Chicago has long been a breeding ground for great indie labels, and it's time to add a new one to the list. Dodgeball Records, co-founded by Chris Messer, frontman of Chicago band Showoff and his wife Dani Messer, and recently joined by longtime friend Mike Felumlee (Smoking Popes/Alkaline Trio/Live From The Rock Room), runs like a family business. The label was created out of an intense passion and love of punk music, the musicians and the community around it.
Chris says, "Some people think we are crazy (My wife and I) for starting a label. Personally, I know we are crazy, but starting a label has very little to do with that. We are a team, we have been a team and we will always be a team in everything we do. The bands we sign to Dodgeball Records will also be part of that team."
He adds, "Our goal is basically to build a brand that represents our core values. Those values are integrity, honesty, transparency (which is not very label-like if you have ever been on one- especially major labels), loyalty, treating each other like a functional family and having everything we do be a labor of love instead of it being done for the love of money."
"Don’t get me wrong here, we are also a business and to function as a business you have to make money, but we want to be successful while ensuring our bands are as well. We intend to be a label that nurtures its artists, gives them encouragement and puts money into marketing them, doing all we can to help them become a success and maybe most importantly giving them a home where they feel appreciated and important. Mostly for us, we’d like to build the community back to where it was when I was playing in Showoff in the 90’s, by nurturing relationships with independent record stores, other artists and other labels with similar values. A community that helps one another, isn’t part of the “ME” culture and is more about an “us” culture.. I’m hoping that extends to the communities around us, our artists and our fans."
Dodgeball Records' first release will be an EP from new signing, Indianapolis pop punk band Amuse on August 4th, to be followed by a long-awaited new LP from Messer's beloved late-90's band Showoff this fall. Additional signings will be announced in the days/weeks/months ahead.