‘If no one’s going to do it for you, you’ve got to do it yourself’


Saskatoon electronic/dance artist Jason Hattie starts record label

Paul Bogdan
A&C Editor

Group assignments are the worst. The seemingly only way to avoid receiving an absolutely dismal grade is by doing all the work yourself. It’s this “fuck it; I’ll do it myself” attitude that label founder Jason Hattie has taken in starting his record label, Hairdu Records.

Hattie describes the artists he’s signed to his label’s roster as “a collection of prairie talent who are all making dance music or party music,” including the likes of 911 Turbo, Ricky Rock, Oakatron, and Kusch among others. This collection of artists can be heard on the label’s first mixtape which is set to be released on Jan. 15 via the label’s website.

Starting Hairdu Records was what Hattie was contemplating “for the last year or two.” While on a trip to Toronto playing with his band, The Steadies, Hattie began discussing his idea for Hairdu Records with his friends in the downtime of the tour.

“I thought, I’ve got all this free time sitting around, I should ask my friends that I want on the label and see if they’d be in to trying something – if I started this label up if they’d be interested in putting music out on it and getting involved with it,” said Hattie.

Hattie was unsure of what to expect in terms of responses from his friends.

 “I didn’t know if people wanted to do it, if they were fine doing things themselves,” he said.

Nevertheless, all the people Hattie spoke with generated interest in his idea.

“Everyone I talked to was really excited about it, so I got on with making the website, and getting a launch plan, and conceptualizing what it would be in the future,” said Hattie.

Part of the reason Hattie started the label was that he was already doing much of the work he does with Hairdu Records prior to starting the label.

“I play in a bunch of groups and produce my own electronic and dance music, and I was doing a lot of behind-the-scenes management and doing album releases for these groups already, and it seemed like I was doing a lot of the same work in different places, and I felt that if it was all under one roof or one brand that it would get more accomplished in the big picture,” said Hattie.

As well as tying together the work that Hattie was doing, Hairdu Records ties together various artists that listeners may be interested in.

“Say you like 911 Turbo, or you like Ricky Rock, or whoever, hopefully it’ll introduce people to the other artists on the roster.” Hattie said. “You can pick through it and see what you like, see what you don’t like … It would give people a brand or a website or a place that people could go to find more music that was similar to something they liked already. It was basically a unification of projects that I was involved in.”

"[I]t seemed like I was doing a lot of the same work in different places, and I felt that if it was all under one roof or one brand that it would get more accomplished in the big picture." – Jason Hattie

Even though Hairdu Records is a unification of the work Hattie was doing before, his daybook is still filled with work, either with his own music or with label business.

“It uses up a lot of my time that I’m not spending either doing gigs or traveling. It’s what I end up doing in all my downtime from the stuff I was doing before. But, I mean it depends; I find that I can put as much, not as little, but as much time as I have into it, and there’ll still be more to do.”

The fact that more work can always be done was part of the challenge of starting this label for Hattie, to decide to take on a project of this stature takes an enormous amount of commitment.

Still, Hattie doesn’t seem to be completely overwhelmed just yet with the amount of work running a label requires, with his work mantra being, “You just pick away at it with whatever time you can put into it.”

“I think the big challenge was just doing it – deciding that I was going to bite off this commitment and go for it. It’s a learning process; it’s not like I’ve ran a record label before, but I think anyone who starts a record label is in the same boat.” Hattie said. “You have your learning curves and your hiccups and speed bumps, but you push through it, do a bit of research, go with the flow, and make something unique.”

One of these hiccups Hattie had was getting everyone organized and following the same timeline.

“When you’re trying to organize 11 different projects [who are] trying to get you material at the same time for this launch, that’s a little tricky too,” said Hattie.

Organizing 11 different musical projects becomes increasingly difficult with the idea of Musician Time – musicians are generally never on time for anything. How many shows have you been to that have started late? If and rehearsal is scheduled for 5 p.m., expect one person to show up at 5:15 p.m., and the rest of the band to trickle in within an hour or even later. Having things done “on time” or being somewhere “on time” is a very loosely used term for most music-types.

“You’re trying to make sure everyone’s running on some sort of deadlines, and a lot of the guys were putting music out themselves at their own pace on their SoundCloud before,” Hattie said. “For some people, having deadlines, when they have to have stuff finished by, was new to them.”

Nonetheless, this was ameliorated by the fact that Hattie is friends with most of the artists on his label and isn’t afraid to push them a bit.

“What’s easy about it is that it’s a lot of people that I knew already and that were friends … so it’s not super tough to push people and work with them or tell them, ‘We gotta get moving here,’ ” said Hattie.

The current focus of the label is getting releases out from all of the artists signed, but in the future Hattie is looking to expand the label’s roster.

“I think we do have a really strong roster right now, and I definitely want to work with a lot of people who are already on it to at least get releases out for everybody on the label … [expanding the roster] will be something that comes with time,” said Hattie.

Yet even though the first mixtape isn’t out until Jan. 15, Hattie and the folks at Hairdu Records are already in the process of discussing the label’s second offering.

“We’re actually already talking about putting out a second mix tape … now that this one’s almost out, I have more people who are wanting to get involved with it and do features on it. The guys on the roster are already excited about putting out new stuff,” said Hattie.

Hairdu Records’ first mixtape will be available on Jan. 15 at hairdurecords.com. At time of press, Hattie said the details for the launch parties weren’t fully worked out, but more information can be found by keeping an eye on the label’s website.

Arts Radar Jan. 10- 24

Jan. 11

Living With Lions w/Empire Choir and Elder Abuse

The Exchange

$12 advance tickets

Doors at 8

Jan. 12

Prop Planes w/Gunner and Passenger Seat Poet

The Exchange

$10 at the door

Doors at 7:30

Jan. 13

John Wort Hannam

The Artful Dodger

$10 adv/$15 door

Doors at 7:30

Jan. 14

Greg Rekus w/Buffalo Narrows

Creative City Centre

$10 at the door

Doors at 7:30

Jan. 18

Pass the Hat

The Club


Show at 9

Jan. 20

Into Eternity w/Oblivion Eye, Planet Eater, and Determined

The Exchange

$15 advance tickets

A Series of Tubes

Creative City Centre

$10 at the door

Doors at 7:30

Jan. 24

Choke w/400 Strong

The Exchange

$15 advance tickets

Doors at 8

Photo courtesy of hairdurecords.com

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