Heart of Steel: Interviews

Now or Never RecordsIndustry Profile - Now or Never Records Mathew Beckerman: Label Owner Gives a Look into His Growing Label

Interview by Keith McDonald

Now or Never Records has been making a lot of headway in the metal community. The relatively unknown label has been churning out great material by artists that include Diecast, Brand New Sin, Devil Inside, Worthless United and All Else Failed. With quality distribution and a great team behind the scenes, their artists have been selling albums and getting on some very impressive tours that include Slayer, Prong and Motorhead. I had the opportunity to speak with the label's owner Mat Beckerman who filled me in on the label and it's artists. You can check out their website at www.noworneverrecords.com.

 

How did you get started in the music business?

When I was around 15 in High School I started promoting local hardcore shows, and playing in bands around Red Bank NJ. It was an amazing time in the scene and I was able to put together some great shows and met a ton of people. It helped me find out that I Absolutely loved working with bands, It was definitely my first taste of the Music Business, although back then I had no idea what I was doing, just learning from experience, jumping right in and doing it, which has been the basis of this label from day one "Now Or Never". As I got into College I never considered making music my career, until I started working at the radio station on campus and met many people in the business. I then interned for major labels and marketing company's on my summers off.

 

How did Now or Never Records start?

Now Or Never started while I was in college, I played guitar in a hardcore band in NJ called Arcane. We had gotten a decent following and it was tough for me because I had to go to school in New Orleans. Needless to say I could no longer play with the band. Arcane broke up, a combination of things I guess, as all bands go through. The remaining band members started another band, as we were all great friends and I still wanted to be involved I asked to put out their CD. Which they were in the studio making at the time. The band changed the name and a few members and called themselves THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, and that's what started the NON ball rolling.

 

Who distributes your label? Do you have a hard time getting your CDs into stores?

Our current distributor, who we recently started working with, is ADA (Alternative Distribution Alliance) and at this point I can honestly say that if you walk into most stores around the country you will find our releases, from Best Buy to your local Mom & Pop store. ADA has been amazing, they distribute Sub Pop, Side One Dummy, and tons of other great indie labels and we have had a great relationship so far.

 

Are you a management company as well as a label? If so, do you see any conflict?

NON is strictly a label, however on the side I personally have managed bands. I started managing bands based on relationships I have had with them, however its not my main focus and I shy away from it as much as possible. I recently parted ways with DEP just based on time constraints. With Now Or Never Records taking off like a rocket it is nearly impossible for me to adequately pay attention to the day to day needs of managing bands. As far as conflict, only if I manage a band that is actually on the label is it an issue, and I have never managed a band that Now Or Never actively puts out. You should stay away from any manager that says otherwise, as it can be a shady situation.

 

Do you sign only hard rock/metal acts or other genres as well?

NO, I try to really keep an open mind. If I love a band I am usually willing to take the chance on it. People will be shocked with the Now Or Never releases we have coming this summer. Brand New Sin are far from anything that we have done in the past, and I hope we can break barriers with them, and the Postman Syndrome will turn many heads, and Worthless United are Rancid style punk from NJ.

 

Who is currently on your roster? Who has been the most successful so far?

Diecast, Brand New Sin, The Postman Syndrome, Devil Inside, Worthless United, and All Else Failed.

So far Diecast have been the most successful, they are currently on the road with SLAYER and HATEBREED. Most of our other active bands have not even released and album yet. So the best is yet to come.

 

Do you provide tour support for your artists? If so, how expensive has it gotten?

We always provide tour support, unless the band can support themselves without it. I am not really at liberty to talk about the numbers, But I can tell you that most people would be shocked at how much money it costs to support a band on the road.

 

I see your bands have hooked up with some big tours, especially Diecast. How did this come about?

I have relationships with a ton of managers and booking agents and so do the bands on the label. Sometimes things just fall into place. It's hard to go through each instance and point out specifically how it comes about, but I can say it takes many different factors, mainly the larger acts really liking the band and inviting them to go out on the road. The Dillinger Escape Plan are out with System of A Down, Diecast are out with Slayer, Brand New Sin are out with Motorhead and then Prong. So you can imagine how busy we are.

 

How important is touring for your artists?

Probably the most important aspect to selling records and creating a real career. I won't even sign a band unless they are willing to tour their asses off and are 1000% dedicated to getting on the road and working hard.

 

How difficult is it to get radio airplay when radio is clogged up with rap/metal and pop?

Commercial radio is a monopoly dominated by a few key companies within the music industry, It's a tough situation to get your songs played at commercial level, however if you have the right song anything is possible. I think we truly have a chance with Brand New Sin.

 

What advise do you have for an unsigned artist?

Don't wait for anyone to come along and snatch you up, you have to get out there and do it on your own. Make a record on your own; tour on your own and build a fan base. And then if you are able to do all those things and succeed you should find a nice label home to help you do all the rest of it. 

 

What's the future for Now or Never Records?

Lots of amazing new releases that will turn everyone's heads and either scare the shit out of them or be their new favorite albums.

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