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Whited Sepulchre Records

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Indie Label Roundtable #4 – Whited Sepulchre Records / Crafted Sounds / Tor Johnson Records
Recent releases: Midwife – Like Author, Like Daughter | John Atkinson / Sabriel’s Orb Split | Kyle Bobby Dunn / Wayne Robert Thomas Split
 
What made you start a label?
I guess I am pretty susceptible to peer-pressure. I was winding down things with Heligator (a net-label I ran from 2013-2016) and within a week of each other both braeyden jae and Alex Cobb (Students of Decay/Soda Gong) asked me if I wanted to start a label releasing physical media. I said, “sure, why not?”.


What are some of the challenges you see as a label owner?
The biggest challenge is having eyes too big for my stomach/wallet/time-commitment. Since starting the label I’ve had to turn down projects that I would love to release but simply don’t have the capacity to do. I work full-time, teach part-time, play in a band and run a podcast. Finding the time to really put in the necessary work to do a legit press-run and not cut corners with things like packaging and finding solid distro is a major challenge and requires sacrificing things like sleep and being totally present as a partner sometimes. I think on some kind of karmic debt situation, running a label is totally “worth it”. Practically, I can’t speak with a lot of confidence beyond the fact that I’ve met some of my best friends doing this and deepened connections with artists I truly admire and respect. Success would be being able to continue this label for as long as I could and to have it sustain itself.


What is your take on Spotify and streaming services?
As a music consumer I love Spotify. But I feel like unless I have a focused listening plan like exploring an artist’s discography or going through a best of list, I am paralyzed by choice. I’m sure this has been think-pieced to death but streaming services like Spotify are not conducive to deep listening but rather getting cursory glances at worlds of undiscovered music. I use distrokid for digital distribution. So far it has not really paid for itself. Not sure if I am going to continue the subscription. Last year they auto-enrolled me so by the time I realized it, it was too late.


Is there a specific focus as far as genres or local/regional aspect of music you’re releasing?
Not really. I feel like I’m mostly pulling from mostly ambient-drone folks but 2019 will have some notable genre shifts. Nothing too radical though. I went to school in Salt Lake City and have dear friends connected to that music scene – braeyden jae, Sympathy Pain and Sabriel’s Orb I met when I was there. I’d like to put out some more Cincinnati-based artists, which is where I’m located. The Brianna Kelly tape I put out is one of my favorite things I’ve heard. I also grew up in Denver which is how I met Madeline (Midwife) however that was after I had moved away from the city 10+ years ago.


Do you believe that music could bring about social change?
I am a Social Worker by trade. I absolutely believe music can bring about social change. I believe that popular music is best used as an organizing tool as well as a microphone for discontent. I became a Social Worker because of Fugazi. While in high school I learned about their concerts in support of Planned Parenthood and protests against Desert Storm, but I also learned about Positive Force and their organizing around local political and social issues and their direct services to elderly D.C. residents. I was introduced to radical politics by bands like boysetsfire, Racetraitor and Fifteen. Music also has the ability to heal, make sense of the world,
make us feel less alone and create discrepancies about the world that can be and the world that exists. I worked as a case manager for youth with mental and behavioral health challenges. Part of my work was helping them access and recognize emotions beyond binaries of happy/sad, etc. I would play them music and ask them to identify the emotions they felt as they listened to everything from Satie to Bane. It was amazing to watch them struggle through initial reactions and really engage with how these songs made them feel. The corollary is that our emotions are complex and we can sometimes hold opposing emotions and views at the same time and be OK with it. It was powerful.
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Indie Label Roundtable #4 – Whited Sepulchre Records / Crafted Sounds / Tor Johnson Records