Bored Coast Records

Category: music 281

Fredericton-based label aims to broaden our understanding of East Coast music.

Matt Carter
je-with-guitar
Bored Coast’s Jean-Étienne Sheehy during a Beard Springsteen recording session. Photo: Matt Carter

Bored Coast Records was formed during a long drive home from the 2016 East Coast Music Week in Sydney, Nova Scotia. To get home, you take the 105 as far as the mainland. From there it’s the 104 as far as Amherst and then on to Route 2 the rest of the way to Fredericton.  It’s a long drive and one that’s probably just about as exciting as it sounds. And it’s even longer if you’re slightly hungover and more than a little exhausted from a week of late night showcases, after parties and after-after parties.

“I’ve been going to the ECMAs as a music journalist since 2012,” said Bored Coast Records’ founder Jean-Étienne Sheehy, who spends much of his time between journalistic pursuits and writing and performing his own music with the band Beard Springsteen. “I’m usually checking out bands, writing about showcases and making a few conferences. This year I decided I might as well take advantage of all the one-on-one opportunities to meet with people and to talk about Beard Springsteen. So I get to the ECMAs, and start talking to people and the biggest takeaway I got was that we’re missing an infrastructure to push the band beyond where it is right now.”

Sheehy had a lot of time to think things over on the drive home amidst the endless trees and off-ramps that line the highway through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. That’s when he decide to pool his combined experience from both sides of the music business and form a label of his own.

“I’ve been playing music in bands since 2006 and so it was a realization that I could take this to the next level by myself,” he said.  “When we got back to Fredericton I bought the domain name boredcoastrecords.com and started working on a business plan for the label.

“Record labels are kind of irrelevant except for one thing,” said Sheehy. “You can gain a lot more credibility when your music is coming out on a record label. When you buy something from a label like SubPop for instance, you know it’s going to be good. And that’s kind of what I want to build, while at the same time putting my industry experience to good use to help out bands.”

“I want to brand this label as a label that has a heart the size of ten Greyhound buses, and by that I mean as long as the bands are passionate and have their hearts in the right place, I’ll work with them somehow.”

It didn’t take long for Bored Coast to get up and running.  To date, the label has released one full-length and one EP from Beard Springsteen (who also just received a Music-Musique NB award nomination for Loud Artist of the Year) and are preparing to release material by Young Satan in Love, Off Season and Saint-Jack, with other releases rumoured to be in the works. That’s a pretty impressive accomplishment for a label that has yet to celebrate its first birthday.

“I started working with a band from Moncton as well,” said Sheehy, “and while I can’t get into too much detail at the moment, they’re a great bunch of guys looking to get their music out there.

“I want to brand this label as a label that has a heart the size of ten Greyhound buses, and by that I mean as long as the bands are passionate and have their hearts in the right place, I’ll work with them somehow.”

But releasing music is only part of the process. There’s an entire communication and supply network that has to be in place in order to get music and information on the bands out to the right people and places at the right time. That’s where Sheehy’s unique skillset as an industry professional comes into play. A veteran music journalist having covered conferences, showcases, festivals and other events for both French and English language publications including Radio Canada and BRBR, Sheehy’s experience from both sides of the game will help form an important base for Bored Coast Records to grow from.

“I’m super fucking passionate about music,” he said.  “It’s my life and it’s really the only thing I care about. So to be able to bring my passion and use that to support other bands is really important to me. I’ve been doing that a lot through my work as a journalist but it’s cool to be able to help push bands in other ways now.”

“You can be yourself and you can play in a band and not give a fuck about anyone else, but while it’s really important to be genuine, it’s also very important to support each other.”

Sheehy sees his label as a community first and foremost. It’s a growing collection of likeminded artists willing to share experiences and opportunities with each other.  As a guy with a strong DIY ethic, community is incredibly important to all he believes in. And as a musician embedded deep within both the French and English music communities that exist throughout the region, he’s also helping to bridge the gap between these two language groups that make up a large part of our East Coast identity. The way he sees it, everyone is working towards a common goal and as the label develops, he hopes the Bored Coast community of artists will become a collective network of musicians willing to support each other’s projects and the label itself.

“Community and scene are two things that are super important. A lot more than people think,” he said. “You can be yourself and you can play in a band and not give a fuck about anyone else, but while it’s really important to be genuine, it’s also very important to support each other. By working with bands that share similar interests, we’re building a community based on everyone’s experience. You can build by yourself but it’s also a great thing to be working alongside others and grow together.”

In a landscape where indie bands struggle for credibility among hugely popular country, rock and folk-inspired acts geared towards a mainstream audience, Bored Coast Records have the potential to help stir things up by injecting a bit of independent thinking back into an aging industry and help different sounds become an accepted part of what East Coast Music is all about.

“If you’re looking at the East Coast, the best musical exports we’ve had lately were all indie bands,” said Sheehy. “Nap Eyes, Partner, even Wintersleep. As much as they’ve had their successes, they still maintain a certain amount of DIY credibility.

“A lot of the professional industry showcases at events like the ECMAs are lacking an element of risk. I’m saying, let’s try to get some punk bands in the ECMAs next year and let’s get a French project to play showcases. We’re going to try and do both those things because, why not?”

www.boredcoastrecords.com

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