(U-WIRE) MINNEAPOLIS -You’re probably familiar with the "Behind the Music" my-manager-robbed-me-blind story. A promising young — yet naïve — musician signs a shady contract on the hood of a car without reading it. Fast forward five years: the older, now popular musician is in court suing his smarmy manager.
Local singer-songwriter and University of Minnesota student Martin Devaney is starting his own label, Eclectone Records, to unite various music scenes around the Twin Cities and to ensure he won’t fall victim to this cliché, broke musician story.
"Pretty much all of my favorite artists, from Springsteen to the Replacements got f—-d by their manager, or they never owned the rights to their music, or some record company merged into a large conglomerate and their record got lost in the shuffle, like Wilco’s (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) did."
"Even on smaller levels, if you get signed to a larger indie label, essentially, they still own your record and you have to go out and tour your ass off to make any money back. You’re not making any money off of your record. All of the money goes into their expenses for recording, distributing and promoting it. This way, all the finances are going right through me, I’m in control of it,"; Devaney says.
NEW ALBUM RELEASE
The first step he’s taking with Eclectone is releasing his third album, "September" (which, despite the name is actually slated for a December 2002 release). There are other facets that Devaney has also dealt with including gathering a street team of volunteers to help by distributing flyers and raising awareness about the label and the music. Devaney’s friend and drummer, Kevin Hunt, has been integral in organizing the group of volunteers, which is up to 12 people, so far.
But even before orchestrating the actual logistics, the first thing it takes to start a label of your very own is creating a logo, says Devaney ("It’s almost like a big sham at first," he adds).
As silly as it sounds, Devaney points out that the aesthetic value of a little logo can really make an impact on reviewers, radio stations and fellow musicians.
"Nationally, and even locally, people are really affected by the aesthetic side of things. There are certain places that will only look at or listen to your record if you’re signed or on a label."
Devaney likens his need to start a label to the credo of Lost Cause, a new local music magazine: "All real music comes from desperation." According to Devaney, the desperation exists because there’s no real sense of community in the local music scene.
STEREOTYPES HINDER MUSIC FANS
Devaney also references Chris Riemenschneider’s recent Minnesota Star Tribune article, "15 Ways to Revive the Twin Cities Music Scene." One of Riemenschneider’s criticisms about the scene is that there’s lack of "cross-pollination" between genres of music.
Deavney agrees, "We need to break down these stereotypes or assumptions about music fans," he says. "There’s nothing wrong with being in a punk band and going to a hip-hop show, enjoying it and being seen there. Now, it’s like if you’re a fan of one genre, you can’t be a fan of another, which is bull—-."
Devaney believes that this doesn’t have to be the case.
"By bringing the label in, by declaring independence and saying that I believe in what I’m doing this strongly, and I love all these kinds of music, and here’s how I think things should be done, hopefully others might follow suit. I wish more musicians had that attitude –not needing that grand prize of a major label contract," says Devaney.
Although Devaney is the main force behind the operation, the name of the label isn’t actually his idea.
"My friend Dan and I were sitting around making up names for sitcoms or plays or whatever. And one day he was like, ‘I wanna record label called Eclectone.’ And I liked it. And in a dorky way it plays into the idea of multi-genre love [of music]. It’s his name and he’ll probably sue me in a couple of years for the rights," he jokes.
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