Owner/Founder: Joshua James and McKayStevens
Year Established: 2006
Current artists: Joshua James, McKayStevens, RuRu, Desert Noises, William James& the Underground Railroad, Brandon White,Southern War, The Vibrant Sound
Number of releases to date: Four
National Distribution: ADA
Is Roster Available on itunes?: Yes
Number of albums sold: 28,000
Website: northplatterecords.com, myspace.com/northplatterecords
Photo by Jessie Huish
There are a few common stereotypes that Utah citizens face: 1.We’re all Mormon, 2. Our beer is non-alcoholic and 3. Everyone isa polygamist. Brigham Young has cursed us with an image that’sbeen hard to shake. However, inside our beehive bubble we haveour own judging going on as well. You mention to some city-slickerthat you’re from Provo, it’s more than likely they just stamped youas a small-town prude. The only things we Salt Lakers expect tocome out of Provo are blonde babies, BYU graduates and returnmissionaries. It just takes a few down-to-earth guys with a commoninterest to prove us wrong.
Joshua James and McKay Stevens are two not-so-averageJoes who are helping to create the counterculture scene in Provo.They met through mutual friends and because of their love ofskateboarding and music found themselves the mastermindsbehind Provo’s local record label Northplatte Records. Alongsideunderground hotspot venue Velour, Northplatte is creating hypein the outskirts of the big city. The idea grew from casually playingshows and writing songs together, then one day they decided tomake something more happen.
“We used to play around with our own independent label.” Stevenssays. Unfortunately, a hip-hop label took the original name,Underground Railroad Records. Northplatte was the next namethey settled on, which is the name of the city in Nebraska whereJames grew up. Things began to get serious about three yearsago when James’ musical career started to take off and he wasfaced with the decision to find a label to back him. James had a DIYattitude and decided to test the waters on his own, but not withoutthe help of Stevens. “The major label system, for how much they giveback, is not really worth it. It seems you can do it yourself now-adays.”James says.
Northplatte’s roster features the label’s masterminds (James andStevens), RuRu (whose new album was mixed by former BenHarper and Kooks collaborator Todd Burke) and the morealternative Desert Noises. They are currently also in the processof producing releases by new artists William James & theUnderground Railroad, Brandon White, Southern War and TheVibrant Sound. The Northplatte roster features a variety of genres,from folk-pop (James and RuRu) to hip-hop (Stevens’ experiment)and Band of Horses-esque indie-rock (from Desert Noises). As alabel, Northplatte has released three albums from James: The Sunis Always Brighter, Fields and Floods, a Christmas record, a B-Sidescollection as well as RuRu’s Elizabeth. Albums by Stevens andDesert Noises will be released later this winter. All recording is donein James’ home-based studio where he works full time.