A new Detroit-based record label will celebrate fresh sights and sounds Friday night.
Old Main Records, a Wayne State University (WSU) student-run record label and organization, will host a multimedia launch party at St. Andrew’s Church in partnership with Nice Place Detroit. It will feature live music and visual art from some of the Motor City’s most promising artists and creatives.
“We want to help connect people who are interested in all forms of art under one roof and further develop a sense of community. People attending can expect to meet incredible people in the city and to enjoy a night that includes visuals and high-energy music,” said Patrick Norton, Old Main Records creative director, Nice Place director and a WSU music technology senior.
“The goal for this event for the artists and volunteers involved is to give a platform to show the city what we are made of. The ability to utilize the university has opened so many doors for connections to press and other music industry and art world contacts.”
Launch event attendees will encounter a broad spectrum of Detroit-based experimental, blues-punk-garage and indie rock from Dirt Room, The Stools, Mac Saturn and Craig Garwood. This emerging lineup represents the first round of artists who have expressed interest in signing with Old Main Records.
Old Main Records also has compiled “Nice Plays: Local Detroit Underground,” a Spotify playlist that features dozens of artists across a multitude of genres. All artists included on the playlist have submitted their music for consideration to the label.
To complement the music, nearly a dozen visual artists will display their creative vision and prowess throughout the night. They will include Sleepyboness | Sarah Brazeau, Caitlin C. Harvey, MLE, Anastasiya Metesheva, RELYDETROIT, Max Jurcak, Erin Theroux, Shelby Say, Synefeld, Kristal Michal-Brasseur and Tyler Sykes.
“We feel this particular lineup is cohesive in reflecting the high energy that we want for our organization to kick off. In terms of the overall aesthetic, we plan to make each event unique and make our selection of music as eclectic as possible while also maintaining a theme,” Norton said.
“We also want to bridge some gaps within the art world of metro Detroit. We wanted to include students from Wayne State, the College for Creative Studies, Eastern Michigan University and artists from Detroit to help expand the art community. We wanted visual artists for the event to help cross-pollinate between different scenes that don’t always work alongside one another.”
Named after and housed in the iconic 19th century WSU academic building at Cass and Warren avenues, Old Main Records was founded by Brendan Derey, the label and organization’s president and a WSU music business senior, last summer. Along with another friend, Derey assembled a small group of students to start sharing ideas and laying the foundation for the label and organization.
Today, Old Main records has 20 student members, including Christopher Simpson, social media and marketing director; David Jackowicz, recording and distribution director; Derey and Norton, along with WSU Department of Music lecturers Jeremy Peters and Michael Shellabarger.
With a team in place, Old Main Records is setting up the independent label’s infrastructure, accepting and reviewing artist submissions, applying for grants and developing internal processes. It also will provide students with opportunities in event promotion, marketing, recording and distribution, and will launch a crowdfunding campaign soon.
To demonstrate that support, Norton’s band Dirt Room is serving as a pilot artist for Old Main Records. Along with Norton, Dirt Room bandmates Samuel Sprague, Simon Sprague, Cam Frank and Matt Hagger are helping students work through the process of signing an artist to the label.
“We are gaining experience developing merchandise as well as a plan of action for recording our future artists within the label. We are allowing ourselves to fail or succeed now so that we can effectively serve the artists we signed to the label. Our greatest challenge right now is developing different contracts to serve the different needs of the artists we plan to sign,” Norton said.
“Every contract we have made goes through a system of legal oversight by the university to serve its interests and our artists’ interests. We are currently working with Wayne State’s Law Department to prevent any issues moving forward.”
Old Main Records will officially announce the first round of artists signed to the label later this spring. Once official agreements are in place, it will help local, regional and national artists record and release original music.
Finally, Old Main Records will partner with WSU to preserve and digitize an extensive catalog of audio archives that date back to the 1930s. It will be a multi-year project to convert audio recordings on cassette, vinyl and wire to digital formats for future preservation.
Along with Peters and Shellabarger, WSU Department of Music manager Paul Bishop and Old Main Records’ Simpson will lead and assist with the archival project. “Right now, we’re developing our plan with our stakeholders to begin this project and are in the acquisition and accession phase. We will be transferring, preserving and cataloging this semester and will begin to digitize the recordings in summer 2020,” Simpson said.
For details about Old Main Records, visit its Facebook and Instagram pages. Interested artists can submit their music for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org. General label inquiries can be sent to email@example.com.
6:30 p.m. Friday
St. Andrew’s Church, 5015 Anthony Wayne Drive in Detroit
$5 or more suggested donation