*This article represents collaboration from Emma Stefanoff, Korina Meister and Raichel Jenkins.
For Ohio University’s School of Media Arts & Studies, students work on enhancing their skills in a variety of platforms, music, video, and multimedia. In recent years it has something new to boast about… it houses its own record label, Brick City Records. Zachary Crandall, head of A&R and Artist Development for the label, spoke about where the agency has been and where it plans to go in the future.
Crandall explained that when Brick City Records began a few years ago, it was a student organization with a “mission of putting out great music”. This included working directly with each artist with services including recording, promotion, distribution and publicity.
In the 2016 Fall semester, Brick City Records became a capstone class in addition to being a student organization. Professor Josh Antonuccio suggested the idea to Crandall, who thought it would be a great opportunity for MPRI students and increase interest in the organization. Antonuccio, along with professor Eddie Ashworth, became the faculty advisors for the capstone.
By joining with the capstone class, students could gain access to high-end recording and producing facilities while further validating the organization as a record label. The capstone class is working towards rebranding the organization. Crandall says this will be in hopes of “appealing to a wider and more diverse music scene that spans far beyond the Athens city limits”.
Crandall went on to describe a record label as having two sides: business and creative. As a Bricky City Record Director, Crandall explains he is the connection between these two worlds, meaning his job is to oversee the process artists go through.
“[I evaluate] production value, quality, and creativity of anything associated with the artist. I sit in on recording sessions and provide art direction and creative concepts,” he says.
At times, he has the closest relationship with the talent, which makes him somewhat of a “liaison between the artist and the label”. Throughout the year, he also works with the business departments marketing, promotions and publicity, to make sure the creative side is being communicated equally.
Brick City is starting to work with musicians now. Their recently announced roster of talent includes: Clubhouse, Sarah Skinner, Personal Public and Croix. On April 20, Brick City will be hosting a showcase, featuring artists represented by the label at The Union.
“We’re not just spending a few hours on a song so we can show a relative over break what we actually do at college,” Crandall said. “We’re focused on making great records and generating attention for both Brick City Records and the students at Ohio University School of Media Arts & Studies.”
Crandall will be graduating at the end of the school year. Though he will be retiring from his role with Brick City Records, he plans on going after his “dream jobs” or careers that will put him on the path of where he eventually would like to be. He envisions working at a major or independent label, or a talent agency doing artist management and development work.
“It’s such an exciting thought that I’ll have the chance to use all of the things I have learned the past four years both in and out of school. I am also looking forward to representing Ohio University wherever I go in the field,” Crandall said.
Crandall shares that a lot of his post-grad goals have come from working with Brick City Records. The capstone has shown him that even after putting countless hours of work into the label, he still loves every second of it. Students interested in getting involved can check out their website at brickcityrec.com or follow their social media and SoundCloud @brickcityrec.
Photo Courtesy of Brick City Records.