For as long as I can remember, I have really enjoyed turning people on to new music. Growing up in suburban Ohio in the time before the Internet, I had to do a lot of digging if I wanted to find the good stuff.
Whenever people ask me what Old Flame means, I never really know what to say. When I was thinking of what to call my label back when I started it, I wanted something that would be memorable but also something that wouldn’t get stale or seem too cheesy. Back when I started, I still had a pretty massive CD collection and I looked at the track names of hundreds of albums that were important to me. I whittled that list down and think I made a pretty good choice. It’s a name that could mean a lot and maybe it does subconsciously, but in reality I just liked the way it sounded.
The first few releases almost seem like they never really even happened that was so long ago and we had next to no idea what we were even doing. The first band I ever officially signed to Old Flame was a group of four high schoolers from suburban Chicago that went off to three different colleges and broke up before we could even put out the CD that we pressed up. I fell in love with them from hearing them on the radio and then I reached out and told them I was starting a label. Though that release never really even came out… from there I got the bug and never really looked back.
The idea to start my own label was born out of needing to remain sane with a co-worker at a past job. We sat next to each other, discussed/dreamed about it for months and found our first band. We did all our meetings at his apartment, but due to work responsibility he couldn’t remain involved and the bulk of the label, as people may know, has been run out of my house.
All sorts of life experiences have shaped my label. From my days as a Music Director at WMSR to being an intern at WOXY, I found my love of discovering and exposing people to new music. Different jobs at labels and record stores and even mortgage lenders helped shape me in terms of learning what I liked, what worked/didn’t work, and what I wanted to do and not do with my time and my life.
The industry is evolving constantly and there are always new obstacles to overcome. This business is not for the faint of heart. I try and be formulaic and get processes solidified in place but still bumps always arise. The best advice I have for someone starting out is to not expect to make big money doing this—at least not right away. This is a labor of love for sure, but finally getting closer to figuring out how to make our bands a little bit of money here and there.