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The Inde Sessions – Interview With Ocean Records


28 April 2004 No Comment

Steve Brown established Ocean Records in 1997 and has since then been involved in releasing albums and doing concert promotions in and around the Pacific Northwest. Last month Ocean Records released Inde Sessions Vol 1 which featured Doujah Raze, Al Tariq, Supreme plus many more. We caught up with Ocean Records to find out more.

First let me congratulate you on yet another fine release. What prompted you to bring Indie Sessions out?

Thank you… I appreciate that! I wanted to give exposure to underground talent. Talent that you won’t find on your radio dial 50 times a day.

What was the process in getting all these artists on the album?

I sent out a email to my inde label/artists, magazines and e zines contacts that I have in my database. I let them know that I was putting together a compilation cd and if any one was interested to email me for details. I also asked them to post the information on their websites and relay the information to their mailing lists!

What was the criteria in the track selection?

I was looking for heaters from across the US. I was also looking for some overseas & Canada representation, but the response was not overwhelming. Basically, I did not care where it was from, as long as it was hot!

How many submissions did you get?

Well over 100 submissions….It was crazy…..I had to have listening sessions…That’s where the name came from. It was all ‘inde’ & I was having several ‘sessions’ to filter through all of it.

Are you holding back any tracks for the second volume? Is there going to be a second volume?

Indeed I am… Inde Sessions is the beginning of something special. I want to be a spring board from the underground to the masses. I want to give worldwide exposure to the underground while building Ocean’s reputation as a solid label with an ear for talent!

What has the response been like from the media, dj’s and the man on the street?

The response from media has been great. Sales are going extremely well and the 19 artists are getting the exposure they were promised. This time around, we did not service radio or the dj’s… We released it straight to the internet, the streets and select retail stores nationally.

“Knowing that certain individuals wanted
me to fail, to fold my label. I was never going
to give them that”

How is Ocean Records doing? Is it good to be in business right now?

Ocean Records is doing good.. Financially it could be better…But I work with what I have.
I have run the label for 6 years now with no staff and on a limited budget, but my quality rivals any major label. I have had several employees from Warner Brothers, Atlantic and Jive email me their resumes looking for a job, so I must be doing something right! It’s good to be in business!

What was your most successful release so far?

For several reasons, I would have to say Indie Sessions: Vol.1! I only released it in February and it’s on track to out sale both my prior releases in less then 6 months.

What is the main ingredient for running a successful label?

Long hours, dedication and quality control!

Have you found that one has to diversify in order to sustain yourself? Is this true for yourself and if so what do you find yourself doing besides running the label in order to survive?

Great question! Most definitely! I also promote comedy shows and look to expand that this coming summer to be more of a focal point of the label!

What happened to Azarel? Why is he no longer with you label?

Azarel & Ocean Records had different ideas on which direction to take, so we parted ways.. Unlike what some of the haters say, it was amicable and their is no hard feelings! We still speak and it’s all good! In fact, he has a new cd available direct from his web site @ www.azarel.com I wish him the best!!

Tell me, what’s a typical day like for you?

I wake up early… I’m online all day and nite.. Running errands in between. Chasing down reviews and interviews, opportunities for the act’s featured on the compilation, helping other inde labels and act’s with advice & contacts, harassing my webmaster for updates and design work on the cheap!! (LOL)

What can you tell us about you the man. What’s he like on a personal/family level?

Not much to say.. I’m a joker… I can be serious when I need to, but can clown around as well..Low Key! I love my kids (Rain, Steve O & Faith) & they are why I will make it- to provide them a better future..

What were the highlights of your career?

My 1st release. Starting from scratch, learning the computer with no prior experience, gaining the contacts that I did, putting together promotional campaigns and getting major advice from 3 industry vets who helped me when they didn’t have to be bothered. MUCH THANKS to Nasty Nes of Rap Attacks, Wendy Day of Rap Coalition & IZ Real of Insomniac Magazine!

Were there ever moments where you thought, “f*** this, I don’t need this in my life”.

More times then you can think of! But, their was always something to counter those feelings! Knowing that certain individuals wanted me to fail, to fold my label. I was never going to give them that.

What is your main motivation for running the label?

I watched countless interviews with Suge, Russel Simmons and others! They put in an average of 6 to 10 years before they got their breaks..I have 6 in and I am so close to something big happening…I can’t stop! I want to be able to hand down a successful company to my children. Hopefully- it will happen, and if and when it does, they would be interested in the industry and what was created for them!

Where can people get their hands on the Indie Sessions Vol 1 album?

If you are in the states, you can find a complete store listing on my website @ www.oceanrecords.com. You can also purchase it online, direct from our site for only $9.

Thanks for talking to us, do you have any last words?

THANK YOU! I would like to tell my kids that I love them more then life itself and to always know that! Also- Strik & Krusal (Featured on the compilation) have an album dropping soon. Check for them @ www.wayoutrecords.com

Visit Ocean Records for more information.

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