By the numbers
SENSES WORKING OVERTIME - Luis Katigbak (The Philippine Star) - August 22, 2014 - 12:00am

How to start your own indie record label, according to Number Line Records.

If you love music — and if you don’t, then get the hell out of here — then starting your own independent record label seems like an incredibly cool thing to do. However, even repeat viewings of 24 Hour Party People (as awesome as that movie is) will not give you a clear enough idea of how to do it on your own, especially in this day and age and place. So we talked to Micaela Benedicto, one-third of the sibling triumvirate behind the impeccably indie Number Line Records, which started out as an all-digital download label but has since come out with CD and vinyl offerings. She told us about how she and her brothers started Number Line, how they’re keeping it going, and what makes it all worth it.

YOUNG STAR: Why did you start your own record label?

MICAELA BENEDICTO: (My brother) Mike and I had released the second Outerhope album, “A Day for the Absent,” in 2009 independently, and had to go through all the permits and the motions of producing a record. A year later, we met Allan Lumba of Multo, and we really liked his music and wanted other people to hear it. So we decided to put up a label with our brother Bobby, and asked some of our friends and some great artists we came across online to be part of the roster.

What is the very first thing one must consider? (And the second? And the third?)??

First, think about and decide on the artists you would like on your roster. Talk to them about the music they’re currently working on, and their plans for upcoming releases’ length and format, and tentative dates of release. We started with about seven artists on our roster and a calendar. Simultaneously, we were developing the website, the artist profiles, the logo, the look and identity of the label. When we were ready with the first release, we decided to throw a launch party for the entire label, to introduce all the artists, and worked to get as much press for that as possible. Before every single, EP, or album is launched, we interview the artist and make a write-up for the release. We think it’s important for people to know the thought and vision that goes into every artist’s work.

What drawback or difficulty did you not expect, that you had to deal with???

We were quite surprised to discover that a lot of people here are resistant to making transactions online. Also, it’s quite difficult to have to turn down some demos, and there’s a real lack of distribution avenues in the Philippines for physical records.

What are some of the proudest moments of Number Line Records so far? ?

Our artists being recognized, gaining a strong following and their releases getting outstanding reviews. We’re really proud of how far Eyedress has come. Tarsius, Outerhope, Similar Objects, and Modulogeek have all done successful shows abroad. Also we were able to put out a compilation record on vinyl (the “N/ Anthology” LP) with the support of Jay Amante of Blanc Gallery, and we’re really proud of the excellent tracks from our artists on it. Slow Hello’s Audio Baby and Similar Objects’ Tilde were our first CD releases, and both have gotten great reviews. ??

After the first year or so, how do you sustain it???

We think it’s important to consistently have great releases. We’re also lucky to be able to find new artists, and our lineup has expanded to include artists from overseas, like Honor Gavin and French Pop Dream.

What is the single most important piece of advice you can impart to people looking to start their own???

It’s all about the artists on your roster. If the work is good, that’s really what matters.??

What makes it all worth it???

Discovering new artists and seeing them get recognition makes it all worth it.

* * *

The Number Line Records “N/ Anthology” LP is available at http://numberlinerecords.bigcartel.com/, as well as at The Grey Market, Heima, and soon at Satchmi.

 

A DAY ALLAN LUMBA OF MULTO ARTISTS AUDIO BABY AND SIMILAR OBJECTS GREY MARKET HOUR PARTY PEOPLE JAY AMANTE OF BLANC GALLERY NUMBER LINE RECORDS UML
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