Many people who we have worked with us have a passion in music, including FAM’s own wonderful management writer and content creator Caleb Straus. Straus and Daiza Gonzales have founded a Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania- based record label, Solunar Records, which will work with several artists, collaborate with Shellshock Studios in Pittsburgh, and is the recording studio for FAM. Straus and Gonzales have answered several questions to tell how their passions helped shape Solunar Records to help artists grow their passions.
- How long has Solunar Records been around?
Caleb: We launched officially as an entity on December 4th, 2021! Our first single was my song with Felicia Patterson, “Eclipse”, which is the lead single from the upcoming Overnight Soundtrack Album and that date was chosen purposefully because it was the day of an eclipse.
- What services does Solunar Records offer?
Caleb: While we aren’t officially “open for business” yet in terms of ready to sign bands, we are planning on offering standard record contracts, but are also offering a new twist on the old school business model whereby bands can pay for the services of the label outright, keep all their royalties, and either way, the way we make money is off the publishing. We are also planning on offering one-off PR service packages for artists that would rather work with us short term, or try our services out before they decide on something more committed.
- What inspired your love for music and what inspired you to open up Solunar Records?
Caleb: Daiza came to me with the idea to start a record label mid last year, but it’s something I’d always toyed with the idea of doing with my late business partner who I started Emzy Enzy with, Dustin Johnson. We were really inspired by artist-friendly and artist-run labels like Wax Trax, Ipecac Recordings, and Nothing Records and the way they propagated music careers being run by musicians, and all the PR people served that vision, not the other way around.
Daiza: My father honed and influenced my love for music at a very young age. He loved all genres from BB King, Eric Clapton, Otis Redding, to Elvis, Hendrix, Zeppelin, the Stones, and everything in between at the time. My mother even back in the day every weekend would fill our house with her favorites (The Carpenters, Crystal Gayle, Fleetwood Mac) while she cleaned. I grew up in the 80s with an older brother, and I remember sneaking into his room when he wasn’t there; I’d pop in his cassettes of Metallica, Slayer, Sepultura, Megadeth, Black Sabbath (just to name a few). I grew up with all genres of music all around me. Solunar Records for me was not about creating just a record label; it’s about creating a legacy, keeping the memory of those who inspired us alive, and creating a footprint that our children have to follow. Solunar Records just wants to bring forward and shine light on the best of the best that may otherwise take a back burner, or perhaps just need that extra push to get to the next level.
- I know that you are currently working on a new movie, What other type of projects do you have coming up?
Caleb: I’m finishing up two releases with my band, Emzy Enzy, that we’ve been drip releasing for about the last year; “Krem” and “Beelzebourbon”, but other than that, my main focus is gathering the tracks for the Overnight Soundtrack as well as composing the pieces that are going to string it all together. I am earnestly beginning to build an audience for my new music project, The Death of Zenith as well.
Daiza: One of the biggest things we have in the pipeline for Solunar in addition to the Overnight film and soundtrack that we will be releasing under the label, will be opening our doors to begin signing new talent! Once we get the ball rolling on that, next on my list will be planning some major promotional events for the label; specifically official label launch events that will include premiering the Overnight film, as well as live showcases of all the killer artists that contributed to this amazing soundtrack! You all definitely want to buckle up and stay tuned! 😊
- Do you work with a variety of musicians? If so, what do you believe draws them to Solunar Records?
Caleb: The Overnight Soundtrack is going to hopefully set the template for what kind of artists we look for. We are more of a niche label, so no, we aren’t for everyone. We seek artists that work primarily in heavy, dark, aggressive, and experimental forms of music, who want to run their own career, who know what they want, and just need an extra push to get it, have artistic integrity, originality, something to say, substance, and hunger.
- What do you believe makes artists want to work with Solunar Records again?
Caleb: Obviously we aren’t at that stage yet, but once we get to that stage, what I believe it WILL be is the fact that the artist is the boss. We’re the team, they’re the leader. And if they want to do their next record with someone else, they get their masters handed to them, along with the best of our wishes! We brazenly defy traditional label ethics. The artist is in charge.
- What do you believe makes your studio stand out from others and how would you like to grow the studio?
Caleb: So we are working to procure studio facilities in all states we currently operate out of and represent: Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, and possibly Ohio as well. We also work with Nathaniel Rowe, AKA, MadClock. He’s our publishing and live events coordinator. We currently work directly with Shellshock Studios out of Pittsburgh. We are working towards the rest.
Daiza: Whatever anyone thinks or feels about traditional labels needs to throw it out the window when coming to Solunar. We are far from a traditional label, as one can probably already tell from reading our response earlier as to what services we offer. We created this label literally out of love for music, and a genuine passion to help take new talent to the next level. I think that will be what stands out and separates us from all the rest out there. Obviously our first short term major milestone in regards to growth will be getting the ball rolling on signing on new talent.
- How would you like to grow your career as a musician?
Caleb: I’m hoping to get to the point where I can make my living running two businesses; Solunar Records and my music career as a solo artist. I’m studying modern digital marketing techniques from industry professionals, I’m learning more about production, and I’m just hoping to keep learning, networking, collaborating, and getting better.
- What advice do you have for those who are aspiring to be music producers and/or go into other fields in the music industry?
Caleb: As soon as humanly possible, find what makes you YOU. What is your unique voice? That’s what people will respond to, ultimately. Forget trends. Forget genres. Forget styles and sounds. The heart and soul of the thing. What’s that? That’s your in.
Solunar Records’ film, Overnight, is projected to be released next year and the record label hopes to be at South by Southwest in Austin for the film. Be sure to follow the label on social media as well as The Death of Zenith to learn about how their passions will grow into further projects! Solunar Records is also willing to collaborate with artists and labels so do not hesitate to reach out if you work or aspire to work in the industry and looking to share your entertainment passions!