Takehold Records is one of the most interesting labels out there. The bands on Takehold present a wide variety of styles, from great emo pop/rock (Stairwell, The Operation) to metal influenced mosh (Few Left Standing, Narcissus). Most bands on Takehold talk about Christian topics in their lyrics which is also a point why Takehold stand out from other labels. So I decided to feature this American label and Chad Takehold was the first to answer my questions.
First off, how did it all get started with Takehold Records? Could you give me a short history of the label?
Takehold started when our club/record store/venue got closed down about 3-4 years ago. We started out trying to help develop new artist that hadn't really received much exposure yet, and just sort of branched out from that point.
How many people are currently working at Takehold and what is your particular job Chad? Is there kind of a "boss" at Takehold?
Currently it's just me and a few friends that help out, but we don't actually have a staff. We still run the label out of my garage, it's about as close to a DIY deal as you can get. I would be considered "the Boss" and I'll do anything from A&R work to general business management. It gets somewhat crazy at times!
How do you see the development Takehold made since the beginning?
We've come a very long way, for sure. I have seen us grow into a much larger label than I probably first anticipated. My philosophy was always just to help out younger bands and I didn't really know where that would take me.
Is there a certain philosophy behind Takehold? In other words: What do want to achieve with you work?
Get young bands exposure. Help them get to where they want to go. Work hard and remain diligent in everything we do.
Do you still have the time going to shows or does the work for the label take most of your time?
I do go to shows occasionally, but that is normally pretty difficult due to having a family and running a company. I try to go to as many shows as possible (normally about one every couple of months).
I think one thing that is typical for Takehold is the Christian message that can be found in the band's lyrics but also on your website. Do all bands on Takehold have these religious beliefs and would you sign bands that don't?
Some our bands do have religious beliefs founded in Christianity, but some do not. We are open to working with a variety of bands with differing backgrounds.
Have there been any accusations or something like that in the past just because of this Christian message? I guess this would be totally stupid.
I'm not sure if we've ever received accusations as much as people just won't buy our records. To me, I respect a kid much more who would disagree with my personal beliefs/stance and just not buy our records than someone who try's to make it a super big deal. Most people are cool with the fact that we respect them and they respect us. We don't all agree and yet we can all retain great friendships and help each other grow through our differences.
What is more important in your opinion, the music or the lyrics of a band? Do you think that many kids just buy records because of the lyrics and don't care much about the lyrics? And did you make the experience that people didn't buy an album of a band on Takehold just because of the lyrics?
I think it probably is a combination of the music and lyrics. Sometimes I don't think people even care about lyrics, but then again if a band is really passionate about anything (politics, religion, life, etc.) it is going to be obvious and that gives kids a relationship to build on.
Which release of Takehold are you most proud of and why? Which one's your favourite?
My favorite right now is the new Underoath "The Changing of Times" CD that we licensed to SolidState Records. It is such a good record and so powerful. Aside from that, I love the new Hopesfall, 238 "Regulate the Chemicals", Narcissus "Becoming Leviathan", and the new Stairwell… those would be my top picks today. That could all change by tomorrow, though!
Which band sold the most copies of an album released on Takehold, which album is Takehold's top seller?
Either the Further Seems Forever/Recess Theory split or the 238 "Regulate the Chemicals" CD. Both have sold around 5,000 copies. Not anything huge, but we've never been a huge label with tons of money behind it, either.
Is there any band that you didn't sign but would like to sign now? Which band on a different label would you like to sign if you could choose?
If I could chose any band in the world I would sign Bob Marley. That might be hard. Ok, I would settle for At the Drive-In if they got back together.
Who decides which band gets signed and how do you get to know a band? Do they send you demos and then you get in touch with them?
For the most part, I would decide that. Most bands I hear about through word of mouth, but occasionally I sign a band based on a demo (very rarely, though).
How about the deals with the bands: Are these deals made for only one record or for multiple albums? What do you think is the best way?
Normally for 2-3 records with us. The shorter the term, the better for the band in some cases, it just depends on what the label is willing to offer. If a band can establish a great working relationship with a label (for the long term… 4-6 records) then it's great, but a lot of times bands want to move on to bigger labels, so signing for fewer albums would make more sense for them.
Would you say that the internet is important especially for smaller labels to get their message out? When did you first have the idea of having a website?
Yes, the internet is huge!!!!!!!!!! We had a website up over 3 years ago, we could not exist without the internet.
How do you finance recording sessions and tours? I could imagine that especially in the early days of the label it must have been pretty hard?
I've just always re-invested the money from the label back into the label instead of spending it on other things.
Is it possible for the bands on Takehold to release split releases on a different label and to do projects?
What is your opinion on vinyl? Are the records on Takehold also released on vinyl?
Vinyl is dead. That doesn't mean that I don't still love it, but it is very hard to sell records on vinyl. We released a couple, but it's just too hard to deal with such a big and bulky record (especially when it comes to shipping).
Which other labels do you like and why?
Tooth & Nail/Solid State because they've hooked me up and have got my back. I love Revelation, Equal Vision, Victory, Facedown, Vagrant, The Militia Group, Computer Club, anybody that is putting out great rock records!
How long do you think Takehold will go on? Do you think you will work at Takehold for the rest of your life, Chad?
I'm not sure. There is no way that I would do this for the rest of my life because there is so much I'd like to do. I'd like to work in other countries at some point, maybe working with lesser developed countries, helping the poor… I don't know just changing up the pace in my life. I'm very blessed and don't want to ever take that for granted. I'd like to help others out who are not so fortunate. I will be working on Takehold at least for the next 3-5 years, though.
Ok, that's all I guess. Did you like this interview and do you have anything to add? Thanks for taking the time answering my questions!
Yes, and most importantly, I like you. Thanks for helping me and our bands out and for your support. Let me know if you need anything else! Chad.
P.S.: By the time you read this, an important change is probably going to happen as Takehold licensed most of its titles to Tooth and Nail Records for marketing/distribution and it is not quite sure yet what will happen with Takehold. Check out the official Takehold site for detailed information.