Thursday, April 26, 2018
Folks Behind The Music: Into The World Of Ripple - Mighty Odin!
How did you first get involved in Ripple?
I discovered Ripple when I was looking for some Stone Axe vinyl. I got a handwritten note on my packing list when I received my order, and I kept checking out all the releases that Ripple was putting out in the early days. I bought everything Ripple put out for several years. The handwritten notes evolved into emails and messages and we got to know each other a little. One day I asked Todd if there was anything I could do to help out with the label. He said he really needed help with the all the bookkeeping so we worked out how we could get the information back and forth and how we were going to make it work. I think it says a lot for our organization and communication that we've worked together since 2013 but just met face to face earlier this year.
What made you want to be an accountant for an independent record label?
I love accounting and I have loved music for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a house where my parents listened to a wide variety of music. My mom tells the story that whenever she needed to get me out of the way when I was a toddler, she'd put on a Fats Domino record and I would just sit and hold the album cover and hardly move. I have that actual record today. Anyway, I had been looking for some way to work in the music business and this was the perfect way to combine two things I love.
Your responsibilities with Ripple have grown a lot over the last few years. What’s your favorite aspect of the work?
Good question. I really enjoy the “behind the scenes” aspect of what I do. I get to hear about the projects that are coming down the pipeline. I get a little inkling in how Todd works with the bands and the different agreements between Ripple and the bands. It's fun to see that Todd is creative in his approach and tries to give the bands the things that are most important to them. And I really enjoy meeting the Ripple bands when they come through town on tour and introducing myself as the Ripple bookkeeper.
What are some things you have learned while doing this job?
I've learned several things. I've learned how royalties work and what labels are required to do, and the different types and levels involved in royalties. I've gotten a chance to gain some new knowledge of contracts. It's been really enjoyable to learn about vinyl manufacturing, that's probably the one thing I've loved the most. Ripple was kind of at the forefront of this vinyl resurgence, not necessarily in the quantity of units that we move, but certainly in making an effort to put out as many releases as possible on vinyl and its been a cool thing to learn about. I'm very curious about things so any time I get a chance to learn about something I'm interested in is a very good thing for me.
How did previous life experience inform your work with the label? Asides from accounting, have you worked in music before?
I've never worked in music, but I've appreciated as I said from a very early age. I play several different instruments and have played in a variety of types of bands over the years. And I've attended way more than my fair share of shows. I think I bring a lot of enthusiasm to my work with Ripple, and as Ripple has grown over the years I have the experience to suggest changes to the way we do things to be more efficient on the administrative side of the label. Certainly in the areas that I am responsible for, I appreciate that Todd gives me the freedom to basically figure out how I want to do things.
How does this type of work differ from the accounting you normally do?
This work is very detail oriented, in that I literally have to track each individual sale so that it gets posted properly to each band and whether or not it is physical product or a digital sale so that the proper level of royalties are paid. I also have to keep track of the individual contracts with each band, as there are different agreements in place. And then tie that all together to keep track of each release as a project so we can report to the bands on a regular basis and let them know how each release is doing. So its very different from working in the construction industry, or for a restaurant, or a dog groomer, which are some of the other businesses for which I do accounting.
What inspires you with stoner rock?
I really dig the heaviness and the riffs that just repeat and pummel the listener. It may sound weird but I find music like that very relaxing. I can put on an album of stoner rock and just let it pound me into submission and wash away all the stress and whatever other bad things I've accumulated from the day. I'm an old fart and I used to listen to Black Sabbath's “Mob Rules” when I was in high school whenever I had a bad day. Just crank it up and let go of all the bad stuff. Kind of like a deep tissue massage for the ears and psyche.
I think that Todd and Pope are always trying to up their game and bring new things to fans of the label, and I think that is one of the reasons there are so many diehard Ripple fans out there. They are also both guys with a lot of integrity and men of their word, and its easy to work for guys like that, and easy to support what they are doing. I think the commitment to vinyl has also been a key to success, and continuing to bring cool versions and colorways of vinyl. Series like the Second Coming of Heavy also sets Ripple apart.
Where do you see the label going and where do you see yourself going within the label?
I hope that the label will continue to grow and prosper and my ultimate dream would be to come to work full time for Ripple, but there's a lot of work to do to get to that point. I am in for the long haul though and I will be a part of Ripple for as long as they will have me.
What is your favorite Ripple related memory?
I can think of three. Todd accepting the offer of my services was pretty cool. I had a chance to interview Mothership for my former radio show and that was a good time. Getting to be a part of Ripplefest in San Francisco this past February was right up there as well. I got to meet several of the bands and hang out with Todd for a weekend and it was one of the more enjoyable weekends I've had in a while.