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Freshman starts own record label

Invertebrate+will+host+its+first+showcase+on+March+5.
Invertebrate will host its first showcase on March 5.

Invertebrate will host its first showcase on March 5.

via facebook.com

via facebook.com

Invertebrate will host its first showcase on March 5.

By Michael Waller, Staff Writer

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Ben Locke, a freshman in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development’s Music Business program, started the record label Invertebrate in 2014. In less than a year, Locke has rounded up a solid group of musicians and has set up shows for them, building an impressive catalogue that ranges from indie rock to electronic artists. Invertebrate will hold a “Fun in the Sun Showcase” at MuchMores on March 5. WSN spoke with Locke to talk about how Invertebrate got its start and his plans for the label’s future.

WSN: Invertebrate Music could be summed up as a DIY effort. What inspired you to start the label and feel confident about running it yourself?

BL: I worked as a talent buyer at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, so I got used to the scene. I came here and was still doing a little booking when I met Noah Davies, the singer of Field Trip. We started talking and I was blown away. You hear about all of these stories where people have these a-ha moments, and I knew that with Noah I had found some really unique sounds. It started as publicity — I would book these shows with well-known artists through my connections and put on Invertebrate artists to support. I would try and come toward it with a theme or aesthetic because I remember all of these themed parties that kids were going to during Welcome Week. I thought of it as an event more than a concert.

WSN: Are there any Invertebrate releases in the near future?

BL: Field Trip are slated to release their new EP in late March. We’re currently working on a press campaign for their latest single, “Song for California.” Another act, Suicide Balloons, who are based at Fordham, are planning to release something in
May/June. Mad Animals are planning a release in April. Aside from that, The Moon and the Sledgehammer, which is my friend Mike who is currently at Emerson College, has their album on Bandcamp now.

WSN: How do you manage a label while being a full-time student?

BL: I send a lot of emails on my phone during class. Luckily, I am in the music business program, so a lot of the stuff I’m learning applies to what I’m doing. I would like to expand. I’m going to start looking for a social media manager and into building a street team because I think word of mouth, especially at a really tight-knit university, is an important means of exposure.

WSN: Are you looking to become affiliated with any new acts?

BL: We only have a roster of three because we have set-in-stone release schedules. Depending on what the returns of the sales are like for those albums, we could expand to a public distributor and get albums in more places in the city. I’m happy with the way things are.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, March 4 print edition. Email Michael Waller at [email protected]

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