Signed By Force

Signed By Force
DATE OF BIRTH: Summer 2007
BIGGEST SELLER: Bionic Black Blood
UPCOMING RELEASES: Fiftywatthead Fogcutter, Hazy Azure reissue

Though relatively new to the recording industry, Montreal-based Signed By Force has already established itself as one of independent rock and punk’s most formidable labels. Created by former Hazy Azure drummer Ramachandra Borcar, the three-person label was conceived during a Bionic performance at last year’s South By Southwest festival. Noticing both the band’s live prowess and their competent recorded output, a deal was quickly struck to create the Signed By Force imprint, capitalising on Borcar’s more aggressive tastes. The pairing worked wonders, leading to releases by soulful riff-mongers Starvin Hungry as well as launching up-and-coming bands including raucous punks Trigger Effect and abrasive post-hardcore outfit No No Zero. In just under a year, this offshoot of more established setup Semprini Records (Pas Chic Chic, Call Me Poupée, Ramasutra) has proven to be a haven of cutting-edge acts with feet firmly planted in our country’s aggressive musical culture.

Getting the Ball(s) Swinging
Borcar: "I had heard Bionic’s album Black Blood and was surprised that no one had signed them. Seeing them at SXSW made me realise how amazing they are live. Even though I loved the album, I knew it wouldn't work on Semprini so I [started] a subdivision to put out hard rock, punk and metal. [Our] bands not only have great albums but are killers live. Anyone who would see these bands in concert would no doubt be blown away. I also feel that Canada was overrun by whiny indie rock and bad ’80s-sounding bands and thought that things needed to be shaken up a bit. It seems like most of Canada’s youth and college radio stations are content with bad Arcade Fire rip-offs but that can't last forever. I really think that people are waiting for something new to happen — something with balls. Signed By Force definitely has balls. I'm not interested in bands that don't have their own identity. Everyone I've signed so far has a totally unique spin on punk and rock’n’roll. I want to hear something that I haven't heard before and work with artists who I respect for their originality.

Seek and Destroy Through Diversity
"Stylistically, Signed By Force is catered to heavy rock but for me that still covers such a wide range. Even though the four albums we’ve released so far are all punk-based, they go in different directions and sound totally different from one another. We’ve got Fiftywatthead coming out soon who are heavier and much more metal sounding while the other upcoming releases vary from dirty garage to jazz punk. Seeing as how I also spend a lot of time digging through second hand record stores, I’m also working on reissuing older post punk and hardcore. I’d really like to put out some heavy psychedelic or instrumental stuff.

Tell ’Em I Sent Ya
"The next few releases are recommendations from bands on the label. I try to poke around and find new acts but there are so many awful ones that it’s always helpful when someone whose opinion I trust gives me a good lead. There's way too much crap out there clogging up the market. Everyone can make a record cheaply and self-release it even though most shouldn’t. It floods the radio stations, the stores, the press, the web and makes it more difficult for someone to sift through the shit and find the good stuff.

Strength In Indie Numbers
"We get the most support from the indie stores who cater to the crowd that we’re aiming for. They put up our posters and give us the exposure/visibility that we should be getting. College radio should also be helping us out but that isn’t always the case. There are lots of websites, blogs and journalists around the world that are tired of major label crap and are only looking to push indie bands/labels they’re not familiar with. People who check out these sites are more loyal and respect us for what we’re doing, helping spread the word. There are enough people out there with a grassroots mentality to make a band more popular just by telling their friends about it and mentioning it online. We’re a close-knit family so we can take care of any bumps in the road that may come up.

Awakening the Masses
"I think the tables need to be overturned in Canada. More people should wake up from the musical coma they’ve been in for too long. Bands approach us all the time because they see how hard we work and want to be a part of something that's going against the grain. We’re underdogs; we’re prepared to live with it.