lifeblood: listlogs: 1999v01n020-news

ig-news-digest        tuesday, february 2 1999        volume 02 : number 020

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] lorelei music magazine          [sherlyn koo <>]
  [ig-news] daemon records article from lorelei music magazine  [sherlyn koo]


date: tue, 2 feb 1999 10:25:26 +1100 (est)
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] lorelei music magazine

hey everyone,

there's an interview with amy in the winter 1998 edition of
lorelei music magazine, mostly talking about daemon and the
industry etc.  i don't have time to type it in right now
but i'll try to get it done sometime today.

for more information about the magazine (including how to
get copies), see

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=  a+e=ig
sherlyn koo -                   [sydney, australia]
   "if i am not who you thought i was,
    well hello, it's nice to meet you..."       - melissa ferrick

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date: tue, 2 feb 1999 19:16:01 +1100 (est)
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] daemon records article from lorelei music magazine

hey folks,

below is the article from lorelei music magazine.  it's
divided up into several sections (preface, interview and
two sidebars).  if you want to know more about the magazine
(which comes with a cd sampler i haven't listened to yet),
see here:

happy happy,
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=  a+e=ig
sherlyn koo -                   [sydney, australia]
   "if i am not who you thought i was,
    well hello, it's nice to meet you..."       - melissa ferrick

making a difference

- --preface--
>from the web site of daemon records, amy ray's indie label:

the genesis of daemon records arose from my own frustrations with the
music industry.  while reaping the benefits of a major label deal, i
realized that alll around me, "music" was getting lost among the
checkbooks, executives, and mountains of paperwork that are all such
a primary part of any major label.  i watched while so many musicians
that had inspired and influenced my fortunate career went
unrecognized.  i decided to stop complaining about the evils of the
music business and do my part to support the arts.

>from the very beginning, my first priority was to make sure that
daemon records embodied one characteristic that many independent
labels lack--diversity.  while a clearly defined "sound" enables a
record label to attract a strong and specific fan base, it doesn't
provide its listeners with an opportunity to broaden their musical
horizons.  i have observed many indie labels locked into conforming
to what is supposedly "cool" in order to maintain a hip status, and
often that hip sound is tied in with a certain "look" as well.
appearance and image seem to count a lot, even in the indies.  [but]
the common thread of all daemon recording artists is their attention
to the craft of songwriting, independent of musical genre or style.

- --interview--
q: what role do you feel that image plays in promoting music?

a: to me, the only ting that image is important to is for people to
[be able to] attach something to the music that gives them a
personal reference point--that gives them an emotional and spiritual
attachment.  and that's not really image as much as it is contact,
which is like touring or going to record stores and meeting the
people who are selling your records.  that's human, and i think
that's really important to have that sort of human approach.

i never really care about image at the label--i never even really
approach it.  i think the promo photo, for instance, can be an
important tool.  but it's not like a band should look a certain
way--it's that the photo needs to give you an idea of what the
band's personality is.  i don't care what their personality is, but
i want that to come across.

i definitely don't even think about what they're wearing or any of
those kinds of things.  image to me is like te real, central
emotional and spiritual core that somebody sends out--it's not just
a superficial thing.  everybody's got an image.  but i think the
important thing is not what your image is but whether people are
understanding what it is.

q: do you feel that expectations about image are different for women
than for men in the music industry?

a: i think it's radically different.  i think a cute guy is also
marketed that way [with an emphasis on appearance], but i think if
you're a guy, you can be in a band and be overweight or kind of,
like--messy--and it's okay.  and they just don't market you as a
model, they market your music [instead].  but in like popular music
and alternative music, i think it's next to impossible if you're an
overweight woman, unless you have some kind of radical image that
somehow they manage to market.

it's really a double-standard, you know.  i've had friends that have
been overweight, and the labels have refused to see past that.  and
i've known guys that were just not beautiful but the standards of
the masses, and labels just don't care, they don't pay attention to
that.  but that to me is really an obvious double standard that i've
seen some real good examples of.

for women, i think there's definitely still a sexist sort of
standard out there, where you [have to] look a certain way and buy
into a certain kind of culture.  and there's a lot of women who are
really talented who do look a certain way and they end up getting a
little further, and it's not necessarily compromising.  they [just
happen to] look that way.  they look the way they want to look,
they're talented, and so they get lucky and they fit in.

