There's something about the DIY label that just excites the heck out of me. With a name like Lonely Boy Records, Nicholas Jones' label has to be exactly that and it is. I came to know Nicholas after reviewing Pinky Swear's tape and have since come to love acts on his label like Anzio and Walking Misery. Nicholas and I did an interview via email and here is what transpired...
Rob: What is the ‘birth story’ of Lonely Boy Records?
Nicholas: I'm from Henderson, Ky. Not a lot of anything goes on here. If you want to go buy anything nice or go see a band play, you have to go one town over to Evansville, IN. I played in a band and I helped with another record label. On the same day, I left both the band and label. I really needed something to do with music, so the idea of doing my own label sounded perfect. In late March, I started Lonely Boy. I had no idea what I was doing, but I had a lot of help from some label friends. Josh from Ozona always helped me with things like designs and social media. Derrick from Broken World Media and TWIABP dubbed my tapes for me, since I didn't know how at the time. So yeah, to sum it up, Lonely Boy was made because I needed something in music.
Rob: Are you dubbing your own tapes now, or are you still having them done elsewhere?
Nicholas: I dub them myself now. I originally didn’t want to dub my own, but I found this really nice duplicator at the goodwill for $4. Derrick gave me some pointers on what and what not to do. I had a tough time at first, but I got the hang of it. It’s just a timely process. I’m working on my first release that will be professionally dubbed and I am going to start going that route.
Rob: For people looking to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you have?
Nicholas: I would say have some kind of gameplan. I really had no idea what I was doing, and I needed a lot of labels to help me. talk to some labels and get an understanding of what goes on and what you need to start a label. Do not expect to release a tape, get 1,000 likes on facebook and sell all the tapes in a day. The process is very slow in the beginning. It takes patience. . .
Rob: What was the biggest mistake you made while starting out, if you don’t mind my asking?
Nicholas: I had a few mistakes with shipping. I was paying too much for shipping. I soon found out about the wonders of Media Mail. I was dubbing tapes really badly at first. I was starting the songs too early, which was cutting off the first few seconds of the song. I was also dubbing the songs in MP3 files instead of lossless files, which lowered the quality. Now I dub with FLAC files and always check the tapes and decibel levels to make sure it is the best sounding tape I can produce.
Rob: How important is putting out physical music to you?
Nicholas: Putting out physical releases is very important. I'm not a fan of digital sales. 1,000,000 could download that album, it's unlimited digitally, But some people can say they have 1 out of the only 25 tapes of it. To me, it just seems better that way. There is so much put into a physical release, that it just makes it more awesome. I love seeing the product after I finish them, and really get the sense of achievement. I always love talking to bands, hearing that they love their tapes, and they are selling them like crazy.
Rob: Do you think music on sites like Bandcamp should be free? At what point should a label be able to charge for their digital music?
Nicholas: I personally don’t like paying for music digitally. All money I make off of digital sales go right back to the bands. If I release something and the band wants it to be paid for, I’ll charge for it and give them that money.
Rob: Why do you think records and tapes are making such a comeback?
Nicholas: I think they are coming back because of our generation. So many people in the DIY community understand how much time and money goes into releasing an album. It is truly art. The music itself is artwork. The record and tapes are artwork. I think people like that there is so much hard work and DIY involved. They like to help out and give back.
Rob: Do you find your purchases coming just from people around your age, or is your purchasing audience multi-generational?
Nicholas: Yeah, most people who order are around 16-22. It’s kind of cool to see all the locations I have had orders from. It’s really cool to know someone is jamming my tape in New Zealand and other countries.
Rob: Do you think that it’s somewhat of a backlash to the download culture that permeated/ruined the industry in the early 2000’s?
Nicholas: yeah, in a sense. people would rather just have music on their computer instead of having a bookshelf full of tapes.
Rob: What are your favorite records not on Lonely Boy Records right now?
Nicholas: I always listen to music that gets posted in the NDE Facebook group. I also browse the tags on bandcamp all the time. My current jams:
The Obsessives - Heck No, Nancy
TWIABP - Harmlessness
Earl Sweatshirt - I don’t like S***, I don’t go outside
Childish Gambino - Because The Internet
Turnover - Peripheral Vision
Rob: How important are mediums like Facebook to the success of Lonely Boy?
Nicholas: Facebook is nice to advertise on, but the organic posts never generate views. Facebook is always trying to get your money. I won’t pay for an ad on facebook. It’s just dumb to me. I post on the sites like NDE and Twinkle Daddies, and sometimes it helps with sales. Instagram is nice because I talk to a lot of people about their record and tapes collection. I just love seeing someone talk about the label on Instagram.
Rob: Do you think that it is more important for music to be available on a service like Bandcamp or can a service like Spotify serve the same purpose?
Nicholas: Streaming is cool, but it’s not really my favorite. I like to download all the music I find and keep it all on my iTunes. I have an Ipod Classic with 160 gigs so I’m always trying to fill that thing up. I actually don’t have Spotify at the moment, but I like how it keeps giving back to the bands.
Rob: Where do you see Lonely Boy Records this time next year?
Nicholas: I see Lonely Boy pressing more Records in the next year. I have one in the works currently, but I would love to do more. I hope to be working with more labels. so far I've worked with friends like Coffee Shop Records, Really Rad Records, and Rad Dad Records. I hope to work with the labels I've looked up to like Broken World Media, Ozona Records, Too Far Gone Records, and a lot of others! I hope more people take notice of the label!
Rob: You mention multi-label releases just now, how important do you think they are to the survival of the scene?
Nicholas: I think it’s very important to help the scene survive. Both labels get noticed due to the other label and that creates a lot of talk and publicity.
Rob: Here’s your chance to get on your soapbox, what else do people need to know about Lonely Boy Records?
Nicholas: Lonely Boy Records is dedicated to giving back to the scene by releasing music physically. We don’t know what we are doing, But we are having fun doing it.
Lonely Boy Records // Stay Sad
Bernie Sanders 2k16
Rob: Thanks, Nicholas!