
City: N. Anson, Maine
Artists Roster: Sports, Ancestral Diet, Caethua, DBH
Websites: www.saxwand.com

QRD – When & why did you start your label?

Caethua – I started my label in 2006 when I was living in Asheville, NC. I wanted to release my own music & not be at the whim of other labels in terms of packaging, design, & distribution.
QRD – Where did you get the money to finance your first few releases?

Caethua – From faking it at a computer programming company for a while, from odd jobs as well. I tried to use recycled materials for some releases to cut costs.

QRD – How many releases have you put out?

Caethua – 7 albums.

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

Caethua – 4 sounds good, but it depends. I only release my own music & will continue to do things that way. Other people release my music as well, so it depends on who asks me to release music, & how much I have written & recorded. There’s always a surplus of music, as that’s my main vocation.

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

Caethua – A few hours a week are spent doing mailorder, or website stuff (although I’ve been really slack about that because my heart’s not in it).  I guess you could say when I work on music I work on the label, since the label is completely comprised of my various musical personalities’ compositions. It’s a selfish label. I’d put out more music made by other people if I wrote less songs.

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

Caethua – Having control over packaging, artwork, mastering, distribution, & not being at the whim of someone who has ideas I don’t agree with, although lately I prefer to write songs & let someone else handle the dirty work. The best part about running my label is hearing people’s reactions to the music & sending records to far off places & giving them away to friends.

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

Caethua – The internet has made things a bit sticky for me, I prefer to do things through the mail, but as I said before, I spend most time on my music & I prefer to spend less time on upkeep & packaging these days.

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

Caethua – Packaging up records, but luckily my friend Dan & my lover Andy help me with that in trade for other chores.

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

Caethua – I live currently with Andy Neubauer & Dan Beckman & Amy Moon of Turned Word records. My friend Christopher just started putting out flexi 7” on his new label Glass Coffin. I lived with Justin Rhody from Friends & Relatives Records for a long time. Bluesanct is a great friend of mine & a great label, Cephia’s Treat is great, Hot Releases, Rare Youth, Psychic Sounds, From the Wheelchair to the Pulpit, Mississippi Records, I have a lot of great friends that release music on a number of interesting labels.

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

Caethua – Playing music made me want to make records.

QRD – What makes you label special & unique?

Caethua – I guess because it’s so selfish & centered around my own projects. That could be considered a downfall too.

QRD – How has your physical location effected your label?

Caethua – I’ve moved a lot in the past, but I just got land here in N. Anson Maine, so things should be permanent for a while. Andy & I have been collaborating a lot musically & we plan on releasing a lot of records together.

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

Caethua – I love trading my records with other friends that run labels, I end up with a ton of great music. People send me a lot of music in the mail too, very inspiring.

QRD – What’s your demos policy?

Caethua – I always accept demos & I’ve gotten a lot in the mail, but I have yet to release anyone else’s music but my own. Maybe if I got a demo right up my alley I’d consider it. I’d really like to branch out & put out a number of other people’s records & some reissues too, but I’d have to be more prepared & less involved in my own music in order to do that.

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

Caethua – Word of mouth, touring, website stuff, reviews, distribution.

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

Caethua – The Caethua LP “I May Be Gone for a Long Long Time” it was my first LP & I toured a ton after I released it.

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

Caethua – The Ancestral Diet record, because the mastering job was botched, but the music still makes me shiver with darkness & love for my partner Andy. It made me learn my lesson about getting shit mastered the right way.

QRD – What are some things that make you want to work with a band?

Caethua – Some of my friends’ music is so breathtaking I want to put out compilations & boxsets of all their work, because they inspire me so much. If I were to list them all it’d take a while.

QRD – What are some things that would make you stop working with a band?

Caethua – If they’re jock assholes, if they insult me, if their music is bullshit.

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

Caethua – Me, ugh, I keep having to say that, but since you kept asking me to do this label profile, I caved, even though I’m not really a traditional label, again more of a selfish enterprise.

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?

Caethua – I’ve done it all so I know how the system works.

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

Caethua – Completely in control if possible.

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

Caethua – It all depends on when I tour & when I finish making the music.

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

Caethua – What a miserable situation. I cannot imagine what I would do if I broke up with myself.

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

Caethua – Put out other people’s music.

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

Caethua – My first recording on an 8 track from 9th grade, lost forever in my parents garage, probably thrown out when I moved out.

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

Caethua – Fuck it, I have the records ready to sell until the day I die.

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

Caethua – All me.

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

Caethua – I always ask for 25% of all records released when someone wants to put out my music. More than fair.

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

Caethua – Nope, that never happens.

QRD – How do you maintain contact with your fanbase?

Caethua – The mail or the internet.

QRD – What do you do to build relationships with record stores?

Caethua – Tour & write & call.

QRD – What do you do to build relationships with radio stations?

Caethua – Tour & write & call.

QRD – What do you do to build relationships with magazines & websites?

Caethua – Send music & hope for the best.

QRD – What do you do to build relationships with bloggers?

Caethua – Answer their emails sooner or later.

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

Caethua – Both.

QRD – What is the job of your distributors?

Caethua – To get my music to more people.

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

Caethua – I usually do 500.

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

Caethua – 10%

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

Caethua – Nope.

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

Caethua – Yes.

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

Caethua – I am more in control of my music, which I appreciate.

QRD – Ideally, would you release your own material?

Caethua – I do!

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

Caethua – Sometimes I put in little friendly notes or free CDs or test pressings to people who order records.

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

Caethua – Integrity comes from playing challenging music

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

Caethua – No.

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

Caethua – Nothing.

QRD – Do you think the album format is dead?

Caethua – No.

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

Caethua – FUCK no.

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

Caethua – Physical all the way.

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

Caethua – Fine fine.

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

Caethua – Too much work for the person, bad idea.

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

Caethua – My policy: if you’re a good weird  person & a true fan & you have no money & I’m on tour & you’re looking sad at the merch box wishing you had money, I’ll give you a free record.

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

Caethua – Trade away.

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

Caethua – Acting like snobby prigs & supporting mediocrity because it sells.

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

Caethua – If the dark ages we are currently going through get worse, then that may happen indeed.

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

Caethua – Trading is the way to go, quit your job & build a shack & trade or break your back working in order to buy records, or be a criminal & buy or steal records.

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

Caethua – They put out important music.  They give artists a voice & a platform to express their feelings to the world.

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?

Caethua – SHOWS.

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

Caethua – Great fucking music!

QRD – Anything else?

Caethua – Freedom!

Follow-up interview