but there are some women who are just as talented but have more--i
mean, i'd say that the more organic sort of bohemian approach like
me and emily have doesn't really work in the alternative sort of
hipster world.  even in a world that you think would be accepting of
it, like some of the publications or videos that consider themselves
to be more cuttig-edge, there's still a [double] standard for women.

as far as image goes, our label never really cared about imaging us
[the indigo girls].  but some labels hire someone to go out and shop
for you and project a certain image.  you have some control over
that.  if you walk into that deal knowing they're going to do that,
then you've set your own parameters at that point.  otherwise, you
need to try and step in and say, "i don't feel comfortable with

q: why do you think that some people accept label deals that force
them into an image or a situation that they wouldn't ordinarily
choose for themselves?

a: i think people sometimes lose sight of what they would choose
when they're faced with a label deal.  especially if you're older
and you've been doing [music] for a long time, you're like, "oh, i
just need to get signed, i need a way to make a living, i need
someone to help me."  it's a lot of pressure to be doing everything
for yourself.  and so you sign.  and i think you don't always
realise what's gong to happen.

i think there are times when you thought you had dictated
everything in the right way, and they just turn everything around.
i have friends who are in messy situations right now with labels,
where they were signed and the person who signed them left the
label, so there isn't somebody there cheerleading for them now.
you know, there's a lot of really bad things that happen sometimes
once you get signed, and you have no control over it.

and a lot of times your record is constantly messed up.  you could
spend two months or three months making a record, and you could turn
it in, and the label says, "well, we just need to make this one
change," and i think at that point, you're so ready to have [the
record released] that you're like, "okay, let's do that."  and then
there's another change, and another change, and by that time, it's
been a year, and your record just doesn't sound the same any more.

but those are the kind of things you need to be aware of.  you have
to put your foot down and say, "absolutely not."  but it's hard to
do that with some labels if they're going to refuse to release your
record [as a result].

q: with all the pressure to sign a label deal, does the artist often
get the short end, financially?  you hear about musicians going
double platinum and then going bankrupt a year later.

a: sometimes artists are realizing a great deal of money, and they're
filing bankruptcy because they're irresponsible.  but a lot of times
it is a bad deal.  some artists sign these things called production
deals where everybody has a piece of them, and they do that because
they're at their wits' end, and they [the artist] feel like it's the
only way they're going to get somewhere.  and a lot of times, when
someone gets a hit, that's what happened, they've signed this deal
where a lot of other people are getting pieces of the pie.

q: daemon records has an unusual arrangement in that the artists
actually work for the label in other capacities.  how does that work?

a: i ask the artists to give a certain number of hours to the label
as part of their contract.  the reason i do that is because i think
that they gain experience with what's being done to push their
records, and also, we need help.  and it tends to make them more
appreciative and involved to have witnessed everything that's going
on.  it just tends to make them more aware.  and then i think they
work better with my staff, having some kind of understanding.

i pay them as much as i can, but i still don't think it's enough.
and they work really hard, and it's a labor of love for everybody
involved.  so it's really helpful if the artists get in there and
understand that, because then they're more responsive.  and they can
do as much as they want to help.  i mean, if they want to make phone
calls and really learn a lot, they can be in there and do as much as
they want to do.  and some artists want to do that, because they want
that experience as well.  they may play out one record with me and
then go do their own stuff afterwards.  and it helps them kind of get
a grip on it.

some artists aren't really interested in doing work--they want to
tour a lot, and they want to do all the other stuff, but they don't
really feel comfortable making phone calls and doing stuff like that.
there's a minimum amount of stuff they can do that's not that
intensive but still puts them in there somehow.

q: you said that when you started daemon, you were having to run it
from an indigo girls tour.  that must have been difficult.

a: i'm always running the label from an indigo girls tour.  when i
first started, i was doing pretty much everything, all the retail
calls and radio and stuff all by myself.  i got up really early
every day, and i was usually in the production office making calls
and just constantly thinking about it.  on the bus, i'd be doing my
accounting, with everything spread out--it was pretty much constant.
and it got a little ridiculous.

so it was really good when i started hiring people to work for me.
the people who work for me know more about it than i do at this point
and are much more talented at it.  so it's a good thing now.  i could
say that i am ultimately more effective by having employees, and i'm
more effective at being an indigo girl by having employees, too.

