Forged Artifacts joins Frenchkiss Label Group

Categories: Local Music
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Mark Kartarik
France Camp are among the bands on Forged Artifacts' roster
Minnesota is flush these days with small, boutique-style labels that help get the word out about local musicians -- many of whom get the means to release records for the first time. One such label that has quickly set itself apart is Minneapolis-based Forged Artifiacts, the labor of love of Matt Linden. With records by artist like Observer Drift, Prissy Clerks, and France Camp, Forged Artifacts earned City Pages' Best Local Record Label honors last spring, barely a year after its founding.

Yesterday, Linden and co. added another feather to the young label's cap with the announcement that Forged Artifacts has joined Frenchkiss Label Group's roster of record labels, which is an offshoot of New York's Frenchkiss Records. Gimme Noise chatted with Linden over the phone to learn more about the new agreement, which should help provide the operation with some added visibility and stability.

How did you first get connect with the people at Frenchkiss?

It was just kind of happenstance. I was researching and found the label group and I reached out to them. I just told them where I was at with the label and I also realized it was kind of early on -- I mean, Forged Artifacts has only been around for like a year and a half, so I didn't know if it would be the right move. But some of the labels they're working with are ones I really like. [Plus] they didn't really have a restriction as far as, you know, you can release ten albums, 20 albums per year or, you know, just one or two. So they have flexibility that way. It seemed like the right deal.

So how do you see this partnership fitting in with what you've been trying to do with Forged Artifacts so far?

When Forged Artifacts first started, it was really my intention to do a physical product with each of the releases, which I've done. And I wasn't too concerned coming out of the gate with taking care of the digital side of things, but as it progressed, it wasn't really a sustainable model. [The digital side] was something that needed to be done to stick around. It first started with the Bandcamp, and then I wasn't really wanting to go through the paperwork and registration with all these online sources. But then Frenchkiss came along and made everything easier.

Presumably, the distribution side of things is one of the main benefits?

When you upload an album to their distributor it automatically goes out to over 150 places worldwide. They had iTunes, Spotify, so it's just an easy way to keep everything organized with sales analytics so you don't have to do the paperwork for, say, every album. "Okay, go to Amazon. Now go to iTunes." It just does it all automatically, so it's really streamlined.

What else made it appealing to get into this type of an arrangement with a place like Frenchkiss?

It's just getting your name out there. Not a lot of people have that name recognition with Forged Artifacts, obviously... So being with Frenchkiss, you get some sort of recognition and just, I guess, legitimacy if you're alongside these other labels that are up-and-coming. [And] it's cool to have people kind of in the same position as you. You feel kind of like a pebble in the pond when you're doing it yourself. It's hard to gauge who's paying attention, who's taking sight of what you're doing.

What have your impressions been of them based on your dealings so far? I imagine part of your decision to get together was that you like working with them.

They were really cool. It seemed like they're obviously not in it to make money. They actually want to build this cool kind of group, family of labels, kind of like the old Dischord or Rough Trade-type ideals of the '70s and '80s when everybody was pulling together... The label group is kind of like a smaller umbrella underneath Frenchkiss [Records], and it's pretty new -- it's just like a year or two old. Their office is in New York, so it's not really feasible for us to be like, "Oh, let's go have a business meeting." [But] they made it very clear that they're picking labels and artists and people to work with based solely on the music... Which was nice to hear -- a little validation on that end, I guess.

Do you see yourself trying to boost your roster a bit or raise the label's profile now, or is this deal just a matter of allowing you to focus more on putting the product out?

It's a little bit of both. I mean, I work full-time aside from the label; the label's certainly a passion project at this point. Ideally it would be something that I do full-time, that would be awesome. But this is a stepping stone to get to that point eventually... My intention is just to have a new avenue to get the music heard, to work with more people, to maybe get a little more income to work with more artists. It's really just a plus in that category. It's not like, "Okay, time to flip the script."

The Frenchkiss Label Group family also includes Julian Casablancas's Cult Records, ATP Recordings, Graveface Records, Manimal Vinyl, and dozens more. 



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