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If you haven't had a chance to pick up the new three way split between Perspective, A Lovely Hand to Hold, Lions & .sports that Broken Rim Records and Broken World Media put out, you need to do yourself a favor and add it to your collection. The record is a gorgeous silk screened one sided LP with excellent tunes on the other side. After seeing this record, I had to get ahold of Kyle from Broken Rim Records to talk to him about what makes him want to put out records like this. There are only two labels I've seen put this much attention into the appearance of their records, one is Temporary Residence Ltd. and the other is Broken Rim Records. Here's a conversation I had with Kyle via email.
Rob 1340 (RF): Can you please tell me the story of how Broken Rim Records came to be?
Kyle Tedesco (KT): It’s sort of an embarrassing story of how the name and funds came about. I was pretty involved in the Buffalo music scene from 2007-2012 when I moved away. I was booking 4-5 bigger shows a month and a handful of smaller basement shows. I made a lot of friends in bands from doing this. One day I was riding my bike and got into a verbal argument with a lunatic driver. Things escalated quickly and the guy ended up running me off the road. He crashed into me, and the bike went under his car, I went on the hood, and then he crashed into a fence. Long story short I ended up getting a lawyer to help me figure out how to cover my medical bills and hopefully cover the cost of a new bike. The insurance company settled for an amount with my lawyer, which ended up being 3 grand higher than the cost of all my medical bills, bike repairs and lawyer fees. So back to my friends in bands who I met through booking shows. A lot of the bands I was booking at the time weren’t getting vinyl releases from their labels. It was also before vinyl made the “comeback”. Being a vinyl collector myself, and all of a sudden having a large sum of money fall into my lap, everything sort of just fell into place. Broken Rim started in 2010. I started all the planning in late 2009, we had a logo and a website the following spring and our first release came out in August of 2010. I made a few emails and ended up getting the rights to a vinyl pressing of I Call Fives - Bad Advice from No Sleep. Things just sort of grew from there.
RF: What are your thoughts on the American legal system after going through the system with your bike accident?
KT: Hahah my experience with all that was not very good. The guy was ex-military and had a lot of friends that were cops. After he hit me and chased me down the road he called his buddy and made sure one of his friends was the cop that showed up to the scene. The police report was supposed to be filed within 24 hours. After about 2 weeks of calling the police station and going down to try and pick up the report it still hadn’t been filed. That was the point where I hired a lawyer. I had him go down to the police station and figure out what was going on. Turns out the report was “misfiled”, and we got a report that said, “Vehicle struck bicyclist.” Nothing about it being intentional, or going the wrong way up a one-way street, or how he yelled “I’m going to kill you” after he hit me. Long story short the guy walked without any criminal charges. The whole situation sort of pisses me off so I try to just look on the bright side. I got a new bike, a few bucks to put out a record, and hopefully karma eventually catches up to that guy and he gets what he has coming to him.
RF: What is the current Broken Rim roster and how did you discover these bands?
KT: A few of the bands I’ve worked with over the past year are: sports., Great Collapse, and Perspective, a lovely hand to hold. I saw a PALHTH video floating around the internet a couple years ago and I really liked it. I reached out and asked them why that EP didn’t get a vinyl release and if they were interested in doing one. I ended up co-releasing the “Play Pretend” EP with Broken World Media. sports. just reached out to me asking if I would be interested in releasing “demon daze” and I loved it so I did. Great Collapse is a supergroup consisting of members from a bunch of bands I’ve listened to for years (Strike Anywhere, Rise Against, Set Your Goals). I saw they were releasing their first EP on CD themselves, so I reached out and asked if I could do it on vinyl and surprisingly they said yes.
RF: Being a label that has been around for a while, what has changed about how bands approach a label?
KT: I don’t think a whole lot for my label personally. I mean, when I started the label 6 years ago and a band I’d never heard of contacted me, I definitely checked them out on facebook and was interested in the amount of “likes” and attention the band had. And now I’ve learned that doesn’t really matter at all. I don’t know if that’s because of the fact that facebooks changed and become more irrelevant, or if I’ve just learned more about things, or maybe a little of both. Turnover had like 800 likes when I approached them, and now they’re doing very well. I’ve also worked with bands that had 5,000+ likes when we met and they sort of just fizzled out a year or two later. So I guess I’ve learned internet hype is not super relevant. Overall I don’t think much has changed. Whether a band mails me a really nice press kit, sends a half-assed email, or just shakes my hand at a show, I’m looking for the same thing: A band consisting of nice people with ambitious plans to tour a lot and continue writing good songs.
RF: What is your dream for Broken Rim Records? When would you feel like you ‘made it’?
KT: I already made it haha. I just want to run a cool label, put records out for bands I love, and not lose money doing so, which I’m already doing. Broken Rim will never be a huge label. With the exception of my wife who helps out with the accounting, it’s one-man show. I went to school for something totally different and work a 9-5 in the Biotech industry. Broken Rim is just something I do on the side. It’s a love/hate thing and I’m sure anyone who has a consuming hobby can relate to that.
