Releasing music is not magical. You don’t need some record label A&R rep discovering your band and signing you over to the label’s indentured servitude. It’s all business. If you want to record, you book time in a studio and pay them for the time you spend there. A label advances money to the band for promotion, pressing and distribution. Make no mistake, this is a loan pure and simple. Home recording and digital uploading cuts out the middleman, but does not have access to the distribution channels of a label.
Then there’s the White City Rippers way.
It has been cheap and painless for us. We recorded with Daniel Turek at Spacegun Studio. Daniel and I have been regulars at Rory Lake’s Karaoke Dreams for the past few years. He is an audio engineer and, based on his choice of songs to perform for karaoke, I trust his taste in music. He offered his friend rate to record at Spacegun, his home studio: buy him dinner. We were recorded by someone who runs audio for political debates (he has a good story about miking Herman Cain) in exchange for a meal and a couple mai-tais at Chef Shangri-La.
Dinner also features in finding a label for Old-Timey Mad Scientist Music. We had two sessions of music that we recorded. My wife Liz had recently hired Kriss Stress at Quimby’s bookstore. Kriss runs the label/podcast/zine Notes and Bolts. We were talking about music and I mentioned that I was in the White City Rippers. He liked the idea of putting out a steampunk release. Notes and Bolts puts out tapes and 7”s. They’re pretty punk rock. Kriss ordered a pressing of 100 tapes. He gives the band a third.
I already set up a bandcamp page for our hankies and buttons, so it was just a matter of uploading a few pictures and songs. The cassette features our accordion meets theremin meets drum machine takes on Hello Ma Baby, Misirlou, Telstar, The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down, Pure Imagination and Shaving Cream. Tracks are available individually on bandcamp, but if you get the tape you also get a download. Both come with a hidden wee little bonus track.
Kriss Stress interviews us on the Chicago Mixtape/Notes and Bolts podcast at http://www.chicagomixtape.com/calendar/interview/white-city-rippers/.
Then there’s our Edison wax cylinder recording. But that’s another story.