Up Close With Midday Records’ Davey Moore
Thursday, May 23, 2013
One man who definitely is in tune with the music going on in New England is Davey Moore, who is the co-owner of Midday Records and guitarist for local indie-pop band Satellites Fall. The label he's been a part of since 2008 has done some awesome things lately with putting out a series compilation albums featuring some of the best bands in the area titled New England Indie Alt Rock, a digital compilation with 80 bands titled Onefundboston.org: A Benefit For The Boston Marathon and the first annual Midday Social that took place at Plaforms in Providence this past March. The social was a success, featuring a who's who in the New England music industry and it was an extremely fun night. The second edition of The Midday Social will be taking place at the same location tonight at 7pm and I managed to have a chat with Davey about how this idea came together and a few other things:
What inspired you to organize the Midday Social in the first place?
It was a combination of things really. Through Midday Records we were already trying to help local artists by putting on Midday Records Presents shows and releasing compilations featuring local artists. And between the label and the band we also play in, we would often get other artists, who were just starting to get out there, asking us how they could go about working with some of the folks we've been fortunate to work with. Often times I would send emails to anyone who asked with lists of promoters and venue contacts. Having one night with as many of those people in the same room for the sole purpose of networking and strengthening the local music community just seemed like a natural progression to what we were already doing.
Other cities have similar networking events. The Rock n' Roll Social in Boston is one that comes to mind. We figured it was about time Providence had one, too. Though, we should point out that we consider this an event about the entire New England music scene. The last event had folks from all over MA, RI and CT.
Other than running Midday Records you are also a guitarist for locally based indie-pop band Satellites Fall. What do you find the most contrasting thing between running a record label and being in a band and what is the most similar?
The conversations you have with bands when you're another band vs when your functioning as a label or promoter are starkly different. I guess one thing we realized once we were on the other end booking shows and events like this is that not everyone understands the subtle nuances that keep our scene alive. Things like the importance of a venue having decent turn out and good bar tab for the night so they can stay in business and continue to give artists a platform. Or the importance of promoting and trying to drive traffic to the radio stations, magazines/blogs, etc. sites. It's a two way street. Realizing some musicians don't understand this and how their own local music community works was a little shocking. Ideally, it would be "all about the music". But a hell of a lot more goes into keeping the local music community thriving. We were always one of those bands that understood and appreciated the behind the scenes work that promoters, venues, radio stations, etc. did to make an event we were playing successful. Not all bands get that. The ones that do come to events like this because they understand while their music may be great there is a lot more involved in the local music than just writing and performing. Successful bands find and create opportunities for themselves. They network, make new connections, and build relationships.
The most similar would be that what we do is about local music and artists. As a label or promoter we just have a different role in the scene than when we are out performing as a band. Bands show swap and help their friends get on shows and promoters put bands on bills, etc. It's all the same thing, working towards the same goal.
What do you love most about putting together these socials and what about them aggravates you the most?
It's not so much putting the event together but what I loved was at the last event I took a step back and was able to just watch so many great acts making new connections. I'm in a band so I know how hard it is to get the local radio station to play your material or get a venue to write back to you. Many of the industry reps at the first event were personal friends of Satellites Fall and Midday Records. It was great to make our contacts and the relationships that took us years to build available to both the newer, up and coming artists, as well as the seasoned pros. Some of the artists/bands at the last event made connections that literally took us years to make. In my view, this is the way local music should be. It shouldn't be so hard. And I can tell you, when you're a band just starting out, it can be extremely difficult. The success stories we heard after the first event made it all worth it.
And there honestly isn't much aggravation involved with the event. It can be stressful at times to coordinate and it's very time consuming but it's absolutely well worth the effort.
Where do you think independent music in New England is headed in a time where both independent and corporate labels are contending with each other?
The entire model is changing. It had to change. And there are pro's and con's associated with that. The digital age has made it so corporate labels are not in demand the way they once were. They used to have the market cornered and were able to exploit the talents of their hardworking acts. It doesn't take much more than a basic Google search to find horror story after horror story of bands getting screwed by those labels. There is almost no such thing as a contract with a major that actually benefits the band. Many bands going into those contracts didn't realized when all was said and done they'd actually owe their label hundreds of thousands of dollars, which was usually the case. The basic breakdown is the label gives the band an "advance"... Yes, it's an advance and not free money. So when you hear, "So and so signed to X label and got half a million dollars", the truth is the band is on the hook for that money. The band needs to pay for touring, recording, etc. with that money. And if it's not recouped (and then some), they owe the label the difference. With the digital age bands have almost endless ways of getting their music out to the public. A savvy band without the marketing budget of a major label can accomplish a lot in their careers.
For someone who is just starting to get involved with the music scene in Providence and wanting to attend the Midday Social on the 23rd, what's the best way for someone to make great professional connections and leave a lasting impression?
Come prepared. Bring press kits, CDs and contact info. Don't just stand in the corner or at the bar with your buddies. Network. Talk to as many people as you can. You never know where a great opportunity will come from so mingle!
You should heed Davey's advice, it's going to be a raucous party and it's going to be wall to wall with Radio DJs, studio engineers, venue bookers, bands, groupies and music journalists like myself. Head on over to The Midday Social at Platforms tonight, make some lasting connections, good impressions and perhaps even some new friends.
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