DC: Wow.
BM: So‚ that made the rest of the guys go‚ "OK‚ let's toss the deal."
DC: Oh‚ I'm sure! I'm sure that rang the bell pretty loud.
BM: And I think Blue Note sincerely-those people-really wanted us to stay‚ but I think they really had their hands tied because it was a financial matter.
DC: Well‚ having you guys on their label‚ I don't want to sound patronizing‚ but you are such individualists that it's a great distinction for them to have you guys on their label. And it's a loss because I can't think of anybody else like you guys on their label now‚ you know?
BM: No‚ I agree. I appreciate that. I agree with you‚ and it's really not about me. It's really just when you look at it you would think that's what they should be about. Just really original‚ independent groups and bands.
DC: Sure. When you think of the spirit of jazz music being about independence‚ there are always financial constrictions. Everybody wants to make a living‚ but there must be a balance. Or you'd like to think there's a balance somewhere‚ where you wouldn't be-and I don't want to use too strong a term-ambushed when it comes time to the second go-round and it's‚ "Can you take half of what you wanted or expected?" That would make me feel independent real quick.
BM: Yeah‚ I know. We got a little bit of a slap in the face‚ because we really thought‚ "Man‚ we've done pretty well." But when you look at the numbers‚ when you look at what they pay us-the advances‚ they're good‚ but it's just three guys. There's no leader. We all share and then it gets whittled down to not that much money. But it does accumulate‚ and if you don't sell a hundred or two hundred thousand records then you start to go into some kind of debt and they start to get nervous.
DC: Yeah.
BM: When you look at it‚ when you're running your own label‚ you don't have to get into that. For us‚ if we sell 20‚000 records‚ which is like an average low‚ that will fund the next record‚ keep the record label going‚ pay other people‚ and put money in the bank.
DC: That's what you want to do!
BM: Yeah! Maybe some sell more. Maybe some sell less. But you're making more music; you're delivering more music. And it's not marketed or it's not with the intention that it has to spread over to the whole world‚ you know? Some people are gonna like it‚ so let them buy it.
DC: Absolutely.
BM: So if it's 10‚000 people? Fine. The next one is at 40‚000 people? Great. And it's like all of a sudden the artist is getting more money per record‚ and they don't have to sell that many and that wakes a lot of… you know… sheep.
DC: Yeah‚ it's interesting that you say that‚ having talked with other musicians who have taken over more and more of their own business. Usually‚ they find that it isn't that much more work to take care of the business. And instead of the non-music aspect of it‚ the pure business aspect of it‚ being a distraction‚ it's just an extension of the music‚ an extension of their occupation. So that must free you guys up creatively‚ too‚ at least psychologically.
BM: Totally. It's really inspiring. It's brought us together‚ definitely. We're more excited to record now. It's weird because‚ we're excited to make a record‚ but when it's like‚ you know‚ someone else's schedule… someone else's dime…
DC: Absolutely.
BM: It definitely effects the overall vibe. And we'll make a good record no matter what. You know?
DC: Oh‚ yeah. Sure. Well‚ you've proven that! (laughter)
BM: But now‚ when we're working it's like we really feel like we're running the label in a way in which we can just… it feels better. It's ours! You know?
DC: Yeah.