On their own way – Interview with Michael V. Gerhard

esides the current scores, in the recent years La-La Land Records, which is one of the independent record labels, has released a series of movie scores which the fans had been waiting for a long time. As a consequence, they are now one of the most popular record labels. Since their foundation in 2002, they have released about 150 albums which include the scores of video games, movies and TV films, series, etc. Michael V. Gerhard, one of the owners of the company which mostly releases the special and limited editions, is the one who showed us around behind the scenes.

When and how formed the La-La Land Records?

LLL came to be in October of 2002. Matt Verboys and I decided to start up our own record label after having creative differences with our former employers at Numenorean Records.

How many people work for the racords?

We have about 2 dozen people we employ.

How is a soundtrack "born"? What are the procedures before it hits the shops?

It all depends on the release. First comes the idea of doing the soundtrak then contract negotiations. After that one must seek out the masters (sometimes they are not readily available). Once found, the masters are transferred and a rough assembly is made. From there, we strike a final master and start work on the liner notes with one of our wonderful cadre of writers. Upon completion of the liner notes Matt does an edit job and then we trudge forth with the artwork assembly – a task usually done by either Mark Banning or Dave Fein. Once its all put together the approval process gets under way with the studios and, often times, the composer. After everyone offers comments / corrections / tips then we finalize the project and it's off to manufacture.

What does the track list depend on? How much liberty do the composers or the producers have in assembling the album?

Carte Blanche with us. We only have one set rule – make it good. (laught)

Some soundtracks are released after months, or sometimes after years of the premier of the film. What causes this delay?

Depends on a lot of things – some films never had a score album released due to cost or lack of interest. Sometimes a composer does not want his/her work released. A song album can prevent or delay the release of a score album. There are many variables.

The limited editions releases are held as real diamonds among soundtrack fans. How do you decide on the variety of the scores and the number of copies to be released under the limited editions logo?

It's what is avaiable and what elements can be found that dictates most of our decisions. Sure, we have holy grails of our own (most of which we have released or seen other labels release), but for the most part we tend to rely on the fans to let us know what they want out.

How fierce is the fight among the publishers for the rights of the soundtracks? What are the conditions for La-La Land to publish a score?

Sometimes it comes down to money... other times you ask first. It’s not a very cutthroat business. Most of us labels feel there is plenty out there for everyone.

Which is the album you are the most proud of? Which was the one you had to fight for the most?

Batman: The Animated Series on both counts. (laught) We hope to release subsequent volumes in the future. Only time will tell.

What is your opinion about the present and the future of the soundtracks?

It's a dying business. The digital age has really killed the cd market and every year sales of cds dwindle. However, the limited marketplace has proven successful as of late so we might have a few years left in the ol' girl.

To know more about La-La Land Records, please visit the record's official website.


May 01th, 2011
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