Posted by: detourmag on May 10, 2008 at 10:38 am

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Words on Music: the only record label in the world run by a brotherly duo of academics who also happen to love Factory Records and the sounds and ideas that spun out of that legendary English imprint? Maybe not, but it’s the first we’ve discovered, and the one we most enjoy. Have you heard Magic Bullets? From San Francisco? Totally amazing, and a Words signee. Eric Ostermeier breaks it down below. — Thomas Rooker White

Who runs the label?
Words On Music is run by the brothers Ostermeier: Eric (Ph.D., J.D.), the younger, runs the day-to-day operations, and Marc (Ph.D.), the elder, runs the label’s recording studio (Maketoast) as well as the label’s art and Web design.

Where is the label located? Describe your digs…
Words On Music is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hundreds of pictures of classic movie actresses from the 1930s and 1940s build a collage on the walls. Greta Garbo, Hedy Lamarr, and Veronica Lake lead the way.

How did the label get its start? It’s name?
Words On Music was formed in 1998 with the aim to release records under our seal that evoke the bond and mystery that comes from a first listen to a Cocteau Twins or Joy Division record – there is both a calmness of familiarity and the adventure of unknowing.

I conceived the name Words On Music because our records tend to present vocals and lyrics as important component parts, but not the defining characteristic, to great songwriting. Distinctive sonic patterns and atmospheric textures can connect the listener to the artist as effectively as a singer’s words. A song with great lyrics is wonderful, but very rare; great music is essential. So “Words On Music” is our attempt to provide some symbolic balance as to how these components of songwriting are viewed.

How many releases do you issue a year, on average?
Three or four per year.

True or false: Digital downloads are okay, but 7″‘s are cooler…
Nearly true. Digital downloads definitely fall shy of ‘okay,’ but 7” records (and anything vinyl) were never quite as cool as people thought they were.

Favorite label besides your own…
No all-time favorite, but early Factory Records is close to the ideal.

Favorite record ever…
Talking Heads, Remain In Light

Favorite movie ever…
Tie: Once Upon A Time In the West and A Matter Of Life And Death.

Vegetarian or carnivore?
I’m on a gradual path to becoming a vegetarian. Each year since 2001 I have given up eating at least one type of meat for the rest of my life. This past year: buffalo and moose.

Your guiltiest pleasure. The thing no one would believe you watch, read, or listen to…
Watch: I’ve seen every episode of “Dawson’s Creek.”
Listen: Spice Girls. Their 1998 concert tour was my third favorite ever, behind Roxy Music and New Order.

[tags]Words on Music, Factory, Talking Heads, Eric Ostermeier, Magic Bullets[/tags]

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