It’s been ten years for Mad Dragon Records, Drexel’s student run record label, and tonight is their anniversary show. What started out as an extension of the Music Industry program has now grown into an established music label. Mad Dragon Records was awarded College Label of the Year by The Independent Music Awards in 2007, 2008, and received 8 nominations in 2009.
Last year Making Moves, a series of several single releases by new artists, was launched as a project with Motion City Soundtrack. The label has released over 20 titles and has been featured in dozens of newspapers and magazines in the US including, CMJ, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times. I talked to Label Manager Michael Rodino, a junior Music Industry student, about the label, concert, and much more.
Q: What do you look for when you’re signing a band?
A: So much. It changes all the time, we really have two criteria’s: if we love it, and if they want to work with the students. That’s really what it comes down to.
Q: What are some of the challenges of starting a label?
A: It’s not a bad thing, but there’s a disparity between the creative side of things and dealing with a school. You’re under Drexel’s umbrella, and everything you do has to represent the university in some shape or form. And that’s a great thing because you have a university behind it, and it’s amazing to see what all the students can do. Once you learn how to work with it, it ends up being an advantage.
Q: What’s your view on Philly’s music scene right now?
A: Philly is all about the DIY approach right now. House shows, and similar set ups are great. There’s a lot of momentum there, and the only reason I’m hesitant about the scene that, sometimes bands get stuck in the house show scene. But there are bands that have used it affectively to propel themselves, and you can see that the community really supports these people. Philly’s establishing itself as a much more reliable music community.
Q: What can we expect at the concert?
A: We’ve got a bunch of artists who have been with us for a while, or part of the label from early on. Hoots and Hellmouth is a really great folk act, they’re one of those bands that, if they had been three years younger and started a little bit earlier, they’d probably be huge right now. Wild Rompit, who I am so stoked to see perform. Cheers Elephant, who is just a super high-energy band, really fantastic, and lots of fun to watch. Kuf Knots has been playing with us for ages. Also, Matt Duke is without a doubt one of the most exceptional singer/songwriters I’ve ever seen and has a great band behind him. It’s going to be a really good show.
Q: Favorite Philly band?
A: I’m going to list a few: Wild Rompit, Lucy Stone, W.C. Lindsay, and SHMNS, they’re absolutely fantastic. Citadel is great—they have guest vocals from W.C Lindsay and Lucy Stone. Triceratopolis is really fun, he’s a freaking spaz and I love it! No one gets more into his music and enjoys everything he does. When you see him live, I’m pretty sure he drinks 6 liters of coffee before a show and just looses it. I mean those are all music industry kids. They’re passionate about their music, and they’re working really hard to make music that they love, not just that everyone else will love. I think that’s what’s really important and what stands out.
Q: So, what’s next for Mad Dragon Records?
A: Hopefully, a lot! We’re doing some scouting for new acts; we’re trying to do some shorter-term deals that would be more like EP’s with bands we’re really passionate about. Making Moves was really great, but also a really big thing to come off of. But we’ve been scouting a lot of great young acts and finding music we’re really passionate about. So I don’t know what specifically is next, but it’s going to be cool, and hopefully very soon.
Jeana Mobley is a Sophomore Custom-Designed Major at Drexel University.
Images courtesy of Drexel University