RF: If it ever came to you having the opportunity to give up your Biotech job to run Broken Rim would you do it?
KT: No I don’t think so. Broken Rim is fun. There’s been a few rocky situations, but for the most part, I generally like running Broken Rim. If I took it to the next level, the first thing I would do is get an office and hire another couple people to help out. At that point, I NEED to sell records. If I don’t sell so many per month I can’t pay the bills. Now I’m forced to start viewing every release like it’s a business and if it doesn’t turn a profit it’s not worth it. I like the way things are now. I get to work with cool bands. Some records sell and make a little money, and some don’t and I lose some money. It’s run out of a spare bedroom at my house, if I don’t sell a record for a couple of days it’s really no sweat off my back. When Broken Rim stops being fun I don’t want to do it anymore, and I think taking it to the next level would make it not fun anymore.
RF: Do you think having a career outside of the music industry gives you a different perspective from kids who are running a label in high school or college?
KT: I don’t think it has as much to do with wherever you are in your life (career/college/high school) as it does with what you are expecting out of the label. But yeah I think I have a different perspective on running the label based on the fact that I do it for fun, as to someone who does it to make a living. And if you’re able to do both, all the power to you, I just personally think it would stop being fun if I tried to make it my full-time career.
RF: What is the thing about Broken Rim Records that makes it important to you?
KT: Every record we’ve released is done whole heartedly. There is never any phoning it in or cash grabs. And that’s very important to me. Especially now with everything from TV theme songs to some shitty 90’s one hit wonders being over pressed, I take pride in releasing stuff I genuinely love. We also try to always go above and beyond with the vinyl itself. Whether it’s an alternative tour cover, a gatefold jacket on the 7”, some crazy vinyl color or a silk screen B-Side, I try to make all our releases stand out a little. As a vinyl collector myself, those are the things I love about the records in my collection.
RF: That was one of the first things about Broken Rim that I noticed. You tend to release things with really cool packaging. Take the recent Lions/PALHTH/sports. release that is easily the coolest record I own or your early 7” all having gatefold packaging. What made you place a priority on the quality of your releases? Was there a specific release by someone else that inspired you to treat art in such a manner?
KT: The whole reason I got into collecting records was because of the artwork. I was attracted to the large artwork on vinyl, and it was fun to collect vinyl for the art alone. CDs were becoming useless. Between listening to music at work and in the car, I was mostly listening to my music digitally on my iPod. Once my record collection grew is sort of forced me to slow down every once in awhile and actually sit and listen to some of my records while looking through the art. I want my records to stand out to people on the fence about collecting records. I want them to be the prize of a collector’s collection. It’s not always financially feasible to put all the extras on every release, but I always try to do it where it’s possible. I can’t really think of one specific release that inspired me, but there’s a few releases in my collection that I really love that come to mind. Saves the Day – I’m Sorry I’m Leaving 7”. It has this awesome fold over jacket that when opened up and spread out is a butterfly. Explosions In The Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care LP. It has this crazy jacket that unfolds like a hundred times and makes a three-dimensional house. And then there’s an insert that unfolds and is supposed to look like the ground and you set up the house on it. It’s so awesome looking. Lemuria put out this 7” with a label called Silver Sprocket and it includes a comic. It’s a story about the band on tour. The drawings in the comic are really cool. It’s pretty long too, maybe like 40 pages. It has a ton of heart put into it. The comic is the shape of a 7” jacket, and the record itself sits inside of it. It comes together really well, I love it.
RF: Do you think that Record Store Day is still what it was created to be?
KT: No not at all. I hate record store day. When it started it was a fun way to hang out at your local shop all day with some fellow nerds, catch a few bands, maybe score a rare record or two. Now it’s become this sort of Black Friday type thing where I feel like I being bent over backwards and asked to pay sometimes double what I normally would on a record because it’s “limited.” That’s just from the collector standpoint. As someone who runs a label, it’s backed up the pressing plants and caused a huge price increase as well. I’m happy people are buying vinyl again, but record store day could never happen again and I wouldn’t miss it.
RF: If you could sign any band out there, who would you sign?
KT: Kid Dynamite. That band had such a huge impact on my musical tastes which helped to shape the person I am today. I would lose my shit if I got to release a record for that band or any one of their spin-off projects.
RF: What are your top five favorite records?
KT: In no specific order
1. Kid Dynamite – Self Titled
2. The Lawrence Arms – Apathy and Exhaustion
3. Blink-182 – Enema of the State
4. Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism
5. A.F.I. - The Art of Drowning
It kills me that Rancid and Saves the Day didn’t make that list, but I’ll keep it to 5.
RF: How can people find out more about Broken Rim Records?
KT: We have all the typical social media outlets: facebook, twitter, Instagram, youtube, etc. Or just go out to show for any of the bands we work with and check out the records we put out.
RF: Thank you very much!