Interview: Matt Linden of Forged Artifacts
Matt Linden will be known to Reviler fans as a contributor who has written about both local and national music on the site, and recently he branched out and started his own record label Forged Artifacts. His first release was an LP from Nice Purse and just this week he is releasing the latest work from electronic artist Olsen Twinns (Reviler review HERE). Read below for our interview with Matt about his label, the bands he would love to put out and how he decides what to release. Find out more at the Forged Artifacts website.
Reviler: What compelled you to go from a music fan/writer into the owner of a label?
Matt Linden: It’s really just something I always wanted to be involved in. I had been writing for various sites and blogs, running my own blog and just being a music fan for so long I felt I wanted to create something more substantial and lasting for the music I was hearing around me. I’m a pretty avid concert goer and I would see people doing it on their own and knew I could create a platform for bands I cared about to reach more people. It’s not my full-time gig either. It’s purely a labor of love at this point to supplement my day-to-day routine and job. But it’s something that I always envisioned myself doing and I’ve been so grateful to see the excited responses from local bands. I’ve found that the support from our locale is palpable. It’s very encouraging and certainly gives someone the confidence needed to start their own business and put yourself out there. I’ve met a lot of great people already
Reviler: What are the potential risks? Rewards?
Matt Linden: I would argue there isn’t any substantial risk involved in starting the label. In starting any business, there’s an inherent monetary risk at stake, but I believe the rewards far outweigh any risk. The reward is putting out music I believe more people should be exposed to. It’s a reward to put out a piece of art the way the artist intended it to be. And it’s a reward to give them a platform to do so. We’re only a couple releases in and the experience has already been very gratifying for both myself and the bands involved.
Reviler: Are there any calculations on your part as to what stuff to release? Is it more things you personally like or things you think people will buy?
Matt Linden: Just like any music fan/reviewer will attest, I have a pretty broad palette as far as tastes and sounds are concerned. Sonically, no, there isn’t a certain ‘sound’ I’m going for with the label. I never intended to be a ‘genre’ label. It just seems limiting when I want to be limitless. I’m concerned with putting out records that I believe will stand up years down the road. I guess that sounds cliched in a way, but I’m not concerned with putting out ‘trend’ records. Sales are never in the forefront when selecting a band for me. Sales come naturally with quality art and honest intent. That’s what I go for.
Reviler: Is the goal of the label to be provincial? If so, does that mean Minnesota or the Midwest? If not, how would you go about finding bands outside of the area?
Matt Linden: It may seem like the goal is to be provincial now because the first few releases are all from local bands, but I’ll definitely branch out beyond Minneapolis and the Midwest. I do love our scene here, and I think there is plenty of talent if you look in the right places, but there’s more I want to explore beyond what we have going here. There are more bands I want to work with in the Twin Cities before I start reaching out though. You’ll be seeing those releases coming up.
Reviler: Your “about” page says you specialize in vinyl releases, but your second release is a CD. What percentage of your releases will be vinyl?
Matt Linden: Yeah, that’s kind of funny. It’s going to be solely vinyl releases from here on out. Mickey Davis -aka Olsen Twinns – approached me about doing a release with him, putting out the hand printed CDs before he left for tour later this summer. I was reluctant because the whole aim of the label was vinyl releases only, but the idea he had for his debut album was too good to pass up, so I offered to put it out. The CDs are limited edition as well and hand numbered and screen printed, so that goes into the limited, one-of-a-kind aesthetic we’re striving for with the label. It’s a great album in a cool package. But, yeah, everything else will be vinyl.
Reviler: Any dream bands currently around that you would love to have on your label?
Matt Linden: Tough question. There are a few local bands I would definitely want to work with in the future. Other than that, Milk Music, California X, Mrs. Magician, etc. Out of the question Dream Team: Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, Moon Duo, Weatherbox, Fang Island, Danny Brown, Surfer Blood. There are tons of bands I would love to work with.
Reviler: What is your favorite label both locally and nationally/internationally?
Matt Linden: Locally, I love Moon Glyph and Guilt Ridden Pop and TGNP, among others. Good people all around. Nationally there are tons like In The Red, Goner, Burger Records, Sacred Bones, Woodsist, Thrill Jockey.
Reviler: Where do you hope to see Forged Artifacts at this time next year?
Matt Linden: I’m hoping to get more releases out there and become a reliable place for great and engaging new music. I don’t have any lofty goals, I just want to roll with it and have the progress by smooth and organic. I’m working with some great bands coming up and I’m excited to get the music and label out there.
Writer / co-founder