By Sam SutherlandDate of Birth: 2001 Releases to Date: 10 Biggest Seller: Discord of a Forgotten Sketch EP Upcoming Releases: Issue Sixteen, Brian Seeger Online:www.newromanceforkids.com
Currently releasing some of this country’s most exciting post-punk and hardcore music, Montreal-based New Romance For Kids has spent the last five years building up a solid reputation in Canada’s underground music community. From releasing limited runs of twelve-inch EPs for established alt-country punkers Yesterday’s Ring to debut full-lengths from relative newcomers the Expectorated Sequence, the label been nothing but consistent in bringing exciting music from Montreal and Europe to the rest of the country. Going strong since the release of the first Issue Sixteen record in 2001, the label is owned and operated by band members Mathieu Lachapelle and Guillaume Boudreau-Monty, as well as Jason Bissessar.
Get This Party Started Bissessar: "I used to work as an intern at Dare to Care Records, and at the time it was a ska-punk label and I wasn’t really into that. I had a lot of friends with really good bands, and once I met up with Mathieu and Guillaume, whose band Issue Sixteen was looking to put out a record, that become our first release. We basically just thought of it as a start-up record that would let us get distro and build a website. It was a really good record to start with. After that, I just started looking around for bands. We signed the Discord of a Forgotten Sketch, and it just went on from there. We started releasing about three records a year.”
Check It Twice "Working at Dare to Care was really helpful in terms of allowing me to build a checklist in my head of what you have to do when you release a record. When we released our second record, which was the Discord of a Forgotten Sketch EP, I thought to myself, ‘Okay, which screamo bands are hot now and getting a lot of reviews? Daughters.’ So I checked out all the fanzines and magazines that reviewed that last Daughters album and built a list of places to send records. And you have to do that for all the genres you are releasing. I spent hundreds of hours in front of my computer and built a really good media list. For every radio station, we have a rating, we have a genre, and an example of charts. For every magazine, we have a genre, a style, and a rating out of five. Is it a glossy? How many runs? Where? Who reads it? Sending out promos in a smart way can really reflect the reception of your record.”
Hinting at Something Bigger "We released the Hint Hint record in Canada, but the deal with us getting that record was that it had to be distributed by Fab or Sonic Unyon, and at the time we were working with a smaller distributor. So I just called up Fab and told them, ‘We have this record coming up that’s on Suicide Squeeze. If it’s released by them, you’re going to distribute it anyway, so why not take us on board?’ They took it and our whole catalogue with it. That was one of the reasons we released it, because it was a band that was already established. It allowed us to get some coverage and get people to notice us because we had a ‘bigger band.’ Our main goal is to be available everywhere, which is the hardest part of running a label. Especially in Europe, they don’t have as many distros like Fab or Sonic Unyon that put stuff in stores. It’s more web or mail order. It’s really hard over there.”
Barely Legal "We just started doing contracts. At first we didn’t have any, but it was so chaotic in terms of royalties, ad licensing, and publishing. You really need to have your contracts set in stone, or it can always be a problem in the future. We won’t sign a band for two albums, but we just want everything to be straight for right now and so no one is surprised. We look over the contracts with the bands, and we don’t have any problem taking out any clause.”
Cash Money Millionaires "We usually put $2,000 in pressing, $800 in printed publicity, $100 in posters, and $600 in shipping, and add everything up to our total per unit cost, which is usually around $3. So if we sell a record for $12, we take out $3 and split the rest fifty/fifty. Having to discuss business with friends is the only thing I don’t really like. Having to ask a band for your share of CD money when they just came back from tour and went minus $500 is something I don’t really like.”
Free Shit "I think it’s really important for labels to not throw money at bands and do a lot of the free things that are available. People hire radio PR agencies in Canada, when there are maybe 40 good college stations and it’s really easy to do. It’s okay to email a radio station yourself and ask them, ‘Did you receive the CD? Has it been added to the library? Has it received any airplay?’ — and that’s all a radio PR agency is going to do. Watch what other labels are doing; are they streaming all their albums one week before their release date? Are they holding contests with local media? Always keep adding to your checklist.”