Owner Interview with
Bertrand Blanchard of Hello.L.A.
Name: Bertrand Blanchard
City: Clermont-FD, France
Artists Roster: Sludge Factorie, V8, Morbidly-O-Beats, Bakus, SPLNSHNTS, Hoot, Marjen, Alaska, Bloodmoney, True Deceiver
QRD – When & why did you start your label?
Bertrand – At first, Hello.L.A. was started in April 2012 as an outlet to draw, paint & print music posters & illustrations. Now I also release free digital records & limited handcrafted CDs.
QRD – Where did you get the money to finance your first few releases?
Bertrand – From my bank account.
QRD – How many releases have you put out?
Bertrand – 16 digital & 12 physical.
QRD – How many releases would you like to do a year?
Bertrand – The most I can do.
QRD – How many hours a week do you work on the label & how many would you like to?
Bertrand – It’s a full-time job. I don’t get much sleep.
QRD – What are the fun &/or rewarding parts about running a label?
Bertrand – Running a label ha-ha, I mean, you’re “running a label”, that’s fun.
QRD – How do you feel labels are more & less useful to artists now than they were five years ago?
Bertrand – Building a community can be useful. But, actually, wait… I don’t know….
QRD – How have your motivations for having a label changed over time?
Bertrand – Nope.
QRD – What do you feel is the biggest waste of your time running the label?
Bertrand – I’m not so good at promoting stuff.
QRD – What are some labels you admire or feel a kinship to?
Bertrand – I Had An Accident, FilthyBroke Recordings, Fake Four… Much respect & love.
QRD – What other work experiences prepared you to have a label?
Bertrand – None, I used to study history at the university.
QRD – What makes your label special & unique?
Bertrand – I also print & sell music posters.
QRD – How has your physical location effected your label?
Bertrand – I live in France & I only work with US & Canadian artists, I always have to fight against that damned timezone.
QRD – Do you enjoy music as much now as you used to & how has running a label effected how you listen to/hear music?
Bertrand – Yep, I still enjoy music, I mean, I run a record label.
QRD – What’s your demos policy?
Bertrand – Just send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a link.
QRD – How do you find out about new artists for your label?
Bertrand – Internet seems to be a good database.
QRD – How do most fans find out about your label?
Bertrand – Social media & search engine I guess.
QRD – What are some things that make you want to work with a band?
Bertrand – I love people who act like real human beings.
QRD – What are some things that would make you stop working with a band?
Bertrand – I kinda hate people who act like fucking robots.
QRD – What is the thing all releases on your label have in common?
Bertrand – They all come from real human beings.
QRD – How involved do you like to be in the artwork design for a release?
Bertrand – I use to do most of the artwork design.
QRD – How long is it from when an artist delivers an album to you until release date & why?
Bertrand – Sometimes… 2 days ha-ha. I’m a weird record label you know. But 1 or 2 weeks is much better.
QRD – What do you wish bands on your label would do?
Bertrand – Sharing the links.
QRD – If you really like a band, but aren’t sure you could sell many copies of their record; what do you do?
Bertrand – Let’s do it.
QRD – How do you maintain contact with your fanbase?
Bertrand – Through social media
QRD – Do you have intern & street team programs & if so, how do they operate?
Bertrand – Nope, I work all alone.
QRD – Do you sell merchandise other than the music (t-shirts, etc.)?
Bertrand – I draw, paint, print, & sell music posters.
QRD – How has running a label effected your own artistic career?
Bertrand – I’m still the same, insecure & confident
QRD – What do you do to try to build a sense of community within your roster?
Bertrand – We’re all working together, with a lot of enthusiasm. I am the label, they are the label, WE are the label.
QRD – How often do you look at your “return on investment” & adjust your business model?
Bertrand – Ha-ha, sorry, I do not understand.
QRD – Do you worry about search engine optimization & website traffic?
Bertrand – I love that Google Analytics shit, funny shit. Sometimes I feel like I’m working for the NSA.
QRD – Do you think the album format is dead?
Bertrand – Nope.
QRD – Do you think the return of vinyl & cassettes is a fad?
Bertrand – Nope.
QRD – Is it important to have physical releases over digital ones or does it not matter?
Bertrand – I don’t know, but people still buy physical releases.
QRD – What do you think of ultra-limited runs of releases (less than 100 discs)?
Bertrand – I only release ultra-limited records. I like that.
QRD – What do you do about people distributing your music without financial compensation (piracy & file trading)?
Bertrand – I love these guys. But all of our releases are free to download, so ha-ha.
QRD – What changes in things would cause you to stop your label?
Bertrand – My bank account.
QRD – What would you suggest to someone starting a label today?
Bertrand – Do it.
QRD – Where do you think money is currently most available to labels/musicians & where in the future?
Bertrand – Robbing a bank seems to be a good way to get some money.
QRD – Why do you think labels are still important to artists?
Bertrand – Maybe sometimes it’s good to work on something all together.
QRD – Music has had different hotspots on the internet over the years (newsgroups, MP3.com, MySpace, LastFM), but when MySpace died there was no real space that picked up the torch, what do you see as the place where “normal” people go to find out about & get excited by new music?
Bertrand – Good music is wherever you can find it. Just be curious.
QRD – Spotify has become an undeniable force that has reduced download sales while (allegedly) fighting piracy. In the end what is good or bad about it for you as a label & do you embrace it?
Bertrand – I don’t care about Spotify. They do their own business & we don’t live on the same comet.
QRD – What social networks are you active on & what ones aren’t worth the time & energy to you?
Bertrand – Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram. A lot of effort, & a lot of waste of time. I’m still trying to find a balance.
QRD – With the rise of social networks & trusted download shops, has your own website become less important than it was a few years ago?
Bertrand – Nope, & I’m in love with my website! Check it http://store.hellola-hellola.com
QRD – Do you think fan funding (e.g. Kickstarter) is the future, a fad, or an awful thing for the music industry?
Bertrand – You can’t imagine how much I hate that shit.
QRD – In 20 years what do you think/hope your label will be known/remembered for?
Bertrand – Ha-ha, 20 years? Nothing.
QRD – Anything else?
Bertrand – Stay alive.