The Australian music industry is in a constant state of flux. Venues, bands, curfew laws – they come and they go, so what can we really hold on to? The countless hours of practice, the makeshift studios, the purchased gig tickets on minimum wages. These are all old truths that musicians and fans are eternally dedicated to the cause. Music will always be a labour of love.
But let’s spare a moment for the invisible guy, the one behind the releases who connects the dots between emerging artists and their die-hard fans. This is how independent labels are formed that are the driving force between a large majority of Australian bands today.
Such passion and dedication for music could not be truer than it is for Dave Noordhoff, the man behind the independent music label Catch Release Records. In between his busy schedule, Dave gave Whatisthehaps some time for a chat ahead of his label’s big night Label of Love, which will see 3 of the 5 bands from Catch Release hit the stage of the Shadow Electric in Melbourne on Thursday July 9 as part of a series of independent label showcases and an offshoot of the Leaps and Bounds Festival.
Tell us the tale behind Catch Release Records?
I started playing in bands when I was probably 13 or 14 after I started high school and I was in and out of a few bands for about the next decade and it got to about 2012 which was kind of the first time in a long time that I didn’t have an immediate project. At about that time I started following a few independent labels and I started to admire the communities that those labels were building and once I got to that stage where I didn’t have that project I wanted to emulate those communities. I had a few friends in bands and I got talking to them about coming releases and it just felt like the right time to do something like that and it was a personal challenge for me to do it on my own.
How did you discover the bands on your label?
Well there’s kind of no real pattern, no one trick. I suppose the first bands were friends who trusted me and as the label grew my own confidence began to grow as well and I was able to reach out to bands that I had heard on the radio or read about on a blog or caught them live or something like that.
Why would a band sign to an independent label?
That’s a good question. I suppose why someone might be attracted to working with a label like Catch Release Records… I guess money has gone out of CD sales to a degree and I think the big benefit is the support network that an indie label can offer.
It is really hard to champion your own band and what I really like about Catch Release and encourage bands to do, is to make friendships with other bands and that’s one of the things I am really passionate about is, the community that we’re part of and sharing each other’s music, going along to each other’s shows and championing the other bands on the label as well.
How do you manage the entire label solo?
I’ve probably been really lucky up to this point, through no planning of my own luckily all the releases have really come at different times so I’ve never really had to focus on more than two releases at any one time which has been really good. Sometimes it can feel like a lot going on because a lot of the time PR is done in house and its just a conversation done between myself and the band and looking at how they can fit in. It’s just a relationship where we are working together; they are just as involved as I am.
How competitive is it between indie labels these days?
I wouldn’t say there’s any competition, I think it’s more that everyone kind of respects each other. I can’t say that I have heaps and heaps to do with other indie labels but the indie labels that I have dealt with have been incredibly helpful and supportive if anything. I think it’s kind of the opposite.
What’s your take on the Melbourne music scene at the moment?
In terms of the Melbourne music scene I feel like it’s very very healthy and there are a lot of independent labels around and great bands and you can walk around in the Melbourne CBD and walk past 10 or 15 venues in every direction. I think people have kind of been writing about the demise of live music maybe as long as I’ve been in bands. I don’t know. There’s always going to be new challenges and I think the music scene is always evolving. It’s always changing, it’s always evolutionising. It’s just about bands adapting and understanding things and good songs will always make their way to the top.
Label Of Love – July 9, 7pm
Melbourne venue Shadow Electric is hosting a series of concert showcases, Label Of Love, to highlight some of Australia’s best and most acclaimed independent record labels, which is set to carry on through ’til August. On Thursday July 9, Catch Release Records will present a night of music dedicated to its up and coming roster. Catch Release Records is home to the likes of Owen Rabbit, Fieldings, Slowly, Slowly, The Evening Cast and Nick van Breda.
Tickets are still up for sale, purchase here.