On the idea of starting a label
In high school I had fashioned myself as an MC and a DJ. I had Gemini PT 2000's and a Gemini 626 mixer. I was living in Germany at the time, had a high school graduating class of around 50 so I was one of the only rappers and the only white rapper in the school. Years before I had been in punk bands, playing guitar and screaming. Music was just something that was always in my life, shit I even played the trombone & violin in elementary school. Back in late 2005 I was finding myself around hip hop again and it seemed like there was need for it in my area of Northern VA. There were no hip hop labels releasing anything for the locals at the time. Quickly we moved out of the locals only mentality.
On the meaning in the label name Man Bites Dog
Well it's a term used in media for the idea of sensationalism. So if a dog bites a man its not a newsworthy story however a man biting a dog makes its way to page one. We are different like that. Our music is page one worthy.
On the first “office”
In the beginning everything was ran out of our houses, we had the studio in Kount Fif's house and I was running all the behind the scenes stuff from my crib. Years later we finally got a commercial office space for both the studio and the office. Currently we have 7 interns.
What was the first release? How did it come together?
First release was actually a release of MHz' Table Scraps we put out in 2009. Album had fallen out of circulation and we felt that it was necessary to remind Copywrite's fan base of his earlier work before we dropped our next project which was the Ultrasound EP later in 2009.
On learning curves as a label
Well when you get in the business there is no handbook they give you. I grew up in a military family where honesty and integrity meant everything. In this business that is a rare thing. Most are cut-throat and suffer from scarcity thinking. Being able to judge people is a skill set and being able to say “no” an even bigger one. Every artist wants to be a priority and wants to consume your time. Learning to balance things and time management were the biggest learning curves I had to adjust to.
On building a roster
I think the more people I met the more people were able to see my creative skill sets. Copywrite and Killah Priest were the first big name artist we signed to the label. I am sure it didn't hurt people seeing that we were doing records with those dudes.
On pinning down a specific sound for the label
Our goal was to make complete albums, without skippers. I know this is opinion based thing. Our sound is pretty gutter, is pretty grimy and for what we do I think we deliver complete raw records. I grew up a fan of that gritty NYC sewer sound. Stick up kid stories and punchlines.
A lot. We have twice as many releases dropping this year than we have dropped in the past. Should be a strong year with like over 10 projects. We also have a showcase at SXSW so hopefully we can let some other people know about this best kept secret.
I think it will introduce a lot of new fans to our music. Consistency with providing content seems to be key in this new decade. We are striving this year to drop new content weekly.
On opening a studio and doing everything in-house
I think the idea of a “One Stop Shop” comes to mind by us having our own studio. We want to always keep costs down and be efficient with spending. Being able to have a really nice fully functional HD studio allows us to save money but also keep our quality high.