There are a lot of horror stories out there about the music industry being a ruthless machine; ultimately unfriendly and not beneficial for the artists themselves. Be it just a perception or a harsh reality, there are people who are trying to change that. In the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in intimate artist-created, artist-centric labels. Revival Recordings and Esque Records are a couple that HXC Magazine have personally covered. Now, we’d like to get you better acquainted with L.A. based Luxor Records, currently run by As They Sleep guitarist Nick Morris.
What do you think sets this record label apart?
The biggest contrast that I see is that it’s not a label that is run like other labels, where it’s their business and where profit is the ultimate motive. One of the things we have here is a really, really artist friendly agreement. Everyone that’s signed has a more than fair contract, basically. The rates that we give our artists are pretty unheard of and we really see the potential in making sure the artist can succeed, not just seeing how many albums we can sell. If we make sure the artist can succeed, in turn the albums will sell. It’s kind of a backwards approach compared to what everyone else is doing and it really seems to be working quite well. A lot of our artists are basically able to do a lot more than they would be able to do normally. I went through it when I was with Tooth & Nail myself, and eventually wanting to get back to Luxor Records and fighting for a year and a half to get back to this label. It really makes small, underground artists not feel like they’re fending for themselves.
What do you look for in bands that you sign?
That can vary pretty greatly. We’re always looking for artists that have a unique sound and have the drive to want to really do something. It’s really easy for people to put out some cool music and that’s great, but at the same time you see a lot of these artists put out music but do nothing about it. They don’t go and plan a tour. They think that signing a deal is the goal, but that’s just the start. What we’re looking for is people who can really get to work and look to promote with their music and get out there and tour. It all comes down to that [being] the start of everything. The record deal is not the end goal. We’re into a ton of different kinds of music. We’ll listen to anything and everything. We’re record producers, we’re people that work with tons of different music all the time. But I will say that we do love metal, hard rock, death metal–anything like that. I’m a guitar player. I love guitar-oriented music. But we’ll do anything. We listen to pop music, we listen to hip hop. I think most of the population today now kind of does listen to a little bit of everything more so than it used to in the past.
“We want more music. We want good music. We don’t want stale, corporate driven music.”
Who are some of your more recent signings?
We just put an album out this year from Order of Elijah. We picked up an extreme death metal group called Syphilic. These guys go for the nastiest, most intense death metal that you’ll hear and it’s just brutally awesome. We have these guys overseas from Spain called A Reason To Breathe. They just put an album out. They really sound like the new kind of genres taking off that bands like It Lies Within [have who] throw their stake in the ground with electronic and metalcore coming together. We’ve got a couple punk bands coming out here. One of our new ones is Suppy Dudes. A great name, a great sound. It just has that authentic, really poppy punk approach to everything with dual vocalists. They have an album coming out the end of July. One of our new bands that we LOVE is called Scream Out Loud. These guys have a monster of an album coming out in August. Look for them. Their new [self-titled] album is going to blow people away.
What do you hope to accomplish beyond that, moving forward as a label?
The main thing is we want to keep finding new dedicated artists that really want to succeed and give them an outlet to do that. Our mission is to give artists a chance and help them succeed in any way we can and come along for the ride. We’re all about the music and the artists. That’s what we’re here for.
I like the whole approach that seems to be happening now where artists themselves have become kind of fed up with the way the music industry has been working historically, so they’ve been starting more family-oriented labels, which sounds like what Luxor is trying to do.
Yeah I think it’s great. I would not be surprised if you see more labels that come out with the same attitude and mission and be for the artists instead of riding them into the ground. Artists get out there, get on tour and just struggle. And it’s no skin off the backs of labels. They don’t really care. They have what they need from you and it’s up to the artists to fend for themselves so that’s something that artists get sick of. That’s why bands stop doing what they do and just kind of move on and get disenfranchised from the idea of being an artist. We don’t want to see that happen. We want more music. We want good music. We don’t want stale, corporate driven music. Rather than just throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks, when you invest in the artist and work with them, the albums are going to sell.
Is there anything else you want people to know about the label?
If there are any musicians out there that feel that what they have is unique and new music that they believe in and they want to pursue with a dedicated passion, they should get a hold of us. Because we want to hear it. If it’s good, if we’re into it, we want to work with them. It’s hard work and there’s a ton of it.