A return to the days of the small boutique, indie label has produced Ramp Records, a company co-founded by singer, songwriter - MICHAEL MCDONALD, actor, musician, and artist - JEFF BRIDGES and producer, songwriter, and studio designer - CHRIS PELONIS. Ramp is the result of a need to fill the ever-widening gap created by the major labels' inability to service the industry and music audience on a certain level that has always captured the imagination of eclectic, artistic tastes.
"Our marketing efforts will be grassroots at best," says Pelonis. "We're approaching this with the idea of seeing how far we can go on our own resources. Not so much monetary, but more in our efforts to create a word-of-mouth buzz, through traditional print, internet access, and broadcast media. Our hope is that in addition to our modest promotional attempts, the music's own merit will bring some form of radio along. As idealistic as that sounds, much of the industry was founded on similar principles. I'm afraid if we don't get back to that on some level, musical expression may seriously suffer." Ramp Records is set to explore the alternatives in an increasingly untraditional and fast changing market of music fans. The Santa Barbara, California based label officially launched in February 2000 with the release of McDonald's Blue Obsession, and Bridges' debut, Be Here Soon.
Ramp co-founder JEFF BRIDGES says, "I don't think our label will specialize in any one type of music, but evolve into an eclectic roster of artists. It will be interesting to look back in a few years at our catalogue." MCDONALD adds, "This label, and many like it, are the result of so many artists feeling the need for this industry to re-invent itself. Not unlike FM radio in the sixties, the internet could become the free airwave of this generation, and the new small independent labels could just be responsible for bringing the same kind of unique, organic talent to the public's attention that labels like Sun, Scepter, Chess and Stax-Volt were able to do."
The concept of Ramp Records started in a spontaneous moment, when MCDONALD and PELONIS discussed the idea at a sacred surf spot in central California that the three haunt together, and individually, from time to time. "While working on Jeff's project we decided it was a valid direction to take, given our options," recalls MCDONALD. "I'd known Chris for a lot of years and I met Jeff through Chris on a surf trip out to his ranch. The next time we met was when Chris enlisted my help in recording Jeff's demos, which became Masters, which became the founding of a label." Of his ideology for Ramp Records, PELONIS contends, "No business plan should be a knee-jerk reaction, however when you're small and somewhat underfunded, you have to be extremely resourceful and spontaneous. The world around us may not always be on the same schedule as our prepared 'set up'so we have designed our company to be ready to react as opportunities arise. When the swell is up - you surf."
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