How the F@#% Does A Small Label Operate?
An Inside Look at Blood Drunk Records, Atlanta’s Rising Indie Label
Blood Drunk Records is a label from Atlanta founded and owned by Brandon T. Pittman (pictured above). This interview’s purposes is to provide an inside look at how a small label owner makes decisions.
When was Blood Drunk Records established?
Blood Drunk Records was formed in 2010.
What made you want to start a record label? Was it originally for releases by your own band (Swank Sinatra)?
[Yes], the label was originally a way to release Swank Sinatra releases. We added Hip to Death that same year and the first couple releases consisted of those two bands. We grew from there at a steady rate starting in 2012.
How many bands do you represent?
As of this month, we represent 10 bands, all with their own unique sound.
Is there a submission policy or process for prospective bands?
We simply use our ears. There’s really no magic to it at all. If we like a band, then we are interested in working with them.
How do you find, recruit and sign the bands on the roster?
We mainly operate within the Atlanta area, at the moment, to find new talent. Our network of people within the label are always out and about, going to shows. When a band is really spectacular or stands out, it always gets back to me. Bands from all over also send in submissions via our website on a frequent basis.
Once a band expresses interest in working with us, we start getting them into the studio and working on releases. We also like to get the bands on the label to play with each other and build inter-band relations that promote a “group mentality,” which is very important to our unified image.
Our recruitment process is super relaxed and we are keen about not overloading the label with more bands than we can handle. It’s a family, essentially.
How does marketing the bands and their releases happen?
We deal heavily in street promotion (flyers, etc.). We also use a very personalized web marketing approach to get their music to people’s ears. We have put out two compilations as well, so far, to help expand our bands’ audiences.
We also have been putting on showcases that consist of nothing but BDR talent. They have been doing really well.
Is there a PR person for Blood Drunk Records or is it done by you or the bands?
Yes, we have the always-wonderful Juliett Rowe, who runs most of our PR operations. She is great.
What would make a band choose your label over another? Is there something to attract them, such as funding, attitude or mission statement?
I think that bands tend to gravitate towards us because…we all play in bands or have worked with bands our entire adult lives and know how to treat bands fairly. We do not own any band’s works or intellectual property. We let bands keep 100% of their royalties that are generated from their releases. We practice a very tenacious system of promotion that helps acts reach a broader audience than what they are capable of on their own.
What do you feel that BDR represents?
Blood Drunk Records is a collective of like-minded individuals that simply want to make good underground and independent music heard by as many people as will listen, while actively having an interest in preserving the arts and culture of the underground.
Is there anything that you’d like to add to the conversation?
I would like to just say that Atlanta is a wonderful city for art and music that gets better every year. I am very happy to be a part of its vibrant and never-ending arts and music culture. Blood Drunk Records is mainly an attempt to catalog the many talented bands and acts that this city has to offer. We need a presence like Dischord Records and Sub Pop established before us. I hope that Blood Drunk Records can become that.
Writer’s note: Blood Drunk Records has the resources to distribute artists through Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, as well as CDs and Cassettes.
For more, visit blooddrunkrecords.com.
photo by Kamil Lee