Indy’s indie-rock icons search for new record label
A lot has changed for local indie heroes Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s since almost exactly a year ago, when they became one of the city’s highest-profile acts after signing with national label Artemis Records and later V2.
Their particular brand of rock, synthesizer and cello “chamber rock,” as it has been called, became a hit at V2, making Margot one of the label’s top acts. Their album, , was one of V2’s top four selling albums for much of the year.
With the addition of violinist Erik Kang, they’ve spent the bulk of the year crisscrossing the country in a black tour bus. They don’t all live in the same near-Southside house they so famously shared when they were signed. And now, as a band, they’re on their own. The band announced their split from V2 last week, after months of uncertainty about the label’s future.
“V2 was in the process of going under, so we spent the last couple of months trying to get out from under them,” says Richard Edwards, Margot’s lead singer/songwriter. “They were trying to sell the label, and there were certain bands they wanted to keep on there because they were a selling point. We were one of those bands, so we kind of stuck on there for a month or two. When it became obvious they weren’t going to sell, we were able to get out. The president and staff at V2 understood; they were on the band’s side. We tried to extricate ourselves, because we feared that if they filed for bankruptcy, we’d be stuck.”
The owners of V2 shut operations on Jan. 12 and are moving ahead only with their gospel genre, according to reports in Billboard magazine.
Despite the split, Edwards says times were mostly good at V2.
“We were optimistic about it, because V2 seemed like a really strong label,” Edwards says. “The first album was a good experience. It could have been better, but it was good.”
In the near future, they’ll be working on their second album; they invested most of their V2 money into rebuilding the band’s downtown recording studio, Queensize, and plan to start the new album this month for release in the fall. They’re still playing frequently; upcoming gigs include the Legends of Notre Dame show Jan. 27 and a March slot at SXSW.
“I think we’ve gotten better as a band from touring all year,” Edwards says. “Everyone’s a lot smarter about how the business side of it works. It’s a lot different than what you think it is when you’re starting up. You’ve got to be smart and keep growing to sustain some kind of longevity.”
In the meantime, going without a label doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going it alone. Edwards says the band has been in talks with other labels to carry on their national profile and will be heading out to New York soon to talk face-to-face about the future. They hope to be able to make an announcement soon.
“It’s going to be a pretty smooth changeover,” Edwards says. “We’re in a strong position, so we’ll see what comes of it. We’re fortunate to be in as good a position as we’re in.”