Wednesday 23 Apr

IndianGiver - Understudies

There’s a difference between being derivative and being inspired by something, a line a lot of artists can’t seem to find — or at least don’t care to.
04/22/2014 | Comments 0

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Label love

Label love

While the major record labels drop like flies, local indie ones are on the rise.

Stephen Carradini June 15th, 2011

Major labels may be going the way of the buffalo, but independent record labels still have ardent supporters in Oklahoma City.

Travis Searle runs Guestroom Records Records
Credits: Mark Hancock

“Record labels are the best way for an unknown artist to have their music distributed for sale,” said Travis Searle, co-owner of both Guestroom Records and its label, Guestroom Records Records. “We didn’t even think about it being a digital age. It doesn’t matter to us. We like listening to music on vinyl, so that’s the format we prefer to release music on.”

Chris Harris, owner/operator of Nice People Records, however, sees MP3s as important.

“My idea was to be an MP3 label, so that bands can have some immediate gratification,” Harris said, although Nice People still puts out records, and even vinyl. “We’re more of a shortterm goal. Building a buzz is just as important as putting out a record and putting a few songs out there builds that buzz.”

Chemical Wire Records started in 1995, before iTunes was even a beta. It was called FSU Records then, but changed names in 2003.

It’s embraced the digital age as well. The first 100 people to sign up for its email list at after reading this will receive free records. No, really! The label wants to help its acts out in any way possible; sending the music through the Internet is one more way to do it.

“We try to hook them up as much as we can on the work end. We can’t throw a lot of money at it, but if they’re doing the work, we try to help them get where they want to go,” said J. Maxey, Chemical Wire co-owner.

That’s the goal of all three record labels: Get the music more exposure, no matter the genre.

“We work with bands we really like and think other people might, too,” said Searle, whose label has releases by Starlight Mints, Rainbows Are Free and Shitty/Awesome under its belt.

“I can’t think of anything we turned down ’cause it wasn’t in our genre,” Maxey said. His label focuses on indie folk (like Rainy Day) and indie rock, but has released rockabilly and psychedelic (Tony Brown’s Happy Hour) as well.

Although only around for a year, Nice People encompasses sounds as disparate as The Boom Bang’s manic surf-rock and Depth & Current’s heavy psych to Skating Polly’s two-girl indie-rock sound.

“Thus far, it has been ‘local bands only,’ but it’s not a rule,” Searle said of Guestroom’s lineup. “In fact, we’re going to look into spreading out nationally a bit in the future.”

Chemical Wire already works with bands outside of Oklahoma, from farflung places such as Ohio (Swearing at Motorists), San Diego (The Battle of Land and Sea) and Austin (Will Cope). Nice People wants to put its bands on the road all over the nation, but has a local, family oriented approach to its artists.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5