Label Focus: Sacred Bones at 10 Years
Brooklyn label Sacred Bones is celebrating ten years of music this summer.
Ten years of bringing us incredible artists like Moon Duo, Marissa Nadler and Zola Jesus, to name a very few. We spoke with founder Caleb Braaten last year, but decided to touch base with him once more now that Sacred Bones is officially a decade old. Check out our refreshed interview with him below, plus a playlist of label essentials.
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How did you get into the music business? What motivated you?
Music came first. Music has been my life as far back as I can remember. I spent my formative years buying used records and tapes, then eventually CDs, then back to records and tapes again. The business part came later, and out of necessity more than anything. The label was really just a project, a labor of love; there was never any intention of this becoming a job of any sort. That just came naturally as more opportunities presented themselves. My motto was and still is to never turn down a good opportunity, no matter how hard it may appear.
Which, if any, labels were your own role models or guiding stars when you started up?
So many. Aesthetically, Factory Records was always a huge role model for both [in-house designer] David Correll and me. Peter Saville was a huge influence on David’s design style. One time when we were teenagers, I was backpacking through Europe and was stopping in London and David had me find Peter Saville’s office to drop off his resume. I believe that he even got a courtesy reply.
What do you stand for as a label?
Creativity and independence.
What has been your biggest achievement as a label?
It’s hard to pinpoint a singular achievement that stands out. There are just so many. I think that the biggest achievement in my opinion is still being a functioning record label in 2017.
Did you have an initial idea of what the label should be and how it could evolve in the future when you started it?
I had more of an aesthetic idea then anything else. The whole idea of tying all the records together with thematic cover art was very intentional. Beyond that it was just one foot in front of the other.
What are you looking for when signing artists?
It needs to be special. No matter what the genre of music, it needs to be brave in some way.
How have you been able to stay in business for so long?
With the help of many people who all work really, really hard.
How does it feel reaching 10 years? What are you doing to celebrate as a label…and personally?
We are having a number of big events, the first of which is May 20th that is part of the Red Bull Music Academy. The second is June 10th and part of the Northside Festival. We are planning a bunch of other events throughout the year. We are repressing a bunch (eleven) of out of print catalog titles on colored vinyl.
Personally my celebration will come when year eleven starts.
Where do you want the label to be in ten more years?
Still in business first and foremost. Secondly, I really want to expand into books and films more, which we have started to do. But hopefully that side of things will be humming in ten more years.
The music industry goes through rapid changes these days. How have those challenges affected your work?
The changing industry always creates challenges. Challenges are good for creativity, though, and people will always need music, that won’t change.
Any regrets? Anything you would do differently if you had a second chance?
Nah, life is too short for regrets.
What’s the next thing you’re excited about that you’re releasing?
We’ve got a few things we haven’t announced that are going to be massive in the fall. You’ll have to stay tuned!
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