Industry Profile – Chavis Records Bill Chavis: Label President Gives a Look into his Label
Interview by Keith McDonald
Despite the fact that radio and MTV have long since forgotten about the
melodic hard rock scene, labels like Chavis Records still find bands
making this type of music and a market willing to buy it. Now, most of
the artists on Chavis are not household names and will not be headlining
your local arena. But they are continuing to put out great, radio ready
material and hitting the road to promote their releases. With artists
like Alex Masi, Cry Havoc, Brave New World, Naked Son, Martian Soul and
Bangkok Babes, Chavis feels very confident with what they have to offer
to the music community. I recently had the opportunity to speak with the
label’s founder and President Bill Chavis who gave me the lowdown on his
label. You can check out their website at www.chavisrecords.com.
How did you get started in the music business?
Well from the very beginning I started as a fan. At a very young age say
6 years I was heavy into the music. The radio or stereo was always on
was introduced to bands like Cream, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and on
flip side many bands from the 70's including the dreaded disco era which
enjoyed looking back. Moving along into the 80's which really were the
of times for me and Hard Rock Heavy Metal, I became heavily involved in
music scene playing in bands, promoting and managing bands. It wasn't
a few years ago that I became involved in writing for magazines and
resource websites. I have always been involved in the music scene in one
form or another.
How did Chavis Records start?
Several years ago as I was writing and reviewing CD's and doing
interviews, it became apparent to me how many bands creating melodic
rock and/or heavy metal never got signed. There are so many great bands
still kickin' out great hard rock and heavy metal. It is also apparent
the major labels now shun and despise the very same bands that made a
of great music. The very fact that people who praised the bands of the
and early 90's now shit on them and disregard them pisses me off. In
market it's all about the bottom line - 'How much can we make off this
band?'. It's really a form of whoring out the band to make as much money
possible. It's not about the music anymore. So with all this in mind I
that there were still many of us in the world that still love this music
I put together a business plan and launched CHAVIS RECORDS in Nov of
How hard is it to run your own label?
It's a bit of live and learn. But for the most part keeping
check seems to be the hardest and keeping overhead and costs down. I am
organization freak so keeping everything straight makes running the
easier. Overall I do this because I love it no other reason. It's a lot
What are your day to day events?
Generally we review a bunch of material and try to decide whether we
to take it to the next level or not. Follow up on any current projects
have in the works. Keep track of how our artists are coming along in the
studio or how productions are going on future releases. Answering a ton
Email and making new contacts with people to help advance our label.
Who handles your distribution?
We have several across the US and in Europe. We are also locking a
to get all our releases in the Far East as well. Additionally you can
all our stuff off of the CR website www.chavisrecords.com.
How do you feel about the current melodic hard rock scene?
In the underground it's good although it can always be better. But
overall picture in the main corporate rock world it sucks at least in
U.S. I feel it may even have slowed a bit in Europe. The Far East still
rocks! Those fans really know what it's all about.
Who is currently on your roster? Who do you feel has the most
This is a very loaded question (Laughs). Currently we have: Zyris,
Mystery Bloom, Alex Masi, Naked Son, Cry Havoc, Brave New World, Martian
Soul and Bangkok Babes.
To be honest we hope that they all do very well. There are a few that
already have a huge fan base such as Zyris, Alex Masi, Brave New World
Martian Soul. So because of this they may take off quicker then
the others from the ground up.
How many demos do you receive a week? Do you accept unsolicited
At minimum 50. We accept everything as long as it conforms to what
looking for and as long as it contains everything in the package that we
expect. All that can be found at www.chavisrecords.com
How do you get the Alex Masi reissues? Will there be any bonus
As for Alex he's a great, great guitarist and has done some amazing
work over the years. I have always
been a fan and so when we were approached by Alex to release his latest
the U.S. we took a look at the entire picture and decided to do it.
It seems Chavis has made some noise rather quickly, was that the
Absolutely!!! We wanted to come out with a bang, let people and the
industry know we were here. Take notice - CHAVIS RECORDS as arrived!
Do you only sign hard rock artists or would you consider signing
Right now yes and to very honest it's probably all that we will sign
because this label is built from a fan perspective of hard rock. And if
all over the place it could be disastrous for the label. But I never say
What advise do you have for an unsigned artist?
I would say this and I say it all the time. Quality Quality Quality
image. Always make sure your producing the best demo that you can. If
send a label a crappy demo, first impressions only come once, that's
first shot at getting recognized. If your demo package is less then
then chances are it may end up in the rotary file. And be patient.
of the volume of demos many labels get it's really hard to get to them
in a timely manner. Even harder is to get back to the band to let them
feedback. We at CR try to mange that huge task but sometimes things do
through the cracks. But rest assured that if a label really likes you,
will hear from them.
What's the future for Chavis Records?
To release only the best music that we can. To sign additional bands
enhance and broaden our label. To make some noise and let the world know
that there is still great Rock N' Roll musicians despite the trends of
today. To help artists get their music out to the world.
I'd like to say thank you Keith for taking the time to interview me and
all the fans and industry people who have stepped and help us along the
Your efforts are truly appreciated. Thank you!