Schools Training

A Quick Look at Three Canadian Indie Labels

13 JUL 2012
Career Path : Arts and Entertainment

One hurdle every recording musician is bound to come across is that of signing onto a label. The process can definitely be a tad nerve-racking, especially for first timers who are less sure about what they are getting into.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say until it is ingrained in to all of our minds: The best way to ensure that no one hustles you into a no-good contract is to know your stuff inside and out. Sure, your manager is there to take care of the business side of things, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know about that part of the industry. Of course you want to focus on making music, but when it comes to your craft, you should know everything.

As far as labels go, you theoretically have the option of signing onto either a major or independent label. Admittedly, there is the chance that your preferred label will pass up on your album, meaning you may have to shop around for a while before getting signed. Many musicians have travelled this road before, and many have opted to desert the mainstream path in favour of signing onto an indie label or, in regards to the more daring, starting their very own label. This goes to show  that starting your own label does not require you to be a bona fide music producer. What it does involve, above all else, is passion.

Let’s take a look at three Canadian indie record labels that were founded on passion and faith in good music.

1. Dine Alone Records was launched by Ontario-born Joel Carriere, and came into form with the release of the first studio-recorded solo album by singer-songwriter Dallas Green under his stage name, City and Colour. Currently, Dine Alone Records has a client roster that mostly consists of artists within the alternative rock and singer songwriter musical genres.

Sample of signed artists:

– Alexisonfire

– City and Colour

– Hey Rosetta!

– Library Voices

– Marilyn Manson

– The Civil Wars

– Yukon Blonde


2. Arts & Crafts was founded by Jeffrey Remedios and Kevin Drew, a couple of music experts who, by 2002, were equipped with their fair share of industry experience. Initially founded in order to release Broken Social Scene’s album “You Forgot It in People”, and productions of various other artists directly associated with members of Broken Social Scene, the label soon began signing a wide range of artists.

Sample of signed artists:

– Apostle of Hustle

– Bell Orchestre

– Chilly Gonzales

– Feist

– Phoenix

– The Stills

– Yo La Tengo


3. Last Gang Records is a Toronto-based record label founded by lawyer Chris Taylor and concert promoter Donald Tarlton. The two joined forces when Taylor was unable to find a record label to sign on the now infamous group Metric. After launching the label and releasing Metric’s first album “Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?” in 2003, Last Gang Records has taken on a slew of other artists and expanded their label into a full media company, offering expertise in other industry areas such as management and publishing.

Sample of signed artists:

– Boys Noize

– Chromeo

– From Fiction

– K-OS

– Metric

– Mother Mother

– We Are Enfant Terrible

The operation of a record label is intricate and complex, details of which you will no doubt get a more in depth overview of through courses offered at most music production schools.

Visit Trebas Institute for more information on studio recording and audio engineering.