By Dylan Boyle
Local vinyl is coming to Ames and will soon be traveling across the Midwest.
Chris Ford, frontman of Christopher the Conquered, and Nate Logsdon, frontman of Mumford’s, have joined forces with several other Ames bands to create Maximum Ames Records, a label to help local bands release vinyl records and help with distribution and promotion.
Back in the fall, Logsdon and Ford — both vinyl record enthusiasts — started meeting weekly to discuss projects their bands were working on and expressed interest in releasing their own albums on vinyl.
“Music sales in all mediums have gone down in the last few years except for vinyl, which is up,” Logsdon said. “Now that music is so available digitally, I think that music fans are only interested in having physical music if it is a very special object, not like a jewel case CD, which is kind of a hassle, where as a 12-inch LP is just a fine object with a bigger and more creative album art.”
After considering options for releasing vinyl, they decided to create a label to promote Ames and Iowa music and give artists a whole promotional package as well as some financial backing for vinyl pressing. Maximum Ames will also have a website for sales and digital distribution of albums; each hard copy vinyl will come with a digital download code.
Along with that, Ford said the label has already starting networking with local music and record stores in the Midwest to distribute physical copies.
“You’re going to be able to buy Maximum Ames Records at least in Midwest stores,” Ford said. “We really want to promote the tradition of Iowa music as something that is an identifying characteristic of us.”
Ford said how much financial help the label gives will be determined on a band to band basis. Maximum Ames has set up a fundraiser show Friday at the Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines, featuring Mumford’s, Christopher the Conquered, Pennyhawk, and Derek Lambert and the Prairie Fires. Some money from each album sale will go back to the label to help fund more albums.
Logsdon said the goal is not to manage bands, just help local musicians they love put out quality vinyl records.
“We’re a group of musicians,” Ford said. “The model we working with now makes sure that the label doesn’t make more money than the artists from sales.”
Maximum Ames is looking to release about five albums a year, starting with Mumford’s second full-length album “Triple Trinities,” due out in July. Christopher the Conquered’s next release will be the next album out, followed by a Derek Lambert 7-inch release sometime in the future.
Because Ford and Logsdon have good ties with Dom and Phil Rabalais, who front Fairfield band Utopia Park and run a cassette tape label called Sweat Power Records, Maximum Ames will occasionally collaborate with Sweat Power to release albums on cassette as well.
Along with Christopher the Conquered and Mumford’s, Logsdon said Maximum Ames is also working with Poison Control Center and Leslie and the LY’s for some specialty releases later this year.
Maximum Ames Records fundraiser
When: 8:30 p.m. Friday, April 22
Where: Vaudeville Mews, Des Moines
Lineup: Christopher the Conquered, Mumford’s, Pennyhawk, Derek Lambert and the Prairie Fires