q: daemon has a strong commitment to community service--what are you
involved in now?

a: we're doing a lot of community things in atlanta, right now.
we're doing all-ages shows once a month, sponsoring them, paying the
bands to come play, like on a saturday afternoon.  i think we're
trying to get back to the reasons i started the label in the first
place--and pay more attention to the community and to smaller
distribution.  i guess in a way it's getting smaller and more
effective, which is what we've been trying to do for a long time.
figure out what our focus point is and do that.

one of my motivations was to have a business that was socially
responsible and supportive and hired people who cared about their
community.  so what i have is a staff of people who are really up on
what's going on socially and community-wise and politicall, and they
can do things that reflect what we think are good values.  we're
really conscientious about everything, and that's because the people
who work for me are [conscientious themselves].

contact: daemon records
po box 1207
decatur, ga, 30031
web site:

- --sidebar one--
john brand's band, belloluna, is part of daemon records' current
line-up, and he also serves as the label's publicist.

"a lot of people don't know that we are a non-profit label.  amy
created the label as a vehicle to support the arts and use some of
her indigo money to help developing talent get a a foothold in the
industry.  no matter how much money daemon makes, amy will never take
any for herself.  we will always re-invest it back into the
community in some form.  mainly what we are trying to do is just
break even on each project.  after that, we give the artists an
extremely generous royalty rate.  daemon uses its piece of the pie to
sign new artists or donate to worthy charities.  we also do benefit
projects on a regular basis.

"because [major labels] are investing a lot of money in you, they're
going to tell you what they think you have to do in order to make
sure they make lots of money back as profit.  but what we're trying
to do is make the money back that we invested in a band so we can
take that same money and go back and sign another band.  we want to
find as many bands as possible.  amy likes the idea of discovering
these developing baby bands, these underground bands that have great
potential, and when someone like daemon comes along and spends a
little money on them and helps promote them, these bands can really
blossom and become huge success stories.

"so i think amy likes the idea that she could be somebody who could
play that role with a developing band and just wants to do it out of
the goodness of her heart.  it's not about making any money.

"so we are not for profit, but at the same time, there's a certain
focus on money that comes with trying to break even on the record,
and for that reason we do ask the bands to tour a certain minimum
amount.  we want them to tour as much as they can, with the
understanding that people do have day jobs and can't just pick up and
go always.

"[at daemon] we don't work any harder on our career than you're
willing to work yourself.  we're a small staff, and we can't do
everything, so we're constantly having to compromise.  because
there's never enough hours in the day!

- --sidebar two--
current artist roster at daemon records
        - john brand, daemon records

danielle howle--"do a two sable"
danielle is regarded as one of the strongest--and most eccentric--
songwriters in the music industry today.  she has an earthy, rich
singing voice, a finely developed sense of vocal melody, and an
ever-growing collection of original songs that have a classic,
timeless feel to them.  she performs solo-acoustic and also with her
electric rock band, the tantrums, and she is particularly well-known
for her charming and utterly captivating stage persona.
stylistically, her songs span a wide territory including country,
folk, americana, and alternative rock.

terri binion--"leavin' this town"
terri's songwriting and vocal style falls neatly between country,
folk, and pop.  reminiscent of nanci griffith and k.d. lang during
her "absolute torch and twang" period.  terri has a honey-tinged
voice with just a touch of melancholy in all the right places.

belloluna--"livid and loving it"
often compared to ben folds five (it's the piano they have in
common), this colorful rock band offers up an assortment of very
catchy, slightly twisted, jazz-whacked pop songs.  "livid" features
varied instrumentation, including sparkling guitar textures, cool
strings and horns, and groovy percussion.  think steely dan on
nitrous oxide.

three finger cowboy--"kissed"
3fc are a female-fronted happy pop punk (bubblegum punk?) band whose
album "kissed" demands to be played loud.  infectious melodies, loud
guitar chords, and a drummer who pounds the skins with joyful
abandon, this band defies you to be in a bad mood while you listen to

new mongrels--"big cup of empty"
this is not really a band but a side project for a bunch of musicians
including, among others, indigo girls and michelle malone.
songwriter haynes brooke describes new mongrels music as
"iconoclastic roots music".  kind of folkie and bluegrassy at
times--but definitely eclectic also--it is american in the best
sense: performed with conviction and unafraid to be a little weird.

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end of ig-news-digest v2 #20

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