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April 2019

25 years of Rise Records

As the label hits its 25th birthday, founder Craig Ericson fills us in on all things Rise Records.
Published: 10:20 am, November 01, 2016
25 years of Rise Records
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Getting any creative endeavour to a quarter century is one hell of an achievement, but Rise Records stand out from a sparsely populated crowd. As they celebrate their 25th birthday, we catch up with Of Mice & Men’s label boss Craig Ericson, and some of the artists who call Rise home.

What first made you want to get into releasing records?
I grew up going to shows at Gilman Street (legendary punk club in the bay area) in the early 90s, this was a great time for music, bands like Green Day, Rancid, Jawbreaker, 7 Seconds were all bands that were playing shows regularly. I needed to be a part of the scene that I loved so much, and since my musicianship wasn't where I wanted it to be at that time, it just made sense to go the label route.

Can you recall working on your first release?
It was a 7" release for the band Up To Here. The band was an up and coming band in the scene and good friends of mine so I convinced them to let me release the record. I had to call united pressing myself and it was a lot of learning as I went, I  was fortunate and had some friends who were running other labels, who were able to point me in the right direction for a lot of things, but there was something rewarding about seeing the process through, and helping them share their art with more people.

What do you get up to on a typical work day?
The day is constant communication, phone calls, emails, texts. Communicating with artists, managers, agents, employees, our distribution network. We've developed some very strong partnerships with agents, managers, publicists, and bands over the years and we work them daily to ensure the best for our bands. I also make sure that the DNA of the label stays the same, Rise Records is a culture.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link="" css=".vc_custom_1477995067366{padding-top: 20px !important;}"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=".vc_custom_1477994953905{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}"]"They put out all of our records. That’s a big deal. That’s a lot. From helping me financially over the years to helping me out at home, a place to sleep, aside from the fact that Craig Ericson still owes me a car – and you can quote me on that! – it’s great. We respect each other. We love Rise Records a lot." - Austin Carlile, Of Mice & Men[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Do you have any particular highlights from Rise’s 25 years?
I've been able to sign a lot of my favourite bands through the years, Hot Water Music, 7 Seconds are two examples of this, these are bands that didn't just shape my musical taste, they shaped me as a person. In 2014 we had four Top 10 albums (on the Billboard Top 200), that was very rewarding. And recently signing a band like Five Finger Death Punch, they're a modern era arena rock act, and to be able to work with them is a true gift.

What do you think is the key to the label’s popularity with both bands and fans?
When I was running this label back in 1991 and I was in high school, I just wanted to release records that I thought were great, The music was the most important factor. That simple premise hasn't changed. We listen to the music, we don't listen to message board talk, we don't listen to industry buzz, we listen to the music, and if we think it will connect, we’ll do it. You have to trust your gut.

What are the biggest challenges facing record labels today?
The business is changing every day. The CD is going away, most new cars don't have CD players, and Apple computers did away with CD drives a couple years ago. Streaming is a very real thing. The challenge is not letting these things become roadblocks, you have to be in front of these things. Rise was one of the first label to put its entire catalog on YouTube back in 2009. Because we knew this was an inevitable thing. You have to be able to adapt, and adapt quickly. You always have to be thinking about what's next.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link="" css=".vc_custom_1477995077133{padding-top: 20px !important;}"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=".vc_custom_1477994968793{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}"]"Working with Rise, we knew exactly what we were getting into. We did our first two albums, ten/eleven years ago with Rise and we’ve been in touch with Craig Ericson for as long. When he brought on Sean, we were familiar with Sean, as I recall correctly because of doing Warped Tour together and whatnot. It’s the familiarity that drew us in to be with Rise." - Mike Hranica, The Devil Wears Prada[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The type of bands Rise works with seems to have broadened over the past few years - how do you choose who to sign?
It all comes down to the songs and the music. As for the broadening of the roster our success has given us greater access to bands that used to out of our element. I would have loved to sign Hot Water Music back in 1994 But Rise wasn't in a place to do that back then.

Which of your signings felt like the biggest coup?
When we released the last Sleeping With Sirens it was the #3 album in country and we sold almost 60,000 copies in the first week. It was the band's fourth release with us, and it was a slow build to get it to that point. It was a nice reward to years of hard work and a great build.

What’s the most exciting thing you’re currently working on?
We have a lot of exciting things going on, from new releases from bands we’ve had really long relationships with (Dance Gavin Dance, The Devil Wears Prada, Of Mice & Men) as well as forthcoming releases from legacy acts such as Placebo.

If you were to give one tip to those wanting to start their own label, what would it be?
Be patient, be prepared to lose money, and trust your ears.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link="" css=".vc_custom_1477995086223{padding-top: 20px !important;}"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=".vc_custom_1477994979170{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}"]"We signed with Rise halfway through the recording process of ‘The Hollow’ because we felt Rise was the best match for us and they understood what we wanted to accomplish as a band. They've been great! We just recently re-signed with them for two more albums. Rise puts out records that they really believe in and they have some great people on staff. Shout out to Sean Heydorn!" - Matty Mullins, Memphis May Fire[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Taken from the October issue of Upset, out now - order your copy here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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