Introducing labels: Godless America

We have started a series where we introduce indie labels. They will recommend 3 releases from their catalog and share 3 things they have learned by running the label.

The next one is with Godless America.

3 Releases:

Wet Nurse – Wet Nurse

This was the third release on the label and the first to feature a band I wasn’t technically in. Godless America started as probably the only way in hell there would ever be physical releases of my band Tam Tam The Sandwich Man & The Magical Sugar Cookies. We had more stacked against us than just a mouthful of a name.

The bold choice at the time, to release it on cassette, came also out of necessity. Pressing vinyl was just not in the budget, but I could dub some tapes, and it will be analog. Anyway, back to this tape, I lived with Nina and Susana Chaplin in a house dubbed “ILL House” in Orlando. The same house where this tape was recorded by our friend Artie Burer. Nina and I had been playing in Tam Tam for a couple of years now, and she wanted to start a band with her identical twin sister Susana, probably since they were born. I actually played drums in the very beginning before the stars aligned, and they hooked up with Vanessa Brewster, and then things really started to take off. So I offered to put out their first self-titled EP, which has long since been out of print.

This was one of the first real successes for the label, and Wet Nurse went on to do so many amazing things, including being named Best Orlando Punk Band 3 years in a row, releasing two records on Recess Records, and playing with so many amazing bands we loved and respected.

Godless America Mixtape Vol. 1

Back in 2013, International Cassette Store Day was started by a group of UK record labels, and I had participated in every single one so far, but I just focused on single band releases, and it was a pretty hard sell. So I wanted to come up with something I could do each year to participate but also would have more appeal for actual stores to stock my release. So I devised this idea to make a mixtape for the world. It wouldn’t be a compilation in the traditional sense, although growing up in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania, punk comp CDs like the Punk-O-Rama series acted like a kind of gateway drug for me and my friend group into independent music growing up.

I would reach out to my friend group and any stranger on the internet to submit a song for my mixtape. Then I would construct a mixtape tape in that old spirit you would have made for your buddy you’re trying to expose to some new stuff or a crush you’re trying to impress. The one stipulation was that I could only use the songs that were submitted to me, much like you would have been limited by the records and tapes you had in your collection. I would almost always include a track from my current project I would be playing drums in as well. This ended up being a winning formula that I carry on to this day. We just released Vol. 8 this past year for what is now known as Cassette Store Week.

I can’t emphasize enough how this ended up checking so many boxes for me. It allows me to take a chance on bands and artists I would not usually have the time or money to invest in, but it becomes a community effort. We end up having the combined exposure as everyone equally promotes the release, making it even more likely that an independent record store will take a chance and stock it for Cassette Store Week. Also, the network that is built through this work is a labor of love, but it pays back in dividends in the form of karma, and I love to see my friends being successful.

Goblin Daycare – Q: EP? A: EP!!

Fast-forward sixty-some releases, and here we are in the roaring twenties, releasing something referred to as Egg Punk by a Turkish group that is rightfully about to burst. This came to me as a demo. Mama Goblin had been a fan of the label and reached out in an email to ask if I was interested in putting this out. I couldn’t type my reply fast enough after my first listen with a resounding “hell yes!”

This tape went damn near viral, and for good reason, it’s really fucking good. I really want to get them over here to play shows in Florida because they are killing it. They just signed up for DedStrange Records, and I couldn’t be happier for them. This tape was also released in Poland by Syf Records and in Turkey by Mevzu Records.

3 Things I Learned:

  1. You attract more bees with honey than vinegar.

Be Nice. You never know where someone will end up down the line. It always pays off to be the nice guy. I learned this the hard way, so you don’t have to, although you might be just as stubborn as I was.

  1. Longevity is the key.

This plays into my first point: if you have a problem with someone, get your revenge by outlasting them. It’s easy to get jealous of new upstarts, but look out for the weathered ships out there that have been staying afloat for years. Those are the ones you want to learn from. It’s not a race. Be persistent and never stop. Eventually, you’ll look back on a decade of doing it your way and be amazed you can still find a way to keep doing it. Be smart and be realistic with your goals. Don’t make more than you need. Keep it manageable, and if a band gets too big for you to handle, learn to let them go. Be proud you had a part in their journey.

  1. Don’t forget why you do this.

I’ll be real with you, it’s not about making money. For me, it’s about how do I not lose as much money this time. Over time I’ve figured out a system that works for me and my artists. But I never forget why I ended up here running a weird cassette label. I was that kid in school who wanted to tell all my friends about all the new music I was listening to. Still to this day I try really hard to never lose my love of listening to music. It’s hard with how busy life can get but I always try to save some time to hear something new. Then, when I find that new song, I obsess over the next best thing, which is to tell my friends about it and get them excited about it too. At the end of that day that’s all I’m really doing is trying to document and share the music that I think people should hear.

Godless America will release the cassette edition of ‘Tormentas Malsanas’ by Las Nubes on June 14th.

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