The No Label Needed Contest & Series is a collaboration between Metal Insider and Scion to give one unsigned artist an entire DIY music industry education and launch a release without the help of a label. We’ll be posting features and updates on the contest & series periodically on Metal Insider. Find out more about No Label Needed here.
As voting for No Label Needed continues, we’ll be taking a closer look at each of the finalists. Today, we’re featuring Reciprocal.
Formed in 2007 in Hollywood, the band is comprised of Jacob Enfinger on vocals, Andy McLeod on guitar, Jeff Hughell is bass and Dustin Perle on drums. The band took some time aside from campaigning for the lead in public votes to answer a few of our questions.
Why should people vote for you over the other finalists?
Let our music and live presence be the reason to vote for us. We are all hard working DIY bands that do everything ourselves, such as websites, merchandise, album layouts, booking, promotion/design, advertising etc. Reciprocal does all this in addition to writing, rehearsing, and working our day jobs. Perhaps what may set us apart from most of the other bands is the fact that we were once signed to a label. The deal was mutually terminated before the release of our album and we incurred all the expenses necessary to put it out.
What has been your most challenging moment as an unsigned metal band?
The most challenging moment we’ve seen as an independent band came after announcing the split with the label we were signed to. After the announcement was made public, a major metal label approached us with an offer. We had to make a serious decision to accept it or not. There were many tempting reasons for us to take their deal into consideration. Being independent hasn’t been easy work… period! It’s hard to get on good tours when we have minimal physical distribution and have no money to pay for a decent agent to do booking for us, or to pay an office staff that would be pushing our band as their job. But after reading through all their fine print, the offer was less a deal for us and more a steal for them. Sure… we would have our CDs in every store and we would have more tour offers than we can handle, but we wouldn’t see any royalties. We made the decision to continue moving forward as hard working independent artist, where most bands would’ve signed the contracts we’ve turned down. It’s a shame that many artists we like and admire don’t see a penny from their labels. We didn’t want to be in the same situation.
Which career do you admire?
We admire the careers of many different musicians for so many different reasons. Mostly artists who remained independent throughout their careers like hip-hop artists Necro and Immortal Technique. They could be on a major label, but instead they built their empires from the ground up. Jello and the Dead Kennedys, 2live Crew, RATM, Bob Dylan and every other artist who stood their ground against the system deserve mention. Every pioneer metal band deserves mention… especially the ones who are still touring the world today.
If you could get one endorsement/sponsorship, what would it be?
Outside of the obvious equipment endorsements, an endorsement with Stone Brewing Company would be the shit. We are inspired by their attitude and business sense. They are one of the top growing business in America without compromising their craft of brewing the best beer around. We’re looking to achieve the same with our music. Jeff would like a Vans endorsement ’cause he has issues finding good shoes in size 14.
What is the local scene like in your home town?
We all come from places where there is not a huge metal scene. That is why we made the sacrifice to move close to Hollywood. The scene is good here and there are a lot of metal fans of all kinds. Lots of metal bands come through on tour, so there are always good shows to play on and to promote at. We’ve heard some acts come through and talk shit about L.A. and the scene, but we’ve drawn some pretty sick crowds that have attitudes like 85′ Slayer fans. Up north near Jeff a lot of the all ages venues closed, so most of the good tour packages are skipping the Bay Area but there is a thriving scene there. The few shows we have done up there have been pretty damn good.
What metal trend would you like to see end?
We’d be disingenuous to say we don’t have our different opinions, but as a band, we don’t discriminate against any type of metal music or “metal trend.” We feel what may be for some, may not be for others… and in the end, its all metal and we support it. We listen to a lot of other genres of metal and have fans from every type of metal background. We suppose having a closed mind is a trend that should end in metal.
There is one trend that should end in metal, and all other types of music, which is people forming negative assumptions about bands who are not signed to labels. There are a lot of bands who remain independent. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good enough to be signed. The industry is so cutthroat that many bands would rather establish distro and licensing deals with labels, rather than have a label take advantage of them. Support the indie bands as well…
Public voting for the No Label Needed Contest & Series presented by Scion runs through March 8. Visit the No Label Needed microsite to listen to Reciprocal and the 19 other finalists and cast your vote!