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September 2012 - Music Connection

SIGNING STORIES

CHRISTOPHER AUGER-DOMINGUEZ

Matthew E. White

Date Signed: February 2011

Label: Spacebomb / Hometapes

Type of Music: Ethereal Alternative

Management: NA

Booking: Matt Spinner / Red Ryder, 773-384-0050

Legal: Sara Padgett Heathcott, Dean Christesen / sara@home-tapes.com,

dean@spacebombrecords.com

Publicity: Ray Padgett / Shore Fire Media, rpadgett@shorefire.com, 718-522-7171

Web: http://matthewewhite.com

A&R: NA

Virginia native Mathew E. White launched his own label known as

Spacebomb, but not for business or credibility reasons. Rather, his

aim was simply to support his music. The venture had unforeseen

advantages when Portland, OR label Hometapes got involved and brought

in a higher order of business acumen, experience and, of course, cash.

“I started Spacebomb to make records in a sort of old-model way,” White

explains. “We’d bring people in to do records and even mix for them. I had a

history of doing arrangement for hire; musical director type of things. I wanted

to put all of those skills under one roof and make a variety of records. This

isn’t done often, especially in an off-market town like Richmond [Virginia].

“It was a representation of

me and this whole recordlabel,

production-housetype

environment I was

trying to create.”

“I had a lot of ideas for records,” White continues. “Hometapes came in

and wanted to release what I’d done. But it was more complicated than that.

The record wasn’t just a representation of me. It was a representation of me

and this whole record-label, production-house-type environment that I was

trying to create. They took on the label as a project and introduced us to

the world of the music industry. This included distribution deals, publicists,

budgets and other things that are normally associated with a label.”

Megafaun, a band on Hometapes’ roster, brought White to the label’s

attention. He’d toured with them and together they did a series of shows

––gigs that included Justin Vernon of Bon Iver––at Duke University. He

passed a rough mix of his current album to Megafaun and it was relayed

to Hometapes. The label reached out and wanted to sign him as an individual

artist. But it wasn’t that simple for White. “Because of my vision

for Spacebomb, that wasn’t really possible,” he explains. “The record and

Spacebomb were intertwined in a way that couldn’t be undone. So they took

on the bigger project.”

White’s first single, “One of These Days,” dropped on July 24th. Big

Inner streeted on Aug. 21st. He’ll hit the road with California folk outfit, the

Mountain Goats, for a three-week tour beginning Oct. 9th.

——Rob Putnam

Ben Arthur

Date Signed: December 2011

Label: sonaBLAST! Records

Type of Music: singer-songwriter/indie/pop

Management: Mike Gormley and Jolene Pellant / Yes Dear Entertainment /

http://yesdearent.com

Booking: Trip Brown of ATI, superbooking2@yahoo.com

Legal: Matthew Greenberg of Ritholz, Levy, Sanders, Chidekel & Fields LLP

Publicity: Monica Hopman / Think Press / monica@thinkpress.net and

bruce.a.mason@gmail.com (book pr)

Web: http://benarthur.com, http://dubwaydays.com, @MyHeart

A&R: Jaxon Swain

How many albums does it take to get to the center of a sonaBLAST! record

deal? One? Two?...In singer-songwriter Ben Arthur’s case, it was

six. “I’ve been talking with Gil [Holland, Founder of sonaBLAST!] for

almost two years,” explains Arthur. “His partner in sonaBLAST! Films used

to work near Dubway Studios in New York, which is where I recorded most

of [my newest album], If You Look For My Heart. … When I toured through

Louisville, KY, and played the local radio station, Gil made time to sit down

and have a bagel. … He made an offer the next week.”

Industry connections are critical to a DIY musician’s survival, which is exemplified

in Arthur’s path to sonaBLAST! As a host for two web-series—both

filmed at Dubway—the studio’s owners Mike Crehore and Al Houghton have

“At the end of the day it’s the

artists’ job to make compelling

work that makes people want to

support it.”

been creative partners with Arthur for over 10 years. “They have helped me

record my last four albums,” says Arthur. “We’ve worked on a bunch of different

projects together including Dubway Days and SongCraft for MacPro

Video. They’re wonderfully extraordinary artists and the people I want to

spend my time around. Luckily we’ve been able to find a bunch of projects

to do together.”

As any musician will tell you, trial-and-error is a large part of success.

Arthur’s musical path has been no exception. “[My 2004 release Edible

Darling] was distributed through RED Sony and I was signed to Bardic Records.”

Continues the singer-songwriter, “The label failed after the first year.

… [The other artists and I] didn’t sell enough records. … At the end of the

day it’s the artists’ job to make compelling work that makes people want to

support it. It’s on us more than the label.”

With that theory in mind, Arthur is upping the ante with My Heart. Being a

novelist as well, Arthur has decided to make his upcoming album a concept

that includes a matching book. “We very consciously made both pieces with

the hope that you can listen and not have any idea about the book and

enjoy it [and vice versa],” notes Arthur. “But when you bring them together it

unfolds in some odd and interesting ways, like Dark Side of the Moon with

Wizard of Oz… in my head anyway.”

If You Look For My Heart, featuring guest spots from Rachael Yamagata

and Aesop Rock, will be released Sept. 11th.

——Andy Mesecher

September 2012 www.musicconnection.com 27

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