The first time I stepped foot into the House of Blues in Downtown Disneyland it was for the Take Action Tour. Sugarcult was my reason for eating their heartburn riddled cuisine, and on the side of the steps I stood to avoid a crowd I was still a “noob” to. I sang along to every song I knew, but never knew what that tour was really about. The Take Action Tour is one of the many outlets that Sub City/Hopeless Records have done annually to help make the world less dismal.
Connecting musicians and their fans with the bigger things in life for 12 years now, they recently hit the 2 million mark in their efforts and decided to celebrate the way most do, throw a party to recognize not only their efforts, but those of everyone who played a hand. Honorees in attendance were reps from the energetic Red Bull and everyone’s first step into the musical realm in the mall, Hot Topic. A couple who couldn’t make it out that were also highlighted were Mike Shea from Alternative Press and Jason Tate from Absolutepunk.Net; they were missed.
It was an evening filled with achievement, inspiration and amazing little orderves that made us feel too fancy. But before the likes of attendees from Kevin Lyman and half of The Used flooded in, we were lucky enough to catch a quick minute with the founder of the whole shebang, Louis Posen. Worries and advice were on hand with Posen, so enjoy and do take the time to check out how you can do more than you’re doing at this moment to make an impact on your surroundings.
Kendra: First off, is it easier to start a charity or a label?
Louis Posen: Easier, interesting word to describe starting an organization. My feeling is starting and developing organizations are the same whether they’re for a profit or not for a profit, or whether they’re in one industry or another. There are challenges and obstacles and it’s opportunities regardless of those factors.
Kendra: How has technology played a part in helping Sub City? Has it been a good friend?
Louis: Absolutely, technology is our friend. It’s leveled the playing field in the music industry and allowed us to communicate with fans worldwide at a very low cost. It’s enabled us to get into all the same retailers that any larger company might be at. As far as spreading messages about their organization and their causes it’s so much easier and less expensive to reach people with things like Facebook and Twitter and the others.
Kendra: With music sales being down, has that affected the charity part of what you do since you’re core fan base is musical?
Louis: It’s my job to worry, so I worry about everything. That’s part of my role, but there’s always hanging things in a business environment and in life, so it’s our job to look at these challenges as opportunities and see if there are new needs and new ways of doing things so we like to embrace challenges instead of try to go from them. Are there, is there a direct effect on the nonprofit part of it and the outreach of the nonprofit organization and their causes? I would say it has the same challenges and on one hand you worry that you’re going to have decreased revenues and therefore you have less money to use and less resources to use towards raising awareness and fund for nonprofit organizations. But if you do well on the business side and figure out how to success in a challenging business, that’s only going to bring more opportunities and more resources towards helping those causes.
Kendra: What’s the next step from here? Another million?
Louis: The next three because my wife says no parties at three and four million, so the next one’s supposed to be at five. We’re always trying to find ways to make a bigger impact. We’re in a unique position because we have relationships with artists and with their fans through them and we have relationships with nonprofit organizations so it’s just about being creative, and incorporate that into our day to day business so we’re not taking away from our business but adding to it by connecting causes to bands.
Kendra: Have you guys ever gone and done a more hands on approach to the charity to get fans more involved?
Louis: We have done some of those things on a one off basis. We’re always talking about how we can be more hands on but at the same time there’s so many great organizations who are doing work for all these different, important causes and we don’t want to duplicate their work either, but there’s a different reward in doing something hands on and I think that we’re always talking about wanting to do that and I think that’s why we do things like volunteer as a company at places and why we organize a monthly get together called The S.T.A.K.E. Club where we bring out a different nonprofit and have industry people to hear about what’s going on with that nonprofit.
Reviewed by Kendra Beltran
Originally published on Sept 9, 2011