In honor of its one year anniversary as a record label, Indianapolis-based In Store Recordings is hosting a night of fantastic local music at the Melody Inn on Thursday, February 27. Artists filling the In Store Recordings Showcase bill will be roster acts Caleb McCoach, Tanner Standridge & Whip Cream Wars, S. M. Wolf and Sun Country.
Derek Vorndran is the man behind In Store Recordings, an independently-run local label that is as intimate as labels come. Vorndran singlehandedly runs all aspects of the outfit outside of his day job hours. His decision to venture out with his own label grew out of his passion for local music and his experience running a music blog and booking shows.
Before starting the label, Vorndran ran the blog The InStore, which organically led to booking shows in Indianapolis and surrounding areas for bands he covered and championed. "I already had a relationship through booking favorite bands and seeing them play."
Taking stock of In Store Recordings' success after the first year, Vorndran feels satisfied and almost happily surprised with its rapid growth. "I had hoped to put maybe three things out the first year," Vorndran said of his early goal for the label, "and it turned into ten." In Store Recordings releases over the past year have included acclaimed albums and singles from Indianapolis-based acts Caleb McCoach, Bonesetters, and Tanner Standridge, Cincinnati's Sun Country, Chicago bands The Kickback and Judson Claiborne, and New York City-based The Dig.
For the label's second year, Vorndran plans on adhering to its current trajectory and guiding principles. "My goal has always been simply to put out good music: music that I personally love and hope other people will think the same," Vorndran says. "Indy is my home and my love, and I love the local music. I never want to not focus on the local music, but I also don't want to restrict myself by being an Indy-only label. If there are great artists out there who take an interest in the label, I'll be open to them. I want to be the outlet for great artists with ambition."
Vorndran has a sharp business acumen, and he understands the key to sustainability is releasing quality music while keeping a close eye on the bottom line. "It's not like I'm making a lot of money on this," he admits. "I'm doing it all on my own dollar, so the ultimate goal is to put out this music while hoping to break even."
His approach often consists of signing bands for one release (a full-length LP, a cassette, a 7" or 12" vinyl) of a few hundred pressings with the option to resign but with no murky strings attached. "Originally, I thought the hardest part would be finding bands that would trust in me enough to put out their work and not take advantage of them," Vorndran says. "I've been fortunate enough to put out bands like The Dig, who I love and who should be on a way bigger label, but they signed with me. I met Tanner [Standridge] one night when I was out around town, and I went and listened to his stuff on Bandcamp when I was drunk and just fell in love with his music."
For Thursday night's showcase, Vorndran settled on the Melody Inn for good reason. "I love White Rabbit Cabaret. It's my favorite venue in Indy, but being a small-timer, I felt a smaller club would be fitting for the night. The Mel is smaller and awesome, and it's that local music bond that everybody knows and loves and just seems perfect for the occasion."
Vorndran's biggest hope for Thursday night and the future is for music lovers around Indianapolis to get out of the house, have a good time, and dive into all the quality music the city offers. "Support local bands," he says. "Support them whether or not they're on my label. I love all the great labels around town - Gloryhole and the rest. Just support what they do, and go see shows."