What started as a joke between band mates has turned into a scene-wide music collective. Tower Groove Records is record label, music collective and network of resources for and by local musicians and artists.
"It actually started as a joke because my band, Magic City, was going to put out a record and we didn't have the label," Adam Hesed explained, "so we were like, 'Oh, let's make one up.'"
It quickly became more than a name: Now a collective with over a dozen bands involved and a compilation record already in the works, Tower Groove is already becoming a valuable network of resources for St. Louis musicians.
"We watch so many bands kind of fall apart and die just because they didn't have that little extra thing to get on a tour or to get them a recording of some sort," says Jason Hutto (of Warm Jets USA), "so this hopefully can prevent that or at least slow the process down."
Tower Groove Records aims to offer more than emotional support and a name to put on your record. Through compilations, showcases and a connection to the resources of experienced musicians and those involved in the music scene, the collective aims to make a very substantive impact on its members.
"One of the more long-term goals is to offer resources to younger musicians who maybe have never been to a recording studio before or don't know how to book a show," Hesed adds. "This could be a resource for them to keep it going forward to last into the future."
Tower Groove will not be a separate business, dealing with musicians as clients labels. Instead, it will help bands self-release their records in any way it can.
"Tower Groove Records can't afford to put out bands' records because it's made up of bands who can't afford to put our their own," Hesed says. "What it will offer is a vehicle. It will help facilitate it."
Only three months after its inception, the label already has it's first official release: Magic City's Les Animaux Épouvantables.
In addition to helping bands and musicians release their own material, Tower Groove Records wants to support the entire music community, and will be releasing a double-LP compilation of St. Louis music.
Bands featured on the upcoming compilation each paid fifty dollars to join the collective -- the money will help fund the LP.
"It's a pretty exciting, expansive record," Hesed says. "It's not genre-specific at all."
Partly to raise additional funds for the comp, Tower Groove will be hosting a rock 'n' roll carnival in September at Off Broadway. Though final details are still in the works, the fifteen bands featured on the compilation (the full roster will be released next week) will be performing at the showcase. There will also be a DJ and actual carnival attractions including games and cotton candy. A silent auction will be held as well.
The record label hopes to eventually have the capabilities to do regional distribution and establish an online presence, including an online store where bands and musicians can sell their goods.
Tower Groove Records runs on support and, in Hesed's words, "sweat equity," and that will drive whatever happens next.
"It's been kind of neat to see everybody actually just buck up and help with any little thing," Hutto says. "I think that's going to be a really huge factor for what we can do next."