Pure Noise Records’ Jake Round talks new releases and tours

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Berkeley-based label Pure Noise Records is celebrating its five-year anniversary with a national tour featuring State Champs, Handguns, Forever Came Calling, Front Porch Step, Heart to Heart and Brigades. In preparation for the hometown show at the Oakland Metro Operahouse on Oct. 24, The Daily Californian interviewed Pure Noise founder Jake Round via email about new releases, the label’s local presence and the importance of being on the road.

The Daily Californian: In March, Pure Noise celebrated its five-year anniversary with a showcase at the Oakland Metro, and now, the label is hitting the road with its own nationwide tour. Did you ever imagine having enough bands on your label to be able to have a tour?

Jake Round: I definitely hoped that someday I’d have enough bands to do a tour like the one we’re doing and I think the tour will continue to grow as the label and bands grow. It’s something we’d like to do on a yearly basis.

DC: The label has grown so much in the last five years — do you still feel like you have a hands-on relationship with a lot of the bands?

JR: I didn’t hire my first full-time employee until February of this year so I’m definitely hands on. Pure Noise is a small company, just two full-time employees and some additional freelance people. I talk to all of the bands on a pretty regular basis.

DC: In September, Pure Noise announced that Senses Fail will be joining the roster. How did you go about acquiring a band that has probably influenced a lot of the newer bands on the label?

JR: Senses Fail’s vocalist, Buddy Nielsen, and I have been friends for a few years. He and I have very similar viewpoints and have worked together on a few things. I was really excited when he called me one day and asked me if I would be interested in releasing a Senses Fail record. I think it will be an awesome chance for us to work with an established band and a great chance for Senses Fail to surround themselves with young up-and-comers who have fans who haven’t had a chance to experience their music yet. I’m really looking forward to releasing their album in 2015.

DC: How important is it that Pure Noise headquarters stay in the Bay Area?

JR: I love the Bay. I moved in 2006 and it has given me everything. I lived in both the East Bay and San Francisco and I love both sides equally. There are a few other places I would consider living but I don’t see us moving anytime soon. I’ve very proud of the fact that we have such a great following locally, much of that is attributed to The Story So Far and us coming up together. It’s been an amazing experience.

DC: 2014 is a big year for Pure Noise releases. Which are you most excited about?

JR: As the year comes to end I don’t think I could pick out one I’m most excited about. It’s like asking which of your children you think is the cutest. 2014 has been a great year and I think 2015 will continue to build on that. We have new LPs on the schedule for The Story So Far, Senses Fail, Four Year Strong, State Champs, Front Porch Step and several others. Still lots of work to do.

DC: Most of the bands on your roster tour for the majority of the year. Why is that important to you?

JR: The road is the way in punk rock. You have to get out there and play to people if you want your band to be successful. I certainly don’t make my bands do anything. Some tour more than others but it’s pretty conventional wisdom that if you want to promote your band, you have to tour a lot.

DC: You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that you used to be a high-school teacher. If you could teach a music or industry related class to current high schoolers, what would it be called, and what bands would be on the mandatory listening list?

JR: I think teaching a music industry class would be nearly impossible. Nothing could have prepared me for the job that I do. I think if I did teach a class it would revolve around internships and discussion of those internships in a group/class setting. I might call it “Experience Is The Only Way: A Guide To The Music Industry.” (Laughs). In all seriousness my best advice to young people looking to get involved in music is do exactly that: get involved. You have to place yourself in the middle of things to have a chance to succeed.

Contact Rosemarie Alejandrino at [email protected].