Matt and Jeff of Below the Radar Records take us through the life of having your own label, so check them out and support them, whether a band or just a fan!
SSM:Who all is involved in the label and what exactly are your respective jobs?
Matt: I’d say Jeff and I are 95% of the label. I do alot of the public relationship while Jeff is behind the financing and overall cd production. As far as bands go we both act as scouts presenting various bands to each other. I discovered In All the Same Houses and one of the potentional third band’s that we’re looking at was found by Jeff.
Jeff: Then again you never know what random jobs come up, when In All The Same Houses CD’s were first pressed I had to drive to Long Island to pick the CDs up and it took almost a whole day to pull off. Stuff like that comes up and who ever has more free time it basically falls on their shoulders.
SSM:So far, you only have two bands on the label (Committed and In All the Same Houses). How do you choose the bands you want to work with? Is there anyway bands can go about contacting you themselves?
Matt: We both have to really like the band. Alot of record labels look for marketablity but I think that that is only about 10% of what we look at. More so, we say “Would we buy this?” if so that already puts the band high up in our interest level. We also present the bands to our close friends for second opinions almost every time.
Jeff: Its more then just the style of their music. You can’t just listen to a demo and give it a clear yes or no. We like to see the band live and meet with them personally to make sure our personalities won’t clash, that could become quite problematic over the long winded process of putting a cd out together
As for bands contacting us. The best way would be to send a demo package(demo, bio, and photo) to:
Below The Radar Records
102 Bonsall Ave
Aston, PA 19014
We will also always reply to inquiries through myspace or e-mail, but we don’t listen to bands via myspace.. partially because Jeff doesnt have speakers that work on his computer.
SSM:What made you decide on the name Below the Radar?
Jeff: For the first three weeks of the label we didnt have a name to go by so Matt and I would go to the diner a few nights a week and toss names back and forth. For the most part these names were either names I wanted to name a band someday or something from pop culture(we are really into movies and music) For about an hour we were going to be called Dobler Records. After that I don’t really remember the other horrible titles we tossed around. Eventually we decided on Below The Radar Records. This name comes from the cd Under the Radar from the band Grade. We were clever however and changed it from Under to Below. I always liked this name simply because that cd is one of my favorites simply for the song “A Year In The Past, Forever In The Future”.. plus the name Below The Radar seemed fitting for what we wanted to do. Take these bands that weren’t getting the attention we thought they deserved and try to get them into the so called lime light.
SSM:Is the label focused on certain genres only? And if so, which ones?
Matt: We’re interested in everything. The Partnership of Jeff and I has always been interesting because as much as we like the same stuff we also like very different things. I’m really into ska and indie rock where as shrop likes pop punk and old school hardcore (hense him name dropping Grade) so I’d say that really any band out there has a shot because we don’t set ourselves to a certain sound.
Jeff: We’re not looking to be the next Drive-Thru records… we just want to be a stepping stone for unheard bands that we have faith in to go somewhere
SSM:What is your ultimate goal for the label and the bands on it?
Matt: It’d be great to see one of our bands get out there and pull off a Fall Out Boy or a New Found Glory and know that we had some helping hand in that success.
Jeff: Id like to say my ultimate goal would be to actually make some sort of money would be nice.. if its not to much to ask.
SSM:How can people go about supporting and promoting the label?
Matt: Hit up the myspace and tell people about us… word of mouth has and will always be the best form of promotion… second to online myspace magazine interviews.
Jeff: Ohh Matt your such a suck-up . Seriously though online magazines are the greatest thing ever.
SSM:Why should people check out the bands on the label?
Matt: I think they’re both pretty sweet… what’s the worst that can happen from checking them out? Best case scenerio… you like them, add them on myspace and buy their CD on our Merch site… worst case scenerio… we get hate mail… which would still be a pretty sweet scenerio because we love getting mail.
Jeff: I know I get excited when my inbox says I have an unread mail.
SSM:Anything else you want to add or inform people about?
Matt: I’d like to interview Jeff and Jeff can interview me at this point so… Jeff… “What is your favorite band of all time?”
Jeff: Saint Mort MOTHERFUCKA! Same question right back at you.
Matt: SAINT MORT IS MY FAVORITE BAND TOO!… ok what is your favorite movie ever?
Jeff: Um… Fluffy the motherfucking Zombie slayer…you?
Matt: Sleepaway Camp
Matt: Just Joshin’ FLUFFY THE ZOMBIE SLAYER BIATCH!
Jeff: Id like to say Matt put that while I was in the shower. And to clear everyone up on what that was all about is that Saint Mort is Matt’s bizarre acoustic project and Fluffy the zombie slayer is a horror comedy that we are in the midst of making with our friends. I know what you’re thinking, these guys must be dorks to make a horror movie.. your damn straight we are, and you didnt need the movie to prove it one look at Matt and you’ll know he is one. One look at my aim and it tells the story for me. My IM is dorksince1983 for the record. Send me IM’s I’m lonely and for every night people don’t IM me I die a little inside.
Matt: Okay things are getting a little out of control right now. We just like to say thanks for taking your time to interview us and for the readers to read all this ridiculous stuff.
Interview by: Lauren