Label Spotlight: Cake Records

posted June 1, 2006

by Corinne

Cake RecordsPlease introduce yourself.

Dave Kurtiak, Vice President of Cake Records.

When and why did you start your label?

Cake Records was started by my partner and Cake Records' president Evan Brubaker about 10 years ago as a smaller boutique type of label focused on signer songwriter related releases. Evan started it as a labor of love - he simply wanted the music he was producing to be heard by as many people as possible and was willing to release them himself. We sort of revamped the label and went a different direction about 2 years ago with the signing of several new artists that had more of an alternative/pop/indie feel. So you could say the "new" Cake Records started about 2 years ago.

We also signed our distribution deal with RED Distriubtion (Sony / BMG) around this same time.

What kind(s) of music does your label put out?

We focus on Alternative and Indie rock, though we try to avoid labeling a specific style. We try to work with artists that have a unique sound that has pop potential but isn't your average cookie cutter over produced stuff.

Bottom-line - we strive to put out good music.

What was your first release? How did you finance it?

The "new" Cake Records first releases were from Shimmer and Weather last April. Financing a start-up indie label is a challenge to say the least. Luckily my partner Evan is a self-financing guru and could teach Alan Greenspan a thing or two (well that might be pushing it). Oh and blood fetches a pretty penny (joke).

What is your most recent release?

Mon Frere "Blood, Sweat & Swords"

How do you feel about sharing music on the Internet?

I have such a love hate relationship with File Sharing and music. I started in the industry in the early 90s, when stores still carried cassettes. I watched the rise of DVD kill video and now see the digital revolution killing Mom and Pops and even helping to widdle away at profits to the point that 500+ store retailers like Musicland are filing for bankruptcy. Overall I wonder if the benefits outweigh the damage. Retailers, especially the smaller Mom and Pop stores, have so much more competition in an already difficult business. They take less chances, which means carrying less new artists, which means smaller labels ship less records, less money to fund new releases, etc. At the same time, many new artists get exposure they'd never have without the Internet. Free downloads on for example are a great way for artists to get heard. I guess it's simply an evolution of a industry that has always been in a state of flux.

Any words of wisdom for those interested in running their own label?

No seriously RUN!
It's a disease and there is no cure.

What has been your most successful release?

Mon Frere's Real Vampires EP did well in the Pacific Northwest. We have high hopes for "Blood, Sweat & Swords" to be a big success not only in our region but across the U.S. as the band establishes a national fan base.

What's the best way and the worst way to get a label's attention?

Stalking kind of sucks. But restraining orders help. Really the #1 thing we look for is good material, consistent touring and potential. Be prepared to bring something to the table other than "we are a good band". Know who your audience is and build a fan base. Whatever you do don't email every email address on a label's site. We all get enough spam already.

Regardless of genre, what do you look for in the artists and bands you sign?

The willingness to bust their asses. Seriously. I want bands that are going to work as hard if not harder than I am to make it happen. Weekend warriors (bands that only like to play every so often on the weekends in their home town) need not apply.

There are a lot of legalities involved in running a label (signing bands, releasing records, everyday work, etc.). How does your label deal with these things?

Lindsey Feldman Esq. perhaps the finest legal mind in the music industry.

What upcoming releases can we expect from Cake Records?

"The Following" from Last Ditch Remedy will be released this summer (tentative date: 7/25/06) and the debut full length from our newest signing Don't Die Cindy this fall.

Anything else you would like to add?

After almost 15 years in this industry, I still love music. It's not always easy but as I am typing this on the eve of Cake Records' newest release hitting the stores I can't deny that the excitement I feel makes it all worth it. Anyone that can do something they are passionate about and enjoy is lucky indeed. No go buy some friggin records.