Get To Know Your Local Label : You’ve Changed Records

February 27, 2017 in features

Let’s start with the very basic – what inspired you to start the label?

Riding in the van with Attack In Black after the 3rd Sappyfest there was a certain amount of discussion about how to get the amount of music they were making out into the world, music that didn’t fit into marketing plans, or regular, slow, release schedules. It was then just a matter of saying “Why don’t you start your own thing?” and “I could help you with that.”

How did your collective experiences of being in bands that had quite a bit of success and deals with labels of various sizes influence You’ve Changed Records and how you wanted your own label to be structured?

The most direct influence for me personally would have been the experience of working with the late great Three Gut Records on the first three Constantines records. It was a great lesson on what can be achieved by a very small group of creative, committed, and hardworking people. But also, falling in with Attack In Black at that time really made clear the need and the excitement in staying able to move nimble and quick. You’ve Changed Records is sometimes surprisingly professional, but as far as structure and philosophy a lot of it developed in an effort to keep up with Daniel Romano and Ian Kehoe.

You’ve released a wide range of music from artists of various genres from across the country, the overriding common thread between all the bands seeming to be the sheer quality of songwriting and music they produce. How do you know if a particular artist or release would fit in well with the You’ve Changed family?  Is it mainly stylistic or more relationship driven as friendships seem to be a big part of the You’ve Changed ?

I’d agree with you that the shared quality is songwriting. I like that we’re not tied down to a specific genre or sound. The decision of what will work is made intuitively and as such is pretty hard to describe, but after eight years I do feel a responsibility to the work we’ve done in the past, and the work we hope to do in the future.  It’s a constantly evolving idea of what makes sense together, and what is exciting, and important.

The relationship is the other element that must be present. I’m fascinated and engaged by the artists and they are all people that I love working with and spending time with. Sometimes that friendship comes first, and sometimes it develops from the work, but it’s the only way this whole venture makes sense.

What is the most satisfying thing about running your own label as opposed to releasing records on other people’s labels? What’s the hardest thing about releasing your own records?

The flexibility to do what we want, more or less when we want to do it. We can go against all normal methods of marketing and timeline and release schedule if we want. There’s a satisfaction in knowing that whatever is achieved is achieved due to one’s own labour.

The flip side is the brutal reality of having no filters between myself and the world. Driving in a car with no windshield through a storm of failure. And, of course, it’s just a lot of work, some tasks less pleasant than others. Writing your own promotional copy is the one of the surest ways I’ve found to feel like a total goof.

Any advice for someone thinking of starting a label?

Only put out totally excellent records that you love dearly.  You very well might end up with several hundred of them sitting in your closet, and even if not it will be a lot of work to rid yourself of them. It’s sometimes useful to measure success in the amount of shelf space you have freed up. Don’t start with a compilation or a tribute album.

If you could release a record by any band of the past, what would it be?  What about active bands?

I would have liked to have released the final, lost, Attack In Black album. I would have loved to put out Ladyhawk – No Can Do, but after some talk they made a different choice. I’m sure there are some others, but it’s probably better for me to try and figure out how we are going to put out the next thing, rather than trying to figure out how to change the past.

Can you give us 4 or 5 songs that you feel showcase the label from start to where you are now?

I can’t! It’s too small a number and I would be burdened by the consciousness of everything I left out. It would weigh heavy. It could damage.

And a few personal questions – Do you remember what the first record you bought was? The first one that really inspired you?

I think the first cassette I ever bought was Roxette – Look Sharp. Funny to think about the peculiarities of the young mind, now. I was lucky enough to have an older brother who’s BMX videos led to him bringing home cassettes by Operation Ivy and Fugazi. That was the stuff that really revealed the existence of a more passionate, engaged, thrilling, and artful world to my developing brain.

Are you an avid vinyl collector? Do you have any finds you’re especially proud of?

Not really! To be honest, I’ve sustained a dubious and skeptical relationship to the accumulation of most things, and have always attempted a physical existence that skews towards the lightly adorned. That being said, when the very kind proprietors of Milk Crate Records in Kelowna, BC gifted me a copy of The Mekons – So Good It Hurts I was pretty thrilled.

To wrap up, what’s in store for You’ve Changed  for the end of the year and 2017? Anything else you’d like to add?

Oh man, it’s crazy what we have in the works! I can’t quite spill the beans yet, but anyone who’s followed our label and this music at any time in the last 8 years will be stoked.

Mostly, I would just like to say thanks for listening, thanks for staying interested, thanks for coming to shows, supporting the music, thanks for sharing our tunes with your friends.  Thanks for sticking with us.

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By Tim Lidster

Tim Lidster started Label Obscura to help rationalize and justify his ever growing collection of records. When he's not listening, thinking, or writing about music, he enjoys getting out and exploring the city with his family.

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