LR Interviews: Rise Records

Hello, friends. Happy Fest weekend! Here is an interview with Craig Ericson of Rise Records to celebrate. Love, Thomas.

Rise is having a busy last couple of weeks. You guys put out the Man Overboard self-titled on September 27 and Transit’s record on October 4. This Is Hell is only a week later, on October 11. One release per week is pretty insane! Give us an inside look at what’s been going on with you guys for the last month or so.

Yeah, we’ve been really busy with all of the new releases. But, we can handle it. Our distro is top notch and the Rise team is really efficient and we work smart.

I think these days, a lot of record labels are sort of proceeding with caution. A lot are downsizing and maybe choosing what to release a little more carefully, especially some of the bigger independent labels. Take us through your guys’ outlook when it comes to output, as you’ve been increasing roster size and, like noted above, putting out quite a few records. Rise is - ahem - rising? during a period where lots of labels are doing just the opposite.

We’ve always gone against the grain. We know that word of mouth sells records and spending money on advertising doesn’t necessarily sell records. We’ve worked hard over the years to build a brand that the all-ages music scene can rely on. Whether it’s metalcore or pop-punk, kids can trust that Rise will release great albums from multiple genres.

September and October are particularly busy months for your “WTF” signings from a while back. Sticking to Man Overboard and Transit in particular since they just released albums, how have those signings played out for you and how do you think those bands are promoting the Rise Records name in the scene and amongst new listeners, who previously might not have listened to bands on Rise too much?

I think it’s a win-win. Rise has always had a diverse roster but none of the rock type bands got big and went unnoticed for the most part. I think it’s a little different with Man Overboard and Transit because they had some buzz before I signed them. I didn’t discover those 2 bands.

Another upcoming album is A Loss For Words’ No Sanctuary coming out on October 25, which is a dual release with Velocity Records. Can you first give us some thoughts on the new AL4W record, and then maybe explain for everyone how the whole Velocity imprint works?

I’m really pleased with how the new album turned out. It has all the elements to make it an amazing album. It’s super catchy, honest, earnest and sincere. I can’t express how much I like this band and this album.

Velocity is the Dave Shapiro’s record label. We joined forces last year and Velocity is an official imprint of Rise Records. Basically, Dave finds the bands and we work them as a Rise band. It’s been a great partnership.

Rise just announced the signing of Cheap Girls. How did that signing come about, and what should we expect from them moving forward? Give us some thoughts on their past work and what made them an attractive signing.

I’ve been a fan for a couple of years now and their manager reached out to us. We were very interested and worked out a deal. I really like Ian’s voice and their overall vibe. I think they’ll make a great addition to the roster.

Probably the biggest shocker that Rise pulled out was landing Hot Water Music and getting the rights to put out their upcoming 2012 full-length. I know you said this was a “dream” signing for you (assuming this is Craig), so can you talk about that signing and the excitement for it, and about how maybe this thing has come full circle for you so long after starting the label?

I don’t really know what else to say. It truly is my dream signing. They are my favorite band and the album “Forever And Counting” brought me back to music after a few year hiatus. They are great human beings as well and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I can now die a happy man.

When you guys announced the Cheap Girls signing, you released that info on your Facebook with a little bit of a disclaimer: “Core Rise fans….have some respect and cherish diversity. We can’t sign all screamo bands, okay?? This is what you’ll be listening to when you’re a little older so consider it a gift to you, from Rise. Trash talk and trolling will get you banned, you’ve been warned.” Let’s talk a little bit about the opposite side of the signing of these bands - the perspective of the dubbed “core Rise fan” who listens to metalcore music. What is the message you want to send to these fans, and what have been the most common responses from these fans to the latest additions to your roster?

My message was clear. Have respect for other types of music. Kids that exclusively listen to metalcore can sometimes just automatically hate everything that doesn’t sound like metalcore. I don’t want to stereotype people, but a lot them talk shit. I don’t really like shit talkers, especially if it’s on the Rise site about a Rise band. Common sense, right??

Continuing about metalcore music, a lot of people this is a genre with a pretty short shelf life. Do you see Rise continuing to sign and produce metalcore records, or is this the beginning of a movement to a more punk/pop-punk outlook?

We will continue to sign metalcore bands. We will continue to sign rock bands. We will continue to sign Pop-punk bands. We will continue to metal/thrash bands. We will continue to sign hardcore bands. Get my message??

Punk and pop-punk are genres that have been out of the mainstream for quite a while now. Rise is a pretty big label as far as independents go, with a lot of resources to make things happen. With some of these bands - especially Man Overboard, which happens to have a more “marketable” sound, and might have been on the radio in the earlier parts of the 2000s - do you see them ever getting the chance to be widely known like that again?

I hope so. Though, we don’t do any radio. Not sure it will ever be like it once was. I think it will still be underground with a few artists that go big every once in a blue moon.

Thanks a lot to Craig!