Is there a story behind the name Triple Crown?
Nope, sat with a few people one night in a bar and was thinking of names. Someone suggested Triple Crown, I liked it. Also like the idea that Triple Crown has a few different sports meanings horse racing, baseball, Rugby etc...
Do you have any educational background that helped you with the label?
A little, I went to Syracuse University. Took some music industry courses. But the best thing I could have done was gain real experience by working at the college radio station and running the concert board, booking shows, etc…I did not intern at a label, but I would strongly suggest doing it and make sure to ask questions while you’re there.
When you started Triple Crown, did you seek anyone for help? Who?
I had worked for Profile Records for more than 10 years, starting in the mailroom and years later became the General Manager. I was able to gain a lot of knowledge along the way as well as I built up a number of relationships. So by the time I started my own company, I had relationships that I was able to call on for help for my own releases.
When you were working at Profile Records, what were some things that you took with you to start Triple Crown?
The most important thing was how to run a smart independent operation. Having an understanding of distribution was crucial, knowing how to get paid. Cash flow is extremely important if you want to keep putting records out. Understanding that just because you think you have a great record doesn’t mean anyone else will care.
Did you think Triple Crown would last this long?
Not when I first started, it was one day at a time. I just knew I had been running a successful independent label for someone else and it was time to do it for myself.
What are some of your memorable moments over the last ten years?
There’s been a lot.
-Receiving End Of Sirens at Bamboozle in NJ ’06
-The Brand New/Hot Rod Circuit tour
-E Town Concrete Second Coming release show in NJ
-Deja Entendu being certified gold
-Signing my first distribution deal with Caroline Distribution are just a few, there are many more…
Overall I have to say it’s exciting when you hear a demo that you like and you check the band out at some shitty club or VFW hall when no one cares. Then months or a year later the same band is playing in front real audiences and they have become better performers. It’s a great feeling to know you had something to do with that.
What is your favorite release from the label and why?
That’s like asking which child is you favorite…I am proud of the fact that over 10 years our releases have been eclectic from 25 Ta Life to Kevin Devine.
Was the 10th anniversary show filmed? If so, will it be released on DVD in the future?
I know this will bum a lot of people out but we did not film the show, I wanted it to be a special night that was a moment in time that hopefully you were lucky to be at.
Why were the FealGood Foundation for 9/11 first responders and Shirts For A Cure chosen to receive the proceeds from the show?
I wanted the show to be a benefit. Andrew Ellis suggested The FealGood Foundation, and he was also a big part of the whole night coming together. Fealgood Foundation does great work for people that really need help. These were the people on 9/11 who came to help out NYC that were not Police and Fire dept workers, who donated themselves and now need help themselves.
I’ve been a supporter of Shirts For A Cure for a while; Mark Beemer does amazing work helping women who cannot afford cancer treatment get the best care possible. They had the only merch sold at the event. I think it was great of all the bands to not only donate their time, but also to give up their merch sales for the night to raise more money for Shirts For A Cure.
Some users want to know why there aren’t more releases on vinyl?
We’ll be having more vinyl releases. Next up is the As Tall As Lions Into The Flood EP in March and The Dear Hunter later in the year. We’re contemplating re-releasing some of the older titles on vinyl as well. I promise we’ll be better answering questions about the pressing info, I now know we pissed off some folks with the lack on info on the Deja vinyl
Do you still keep a relationship with the bands that are not on your label anymore?
Yes, I keep up with a number of former Triple Crown artists. Always try to support former artist even when they move onto other labels.
What do you look for most when you’re interested in adding a band to your label? Do you care if the band has experience or just how they sound?
First thing is the music, do they have songs. Equally as important is the drive and commitment, looking for bands that are willing to work as hard as we are going to. Would they do it without the help of a label? It’s dangerous when a band signs the contract and sits back and says “what are you going to do for me now” that is the beginning of the end. As an independent label, we can take the time to help develop the band and spend more time working a release than the majors. Experience is not important but we do look for bands that are booking their own tours, have started to develop their Internet presence etc…
Has Triple Crown seen a significant change in the music industry in the last couple years with digital music on the rise?
It’s harder than ever to sell CD’s, fewer retailers out there that carry music. Digital has become more and more important; the % of sales digitally has increased a great deal over the last few years. It’s funny that kids will put labels down for not selling enough records, when they are the ones not buying them.
What are some tips for people who would like to start their own record label? Some advice you wished you had ten years ago?
Trust your gut. You must believe in the artists you are starting with. Try and talk to people who have done it before. You’ll find most folks approachable. Also, get a good accountant that can help you with your books and a good lawyer you are comfortable with, who you feel like you can talk to and won’t talk down to you because some things may be new to you. Also remember it’s a business. Hard to say what advice would have helped 10 years ago, best way to learn is through mistakes. Just try not to make them twice.
Are there any plans for a Receiving End of Sirens DVD? Or any other artists on Triple Crown?
No plans right now, we just launched a new feature on www.triplecrownrecords.com called TCR-TV, we’ll be posting some exclusive footage from bands there and we have a bunch of exclusive TREOS footage.
What new releases can we see from Triple Crown in 2008?
We’ll have new music from As Tall As Lions and Hit the Lights this year, very excited about both. It’s been great to watch the growth and development of As Tall As Lions, this release will surprise everyone. Don’t count Hit The Lights out, new songs are great. Rest of the year we’ll have a few new signings and surprises we’ll be announcing soon.
With stand up comedy (The Comedians of Comedy, Doug Stanhope) taking a DIY ethic (booking small tours at rock clubs, Bamboozle) could we see it breaking into the same market with labels like yours?
You never know, always looking to expand on what the label does. If we found the right artist would love to do it.
Any recommendations of up and coming bands?
Outside of all the Triple Crown bands, past, present and future. I love Manchester Orchestra, one of the most exciting bands out there right now. Also looking forward to The Morning Light,
Sky Eats Airplane, Fight Fair, The Morning Of , You Me And Everyone We Know, and Shawty Lo are just a few exciting things I like and anxious to see what the new year holds for them.
I had the pleasure of working along side Fred as an intern at East West this summer. Nice, down to earth guy, friendly, willing to help out younger people in the industry, and SUPERB taste in music. Kudos to Fred!