Peter James is the owner of record label Manic Kat Records. The label has signed bands like Love Brooklyn, Serious Matters and Bad Case. MKR has also recently released a Summer Sampler which features 13 new tracks.

We got the chance to talk to Peter James about what he looks for in potential new artists, what intrigued him about the music industry to make it a career and much more!

Owning a label is a huge undertaking, what inspired you to get involved in the music industry?

I grew up playing in bands in the Northern New Jersey pop punk scene and have always supported it.  I think that was one of the main reasons why MKR was created.  After dealing with the runaround of the major labels in the past, I wanted to create a label that artists can feel safe with and that allowed for creative growth.

Is there anything unique you look for in the clients that you’re thinking about signing?

We always look for unique characteristics in every band that we sign. We look for things that not only separate them from the rest of the bands out there, but also distinguish them from the rest of the bands on our roster.

What obstacles did you face when first starting to get your label running?

We had quite a few challenges when we first started!  One of the biggest was finding great people to work with to build our team.  I took quite a while finding the right people that love the label as much as I do.  The other problem was finding the right bands to build our family of artists.  

What is a tactic you use to get artists interested in signing with you?

I wouldn’t necessarily call it a “tactic”.  This would imply that we are trying to get something over on them.  I would explain to them that we are very family oriented and what services we offer as a label.  I really push the fact that we are completely transparent, which in many cases, is quite hard for a band to believe because of the stigma of signing.

What is the most rewarding part about your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is when we get to see our artists’ music get traction in the scene and their band/brand grows bigger because of all of our efforts.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make?

We build our company like a giant family so the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make was parting ways with a team member that unfortunately, didn’t share the same company vision as the rest of us.

What is some advice you would give someone interested in starting their own label?

Be prepared to devote everything you have into it and that includes ALL your time.  If you think you can run a label and work a “day job”, believe me, you can’t.  The main reason I can say we have grown as fast as we have is because I am fortunate enough to run the label full-time.

We’d like to thank Peter James for taking the time to answer some of our questions. You can find out more about Manic Kat Records here.