Originally launched as an analog recording studio in a townhouse outside Chicago by Brian Eaton in 1992, Eatin’ Records is a small independent record label/studio now based in Portland.
Over the years, Eaton has work with a multitude of artists as an engineer, producer, musician and label owner. Production and release highlights include: the debut album from T.D. Clark (Dee Snider guitarist), who toured with Bad Company and Ted Nugent while promoting his Eatin’ Records release, Personalities, Eaton's band, North, with over 45K Pandora radio spins, and soundtrack production for the original motion picture Carnivore and for the Robin Hood Stunt Show (Time Warner Entertainment) at Six Flags St. Louis theme park.
“Some labels exist in little more than name only, providing a way for new bands putting out a CD to say they’re on a ‘label.’ During the 1980s, tiny independent labels operating on shoestring budgets released truckloads of records from mostly unheard-of bands. Their idea wasn’t anything new: The punk rock movement of the mid-to late ‘70s proved that you didn’t have to play by the major labels’ rules to be successful.
“College radio stations were the perfect outlet for these ‘indie’ bands, who developed an underground following and, considering their labels’ modest resources, decent records sales. Indie rock grew and grew, and once-underground bands such as R.E.M., U2, and Sonic Youth graduated to worldwide renown.
“To hear Brian Eaton describe it, starting a record label was a less-than-precise science: ‘I just jumped into the deep end with a blindfold on.’
“It was four year ago, and the 29-year-old Eaton had just recorded a demo tape of his own songs. He adopted the Eatin’ moniker (a slight twist on his surname) and begun building a recording studio in his Glendale Heights home to augment the nascent label. He quit his day job and steadily built a clientele through his studio — which started out as a modest four-track operation and this spring grew to 24 tracks — and released many of the studio projects on Eatin’.
“An arrangement Eaton made through a Midwest record distributor will place Eatin’ product in national chains Best Buy, Musicland and Tower Records, as well as mom-and-pop stores.
“While some labels can be pigeonholed by the style of music they traffic in, Eatin’ defies any kind of peg. A sampler tape of Eatin’ bands offers up the metallic, industrial sounds of North, the crunchy guitars and lilting vocals of The Skimmingtons, and the light acoustic strums of Sanfilip.
“Eaton said he always wanted a full-time career in the music field. ‘But if you would have told me four years ago that I would own a studio and label,’ he said, ‘I would have laughed.’” — Brian Steele, Spotlight/Press Publications (1995)
Well, times have certainly changed and in the face of the digital shift, and the downfall of physical and download sales in the music industry, playlist curation is one way the label has adapted to the transforming landscape. This includes our exciting new partnership with All About Jazz to create the ultimate Spotify playlist for jazz fans and, coming soon, an amazing opportunity for musicians and labels to pitch music to AAJ's playlist editorial team, led by Brian Eaton, for playlist consideration. As always, artists can submit their music on our playlist page or via DropTrack. Follow us here and on our socials as we shift to the next chapter in our story...
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