Formed last summer by Andrew Teed and Ryne Clarke, the new West Michigan record label already has signed several bands to its roster, including Common Molly, Short Panic and Vernon Potts.
Boosting the visibility of West Michigan bands, giving them “a sense of legitimacy,” bringing a professional connection to their repertoire.
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That was the goal of Midwest Gold Records when Andrew Teed and Ryne Clarke formed the independent label last summer.
“We kind of view the record label as sort of the college degree on a job resume,” said Teed, who first dove into the music scene by booking a concert series at a Saugatuck bar in 2020 and later signing on to manage emerging funk/rock band Short Panic.
“The official record label status will hopefully open a lot of doors for smaller bands that are struggling to get any kind of representation.”
Since starting the label in July, Teed, who grew up in Burnips and graduated from Hamilton High School, and Clarke, a Lowell High School alum, established musician and owner of Upstairs, Man Studio, have quickly signed several Grand Rapids-area bands to Midwest Gold.
They include Short Panic, Clarke’s latest band, Vernon Potts (as well as his RyneShyne), Grand Rapids punk group Common Molly, the Clarke Reed & Meadows trio and Oliver Scott Draper. Short Panic released its first album on the label last week, and has booked a Dec. 15 album-release show at The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids with Buddhahand, Ficus and Fellow Kinsman also on the bill.
Teed added that Midwest Gold is “in talks” to sign a few other bands, too.
“I think we stand out with this aspect: We’re about as hands-on or hands-off as a band needs us to be,” said Clarke, noting that Midwest Gold aims to provide its artists with whatever tools they need to move forward with their music.
Added Teed: “Grand Rapids has a ton of incredibly talented artists and we want to help give them a chance to make a living with their talent.”
‘SIGNING WITH US MEANS COMMITMENT TO MUSIC’
To that end, Clarke’s Upstairs, Man Studio in Lowell has become the headquarters for bands creating new Midwest Gold recordings, with Teed praising Clarke’s “advanced knowledge of the technical side of the industry” as a huge plus.
“One of my biggest personal inspirations was meeting and seeing Common Molly perform. Their talent, personalities and drive were incredible to see,” he said of the band that performs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Grand Rapids’ SpeakEZ Lounge along with Vernon Potts.
“Seeing the talent and commitment of bands like Short Panic and Common Molly made me want to work toward making it their career. Chatting about all this with Ryne helped make it more of a reality.”
While the role of record labels has changed dramatically over the past two decades, Teed insisted that Midwest Gold can still provide artists with help in navigating the thicket of venues, radio stations, fans and media outlets they need to advance their careers.
“We will help give bands a sense of legitimacy,” he said. “Signing with us means commitment to music.”
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