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?
Brand New Sin
The Postman Syndrome
Devil Inside
Worthless United
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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