Bring Back Science Project!
And Bring Us Your Finest Meats & Cheeses, while you're at it.
Albuquerque would have a bleak music scene without Joe Anderson, co-owner of the Launchpad and longtime man-behind-the-local-music-curtain. Here he talks with the Alibi about his more-or-less dormant record label, Science Project, and what it takes to run a record label here in the Kirk.
When did Science Project begin, what have you released, what haven't you released (hint, hint), and is it still a working label?
We (Bring Back Dad) started Science Project in 1994 with the band's second vinyl release. We released our first single on Resin, and while the relationship with Resin was cool, we still wanted more control of our music. We just had to dig up a couple bucks to get things going. All of our releases are at ScienceProjectRecords.com.
We started working on a big covers compilation about two years ago, but it's still just sitting here. I got tied up with the clubs and had to put it on the back burner. I still want to release it with the old Been There Done That compilation. I think I'd like to get another 10 bands to donate covers and release a double CD. We'll see.
What was the impetus for starting the label?
At the time, there weren't many people releasing local material. I was excited to be a part of the scene at the time, even though I was just throwing money away. Big Fish and Resin had their own scene going. They were putting out the punk and grunge stuff. Acid Test was doing stuff with The Angry Babies and Strawberry Zots, and Water was primarily January's Little Joke.
How do small labels usually operate as far as funding and promoting bands?
Right now, labels are either basically a loan system or a collective, which I think is pretty cool. The labels put up money for the recordings and duplications and then work closely with the bands to recoup those costs before dividing up profits (if there are any). Deals with smaller labels can be worked out in many different ways. I don't think anyone is cranking out enough product to make a living on it, or even have complicated contracts involved. As far as promotion money, I don't think there is a ton of that happening, but you have to think realistically about what's happening in the scene.
How do local record labels assist the music scene?
Local labels can actually get some bands motivated to get out and get things going for themselves. There are many bands that are either lazy or inexperienced or simply don't have money to put into recording and duplicating. Even some of the more active bands need a little push occasionally.
So you put out Flake (or was it The Shins) on Science Project. Have you benefited from that at all?
Well, I put out music for some of my best friends at the time, which of course was the most rewarding thing ever. I loved Flake since the first time I heard them. Since we only pressed small runs, I'm not actually sure if I have even broken even on the endeavor, but the compilation with Flake's cover of "Your Love" by The Outfield has been sold out for quite some time. Anyone who has that definitely has a collectors' item. Someone said they saw it on eBay for $150. I wouldn't re-press anything without their permission, and I think Sub Pop has plans to release all the Flake/Flakemusic stuff on CD anyway.
Form a hypothesis as to what Science Project will do in the future.
Science Project will finally release the Bring Me Your Finest Meats & Cheeses covers compilation, and maybe the complete Bring Back Dad on CD (which no one would care about except me). And my closet will forever be packed full with 900 Smug CDs that no one wanted, not even the band.