Bloodshot Records - The Basics:
- What: Independent record label Bloodshot Records
- Where: Chicago, IL, USA
- Founded by: Nan Warshaw, Rob Miller and Eric Babcock
- Founded: 1994
Bloodshot Records - Roots:
Founded in Chicago in 1994 by Nan Warshaw, Rob Miller and Eric Babcock, Bloodshot Records has made a name for itself by being at the forefront of independent alt-country music for the past 14 years. While country influenced alternative rock seems to have constantly been either in or out of fashion with the music press, Bloodshot have consistently released great records from the genre's stars as well as unknown musicians from across the world and built up a growing and loyal fanbase.
Early Bloodshot Comps:
In the early 90s, there were numerous Chicago bands playing something between old style country and alternative rock (the genre the city was more famous for). Seeing this untapped talent, Warshaw, Miller and Babcock decided to releases a compilation album highlighting some of these musicians. For A Life of Sin was released in 1994 and, after receiving some great reviews - and most importantly breaking even - they decided to follow it up with another compilation and, almost by accident, Bloodshot Records was born.
The Mekons Connection:
One of the artist featured on that first album was Jon Langford, drummer with long running British punk outfit The Mekons. Over the years Jon has appeared on numerous Bloodshot releases, both as a solo artist and with his band Waco Brothers as well as guesting on various records. Several other members of The Mekons, including Sally Timms and Rico Bell, have worked with Bloodshot and Bloodshot artists, causing Warshaw to comment that “we wouldn't get half the respect we do, if it wasn't for Mekons side projects”
Keeping It Indie...:
Bloodshot have always had a disdain for the mainstream music industry, refusing to join the US industry body the RIAA. They've riled against the "Wal-Martization" of the industry, the demise of the independent record stores, radio stations and labels and advised wanna label moguls to consider entering the business with caution, saying “It would be much harder to (start a label) today than when we started and it wasn’t easy then.”
...But Still Working as a Business:
However they've always been pragmatic and realized they don't operate in a vacuum and had to work in the 'business'. Early on they realized that promoting their releases and acts in a vital part of the label, and employed publicist Kelly Hogan - her importance was underlined by the fact that she was receiving a wage long before any of the founders were taking money from the business. Hogan later move from the backroom to the stage releasing three albums on Bloodshot, and guesting with numerous artists.
Bloodshot/Soundies Revival Imprint:
In 1999 Bloodshot were approached by Soundies, a specialist re-issue label, with the idea of releasing rare and unreleased recordings by original old school country acts. Bloodshot leaped at the chance and Bloodshot/Soundies Revival imprint has become an important part of the labels output. Most of the recordings come from never before released transcription acetates and special promotional recordings sent to radio stations. This imprint has introduced old-country music to a new generation.
Bloodshot's Secret to Success:
Bloodshot have always been drawn to the underground, seeking out bands that don't conform, and often don't fall neatly into a particular genre. However, the label has a strong aesthetic, and only releases music that fits in with their sound. In many ways the Bloodshot label is more famous than any of their acts. By fitting a niche, having a strict A'n'R policy and doggedly sticking at it Warshaw and Miller created a successful fiercely independent label. When asked about the secret of their success Warshaw put in down to "luck!".
Bloodshot Records Demo Policy:
Bloodshot requires demos to be sent on CD - they will not accept links to MP3s and they will not check out your band on your MySpace page. They also will not sign bands not based in the US. If you want to send a demo, their address is:
3039 West Irving Park Road
Chicago, IL 60618