Brief conversations with very important people
Saturday, March 19Who: Larry Miller, Or Music's CEO. In less than three years, Miller's label has broken Los Lonely Boys, signed John Cale, and released Por Vida, the star-studded Alejandro Escovedo tribute.
Austin Chronicle: Or already has a reputation for an unusual commitment to development. Is that what makes you different?
Larry Miller: I hope so, but it makes me sad to say it. We believe strongly and deeply in the things we sign and are committed to making them happen over a fairly long period of time, which means more than five minutes. If that makes us different, fine. We have a band we signed in 2003 here at SXSW, Pitty Sing, and it took until 2005 to put the record out. It's a sad but true statement about this business that at most companies this is a band that would've had to have gone looking for another home by now.
AC: You've got four bands showcasing. For as long as there's been SXSW, people have complained there are too many signed acts here. Is there a way that trickles down to the unsigned artists?
LM: The machinery and infrastructure around the band the managers, agents, lawyers, publicists all come down to Austin with them. It's not just the labels. Those kind of informal networks are excellent about funneling exciting news to people like us about artists we need to know about.
AC: Do you have a defining SXSW moment?
LM: It was SXSW 2003. I will never forget watching Los Lonely Boys dismantle Steamboat brick by brick. They tore it up. Our friends in the business were there. And there was high-fiving going on. There was a moment where Michael Caplan, my partner, and me hugged each other and said, "We have a record company. We have a record company." We knew it.
AC: And now you need to do it again. That's harder than doing it the first time, right?
LM: I don't know how smart we are, but we're certainly lucky. The trick is making your luck the second time.
AC: Which you have to be fairly smart to do.
LM: Yeah. Or at least have the resources, relationships, and dry powder to make ithappen.
AC: Enter SXSW.
LM: Exactly. That's why we're back. There's nothing like Austin in March.
Or Music's showcase is Saturday, March 19, 11pm-2am at Buffalo Billiards.