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September 20, 2012
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Meet Brolester Records

By Chad Taylor

Superchief (Photo by Darren Tromblay) and North of Grand (right) have released albums under the Brolester banner.

Brolester Records, the product of Jeremiah Tuhn and David Arentson, operates under a band-friendly philosophy. It’s nothing new, but it’s an approach that’s important to Brolester.

“We’ve always said that if we got into this to get rich, we were in the wrong business,” said Tuhn while nursing a beer at the Royal Mile. “We do it because we love music.”

Tuhn and Arentson practice what they preach by going out of their way to be a service for their signed bands rather than a potential albatross around their creative efforts.

“All of our bands sign on record deals,” said Tuhn. “If you’ve got 20 songs written, and you want to release 10 as a Brolester record and take the other 10 somewhere else, you can do that.”

Being an independent band in a market that’s only the 104th largest in the nation has its challenges. Weekday crowds tend to be small. Studio time can be hard to come by and expensive when you find it. Pressing and distribution only add to the expenses. Brolester does its part to support the local scene by helping to ease some of that burden.

Once a signed band has its master recorded (Brolester stays out of production as a means of both reducing its own costs and staying out of a band’s creative process), Brolester takes care of CD pressing, promotion and sales, paying the band royalties on every sale. But, although the duo wants to help advance as much of the local scene as possible, Tuhn and Arentson also understand that they can only effectively promote so many acts at the moment, which is why they decided early on to narrow the label’s focus.

“At first you have to try to kind of join the fans of your bands together, and if you’re focusing on too much variety, there’s just not enough people to do that with,” said Arentson. “That’s why we decided to focus on something that we’re specifically passionate about so we’re sure we’re going to give the energy that’s necessary.”

The label mates settled on “stoner rock” — that miasma of southern-infused, guitar driven rock that covers all the real estate between jam band psychedelia and pure, molten, heavy metal. So far, Superchief, Patrick’s Beard and the Rusty Razors (Des Moines natives, now transplanted to Austin, Texas) and North of Grand have released albums under the Brolester banner, with the label’s eyes set on a few more acts in the near future. With the right mix of luck and solid work, the duo hopes to establish the label, eventually expanding into production.

“Ideally, we’ll get to the level where if you’re a stoner rock band, you know that Brolester is the place to be,” Tuhn said.

“(Production) is something we’d definitely like to get into,” added Arentson. “Right now it’s a matter of money, but that’s definitely something we’d like to do.”

But, above all else, the label is committed to the idea of helping promote bands in a manner that’s as minimally invasive to the creative process as possible.

“We’ll offer minor notes, but we don’t like the idea of changing a band’s sound,” said Arentson. “If we want to sign you, it’s because you’re doing something right.”

“We don’t want to be that label that says ‘take (your hit) and give me nine more just like it,’ ” added Tuhn. “We don’t want another Nickelback on our hands.”

He re-thought a moment.

“OK, if Nickelback wants to sign with Brolester Records, they can do whatever they want. Then I don’t have to go to work every day.” CV

For more information on Brolester Records and their roster, check out

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