With his new label, Too Much Rock, Kansas City’s Sid Sowder might have the most revelatory approach to releasing music you’ve ever heard: “I used to run a label for years where I worked very hard and lost a lot of money. Now I’m just pressing the 7-inchess and giving them to the band. I lose the same amount of money and I get to say F-U to the ‘industry’ part of the record industry.”
That first label, Urinine Records – which put out records from the Capsules and Namelessnumberheadman, among others – closed up shop nearly a decade ago, but Sowder’s not been absent from the record release parties of local artists. In the years between Urinine’s end and the inception of Too Much Rock, he’s anonymously funded various local releases (he demurs to reveal which ones), but decided to come out of the shadows for this singles series. The protocol behind Too Much Rock and the attendant singles series is simple, says Sowder.
“I press 500 limited-edition records and just give them to the band. I pay for all printing, licensing, manufacturing, etc. The band can do with them what they will.”
The bands are providing the recording, but in terms of what they’re getting, it seems likely that many won’t balk at the necessity. And, as Sowder points out, “typically, home recording has gotten so good, most bands are able to put together a very professional product very cheaply.”
All of the singles will be 2-song, big-hole, 45 RPM records – “true singles,” in his words, where the band picks the A-side, and Sowder picks the B-side, which will always be a cover song. Sowder’s choice of covers are determined pretty clearly.
“Could be because they remind of of the original band, could be because I think they’d do a great arrangement of the track.”
The bands, by the way, are always local, with the first release having come from Kansas City’s Shwervon! in November, with their original “Landlocked” being the first song they wrote after moving to Kansas City. With two releases already on-deck for spring, you’d think Sowder would be eager to tease who’s next, but quite the contrary.
“I never announce the artist until I have the records in hand,” he says – quite a change from labels which take pre-orders for albums that haven’t been recorded yet.
While one might assume that Sowder’s goal with Too Much Rock is to get back at the music industry that made it difficult to compete in the days of Urinine, that’s not really the case.
“Hopefully, Too Much Rock gets a bit of press out of it, and that extends the site’s reach. But there are no ads on TMR (and never will be), so this isn’t making money for me in any way – directly or indirectly. I want to give the bands control. This is more of a gift to them to help them succeed than it is a real project for me.”
Head on over to the Too Much Rock singles series page to take a listen to Schwervon!’s “Landlocked.”