I'm sure you have dozens of questions to ask about the label. Regardless of how many questions you have, since this is a website the best I can do is lay it all down for you here. First of all, I'm Kellen, I run the show. I handle basically everything we do here, besides making the music (I only do that sometimes). When I say "I" or "me" I mean me personally, and when I say "we" or "us" I mean me and the musicians and other people that may wind up involved in this mess. Although sometimes I just mix and match whatever pronouns. You get the idea.
The label didn't start out as such a grandiose thing (not that it is now either). I don't spend alot of money on food or clothes or any extraneous crap, so it tends to slowly pile up. I dropped some on a few things to record with, and with some equipment Kevin had, I put together what was probably the worst recording studio that didn't involve electrodes on someone's nipples. Needless to say, we're still no sort of professional, high-grade recording studio. After all, things cost money, and money costs money, and I don't have any money.
But things improved. We had hoped to put down an album, and somehow we wound up with four of us all together to do that, but man we needed alot of work. Nobody had much experience, we weren't practicing enough, etc. Things began to fall apart, and in retrospect it was probably for the best. Erototoxin, the band that would record an album or bust, wound up busting.
But for us to record an album, we'd have to put it out ourselves too, so when the band broke up the idea of our own record label lived on. I had thought we'd just be putting out or own stuff, but like I said, this stuff is expensive, and I'll be damned if I'd let it go to waste. So I decided I'd go into business (or something like it), and I haven't doubted or regretted it once.
Okay, that's a total lie. It's hard work, and quite an investment, it takes alot of time, but I am very happy with how things have turned out. I wound up with several really good bands and musicians right off the bat, and even if I never recover a third of the money I've put into recording, producing, manufacturing, and distributing this music, I'll still consider it one for the win column.
Barren Records is an ongoing thing -- I never really plan on letting my passion for hands-on music making in my life pass, but there are times when hobbies and peripheral interests need to get put aside. Because I am now involved in more serious academic work, in the hopes of building a career in mathematics, I can't spend too much time on this kind of work. But Barren Records will go on, and I will still do everything I can to continue to keep this going. I would like to thank the musicians especially, as well as the people who were fans, customers, and friends of the label and the musicians. And thanks to you, for coming to the website!
Enough with the history and endearing retrospective on my whole freaking life. What do we do here? I just mentioned the four elements of making music. Recording, first. There's a decent recording set-up here, and I think it's defintely well-suited to our purposes and budget. The stuff is a pain to haul around whenever I move or try to do something besides record in the common room of our apartment, but it's not terrible. We have a small arsenal of mics, a box full of cables, a couple mixers, and a rack full of EQ and compressors and stuff. It gets the job done, no question, definitely fun to play around with too. We also have production stuff, a computer and software and so on, as well as the know-how I have to get that done. Manufacturing and distribution we also take care of, using a CD duplicator and a thermal printer, not a high-volume assembly line, but it works. I distribute the stuff right now essentially on my own, but maybe someday we'll branch out beyond local-type sales.
I also take care of the day-to-day stuff, I do the sales, I coded the website, etc. I foot all the bills, but I have the most fun I think, so it's a fair trade. Of course, none of this would be possible without everyone else: the musicians, my friends, the neighbors who do their best to put up with noise, and the people who lend a hand and deserve thanks, who include Aaron for production help, Kevin for use of his equipment, Brendan for advice and drumming, and Joey for hosting and web-related stuff. To all of these people, I am sincerely thankful.
And to be clear, the intent here really was never to make loads money. I seriously doubt I'll ever make a return on any album we put out, let alone recover the operating costs of this whole shebang. Not that I won't try, if it helps me make bread and recover some of the costs, but what I'm really getting out of this is the fun, the experience, and the chance to give people an opportunity to do something they might never have been able to do otherwise. I'm very grateful, of course, for all the sales and all our customers and fans (and the bands are grateful too). None (or at least very little) of this would be possible without you to buy our albums, see the bands play, listen to the music, and spread the word about things. So thanks to you.
All the music on the label is (c) & (p) Barren Records (meaning me) in whatever year it was made, with a few exceptions where the artist holds a copyright in some form or another. If you don't know, the (c) is for the musical content, while the (p) is for the actual musical recording. I reserve all rights, however I deferr most rights to the original artist whenever possible. The only right I keep for myself is the production/sales rights. That is the way we work because I almost always absorb the entire cost of recording, production, manufacturing, and distribution. I do also sell recording/production time for a fee, for bands that I don't work with otherwise and for other situations, but in those cases I hold no copyright for the music or recording, and do nothing more than provide that particular service.