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Dallas MusicWire Featured Story

by Lacy Radcliff 2 • M u s i c W i r e |


f you want to be signed by the biggest known Dallas record label, then make Idol Records your first priority. Idol houses many diverse acts such as The O’s, Here Holy Spain, and PPT 2008. In January, Idol created the sub-label Exploding Plastic Records, which houses bands willing to pursue artistic endeavors along with their music ability. Little Black Dress, Exploding Plastic’s first signed band, will debut “Snow in June,” their first album off of the label, June 2. DMW sat down with founder and President of Idol, Erv Karwelis, to discuss his label, the Dallas music community and the inevitable future of the industry. Erv Karwelis is a man who has weathered the long and dusty trail of the ever-changing music industry. With over 20 years of being in the record industry and having run the offices of Sony and Universal in Dallas, Karwelis started Idol Records more as a hobby in 1993. Idol’s first release was just a compilation CD, slowly turning into what now is Mecca for unsigned Dallas musicians. When looking for bands to be on the label, Karwelis has a few guidelines. Work ethic is a first priority, in that the band or musician needs to have a clear road map on what they want to accomplish on the label. Touring is a must; Idol will not sign bands that do not tour. For instance, Dallas MusicWire members The O’s just completed a coast-tocoast tour, in which Idol made possible. No touring means no press or promotions, which is a “no no” in the music industry. Karwalis also brought up the declining music industry, which is a very hard topic to swallow for most, well, in the music industry. “The fantasy of being a big star is a big myth,” Karwalis said. Labels have stopped signing new bands, songs and albums are being leaked before release dates, and artists are leaving their labels to partner with companies like Live Nation and Starbucks to strike up deals on their own terms, but still not making money.

When asked how Idol will stay alive and thriving during the economic stress and the industry metamorphosis, Karwalis makes a simple game plan to weather the storm. “We’re not going anywhere,” he says. Idol uses licensing in television and film, advertisements, and digital networks like ringtones to finance his label. And with this, Karwalis and his team will still keep finding bands that do tour, which in turn will get revenue from the fans that will buy their records. What Karwalis wants to stress to all the hopeful, willing musicians out there is to not be blinded by a fantasy of fame and fortune, because in this day and age, that kind of idea is not an option. “Most successful musicians don’t own a car, don’t own anything,” he said. He also notes that musicians must plan to tour 200 to 300 days a year, and be ready to find creative ways to make money, if money is what they’re aiming for. Erv Kawalis isn’t the grim reaper for the music industry; he is telling it like it is, the honest truth that many musicians and bands refuse to acknowledge when wanting to pursue a career in music. What Karwalis believes in is that if you have to have it in your blood; the barriers of economic turmoil and decline of selling records doesn’t detour you, but rather motivates you to find any way possible to get your music heard, and that’s what Idol Records stands for.

JUNE 2009 • 3

4 • M u s i c W i r e | w w w. d a l l a s m u s i c w i r e . c o m


| From the Forum

Fort Worth-based dark pop/indie/post-punk band seeks a like-minded drummer. “We value playing what the music calls for, simplicity and creativity over flash and volume.” “2 rehearsals a week” Sounds like – The Cure, Radiohead, The Pixies Posted by Toby Rider Read More

Rhythm Guitarists?? Any of you out there?? “All original, hard rock alternative band” “Rehearse 2-3 times a week in Irving” Sounds like – Breaking Benjamin, Disturbed, Sevendust Posted by Bulletproof Read More

JUNE 2009 • 5

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Managing Editor Jeff Kauffman, Jr. Art Director Writer

Donny Stevens Lacy Radcliff

MusicWire eMagazine is published monthly by Opinions expressed in articles or advertisements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publisher. MusicWire eMagazine is not responsible for omissions or information that has been misrepresented to the magazine. Advertisers and its agencies assume all liability for advertising content. No part of this publication may be transmitted without the permission in writing from the publisher.

In June Clint Barlow, former touring Vanilla Ice drummer, will try to finalize the plan to reopen Trees in Deep Elm. If all goes well, and Barlow can book good talent, our fall season may be a sunny one. Contact Jeff | |

Dallas MusicWire - June 2009  

Local music magazine for the DFW area.

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