KCSB has much to celebrate. Their newest endeavor, Bank Burner Records, signed their first artist, local Santa Barbara band Dante Elephante, and they just hosted a 200-attendee launch party last Saturday at downtown’s Del Pueblo Café.
Performances included not only Dante Elephante, but also Isla Vista and Santa Barbara locals Sun Daes, Remambran and Cave Babies. I sat down with Ted Coe, Development Coordinator of KCSB, and Dylan Chase, Program Director of KCSB, to discuss the idea behind the record label and their future plans with Bank Burner Records.
The idea for a record label began when the KCSB 2012-2013 leadership team went to the CMJ Music Marathon in New York and were inspired by UC Davis students who had created a label. Bank Burner Records’ chosen vehicle is vinyl, which Chase calls “an old medium that runs parallel with radio.” The belief that is has been steadily resurging is something those at KCSB strongly identify with, and they are excited to introduce new generations to vinyl. Instead of believing vinyl to be a fad, Chase and Coe agree it is being re-recognized as the preferred way to listen to music.
“Vinyls have permanence; they are collectible, versus downloading a song to your music device,” Coe said. “People will be collecting forever because there is so much material out there; a lot has not been digitized and never will be.”
Chase expressed how it is a personal experience to own a piece of art like a vinyl, similar to how listening to radio is a personal, intimate experience. Being able to hear a voice on the other end of a transmission is magical, and it beats having a website like Pandora choose songs related to something you picked.
“[With computer-selected playlists] there is no element of surprise, no personality,” Coe said.
A question that had to be asked was why the name, why Bank Burner Records? Apparently KCSB was accused of being an instigator of the I.V. Riot in 1970 and was taken off the air. The riot culminated in the burning of Bank of America, a site where Embarcadero Hall now stands.
Bank Burner Records’ artist-oriented label allows artists to maintain their copyright, a luxury that is rare in most cases. KCSB’s major motivation to make a label is to be there for artists, not for money. The album proceeds are split fifty-fifty, and the half KCSB receives goes towards production costs. Those who sign with Bank Burner Records keep their albums to sell, which is a great opportunity for touring bands to have extra merchandise on hand.
When asked if Bank Burner Records would stick to the surf/rock genre of Dante Elephante for their next signing, Chase was quick to respond that, “KCSB is very invested in the idea of diversity.”
“We have discussed doing everything from electronic to jazz to hip-hop,” Chase shared.
Currently no one is lined up to sign next. But not to fear. “People are asking,” Coe said with a hint of excitement. In the future, Bank Burner Records hopes to have a compilation of live and studio sounds on one vinyl.
KCSB’s Fund Drive, a movement to receive community contributions rather than taking funds from student fees, is happening now until Nov. 15. The contributions will give them the freedom of checking off items on their wishlist, such as putting a festival on in the spring. To donate, go to www.kcsb.org/donate-online.
A version of this article appeared on page 10 of the Thursday, November 14, 2013 print edition of the Daily Nexus.