Indica Records

Indica Records
Date of Birth: April, 1997
Number of Releases: 80
Biggest Sellers: Dobacaracol, Les Trois, Grimskunk, Priestess, Les Vulgaires Machines
Current Releases: Grimskunk Fires Under The Road, The Cat Empire Two Shoes
Online: Indica Records While Canada’s Anglophiles may have never heard of Montreal-based Indica Records or progressive-punk rock founders Grimskunk for that matter, in the land of maple syrup and the Fleur De Lys (not to mention Europe as a whole), this independent operation is a behemoth. Majoring in — but not committed solely to — Quebequois artists, Indica Records has shifted hundreds of thousands of units over the past decade. Maximizing the do it yourself ethic that has driven the band since 1989, Grimskunk created Indica in 1997 to support their own music, eventually developing it into a full-blown label. To this day, the band still oversee routine operations, following a business "plan” that president and Grimskunk guitarist/vocalist Franz Schuller and label manager Kyria Kilakos maintain is converse to how most labels of their calibre operate: as fans first.

Humble Beginnings
Schuller: "We started with a couple of friends and partners. We wanted to support indie releases for great bands that toured but had no label support in Canada. We’re cool with artists and fans. We work hard and hope for the best. We started with $2,000 [and] learned how to do a lot with very little, developing a strong network through a grassroots approach. It connects artists and fans directly and creates long-term relationships overall.”
Kilakos: "There was a real void in the indie music scene when we started. The bands that we liked and toured with, no one was releasing at the time. They had no support. So we decided to do it ourselves. Our plan has always been simple: to be fair to our bands and to allow them to make their own decisions even when we might not agree with it.”

Bucking Trends In The Name Of Diversity
Kilakos: "I always felt like we were rowing our boat against the current. We have our way of doing things and it doesn’t always click with the ‘industry.’ This label will always have a heavy rock/punk/alternative spirit but if we like something and the vibe of the band fits with our vibe, we put it out.”
Schuller: "We started with independent rock, punk, alternative and metal but moved on to all kinds of stuff. Now we release world, indie and pop rock, electronic and hip-hop. If we like it, we release it.”

The Times They Are A-Changin’
Schuller: "In terms of label business only, downloads and free online music are tough but for an overall career, the internet can be used to great effect. It promotes and develops careers further than simple advertising can. Labels must change their overall structure and focus to be more like multi-functional partners for the artists.”
Kilakos: "The music business is in constant change especially over the last five years where web has really become a huge part of the business. The obstacle as an indie would be not to adapt quickly enough to these changes but we give the people what they want. Other than that, we always start on the street, playing tons of shows.”

Scouting The Scene — A Hands-On Approach
Kilakos: "When we’re looking at bands, we use the mentality that a great song is a great song in any genre. Songwriting comes first, followed by being original and real, no bullshit, no smoke and mirrors.”
Schuller: "We find artists with a great attitude, songwriting and originality. What we put out has to be special, capable of moving people and has to have something to say. We find that through submissions, word-of-mouth, online or just seeing them live.”
Kilakos: "Sometimes other bands on the label will introduce us. We find bands anyway we can.”

Brothers In Arms
Schuller: Being artist owned and driven, we are very close to the talent [on the label] and understand their reality better than most. The roster and A&R are good. We usually get great returns on every dollar we spend but we struggle at times with mainstream radio and TV. The climate for new artists in Canada is tough.

The Future’s So Bright…
Schuller: We just plan to continue to release wicked artists, make the world a better place through music and culture. We’ll spread Canadian acts worldwide while introducing great acts from abroad to Canada. Our diversity and international vision and development are our assets… as well as a staff who really love music.