Minneapolis Saint Paul has a thriving, vibrant music scene. It’s not a secret if you’re paying attention.
Compelling, talented bands aren’t hard to seek out any day of the week in the metro area. Area clubs are accessible to the 18+ set and most shows pull a fair to SRO crowd on a given weekend.
Adding to that is a camaraderie among most local groups that makes all of us proud to say we’re from Minneapolis — especially the bands starting to get moderate mainstream attention. Then you add in music enthusiasts like local label Royalty, Etc.’s co-founder , and there’s really no question why I chose to move to Minneapolis.
In an interview with Perfect Porridge in April 2006, Morse talked about some of his favorite local Minneapolis bands lacking exposure, “I couldnâ€™t believe no one had signed them, so I quit my job and moved out here to work full time on Royalty, Etc. Records.”
In 2007, major RE accomplishments were signing Seymore Saves the World and , who started getting some major props from regional media. Now we’re at 2008, and RE has more than its fair share of buzz bands and a hell of street rep.
This Saturday, Feb. 23 is a milestone for the local label — two years-old (and never been kissed, btw).
In the past two years, the label’s small roster of bands has experienced profound popularity and consistent growth. Now it’s time to party it up (details further below), plus celebrate the release of supergroup Collapsticator’s new albums, Research/Recovery.
Here are a few tracks to get you started:
- Collapsticator : “Out of Control” (mp3)
- Space Camp – “Cheesy Pop Song Makes Comeback” (mp3)
- Seymore Saves The World – “Love Song” (mp3)
I got the chance to talk to Morse this week as he geared up for the big party. It was no small feat, as he had emergency appendectomy surgery and answered these questions under the velvety fog of major pain killers (now that’s rock and roll, people). Read on…
So RE is turning 2. How do you feel about the big anniversary?
We are very pleased to celebrate this event with everybody. It is very exciting to see everybody still here and putting out music.
Last year you moved out to NYC to work in the industry full-time. Has it been difficult being located in New York and running a local MN label?
New York is a great city and very central to a lot of entertainment activity. There are a number of things about New York from a business perspective that have advantages. Because Jon is in Minneapolis, and we have several interns there, it makes it easier to handle immediate issues in Minneapolis.
Have any of the Minneapolis-based groups you represent benefited from your NY connections?
What’s been the single greatest achievement of the past year?
Probably the increasing activity with Songwhale, which is our digital content delivery system. That is pretty hard to identify. Getting Seymore invited to the Snowghost Sessions was huge — getting some licensing interest for some of our bands was also thrilling. We are also very excited to unroll our new digital music/video software that we have been working on in house for several months.
You told me a couple years ago that you started the label because some of your favorite bands weren’t getting the exposure they deserve. Now some of the bands you started working with way back when now have significant Midwest followings. Does that give you some personal satisfaction?
Turning strangers on to a band you like is totally cool and proof of concept. But the most exciting part, every time, is popping in the CD of new material before it gets released and getting that exclusive first look at upcoming albums. It’s great to have a good feeling about a record and see people get excited after it gets released.
What’s the one thing you’re hoping will happen in the next year?
I’ll get my appendix back.
Any new groups you’re working with?
We are chatting with a couple of bands. We do have a new album coming out by a group called Collapsticator that we are releasing at our 2 year anniversary party. It is a 2 album set called Research/Recovery. It has people from grickle-grass, middlepicker, and space camp. Very incestuous but we definitely believed in this record so it has now been made.
What’s the one thing you’re hoping WON’T happen in the next year?
We are obsessed with the album “Teenager” by . They got dropped by their label and we don’t want them to break up.
Tell us about the anniversary party this weekend.
It will be quite the event. First off, it is the release for the new Collapsticator albums Research/Recovery.
It’s at , and there are six bands playing:
Door price is $15, and that includes drinks. You will also get a catalog Royalty, Etc. album for free at the door. Also, make sure to bring your ipod, or wi-fi device, and you can download the Royalty, Etc. 2008 sampler for free. Songwhale will be providing this free service at the show.
We did an event with the Sound Gallery like this once before, and it was a great party. We intend to expand on that party further with some new experimental digital delivery methods with Songwhale. Delivering our new sampler for free seemed like a perfect match. Pabst is sponsoring the show, so everybody can bring their ipods and flash drives, etc, to get the sampler for free.
The last two-year-old birthday party I went to had a creepy clown and the kid’s uncle got hammered on malt liquor. The Royalty, Etc. Two Year Anniversary Party will meet and exceed this experience, guaranteed.