Gimme Your Answers (Beyond the Stage): An Interview w/ Joel Carriere, founder and president of Dine Alone Records

Joel Carriere
Ever wonder what happens beyond the stage? Well we do. These roadies, managers, guitar techs, lighting directors, publicists (and even positions you may not have known about) make the music you love come alive! In a recent interview, A Music Blog, Yea? spoke with Dine Alone Records, Bedlam Music Management, New Damage Records, and Dine Alone Foods‘ founder and president Joel Carriere. With a true love of working with Joel and his label, it was our pleasure to catch up with him to discuss tips on starting a label, highlights of his job, the success of the label and City and Colour, and more — enjoy!

AMBY: Hey Joel, thanks for speaking with us today! Please explain to our readers how you first got into your industry.

Joel Carriere: In introduction was slow and steady.  I just kept creating opportunity where ever I ended up.  From records stores, to major labels, to indie labels, to cultural web-site development, to regional promoter, to national promoter, to manager and to label owner.  Every moment I found myself in I would try to create the next logical moment I needed to move forward on my path to not having a real job.

I think the big moment for me was the marriage of having a large cultural website at the same time Alexisonfire started to be recognized.  I think that it is when I became self-aware that I am fully capable of handing the responsibilities that come with going out on your own and creating your own company.

AMBY: When people hear the name Dine Alone Records, what do you want them to associate it with? How do you want them to feel when they hear the name of your brand?

Joel Carriere: I would like to be associated with a smile and instigate a good conversation.  If in the end they have no clue what Dine Alone Records is but have positive stories surrounding the many things that we have been involved with, that is great as well.

AMBY: The label has had some great success since you founded it in 2005 – it started as a Canadian-based company and today it is global with offices in Nashville, Toronto, and Los Angeles. What do you attribute this achievement to?

Joel Carriere: I am a very driven person that has a full on addiction to pushing my capabilities as well as those around me.  I love working with people on developing an idea, planning a strategy and seeing how far we can go beyond our goals. We have an amazing group of co-workers, extended work associates and artists who all feel close to the same as this and that is why we are seeing occasional achievements.  That mixed with never being satisfied with what I have done because by the time we get there I am onto four other things.  Its the entrepreneur curse.

AMBY: Speaking of success, the success of your act City and Colour has been fantastic. Who do you see as your next couple of break-out acts?

Joel Carriere: We have had some great moments with City and Colour and continue to grow on a global level.  I can’t predict who will be the next break out act.  All I can do is make sure our artists and teams are working has smart and hard as possible to create awareness for our acts.  I can’t convince the media to tell fans what we do is cool and I can’t convince the fans to like what we do.  All we can do is present and honest project with a honest approach and make sure that we are always a few steps a head of everyone else.

AMBY: For someone who wants to start their own label, what advice would you give them?

Joel Carriere: Surround yourself with as many people you can trust and surround yourself with people that are far more intelligent than you at the specific rolls you need to accomplish in order to reach your goal.  That isn’t really advice for a record label that is simple advice for anyone starting a new company.

AMBY: Aside from Dine Alone Records, you recently ventured in to Dine Alone Foods and New Damage Records. Where did the idea of starting New Damage Records come from?

Joel Carriere: New Damage is a reaction to popular culture.  I am routed in heavy music and my humble beginnings stemmed from hardcore, punk rock and roll.  I like the ethics of this culture when I started and I liked that it was existing with out the major media machine, it was taking something pure right to the purists. I may get crucified (check Agnostic Front song Crusified, it rules) but EDM has this in common with punk rock and roll as well.  Its music that manoeuvres in the cracks of popular culture.   I needed New Damage to counter act the pop-alternative explosion that is happening right now.  I needed to see bands sweat, bleed and scream their way through club after club. I needed to fill that void that Alexisonfire left.

AMBY: What are some of the highlights you’ve had while working at Dine Alone?

Joel Carriere: The fact that I get to come to work every day and get paid to be a good person and get paid to strategize and watch ideas come to life is the biggest highlight.  I have sensational stories I know people would want to hear.  But to be honest my biggest professional highlight happens every day when I realize I do what I love for a living.

AMBY: Which three albums changed your life?

Joel Carriere: As a music fan I have 100’s of records that changed my life and depending on my mood and what I am doing that day I am sure each day you would get a different answer.  Off the top of my head Kiss ‘ Destroyer’ was a life changer.  It was a record that pre-dated my memory and my parents can share stories of me listening to it as a baby.  It grew with me every step of the way and still to this date, I love listening to that record.  It has been a constant soundtrack in my life’s playlist.  Soundgarden “Badmotorfinger” was another record that has never got boring and took things to a new level of listening.  Everything about that record filled every void I wasn’t aware I had as a music fan.  Quicksand ‘Slip” was another big one for me.  I remember listening to that record as much as I possibly could.  Any time I put that record on, I knew I was going to take whatever situation I was in to the next level.  Still do date all those records are played often.  Dine Alone is the Quicksand song of which I named the record label after. I also have gotten to re-release that particular record and work with Walter , the singer, on his solo record.  New Damage is the Soundgarden song of which i named the other label after.  On Dine Alone we recently released the bass player of Soundgarden’s solo record which is also perfect.  I have met Gene Simmons a few times now and he has called me once hahahaha.

AMBY: Lastly, what’s something about you that nobody knows yet?

Joel Carriere: If nobody knows their is a good reason.


Thank you Joel, for giving us your answers!

Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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