Sire Records Vet Launches Santa Barbara Records To Focus On The Local Scene

Santa Barbara files: local accent.

Music industry veteran BILLY O’CONNELL formed SANTA BARBARA RECORDS, an independent record label showcasing three main components to its platform for change: including fair music practices that put the artist at the forefront, at the service of the creative economy to SANTA BARBARA and the export of a “CALIFORNIA style AMERICANA sound.”

O’CONNELL said: “If someone told me they were opening a new label in 2021, my first question would probably be, ‘Why! The answer in this case is that it allows us to directly affect the lives of artists and gives us the opportunity to interact with other players in the local creative economy – graphic designers, web developers, printers, studios. recording, rehearsal facilities, videographers, photographers. , places, etc. – in a practical and productive way. We are determined to positively impact the creative economy in the SANTA BARBARA region and if you ask me, the best way to understand and overcome potential obstacles is to have ‘skin in the game’.

On OCTOBER 21, the label will release their debut compilation album, “CaliAmericana”, featuring two songs from each of their eight signed artists – an original and a CALIFORNIA-themed cover. The album will be available on CD, LP and all digital resellers. A limited edition 6 “x 9” art book containing archival quality photos of the greater SANTA BARBARA region, lyrics, artist specifications and a CD copy of the compilation, as well as personalized merchandise , will also be offered on

The original inspiration for the label came from conversations musician ERLAND WANBERG had with locals JOHN LUCCHETTI, musician MARKO SRDANOV and investor DAVIS FANSLER after watching the documentary “Muscle Shoals. “

Addition of WANBERG, “So much amazing music has come out of such a small area. We saw parallels – Santa Barbara is also a small, tight-knit community filled with incredible talent. This place has produced major artists as varied as JACK JOHNSON, KATY PERRY, TOAD THE WET SPROCKET and DISHWALLA; It has world-class rooms, dedicated patrons and extremely experienced industry professionals.

Originally from the region, TARIQH AKONI, the label’s A&R director has worked with LEANNE RIMES, KENNY LOGGINS, DAVID FOSTER, BEETE MIDLER, JOSH GROBAN and CHRISTINA AGUILERA. “Our artists represent the diverse influences and inclusive ideals of AMERICANA music while speaking from an authentic and original perspective. The music we play is rooted in this ephemeral magic that is at the center of CALIFORNIA, AMERICA through the lens of SANTA BARBARA, ”he says of the label’s creative philosophy.

GM O’CONNELL arrives at the label with an equally impressive CV. As a label manager at SIRE RECORDS, he has been active in the careers of bands such as THE RAMONES, LOU REED, ICE-T and TALKING HEADS. After leaving the label, he directed THROWING MUSES, KRISTEN HIRSH, PIXIES, BARKMARET, L7 and ALAN PARSONS. Since 2009 he has been a full-time professor at LOYOLA UNIVERSITY NEW ORLEANS SCHOOL OF MUSIC, where he teaches management, marketing and entrepreneurship.

“Simply put, we are offering agreements that we would sign ourselves,” says O’CONNELL. “These are short-term deals with net income. We take care of all the costs associated with making, marketing and promoting the record, with specific marketing expenses, release commitments and priorities, and then share the net with our artists. It’s a unique opportunity to form a label that behaves the way we always thought labels should.

“We create workshops for the artists of our label, as well as for the artists of the community”, explains LUCCHETTI. “We are dedicated to educating artists on how they could gain traction and strategically create their own ‘artist businesses’ so that they can control their own careers and fate.

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