It’s been a long time coming, and we’re stoked to be premiering a new PropertyOfZack Label Talk feature with Chris Hansen of No Sleep Records. No Sleep is slowly gearing up for a big second half of 2012 with releases from Mixtapes, Drug Church, Lowtalker, TRC, and a few other bands that have yet to be announced. In the interview, Chris and I discussed his roster’s tendency to slowly grow in a positive way, touring success for bands like Into It. Over It. and La Dispute, his duties at the label, how he manages No Sleep’s ever-growing roster, future 2012 releases, and much more. Check out the full Label Talk below!
So 2011 wound up being a pretty solid year for you guys with bigger releases from La Dispute and Into It. Over It. It seems like those two releases, in particular, have taken off this year in terms of what the bands have been able to accomplish touring-wise. I don’t think that’s unusual with the label either. Can you discuss the strength your artists have in slow growth?
I think there is definitely slow growth with a lot of our bands. Not super slow growth, but a lot of the records come out, they do good, and then they continue to build because of the great fan base that all of the bands have and the community that we’re in. It will continue to go and the community tells everyone else what’s going on. With La Dispute’s first record, Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River, there was a slow growth with it, and then there was a rapid growth. And it kept going and going. Luckily everyone wants to tour, and they are able to get more and more tours. So releasing quality albums is helping them, I would say.
Is it awesome to see Evan go from the Frank Turner tour, which seemed like the biggest grab of the world, to the really successful GK Tour? La Dispute and Balance have had this really successful Wildlife Tour as well.
Yeah. They’re getting all these amazing tours now which is great. I just hope that all of the smaller ones and stuff are going to be as lucky.
Just in 2012, you have had releases from No Trigger and Xerxes and you’re gearing up for Mixtapes and Drug Church. Can you talk about how 2012 has been so far?
It’s been a good year. It’s going to be busy but it’s kind of a slow start right now. We didn’t have a lot of releases in some of the months, some months there wasn’t really anything. But we have a lot coming out later in the year. And we have five or six new bands that aren’t announced yet. They will be announced in the next few weeks, which will be good. It’s going to be a good year and there’s going to be a lot of releases. At first there were a lot of early plans for the year that fell through. But luckily we found other things to fill the holes and I’m happy with a lot of the stuff that we are going to get to do this year. It’s going to be fun.
Like you said, you’ve had a few new signings lately. Whether it be Xerxes or Mixtapes or Drug Church. We’ve seen you tease a bunch more. How do you go about balancing priorities? In the sense that you’d like these younger bands to grow, but you also need to devote attention to bigger bands like La Dispute and Balance.
I usually try to give each room to breathe. I think that’s one of the big things. The weeks leading up to and the weeks after are really some of the biggest for our side of things. Some of the stuff we do, it’s more like hobbies for people or something. So that doesn’t need as much attention as others. Really trying to give everyone the full attention they deserve and releasing things somewhat apart so that each thing has its own breathing room, you know? I think that’s a big thing, because there are a lot of labels that release five things in one day. It doesn’t really let anything breathe. Doesn’t really get any focus. We’re a small label and the employee level is small, so we’re having to work a million things at once some times, but not running into any problems with it at all. If there’s a bigger release, we leave a little more breathing room around it. There are some releases this year that are like project things, where there’s not really a lot to do after, besides just releasing it.
The next big thing you have are the Mixtapes EP and LP. Are you excited to see all that’s surrounding that band right now?
Yeah. I’ve been talking to Mixtapes for a long time. I’ve been friends with Ryan and all of them for a while. We were both waiting for the right time for them to move up and to do an actual full-length. The record’s awesome. I’m really excited for all of the buzz that they are getting currently. It should be a really good year and next year and so on for them. They are great people and they deserve the buzz that they are getting. The record is, I think, going to make people excited for sure.
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