In the second half of 2021, Red Dress Records experienced a ton of growth. The Hope Valley-based music and label collective added a blog to their arsenal via reddressrecords.com. The blog includes album reviews, music features, music playlists, and intriguing interviews. With a primary focus on the Rhode Island music scene, it has been exciting to watch this DIY effort reach new levels and become a viable entity in the local community. This excitement makes 2022 look pretty bright for the organization.
I recently took the time to catch up on lost time and reflect with co-founders Jordan Sereno and Neil Redmond on the growth of Red Dress Records, the involvement of different people, a podcast that has yet to start and that looking to start booking and hosting their own shows.
Rob Duguay: Since we last spoke in May, Red Dress Records has grown both in their roster and in their blog content. How would you each describe the evolution of the collective and the label over the past six months?
Jordan Sereno: Honestly, it’s been very rewarding, I think. Neil, Stephen Heredia-Smith, Tony Nimmo and I have been doing a lot of fieldwork for a long time with the intention of never being anything major. We all just wanted to make a big club for all of our friends and groups of friends so that we could kind of bond, collaborate, and be able to create things that not many people would normally have access to. Neil told me about it the other day, about the fact that not all bands have access to blog writing, video content, and music distribution. We are working together to do this and it has been very rewarding to see the community start to love us back, we have given a lot of love so it’s good to have it back.
DR: I’ve certainly noticed this myself recently from what I’ve seen on Red Dress Records on social media. The content definitely mixed it up a bit with Bubblegum Punk’s Holly Alice writing for the blog, Jordan did a few album reviews and Tony made a Spotify 8Tracks playlist which he started writing as an article recently so it’s more like an interactive feature. How was this type of content incorporated and brainstorming for new ideas on what to put on the blog?
Neil Redmond: For me, the blog has always been a place of creativity. I understand that as much as musicians want to focus on music, there are so many other aspects of the art that are ripe to put these creative juices into. The blog is a place where people can put effort in a whole different way. Like you said, Tony is posting these amazing blog posts about mixed up stories that I think have no other place. Same with Holly, her interviews are completely different from the other things we do.
When I edit the blog I usually let out a more creative voice than what you get with a typical post. Part of blog integration is integrating people’s voices.
DR: It’s cool that you have these different perspectives from people from different backgrounds which makes the content unique. How did it go with everyone involved in telecommuting? Do you do a lot of Zoom chats? Do you have an endless thread of ideas in the email?
NR: Both, actually I still call it a âband reunionâ because since I left for New Orleans we’ve replaced what would have meant a band’s rehearsal with Red Dress Records reunions.
JS: Really nothing changed for us with Neil moving south, before he left, we were already doing everything remotely. We have a group chat, we have a Google Drive, and we mainly do our meetings through Facebook Messenger.
DR: What is the status of Red Dress Radio? It still says on the website that it was supposed to come out during the summer, but it never did. I remember the last time we spoke you had this vision of short 15 minute videos. Do you have any plans for the next year or are you still trying to figure out what it will be exactly?
JS: Damn, I really need to remove this photo from the homepage. Over time, Red Dress Records has grown and served completely different purposes. We started as a distributor, we have moved to media and blogging and now, since we have the blog, we kind of want to branch out. What we want to do about Red Dress Radio is that the aspect that we lacked before is to do it live, which I ultimately want to do. It’s not official yet, but I feel like it’s going to be a lot more organic and a lot easier to do without any editing, which was a big hurdle for us last time around. We’re also working on trying to book shows and also work as a promotion company, especially for our own bands and really all the bands that we think are awesome.
DR: It’s really cool, good luck for the future. Besides Red Dress Radio and booking shows under the Red Dress Records name, what else have you got planned for 2022?
NR: One of the things I really appreciate about Red Dress Records is our completely unconventional promotion. Last summer we did a promotion called “Streaming Wars” for The Dirty Birds which was basically a way to get fans to listen to their favorite song and we had prize points that we were handing out as we went. that people were listening to them. This ultimately resulted in The Dirty Birds live album, so the way we approached it was completely unique and we literally had artists by each other’s throats. It was the funniest thing and people really enjoyed participating online, so over the next year I would love to come up with more promotion ideas that really engage in a quirky way.
JS: This is largely what we are trying to do. We try to really engage with the artists in our community and we want to make it as interesting as possible.