(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
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 www.brolesterrecords.com.