We present to you our new feature Meet The Label, where we interview different labels in the industry. Our good friend Craig Boliver, over at I Am Shark, was kind enough to do this interview with us. If you’re not familiar with this label, I Am Shark released The Story Changes’ EP and currently manages bands such as Gracer and Pmtoday. Craig and I spoke about Shark Week, the re-branding of the label, how the label got it’s start, and much more. Check it out below.
First, please state your name and role at I Am Shark.
Heyo, I’m Craig Boliver and I run every involved with I Am Shark from the management side, vinyl label, publishing, studio (Quiet Country Audio) and a million other things.
Can you tell us more about I Am Shark? How did it get started?
Basically it started as I was leaving another management job working at an agency, and at that point I really had no idea how to take on everything involved with an artists all at once or know enough people to contact. I started slow working with one or two band booking, and then that led into setting up radio/press interviews, and it really snowballed from there into working on licensing, label shopping, and working on really creative marketing plans and projects. I went out on the road for a few years doing tour management and merch, that is a perfect situation for people wanting to be managers to begin making friends and network with people that will fuel what you are doing. I actually didn’t even start releasing records until last year with The Story Changes EP, because prior to that I was always broke and wanted to make sure I wasn’t shorting anyone on a release and how the records did. And here we are now, the label side is taking shape and building great loyal fanbase, that I love interacting on a personal level.
Can you tell us about your experience in the industry before I Am Shark?
When I was 15 I started booking shows in the upstairs room of a Chinese Restaurant called Sun Gins in Pennsylvania, the benefits of that place were filled with take out containers! I actually I really miss that place, built a pretty decent community and home for a lot of regional and touring bands that they could rely on any time they needed a show. I don’t see that a lot anymore:( From there at 18, I really had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, had gone out with a couple of bands on tour and really enjoyed that. Right when I graduated I stumbled into a management job only because I was the only person in that small Pennsylvania town that new ANYTHING about music business. I learned a lot there working under a pretty experienced manager from the traditional music business model, but that wasn’t for me. I really wanted to make an impact coming from a different angle, so I quit, and here we are today!
What’s a regular day like at the label? What does it take to run it?
Regular day is pretty great, I work for Blue Collar Press/Distro as well, so I screen print for some great bands including Botch, Motion City Soundtrack, Lucero, Isis, and more. Then normally reach out to a lot of the business associates that work 9-5 and cram as many emails and phone calls in before they leave the office. After getting some conversations started and business relationships initiated/completed, I start packing all on our IAS orders and normally talk on the phone with all the bands on the roster (which I absolutely love, all of the bands with IAS are my absolute best friends in the world and wouldn’t ask for it any other way!). I always end my night with some sort of media creation whether it’s video editing, graphic design, website coding and I brainstorm on new marketing ideas and project to take on. Normally there is always an episode of Baywatch on in the background at this point haha.