Label Spotlight: Tooth & Nail

posted January 12, 2009

by Corinne

Tooth & Nail

Please introduce yourself.

Brandon Ebel, President, Tooth & Nail Records

When and why was the label started?

1993

To provide a venue that would support hardcore and punk bands in creating their art.

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

Rock, Pop, Indie, Metal, Hardcore, Punk, Alternative, Hip Hop

What was the first release? How was it financed?

Wish For Eden "Pet The Fish."

I received a loan from my grandfather.

What is the most recent release?

The Almost "No Gift To Bring" EP

What has been your most successful release?

Underoath "Define The Great Line" (went gold)

Being home to several bands that have seen chart success, how has Tooth & Nail dealt with walking the line between independent and mainstream?

We try and allow our artists the freedom to create the art they want to create, and support their vision even when it may not align with ours. Underoath, for example, wanted to create a heavier album after the success of "They’re Only Chasing Safety." Even though we thought a less commercial album wouldn't be as successful, we gave them artistic freedom to make the record they wanted to.

What have been the particular challenges that Tooth & Nail has faced releasing Christian bands in the current music scene?

In the early ‘90s Christian music seemed to be more controversial. Back then we had a lot of push-back from the media, whereas nowadays people are exposed to new ideas all the time with the internet and the digital age; they seem to be more accepting of different worldviews.

What do you see as the future of record labels?

I think there will be more involvement with labels taking on roles such as artist management, merchandising, booking, distribution, and funding. Now more than ever artists need their entity and brand to be fully supported by a label that believes in them.

How has your label adapted to changes in society, business, etc?

It's been harder now than ever to sell records. On the up side, however, the available talent is better than ever with so many producers, engineers, directors and photographers that are growing up in the digital age, making it easier and more cost effective to make a good record. We also put a big emphasis on film and TV placements.

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

It's a super competitive environment, but the rewards are amazing. It's very hard to be profitable, but my best advice would be to find your niche and get behind artists you believe in.