Reluctant Recordings

Reluctant Recordings
Name: Reluctant Recordings
Date of Birth: Spring 2004
Releases to Date: 27
Biggest Seller: You Say Party! We Say Die! Hit The Floor
Upcoming Releases: Ghost House Ghost House Years EP, the Famines (cassette)

As a bored college student and enormous fan of record labels who released coloured vinyl in limited runs, Edmonton’s Evan Carleton started Reluctant Recordings to release a record for his cousin’s band, the Franklins. Joining the group on tour, he stumbled upon Vancouver’s defunct post-hardcore geniuses the WPP and ended up releasing their opus, He Has The Technology. Since then, Reluctant has released some of Western Canada’s most important indie and punk records from groups like the Doers, Run Chico Run, Ghost House, and SNFU. Having recently expanded to include John Cow and the Doer’s Sean Maxey as partners, the label continues to push the boundaries without caving to the aggressive marketing standards of the modern music business, instead branching out to release outdated formats like cassette tapes. "All we really try to do is pick music that we believe in and release it in a unique way,” Evan explains on the phone from his job at a fertilizer company. "There’s definitely no aspiration of working up to some level where we’ve got huge distribution across the world.”

Just Do It Yourself
"I’ve heard that when people get together at SXSW, NXNE and Pop Montreal, it’s a lot of bigwigs from medium-sized labels moaning and groaning on how it’s all gone to pot and no one can sell records. I have absolutely no sympathy for that, because it’s obvious how much money all these labels are sinking into heavy promotion and marketing. I think that people who are really into music find out about it through their friends and through seeing bands live. They buy albums at shows and independent record stores.

Reluctant About MP3s
"We’ve decided that we don’t think MP3s have any monetary value. All it really is is a digital file. It seems so ridiculous that people pay money for MP3s. It’s not anything tangible; if your computer crashes it’s gone. It’s such a weird way for people to buy music. We don’t agree with it, and we want to shy away from it completely. I also think that music shouldn’t be looked at as a moneymaking device. If someone can’t afford to or doesn’t think they need to pay for music, and they find a way to get it from a friend for free, I don’t think any of us really have a problem with that at all.

Hands On "Other than SNFU’s In the Meantime… and You Say Party!’s Hit The Floor, all of the packaging has been handmade. Two years ago, we graduated to getting a diecut made and getting diecutting done, then the packages come pre-cut and scored. But we still have to print, fold, glue, and stuff it all. What usually ends up happening is that we’ll start a project late and I’ll be printing and assembling the records two days before the release show. We don’t ever end up with a solid release date where it’s already being played on the radio with advertisements for the date. The one advantage of it is you can decide how many to do. I can get 500 bulk CDs made for a fairly low cost, and if I’m thinking it probably isn’t going to fly off the shelves right away I can print a smaller run of 200 jackets.

Revert the Format
"When people buy CDs now, they just drop them on their iPod and put them on the shelf; to them it’s probably just something to listen to while they drive to work. It’s not a complete piece of art, and they might not even remember what the cover art looks like, which might be something the band put a lot of work into. It seems so boring. We’ll definitely be focusing more on the analog formats. I wouldn’t say we’re not doing CDs anymore, but we’re not too thrilled about it. In the summer or in early fall I’m sort of planning of putting together maybe a run of about 100 boxsets for all three formats, an LP boxset with every LP we’ve released up until now in a box for a really reasonable price. Then if I sold 100 copies that would remove all the bulk. I was thinking of doing that with the LPs and CDs, and I’m also reissuing all the full-lengths on cassette, and I’ll do a boxset with those too.