In 1999 Luaka Bop left Warner Bros. We had started at Warner as a sidebar to David Byrne’s solo record deal. Now, most artists who have their own record labels don’t really do that much with them (ever hear anything on Michael Jackson’s label?). David of course is different, he took having a record label seriously, hence 24 years later we are still here! I started relatively soon after the label had been started. In a way it was odd for me. Though I was a big David and TH fan, for the most part I bought no albums on major labels, so to be in a position where I was working with one was a bit strange. Some other time we’ll get into all that. I’m going to jump ahead 10 years when we moved to EMI owned Virgin records, which was an excellent fit for us. Whereas the Warner Distribution team wanted to talk about marketing support, the EMI distribution folks wanted to talk about music.
Warner Bros. Headquarters in Burbank
In the early 2000′s everybody was forming portals, (remember them?). We were doing a lot with our friends over at a design company named Funny Garbage, (and their offshoot Red Hot). We were going to form a portal with Funny Garbage. We kept going back and forth with John Carlin who owned Funny what it should be called; Funny Bop, Luaka Garbage…etc. Paul Heck who worked at Red Hot (and still does), felt we should call the portal “Inspiration Information” and thought if he left the Shuggie Otis album with that name at our office we would eventually feel the same way.
People always ask us “How do you find your artists?”. In this case we never did end up with a co-portal with Funny Garbage because the internet boom had gone bust, but we did end up putting out Shuggie Otis, the second in our World Psychedelic Classics Series. That album was a huge success for us. Not really because of any great scheme on our part, but for many reasons, one of them being that it was such a great record that when I played the album for all of the EMD sales branches it hit a sweet spot with this group of people who liked to talk about music.
In 2002 Paul Heck came to us and asked “Why don’t you put out a compilation by this Brazilian soul singer Tim Maia?”. It literally took us 10 years of negotiation but I’m happy to say this October we are going to be able to do just that.
We have a limited edition 12″ here: http://luakabop.com/tim-maia (But note all of these songs will also be on the album).