The Rock and Roll Report Record Label Focus is on No Fun Records

Once again we bring you another amazing independent record label for you to check out to fulfill your rock and roll kicks. Claudia Leo, Vice President of No Fun Records took some time out of her busy schedule to fill me in on what No Fun Records is all about. Enjoy and remember, the best way to encourage small labels like No Fun is to buy their stuff!

The Rock and Roll Report: How long has the label been around? How did it get started? Why the name “No Fun Records”?

Claudia Leo: The label has been around since 1997. It got started in Buenos Aires, Argentina simply because at the time there were no other labels in that region releasing cool vintage tunes, neither from new bands nor doing re releases from the past. The scene was very small and the few bands that we into the same stuff we were into had no structure to release and promote their own work, so we thought…someone’s gotta do it! Charlie Lorenzi, No Fun’s President, was at the time in a band that was hugely influenced by Iggy and The Stooges, and so No Fun came as an obvious choice in honor of one of his musical heroes. Little did he know that, years later, we would relocate the label to Ann Arbor, Michigan –Stoogesland!

RRR: What kind of music does the label release?

CL: Mostly 60s Garage/Beat, 70s Psych, Intro/Surf, some Powerpop. In short: Rock and Roll! Some of what we do are reissues of the real deal, and we also work with bands currently active who emulate the sounds of the past through their own style and a refreshing twist. Our catalog is mostly international, showcasing bands from all around, from Greece, Finland, Peru, Denmark to the U.S., Germany, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and beyond.

RRR: How many bands call No Fun Records home? Name some of the best-known bands on the label.

CL: Over 20, including the artists that are part of the back catalog, most of which we launched to the scene by releasing their first albums ever. Some names that you might recognize from the international underground scene include
The Fuzztones http://www.myspace.com/thefuzztones http://www.fuzztones.net/
The Flaming Sideburns http://www.myspace.com/theflamingsideburns
The Avatars http://www.myspace.com/avatarsloveyou http://theavatars.us/
The Hard Lessons http://www.myspace.com/thehardlessons http://thehardlessons.com/index2.php
Los Gatos Salvajes http://www.myspace.com/losgatossalvajescompleterecordings
Los Peyotes http://www.myspace.com/peyotes

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?

CL: Our most current releases include The Dials (Chicago) “Amoeba Amore” (check these gals/guy out –they will blow you away. Guaranteed), Utopians (Buenos Aires) “Inhuman,” Los Kahunas (Buenos Aires) “Otro Reverberante Encuentro Con…,” and Los Peyotes (Buenos Aires) “Cavernicola.”

An upcoming release that you can look forward to getting your hands on is The Fuzztones’ “Horny As Hell” just in time for Christmas! There are other releases in the works, some nuggets stuff, re releases, and perhaps even a very happening band from England, but contracts are not finalized yet so I cannot make the announcement. Stay tuned!

RRR: How does the label release its music (music formats)?

CL: Mostly CDs. Depending on the genre and the artist’s career, some releases call for a bigger investment and we release them on both CD and vinyl LP. And very soon most of our catalog will be available in digital format as downloads. We recently launched a new web site, which is still under construction but will feature an entire digital section as soon as our programmer is done doing its magic.

RRR: Biggest plans for the future of the label?

CL: Too many. Expansion for one thing. Our staff needs to grow in order to keep up with the ever-growing incoming business. We might, just might, at some point even have a store front within a local music store, which would be a big change to our online-only operations since 1997. We will be doing more reissues in the near future, we are digging up some pretty obscure garage stuff from South America. We’ll definitely be doing more vinyl. We’ll also be concentrating resources in more international music conventions, music industry panels, record fairs.

RRR: The industry is going through some trying times with CD sales dropping. How does No Fun deal with this?

CL: The obvious way was to add a digital option to our sales and operations. But I do have to say that our CD sales have kept pretty steady, and our vinyl sales have actually gone up due to the recent vinyl revival we’ve been experiencing. I think it’s got to do with the music genre in which we specialize, and the age range of consumers who would typically be interested in that type of music. So, I must say that biz is alive and healthy in No Fun land!

RRR: What sets No Fun apart from other labels? What should rock and roll fans know when checking out your bands?

CL: Mostly that we are extremely well connected internationally. In addition to label owners, we are also touring musicians, and so we are in constant contact with the music communities around the world. Also keep in mind that the label originated in Argentina, which means that we automatically imported the South American scene with us. This means that the bands we sign are able to reach markets in a way they wouldn’t have been able to, had they signed with a regular local label. For artists abroad, it means that they’ll be reaching the U.S. market, something that not all labels abroad are able to do, even with the advantage of the internet, given that they are not based in the U.S.. And even when they do, most of these bands would have a pretty hard time getting the attention of a U.S. label to sign them. And for local U.S. artists it means that No Fun will be taking them internationally into scenes that they could have only dreamed of before. Say, The Defectors (Denmark) playing Detroit, or Coronados (Detroit) playing Montevideo!?! We are a very global label.

Something you can expect from all our artists is a love for what they do. We do not work with “products,” we work with the real deal, real musicians playing real shows, going on self-funded tours in smelly vans…that’s where the good stuff comes from, from having lived it, having felt it, having created it. The only packaging you’ll see in our artists’ products is themselves as they really are. This makes all of our artists unique, passionate, and exciting. What else could you ask for! Way better than anything softened by the purely commercial machine of a major record label, way better than commercial radio. You get the point.

RRR: Do you accept demo submissions from bands?

CL: We do, and we have signed at least 2 of our bands after hearing demos, without ever seeing then live. This is very unusual though, and it’s always better to email the label first to see if there’s a mutual interest. The one thing I always advise artists to do is to research the label before sending anything in and wasting their resources. If you would like us to sign your band, you should at least show some interest in the label first! You should be able to answer some basic questions for yourself by looking at our catalog first…for example, if you are a death metal band, and all we release is garage rock, then we are clearly not the label for you. It would be a waste of your money and our time to send us anything! Regarding submissions, we do listen to everything that is sent to us –over time. If we are interested in your band, we will contact you. No need to check in with us, as we cannot reply to everyone, and especially if we know we cannot bring you on board.

RRR: Anything you want to add?

CL: Yes, if you like to keep your music interesting and unique, raw, rocking and with an edge, free of corporate packaging and artistic control, support your indie bands, scene, and labels! Buy independent music from independent labels. If you do so, we can continue bringing you the finest rock and roll around to keep your love for music alive. If you want to contribute to the cause, try something new, start by picking up some of our latest releases, The Dials, Utopians, Los Kahunas, Los Peyotes! You can find more No Fun Records goodies at
Our eBay store: http://stores.ebay.com/NO-FUN-RECORDS
CD Baby http://cdbaby.com/
And of course, the recently launched label page, soon-to-feature shopping cart and digital downloads
http://nofunrecords.com/

Also, for the touring musicians out there, it might be worth mentioning that the label also runs No Fun Booking, an international touring agency. While we do book local and national shows/festivals, we mostly specialize in taking bands down to South America. For those of you interested in working abroad, you can contact booking@nofunrecords.com
Serious inquiries only, please.

Thanks to our friends at The Rock and Roll Report for keeping up this great site to help spread the word. And thank YOU, for reading and for you interest in Rock and Roll.