Owner Follow-Up Interview with
Caethua of Saxwand Records
Label: Saxwand Records
City: North Anson Maine
Artists Roster: Caethua, Sports, Ura Rider, Ancestral Diet
Websites: If you search something will come up. I let my domain expire & threw in the internet towel a while ago. I rarely go to the Public Library to check the old email.
Original Label Owner Interview with QRD
QRD – Any major changes to the label or your general outlook on running a label since last time?
Caethua – Yup. No internet & moving into tape releases, waiting for other labels to do the vinyl. Bathetic Records, friend of mine in Asheville, just put out my new vinyl. I was happy with everything, the process & the outcome, the record looks & sounds damned good, so I’m really into working with other labels to make my records. I may one day make more myself, but for the time being it’s get rid of the old to make way for the new & hope that another label will put out the new.
QRD – How do you feel labels are more & less useful to artists now than they were five years ago?
Caethua – Geez, this man from Bathetic took all my cassingles, scrawled water stained letters & directions & mastered the sounds well & took all my paintings & scanned them in, did everything to make my new record, Caethua: Red Moon. This is how label interactions should be. He was never concerned with time or with me doing it my way. & he was real nice. It should be as friendly as any cottage industry & once you go corporate, expect to be treated like a dog.
QRD – There are a lot less record stores than their used to be. How has that effected your model for releasing music?
Caethua – I’m an hour away from the nearest record store & he’s a dusty old salt with rock & roll hall of fame tastes. I tour. Try to play a lot all over the country. People want the records, they buy ‘em. I’m lucky I got a couple distributors carrying my stuff. Though I don’t know where the money goes. I reckon to the labels. I always demand a bunch of free records as part of any deal. Other than that, not much profit is ever made. But that’ll change once I get big.
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?
Caethua – Pirate away. Anything can be yours if you want it bad enough. Digital laws are easily broken. I stay out of it though. I don’t even know what Spotify is.
QRD – Most labels are making a bit less money than they were a few years ago. What have you done to lower expenses or find new sources of revenue?
Caethua – Growing a ton of potatoes & raising goats, though they’re only really worth it when they’re roasting on the fire. Really, there are so many ways to cut expenses these days. Chances are you know someone who can design & print good covers for cheap, really the money should go into the mastering. I’ve never been given a budget for recording, although a producer friend of mine recorded a side-project & mixed it down at Tiny Telephone in Oakland, California (the record that came from that was Ryan Fontaine Featuring Ura Rider) & while I never saw the bill, it was worth whatever it cost because the end result sounded incredible. Putting out musicians that record themselves will, as a label, save you money; but the real deal recording studio all analog 2 inch tape stuff is worth the money if you have it... Otherwise, go cheap when you’re starting out. Cut all corners.
QRD – What social networks are you active on & what ones aren’t worth the time & energy to you?
Caethua – I’m real active on the real social network, like seeing people face to face. The rest ain’t worth it for me.
QRD – With the rise of social networks & trusted download shops, has your own website become less important than it was a few years ago?
Caethua – Ha! It’s gone to the dust. I know I sound like a cocky cowboy, but truly, I let it go to the dust. I do mail order now & touring too, with the mail order if you want record info, mail me a request at: Saxwand Records, PO Box 213, North Anson, ME 04958.
QRD – Do you think fan funding (e.g. Kickstarter) is the future, a fad, or an awful thing for the music industry?
Caethua – If you can get your music put out, then it’s great for whomever wants it that bad. I thought about it once, in a phone call to a friend who told me what it was, but I pulled out fast for fear of long internet stints. They leave me feeling empty or give me this false sense of the world at my fingertips, only to be disappointed when it doesn’t go my way.
QRD – What’s something you leave up to bands to do rather than handling as a label?
Caethua – Let ‘em do what they have to to get that recording, if they can’t come up with something on their own & are expecting you to treat them like a star & pay for their recording, let ‘em go somewhere else. Then again, if you know someone is good & would benefit from that studio session & you have the bank, do it with discipline.
QRD – Do you see albums, EPs, or singles more relevant than a few years ago or pretty much in the same place?
Caethua – There’s a whole lot more now, I’m sure, but people’s enthusiasm keeps me recording & playing. I’m more of an artist than a label, as you can tell, but compare this interview with my first one & you can witness the movement of time well spent on other things than the computer. I think records are more popular now. But now that the industry is inundated, turnaround times for pressing vinyl are a real pain, so I think tapes are the way at the moment. Save your money, get the music out there fast.
QRD – Do you have separate release dates for different formats (CD, vinyl, digital download, streaming)?
Caethua – Sometimes the records come with downloads. I like that. I’m about to do the first CD in a long time for a lady in France. I hope someone puts it to vinyl. So yeah, I bet there will be a separate release date.
QRD – Anything else?
Caethua – Well, I hope this is helpful for someone out there... I am a living testament that you can, if you want to, completely let go of your internet ways & if you’re lucky, someone with a kind heart & good ears will put out your music & do all the dirty work for you & that people who saw you play will keep in touch with you the old way, through the mail & phone, & respect that sometimes you have to just go to a show & see for yourself & not look for a mind on the computer.
I feel very lucky in this time considering the way things are going. I keep writing more & more music & I love sharing it with the world & luckily it’s the friends I have & have made over the years from music & touring that are the ones recording me & putting out my music & coming to shows & giving me support. Otherwise I record it myself in my bus with a generator & a four-track & release it on tape only available to those who see me play live. It works. It gets you the money you need to keep on traveling. & anyone can do it. Labels do it better sometimes, but labels are just people like you. Save your money & put out 100 tapes. That’s where you start.
If you’re an artist looking for someone to put out your stuff, my advice is to skip sending demos to strangers. That never really gets you anywhere. Play shows as much as you can, make friends with other bands, talk to people, & wait for someone to want to put out your music. Otherwise you’re in for a sea of empty effort & sadness. Hell, maybe there’s hope that labels will start putting out more by people they don’t know, people they get demos from, but I doubt it. Money’s tight. It’s all who you know & who you impress while you’re singing your heart out.
Thanks for taking the time to hear me out. Make your life your own. & love to all that have been supportive of what I do.