with Mark Morris of Bo' Weavil Recordings
Name: Mark Morris
Label: Bo’ Weavil Recordings
Artists Roster: Steve Noble / John Edwards / Alan Wilkinson / Decoy / Joe Mcphee / Stephen O’Malley / Tom James Scott / C Joynes / Chris Abrahams & Roil / Simon H Fell / Peter Brotzmann / Oren Amabarchi / Robbie Avenaim... & many more
QRD – When & why did you start your label?
Mark – 2004 as I really wanted to see some vinyl releases of Henry Flynt & other artists.
QRD – Where did you get the money to finance your first few releases?
Mark – From my own savings.
QRD – How many releases have you put out?
Mark – About 60 releases.
QRD – How many releases would you like to do a year?
Mark – 10.
QRD – How many hours a week do you work on the label & how many would you like to?
Mark – 20 hours. I would love to spend full time on it....
QRD – What are the fun &/or rewarding parts about running a label?
Mark – Being a part of the creative artistic process... & getting feedback about the label... positive feeback that is....
QRD – How have your motivations for having a label changed?
Mark – Motivated more to do vinyl these days... but the industry is changing, so I am not sure how long it will be possible for labels like mine to survive... fingers crossed for a good while longer, as I don’t want to stop....
QRD – What do you feel is the biggest waste of your time running the label?
Mark – Nothing comes to mind... maybe dealing with problems in vinyl production; it’s not a waste of time as you have to deal with problems, but if there were less problems it would make things easier....
QRD – What are some labels you admire or feel a kinship to?
Mark – Dancing Wayang.... Pan... Amish Records... & lots more....
QRD – What other work experiences prepared you to have a label?
Mark – Working in record stores & for other labels....
QRD – What makes you label special & unique?
Mark – It is very much my individual taste in music & therefore has a different feel to any other label, but all labels have their own flavour....
QRD – How has your physical location effected your label?
Mark – Been living in Sydney for the last 2 years which has made it much more difficult with a feeling of dislocation from most of the artists & music....
QRD – Do you enjoy music as much now as you used to & how has running a label effected how you listen to/hear music?
Mark – Yes as much if not more....
QRD – What’s your demos policy?
Mark – I will try & listen to most... I prefer digital over physical product.…
QRD – How do you find out about new artists for your label?
Mark – Most times I have come across the artist in a live setting... I have never released any music from an unsolicited demo....
QRD – How do most fans find out about your label?
Mark – Probably from press & artists....
QRD – What’s been your biggest selling release & why do you think it was?
Mark – Noah Howard’s Black Ark, as it was a classic out of print record that needed reissuing....
QRD – What release that you’ve done was the most important & special to you personally?
Mark – Reissuing Anne Briggs’s music on vinyl... & her being very happy with the results.
QRD – What are some things that make you want to work with a band?
Mark – Good music....
QRD – What are some things that would make you stop working with a band?
Mark – It becoming too difficult in terms of expectations from either side....
QRD – What is the thing all releases on your label have in common?
Mark – I like the music....
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?
Mark – Differs from release to release, but overall I let the musician decide what they want, & if it fits with my tastes then we move forward....
QRD – How involved do you like to be in the artwork design for a release?
Mark – Very involved....
QRD – How long is it from when an artist delivers an album to you until release date & why?
Mark – Normally about 8 months or longer... simply the process of getting the artwork done the production process.... Vinyl can take a long time, as there are so many parts that can go wrong....
QRD – What do you wish bands on your label would do?
Mark – Tour more....
QRD – What’s a record you’d like to put out that you’ll never be able to?
Mark – Milford Graves’ Babi Music.… I love it but he does not want to reissue it....
QRD – If you really like a band, but aren’t sure you could sell many copies of their record; what do you do?
Mark – Probably go ahead & put it out anyway....
QRD – How is financing of a release split between artists & the label?
Mark – Label pays for everything to do with production & press.
QRD – How do you split profits from a release between artists & your label?
Mark – 50/50 or they get a percentage of the run as payment.
QRD – Do you have written contracts with your bands or handshake deals?
Mark – Sometimes.
QRD – Do you take a cut of a band’s publishing?
Mark – No.
QRD – How important is it to you to have touring acts on your roster & what do you do to encourage it?
Mark – Pretty important & yeah I would encourage it... today this is the best way to sell music....
QRD – Do you handle promotions in house or hire out & why?
Mark – I do promotion in house... but not a huge amount... too small a label & not enough money....
QRD – How do you maintain contact with your fanbase?
Mark – Internet.
QRD – Do you have intern & street team programs & if so, how do they operate?
Mark – No.
QRD – How big of a staff do you have & how big of one do you need?
Mark – No, staff it is only me.
QRD – What do you do to build relationships with radio stations?
Mark – Send promos to some stations....
QRD – What do you do to build relationships with magazines & websites?
Mark – Send promos.
QRD – What do you do to build relationships with bloggers?
Mark – Promos.
QRD – Do you view advertisements as a way to generate interest & revenue or more as a way to financially support magazines & websites you like?
Mark – To increase label & release profile, but I do this only a few times a year....
QRD – What is the job of your distributors?
Mark – To distribute.
QRD – How do you decide how big the initial pressing of a release should be?
Mark – Based on what I think it will sell.…
QRD – What percentage of a pressing do you use for promotions?
Mark – 10%.
QRD – Do you sell merchandise other than the music (t-shirts, etc.)?
Mark – Not really.
QRD – Do you sell music that is not on your label?
Mark – No.
QRD – What do you do to try to build a sense of community within your roster?
Mark – Getting artists to work together or be on the same gig bills....
QRD – What’s your most common conversation with bands as far as balancing artistic integrity & financial viability?
Mark – I don’t have this conversation.
QRD – How often do you look at your “return on investment” & adjust your business model?
Mark – I don’t.
QRD – Do you worry about search engine optimization & website traffic?
Mark – A little, but not a lot.
QRD – What have you done to cut costs over the years?
Mark – By trying to source the best prices I can get.
QRD – Do you think the album format is dead?
Mark – No... CDs seem to be dying....
QRD – Do you think the return of vinyl & cassettes is a fad?
Mark – No... vinyl will always be around... cassette might be a fad.
QRD – Is it important to have physical releases over digital ones or does it not matter?
Mark – For me yes... it’s what I love & I will never been involved if it is purely digital....
QRD – What do you think of ultra-limited runs of releases (less than 100 discs)?
Mark – That’s cool.
QRD – What do you think of “print on demand” discs?
Mark – I don’t have an opinion.
QRD – What changes in things would cause you to stop your label?
Mark – If I started to really lose money.
QRD – What would you suggest to someone starting a label today?
Mark – Hmm... don’t do it for money... do it for love & only love....
QRD – Where do you think money is currently most available to labels/musicians & where in the future?
Mark – For musicians in live music & publishing. For some labels in publishing & placing music on ads etc... which is not really my thing....
QRD – Why do you think labels are still important to artists?
Mark – As they need someone to take care of the production process & promotion process.
QRD – In 20 years what do you think/hope your label will be known/remembered for?
Mark – A good body of work....