Croquet Records is a new local record label, with a few big differences. It’s in Charlotte, all about North Carolina and is a non-profit.
We talked with founder and executive director James Willamor about what makes Croquet different and why it’s important to Charlotte.
Q. Croquet Records is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Why?
A. Donations are tax-deductible, and we can get a better rate on some crowdfunding platforms as well as help bands apply for arts grants. Croquet is all volunteer-run and any proceeds we receive go right back into helping fund artists.
I want Croquet Records to do for music what nonprofit arts organizations like the McColl Center are doing for art.
Q. Croquet will work only with North Carolina bands. Why?
The North Carolina music community is wonderful. I believe people are more likely to support something that is local – just look at how well North Carolina’s craft beer industry is doing. It’s because they offer a quality product, are active in their local communities and people know the money they spend will stay in the local economy.
It’s the same with Croquet – we want to work with local screen printers, studios, music venues, record stores – so most of the dollars stay in the local economy.
Q. Tell me about Melt, the first band on the label. Why did you choose to work with this band?
Melt started out as a solo act by Phil Pucci (of Serfs and Aggrocragg), and he was joined by two of his lifelong friends, Alex Smith and David Scanlon. Phil works hard in the Charlotte music community, putting on two Reverb Fests. The last one in February was a charity fundraiser.
That falls in line with what Croquet Records is all about, plus I love their dream pop style of music, which is a fairly unique sound in the Charlotte music scene.
Q. What role does Croquet play in a band’s development?
We will work with songwriters and bands that are at different stages of development. That can range from a songwriter who needs help getting a full-band recording of their original material to a more experienced band like Melt that has been playing for a year and a half but needs help mastering and releasing their first LP.
Q. What can we expect to see from Croquet in the next 12 months?
– Starting March 24 we are launching a local indie music show, “Between the Wickets,” on Charlotte Community Radio in NoDa, that will air every Tuesday from 7-9 p.m.
– Melt’s debut full-length album will be released this summer. We hope to sign our second artist by then and maybe have a second release out by the end of the year.
– We are looking at a number of opportunities. Some ideas include hosting charity concerts to support local nonprofits and helping host a local music conference for new and emerging songwriters and bands.