Meet Joey Mathews, owner of Red Cord Records.
So how long has Red Cord Records been around and how did it come about?
Red Cord was first put into motion and created into a business plan in September 2008 and was launched in November 2008. I’ve been serving as a youth leader in my church since 2005 and I’ve seen this generation look to music as an inspiration to life. I recognized that there are genres that they draw to and I wanted to create a label that would give artists an opportunity that they wouldn’t otherwise have as well as see this generations’ musical and spiritual needs met.
What is your background in the music industry?
I’ve never worked for a major label or company. In the past five years, I’ve produced bands through a studio now called Red Cord Studio’s based in Rockford, IL. Through watching the industry and keeping up to date with the changes, I saw a need and after a lot of prayer I decided to go for it. One thing was certain; I wanted the label to be 100% legit by having a plan and sticking to it. Things haven’t gone exactly how I anticipated but its because we don’t want to be caught up in one concept or idea. While we are conscientious of the industry and what the fans want, our commitment to being a business with integrity stays the same.
It looks like your roster of artists cover several genres instead of just one style, any reason for that?
Well to be honest, at first we signed all genres to figure out what would work best for us but after awhile it just kind of stuck. We sign bands that we feel have potential whether that means Hardcore, Metal, Rock, Pop, or Indie. So I guess you could say this is what God has for us right now but I am always open for change.
How many artists do you currently have?
We have 10 bands on a full Contract and 4 bands on our Development deals.
What makes an artist/band Red Cord Records material?
We look to see how committed they are to their ministry through the opportunities they’ve created on their own, the sound they’ve developed, and if they run the band like a business.
How do you find most of your artists? (Demo submissions, shows, word of mouth, etc…)
At first, I searched out artists that I wanted to brand the label with but it very quickly became word of mouth through our current roster. I will say I love looking at a good press kit to see what bands are doing to stand out.
What is your philosophy on artist development?
Ahh this is our cup of tea, we love developing new artists. It’s necessary to have a good business plan with a unique product and a clear line of publicity. Since it is development, the tendency can be to become stagnant through the process. Accountability is key as it’s not realistic to become a national act over night, there are things that need to be learned and experienced. Being developed into anything will always cost something.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists and bands?
Take a risk and keep writing until you hit something that feels right. Brand yourself with something different and always be willing to change. Get hooked up with a good producer and create an album that is undeniable, then Tour! Tour! Tour! Fans are the ones you will carry your career. After you’ve been on the road and created consistency, look for a company or label who can create bigger opportunities and manage your career.
What is your take on the future of music distribution? Are CDs going away and Digital will take over?
I’m not sure. I know that physical CD sales are not what they were years ago but I personally enjoy owning the CD rather than downloading it. Things are changing but I don’t think CDs will ever become a thing of the past. I can see why downloading has become so popular though, its kind of like instant mac n cheese you don’t have to drive 10 minutes to buy it! Get your new song in a minute!
Not counting your roster of artists, who are you currently listening to?
I go through phases right now it’s Jeremy Camp, Disciple, As I Lay Dying, Decyfer Down, For Today, and Thousand Foot Krutch.
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Red Cord bands IVM has covered: