Photos from Capeside Records
Article by Jeremy Benson
D-Jay and Kevin Bidwell had been tossing around the idea for a few weeks. At first, neither thought about it too seriously; it was just something they should do sometime. But one winter's night in 2004, as they sat in the parking lot to D-Jay's apartment building, their "what-if" conversation quickly turned into a business meeting. By the time the doors on D-Jay's Sunfire clicked shut, what would become Capeside Records was born. Within weeks they distributed their first productions: bumper stickers and a late-night run of T-shirts.
Ironically, neither Bidwell knew anything much about the inner workings of the music industry; they hadn't gone to school for music management or interned at EMI; and although they frequently jammed in friends' basements, they hadn't been members of any serious bands. They were just dedicated fans of the punk and hardcore scene. "We grew up driving down to Detroit and Flint for shows," explains Kevin. "So I guess it's just in our blood, it’s part of us."
In the initial months, D-Jay read a few books on running a label and Kevin talked to some friends who had experience in the business. Still, Capeside's first deals showed that the learning curve was a steep one: a bad contract here, a frustrating distribution agreement there, and the Bidwell Boys had a crash course in the recording industry.
Six years later, Capeside is a small but noisy label, operating from D-Jay's spare bedroom and maintaining a strong virtual presence through Myspace and a handful of hardcore/metal forums and blogs.
For D-Jay, owning a record label was a unique way to participate in the local music scene. Four of Capeside's bands originated in the Saginaw area—their first, a local hardcore band called the Rose, went on to sign with globally-distributed label Blood and Ink. Additionally, Capeside sponsored a stage at last summer's Support Your Scene Fest on Ojibway Island. "Our contribution opens opportunities for Saginaw acts to receive national recognition," he says, explaining that all of Capeside's releases are available to anyone anywhere, thanks to iTunes, Amazon and the label's Myspace page.
Capeside has signed a total of five bands, with three currently on the roster: hardcore outfit Fight It Out signed in 2007; Artillery Breath, a metal band from Belville, OH, released their album on Capeside in 2009, and Act As One joined up in Fall 2009, releasing a full-length pop-punk album earlier this month. And Capeside Records is always shopping for more: Kevin and D-Jay follow up on every request they receive, sometimes going so far as to seek out a band’s live performance to see if they'd be a viable addition. "[If so,] we offer the band a contract," says Kevin, "If they like the contract, that’s when the party starts." For Kevin and D-Jay, however, the party's six years old and going strong.
Act As One will perform live at the Snuggly Mug in Bay City on January 30th; to visit the parties already in progress, go to http://www.myspace.com/capesiderecords.
© Jeremy Benson, 2010