For the Love of Punk Exclusive by Donny Kent
No Sleep Records is an independent record label that was founded in the Summer of 2006 by Chris Hansen with the purpose to bring back the originality and uniqueness that was long missing from today’s ever-changing music scene. Originally started while Southern Californian transplant Chris Hansen was working as the art director for a larger independent label on the East Coast (New Jersey), No Sleep was eventually moved back out West to Huntington Beach, CA.
Through No Sleep Records ever-growing catalog of releases from it’s majorly diverse roster (Hardcore, Indie, Punk, Post-Hardcore, Pop Punk, Metal and more) of bands, the label hopes to show the world that no matter what genre of music you listen to, there is still quality music waiting to be heard. Only time will tell what the future holds for the up and coming West Coast independent record label, but if the past/present is a sign of things to come, as Larry David would say, things are looking pretty pretty good.
When asked to do an interview with Chris Hansen, we of course were very honored and thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to see a little more behind the scenes of what it takes to become a successful independent label in a time that the idea of a label itself has changed in so many ways with the digital age of music. Our own Donny Kent conducted the interview and the result is below!
(Donny): How do you choose bands whose music you would like to release? As opposed to bands whose music you simply like.
(Chris): When i am looking at / talking to a band, I obviously first have to truly enjoy it myself as i have sworn to only release music from bands that I PERSONALLY love, after that i like to spend some time chatting to the band and make sure that they are people that I can enjoy working alongside, and trust working with, make sure they have a good work ethic, and always without a doubt, make sure that they truly want to be a part of the No Sleep family.
A number of bands on your label (Touche Amore, Wonder Years, etc) have recently gone on to more established labels. How do you feel when that eventually happens?
I am beyond happy for No Sleep bands when something comes along that is a great fit for them as all i want is for them to succeed and be happy with what they are doing. But with that said, i stay in touch with them and still work alongside the bands whenever possible because it is a family and it will always be that way to me.
Why the name No Sleep?
I use to have insomnia, and would be up all hours of the night watching X-Files back when i first came up with the name for the label, slash my design moniker.
Your label has aided the success of some of the biggest bands in the punk/hardcore scene today. Is there a No Sleep method to forming such a solid line up of bands?
I wouldn’t say there really is a method to forming a solid line up of bands, just always work hard and know that good things do not come easy. We have had some success for sure, but at the same time there are other amazing bands on No Sleep that get overlooked by the average kid. You just have to do everything in your power to help a band grow, to market the record, etc – and hope that kids will notice and enjoy the amazing band/record that is in front of them.
What have been your favorite releases of 2012 (On your label or elsewhere)?
Hard to say really since the year is only half over, but a few records that have gotten a lot of play out of my speakers would be the new records from Sleigh Bells, Pennywise, Make Do and Mend, Sharks, etc.
Do you sign bands for (x) amount of albums on your label, or do you have a more casual “dischordish” relationship with the bands where they can come and go as they please?
It depends on the band/release to be honest, we do some one-off things, but then we also sign bands for (x) amount of releases – just depends on the overall plans for the band/project in the end.
What is the significance of Vinyl records (and a physical product of music in general for that matter) in the modern era of music?
The full “product” that comes with a Vinyl record or a CD contains the FULL vision that the artist had in mind for the release, with digital, etc you lose what makes the record the work of art that it is I feel. I hope to always be releasing Vinyl (and CDs) alongside releases as long as it seems feasible.
How do you feel about streaming services such as Spotify?
They are a necessary evil i feel, you just have to hope that a kid if he likes a band will attend their show and pick up a shirt or maybe even a record. I use RDIO on a daily basis and have NOTHING against people doing so in the end – the question is would you rather a kid at least stream it legally on RDIO or just steal the record?
You just added Mountain Man to No Sleep, are you still looking for more bands to sign?
Always looking, just have to make sure that we don’t go overboard ha. But there are a few other bands we are talking to that have not been announced just yet, as well as releases from our family, etc.
Lastly, what is your favorite album of all time?
Belle and Sebastian If You’re Feeling Sinister is probably the one record that i will forever hold onto.
Check out more info about No Sleep Records from the links below…