Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Folks Behind The Music: Into The World Of Ripple - This Beast Is A Swede!

How did you first get involved in Ripple?

I responded to Todd’s cry for more writers for The Ripple Effect back in 2012. After a couple of years of relentless reviewing for the blog Todd mentioned Ripple Music was expanding rapidly and the work-load was getting over-whelming. In passing, I humbly offered my services and subsequently pestered the life out of him to take me on. It worked eventually and if memory serves me the first albums I worked with for Ripple Music was Stubb – Cry Of The Ocean’, Mothership – ‘Mothership II’ and Geezer – ‘Gage’.

What kind of stuff do you get to do with the label?

My main responsibility at Ripple Music is distribution. I work toward our distributor setting up new releases with all what that entails. Also, like I’m sure the rest of the staff can contest, Todd bounces ideas back and forth with me, mainly regarding distribution of course, but other aspects regarding the label comes up.

Your responsibilities with Ripple have grown a lot over the last few years. What’s your favorite aspect of the work?

Apart from working for a fantastic label – Todd, you can send me the check later hahaha, I get the biggest thrills once a new title has been submitted to the distributor and our promo agents, and ads start popping up everywhere. “Hey, I had a hand in this” is what I think every time. Also, even though I have yet to meet any of the Ripple Family in person, I work for and with some pretty cool amazing people. Oh, and I do get to hear all these great albums before they hit the streets, which has made me understand bands when they say interviews for their brand new long player, that we’ve worked so long with it that we’re ready for something new. By the time any particular album comes out, I’m at least three months ahead working with new stuff. But I’m not complaining, on the contrary, because once a title hits the streets I go back and marvel at the beauty we put out.

What are some things you have learned while doing this job?

Patience….maybe. I was extremely patient before moving to the States which has gradually disappeared, don’t know why hahahaha! In the beginning of my career at Ripple I stressed horribly bad the closer we got to deadlines and no masters or artwork had yet been delivered by the involved bands. I still stress but that level is now at Defcon 5, not at a Defcon 1 Red Alert magnitude. Todd’s been in keeping me ground always having solutions when it comes down to crunch time…which brings order to chaos. Like Todd says: “Don’t sweat it!”
Obviously the longer you work with something the easier it gets and the more you learn. However, when I first joined the Family we had one distributor for North America, a second for the rest of the world and a third for digital. Therefore, if a title was LP/CD/Digital I had to submit it 5 times! The digital aspect was very time consuming, so patience is something I’ve learned, for sure. Plus the fact that our current distributor covers everything for us helps immensely.
Problem solving on the go is something else I’ve picked up on. Todd and I have a great partnership going with this, when something happens out of the blue. Whenever something occurs we use each situation as a learning curve to prevent further issues down the road. Doing distribution with deadlines et al and the fact that I live 2 time zones ahead the boss and 1 behind our distributor, having a good setup and quick response solutions is imperative.

How did previous life experience inform your work with the label? Have you worked in distro before?

Well, I had no previous label/ distro experience whatsoever when I joined the Ripple Family, so it has definitely been a learn-as-you-go situation for me. Of course, music has been a huge part of my life for about 36 years now. Went to my first concert at the tender age of 13 which triggered a life-long obsession with music. For many years all I did was buy albums and go to concerts wherever it would take me. This in turn created a very knowledgeable music mind which has helped, I guess in working for Ripple Music.

This takes you hours every week – why do you keep doing it? What drives you?

What keeps me going and drives me is the love of music, plain and simple. Of course, it helps that I really love the stuff Ripple puts out. Like I said earlier, to see ads for our bands go up and to hear all the positive responses from fans, is such a thrill. And not to forget when a band actually puts your name in the thank-you list. That’s such a boost doing what I am doing. I know it’s fan-boy talk but the 10-year old at Christmas is rearing his ugly head, so what can I do hahaha.  Another big motivator is that I always wanted to be involved in music but I never learned to master an instrument, so When Todd gave me this chance I was ecstatic, to say the least!

What inspires you with stoner rock?

The riffs, the escapism, the drive and the suggestiveness most stoner bands exudes are the main things. To me it is a style that works all the time. Some music I love I can only listen to during certain circumstances, stoner on the other hand works in any situation. If I’m frustrated or irritated it calms and relaxes me; if I’m happy it makes me even happier and actually open doors to more layers hidden within the music. You know what I mean?

What do you think separates Ripple from other labels?

Oh man, I really don’t know what separates us from other labels since I’ve never worked anyone else. What I do know is that the music we release and the integrity we work under definitely makes Ripple who we are. We are true and honest to ourselves and our bands and what we offer them. We don’t blow smoke up anyone’s rear end promising this or that, things that are unobtainable for a label of our size. What Ripple promise we keep. You have to be true to your words, otherwise all is lost. Therefore everyone knows what’s on the table which I believe helps us all. And we always do our very best to help our bands spread their word in any way we can. Anyone involved in running a business knows you have to make ends meet, that’s no different for Ripple Music. However, the whole staff are big music fans and we haven’t lost touch with being a fan and that keeps you grounded and focused on making everything right for our bands.

Why do you think that people love this type of music so much?

For stoner I think, apart from what I mentioned about my own love of this genre, is the friendship and help bands and fans give each other. It is a small genre but so full of dedicated, connected and enthusiastic people. That reflects on the music big time, if you ask me. Everyone works under small means but having this tight brother- and sisterhood relieves the stress of putting your name on the map. We all pitch in and help each other in whatever way we can and you can hear in most bands the freedom they work under because of this. Listen and you hear all the shackles are broken and walls have been demolished as the music is very unrestrained and boundless. That’s a rare thing these days.

Where do you see the label going and where do you see yourself going within the label?

I see Ripple moving further and further up, evolving even more. Stoner is popular but not super big, but the fans are very dedicated and true, so if music in general would dip Ripple will cope really well. Underground is what we are and Underground is what we will be, even if we got bigger. Like I said earlier, everyone involved at label are fans too which keeps us grounded and level-headed. And that’s an important part why Ripple are where we are. I’d like to see myself doing what I am doing but also to help out even more. We all have day jobs, doing Ripple in our spare time. And Todd is pulling an enormous weight keeping the ship sailing smoothly, so to alleviate more for him would be good. Of course, it would be fantastic if Ripple got so big the whole staff could go fulltime…which subsequently means the boss could move my family to the Bay Area from Tennessee, hahaha!

What is your favorite Ripple related memory?

Well, since I have never actually met any of the Ripple staff in person yet, there are no favourtie memories in that aspect. I have seen several of our bands live and met them which has been super nice. However, after racking my brain a little my favourite story is when we had just released the CD version of DoctoR DooM’s ‘This Seed We Have Sown’. A guy that I went to high school with back in Sweden a million years ago contacted me saying this album was one of his absolute of the year. Awesome but not so strange as such, but the guy is a preacher and works fulltime for his church. And here, DoctoR DooM was his favourite of 2015!

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