In this edition of the Cool Indie Record Label feature we talk to Ivan Pena of Tamby Bay, Florida’s Mohawk Bomb Records as he pumps out some amazing music while attempting to give Austin, Texas a run for its money!
Rock and Roll Report: How long has the label been around? How did it get started?
Ivan Pena: I formed MBR in March 2008 out of need. I got tired of waiting for a label to come discover my band, so I put my business and marketing knowledge to work.
RRR: What kind of music does the label release?
IP: So far our releases have been Alternative and Rock mostly, but we hope to expand into Jazz and Hip Hop soon. It is my opinion that a label should never limit itself to a genre. I try to keep a Tony Wilson in “24 Hour Party People” approach in that MBR is an experiment in human nature and creativity. But we have contracts.
RRR: How many bands call Mohawk Bomb home? Name some of the best-known bands on the label.
IP: We have 2 types of bands: roster bands (Soulfound, The Redlight Stare, Rise of Saturn, Ascending to Avalon) and compilation bands (among them 900 Pound Gorilla, Drew Street Mary and Bull Lee). We are mostly working with local bands trying to build up the profile of their music scenes.
RRR: What are some of the current releases being promoted right now by the label? What releases are going to be released in the near future?
IP: Our Spring releases were Soulfound “Live at Zen Recording” EP and our No Lip Vol. 2 compilation. In the summer, we hope to have a release from Ascending to Avalon and from Rise of Saturn, plus I have begun working on No Lip Vol. 3. Bands can submit to be on No Lip Vol. 3 through Sonicbids: http://www.sonicbids.com/nolipvol3
Also, The Redlight Stare is working on recording and releasing 1 song per day for the entire month of May, but we are not sure if that will fly yet. We are working out logistics and how to monetize it.
RRR: How does the label release its music (music formats)?
IP: We usually press at least 1,000 CDs to send to press and to use as giveaways and incentives for people to come to shows/CD release events. Our bands are trying to take advantage of the digital revolution as much as possible. We offer distribution on iTunes, Napster, Amazon, etc…
RRR: Biggest plans for the future of the label?
IP: To make Tampa Bay into the “Austin of the East” through our releases, bi-monthly showcases and innovative promotions strategies.
RRR: The industry is going through some trying times with CD sales dropping. How does Mohawk Bomb deal with this?
IP: Going digital helps cut costs, but thankfully our artists still sell CDs at shows. This has not impacted us as much as we have not had a big revenue stream from CDs. They are usually giveaways for us. Our revenues are low right now, but we are still developing our business plan and have big plans for 2009.
RRR: What sets Mohawk Bomb apart from other labels? What should rock and roll fans know when checking out your bands?
IP: Mohawk Bomb Records is a new kind of records label, focused on sharing all music with the World using social networking and Web 2.0 technologies. Also, we are an artist-centric promotions and advertising house designed to help new and unsigned artists spread the word about their music. We are driven to succeed on our own terms and bring new texture to the bland pourage that is the pop music sonicscape. We believe in 1) open communication 2) transparent accounting 3) using technology to drive music distribution and 4) reinvesting in our bands. Our motto is “Enjoy. Share.”
RRR: Do you accept demo submissions from bands?
IP: Always. For info on how to do this, go to http://mohawkbomb.com/about/
RRR: Cool name! What’s the story behind it? Can you even tell it? LOL
IP: Not much of a story. When I was brainstorming for names, I wanted something punchy and unique. I was hanging with my buddy Shane from Knowing Stu (band) and he had a mohawk and I was like… “what about… Mohawk Spike…. Mohawk Blast… Mohawk BOMB!”. I did want to call is “No Lip Records” but the .com was taken.
RRR: Anything you want to add.
IP: We are currently working on a South by Southwest style conference in Tampa in June called the “Homemade Music Symposium”. If it goes according to plan, it will be the biggest and best represented music conference to ever happen in Tampa Bay. I will be part of panels, we will have a demo listening session and 2 or 3 venue showcases. Please visit the website www.artistsandwritersgroup.com for more information.
RRR: Thanks Ivan!