Bill Armstrong & Johnny B (Sideone Dummy Records Co-founder & Marketing guy, respectively) Interview.




Johnny B




1. You guys started this label back in 1995, now it’s 2012 and you have been going on strong ever since.  When the both of you made the decision to start this venture, what philosophy did you adopt and were there any other labels that you used as a blueprint to start with or was it more like a “let’s do it and see what happens” type of attitude.

I would say that Fat Wreck Chords was what we hoped we could be one day. Not to sign bands that sound like Fat bands but to operate a business on your own terms and be cool and helpful to the people coming up. Fat Mike and Erin were really helpful to SideOneDummy with advice early on. Neither Joe or I had ever worked at a record label so we weren’t really sure what exactly we were supposed to be doing.  At the time we started there was an Independent label revolution well under way and lots of people were starting labels.  Epitaph had blown up with The Offspring, Sub Pop with Nirvana, Matador with Pavement and Liz Phair. All of these seeming huge labels we all started by people who had a true love for music and we felt like we had those qualifications. Our philosophy has always been to sign bands we really like and think we can help.

Bill Armstrong co-owner of SideOne

2. What artist has played a significant role in your life in terms of doing what you do?

Van Halen.  

Bill Armstrong co-owner of SideOne

3. How did the project with Scream come to fruition? I know this was a while back but I was stoked to hear that you guys were involved with that band, one of my favorites.

This all came about because of Joe Sib and his deep roots in the punk community. He is friends with Pete & Franz Stahl from back in the day. They called him up and wanted to put out some new jams they had written. Of course Joe and everyone else here at SideOne were way into it. At that point we had also just started doing these Complete Control Sessions, where rad punk bands would come in and track cool live versions of their jams…which seemed like something Scream would fit into perfectly.. .so we asked them if they’d be into tracking stuff for one of those. They had new songs written and were going to be in LA and were way into recording it live…so we said yes, they said yes…and there ya go. We made a bad ass record. It was the perfect execution of what we had set out to do and helped them accomplish getting new music out there they could do a little touring on. Overall working with the dudes in Scream was one of the best experiences ever. They are amazing guys, and a sick band…hopefully we can do more with them if it works out.

– Johnny B

 4. When I used to intern for you guys, one of the first things I noticed was that all  the people in the building (including the interns) were super tight with each other and that doors were open for all to express ideas and opinions When signing artists, do you reach out to the other people in the building to get there take on what they think of the prospective artist before any deal is done?

 Yes! We have lots of internal discussion about potential signings.  Ultimately if everyone can’t get excited and fired up about it we cant do a good job for the artist and it ends up being counter productive for all involved.  Everyone here has good taste in music so when someone hears something good they like to share..

Bill Armstrong co-owner of SideOne

5. Last question, who will make the bigger impact this year: Dwight Howard w/ Lakers or Blake Griffin w/ Clippers?

I think that question is a little loaded. Blake has had 2 seasons of impact with the Clippers already. He took the team from being the “Paper Clips” to being one of the NBA’s most dynamic offenses. His impact has already been felt and will continue to be felt now that the team has been together for a few years, but unless he averages 30 and 12 a game people will give credit to Chris Paul and strong bench play.
DH has never played a game with the Lake Show, so if the Lakers do any better this season than they did last people will automatically say it’s because of Chocolate Shoulders. That credit will be totally undeserved, because really the Lakers will rise and fall with Kobe. If Kobe has a great season the Lakers will be great.
Honestly I think the Lakers will end up like the their 2003-2004 team. That was the year they went out and scooped up Gary Peyton and Karl Malone off free agency in attempt to grab another championship. The  got beat in 5 by a REAL TEAM called the Detroit Pistons. I think that will happen again this year. They’ll get beat by someone like Memphis or San Antonio in the 1st or 2nd round. 
To answer your question, Blake will be more productive for his team this year than DH. 
– Johnny B

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