New Justice Records
New Justice Records, a young music company established in 2009, is taking a fresh approach to Australia's music industry by aiming to provide greater opportunities for up and coming musicians.
With more and more bands and artists becoming self-sufficient with their releases, it was the realisation by label founders Ryan Lambert and Barry Shackleton that a gap existed in the accessibility bands had to professional releasing and distribution for their music. Built largely around the concept of working with the artist, their aim is simple - to help bands reach a higher level of success.
Ryan Lambert and Barry Shackleton describe their current stable of artists as a 'strong beginning' with a roster that already incorporates artists in Rock, Post Hardcore, Electro Pop Rock, Metal and Blues with the likes of Town Hall Steps, Sienna Skies, Resist the Thought, Chemical Transport, As Silence Breaks and Ash Phoenix.
New Justice Records self-distributes CDs throughout a significant amount of record stores across Australia and New Zealand, and worldwide through leading online download sites such as iTunes.
For more information regarding New Justice Records, visit www.newjusticerecords.com.au
Interview with Ryan Lambert
Tell us a little bit about New Justice Records. Ryan Lambert
: It started in about October last year; myself and my friend had been working in the music industry for probably about ten years. We were working at a recording studio, he was doing graphic design and I was doing CD manufacturing and there were a lot of artists working with us and recording there who were extremely good, but they just weren't really getting their music out as far as distribution online and CD stores. Most were just selling them at gigs and things like that. We saw an opportunity for the amount of talent that was coming through and we were trying to help bands that deserved to be there, get to a high level.
How will this approach help up and coming bands? Ryan Lambert
: We distribute their music as far as their CD releases, Australia and New Zealand wide in retail outlets like JB-HIFI, Sanity and any independent stores as well. We also distribute them online, on all the major download sites like iTunes and Bigpond. We also promote their music through media outlets such as web-based sites, magazines, street presses, and anything to do with the music industry that's Australia wide.
Where does the name 'New Justice' come from? Ryan Lambert
: Well we'd had experience with a few record labels over the years that weren't really doing the right things by their bands and were sort of either taking advantage of them or ripping them off, or not necessarily doing the right thing by the artist, when it was the artist who was deserving of the success. So, New Justice is a new thing where we are out to generally help the artist and do the right thing, but it's also just a new way of looking at things, and using the internet as a tool rather than something that's seen to be against the music industry.
What are your thoughts on free music download programs? Ryan Lambert
: We're not really against free downloading and programs like that, because for us, every person that downloads an artist's CD for free is a new fan and is potentially going to come to their live show. So, we market a lot on the internet and we don't really try not encouraging, as much as we don't encourage or discourage it, we don't see free downloading as a bad thing.
Tell us a little bit about the bands that you already have on board. Ryan Lambert
: We've got six artists at the moment and we're not a record label that just sticks to one genre. At the moment we've got a lot of punk and hardcore stuff on there, but it's not necessarily going to be the only style or future of the label. We've got everything from commercial radio, melodic stuff, right through to heavy metal, and we've pretty much got it evenly spread between the commercial artists and the underground, heavy, or hardcore sounds that we have.
What advice do you have for aspiring musicians? Ryan Lambert
: Well the way we run the label, especially nowadays for young bands, you have to be working hard yourself before anyone is going to look at you. Record labels can't afford anymore - because of illegal downloading, to really throw a million dollars at new fresh bands and make them huge rockstars. You have to be doing everything yourself first. You have to be touring, playing live, working on your fan base, promoting yourself well, and doing all the things that a record label does if there were a lesser budget. The record labels will be attracted to working with you if you're doing that stuff already. If the band is not already promoting itself well and doesn't have good photos or artwork, or is not touring and trying to promote their music themselves, it just makes the record label's job too hard and it's probably not going to work.
How did you get your big break in the music industry? Ryan Lambert
: I bought a recording and rehearsal studio when I was 19, I built it up over the five years and it's now part of Electric Studios in Sydney. That's how that started originally, and from there, me and my partner who's a graphic designer that does a lot of artwork for bands, tour posters and CD releases, went on to management, and together we just worked our way up gradually.
What music do you listen to? Ryan Lambert
: I listen to everything and anything. I grew up listening to a lot of punk, but not limited to that. And we all listen to everything from older music, to some of the embarrassing stuff our parents probably listened to, right through to the newer music that's out in every genre, as far as, commercial, radio, underground to the heavy stuff, and even electronic music.
Have you always wanted to be involved with the music industry? Ryan Lambert
: Yeah. I started playing the drums when I was thirteen and started playing in bands then. I'm in a band that's done a lot of touring in Australia and overseas, and so has the partner that I run the label with.
What are the highs and lows of your career? Ryan Lambert
: It's stressful at times, because the amount of work you have, and the amount of time you have is limited. It's stressful but getting to see people connecting with the music and getting involved, and building the fan base of the bands that we work with, and seeing the bands achieve their goals as well, the rewards outweigh the stress. To do the work while you still have the passion, it doesn't always seem like work, it's something that you love anyway.
Interview by Karli Smith