Kilby Records: What it Really Comes Down to Is the Music

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Owner/Founder: Will Sartain and Lance Saunders Year Established: 2008 Current artists: Band of Annuals, TaughtMe, Beard of Solitude, Red Bennies, Mike Sartain, The Future of the Ghost, and Will Sartain Number of releases to date: Eight
National Distribution: None.
Just radio distro for now
Is Roster Available on itunes? A roster under Kilby Records is not available, but some of the bands like BOA and TaughtMe have their own rosters available.
Number of albums sold: “A healthy amount,” according to Saunders. Over 2,000 BOA albums have sold thus far.
Website: with a link for Kilby Records.

Photo by Sam Milianta

Will Sartain and Lance Saunders lead busy lives. Three years ago, they established a production management company, S&S Presents. On Jan. 1 of this year, the two purchased Kilby Court from its previous owner, Phil Sherburne, and have managed the venue ever since. On Oct. 1, Sartain took over The Urban Lounge and is currently running the 21+ bar and venue alongside Chris Wright. Saunders is a member of the local hip-hop ensemble Deadbeats and a contributor to SLUG. To top it all off, the two are running their own record label, Kilby Records, which became official on the same day that they took over Kilby Court. The label currently represents six bands: Band of Annuals, TaughtMe, Beard of Solitude, Red Bennies, Mike Sartain (brother of Will Sartain) and The Future of the Ghost, which features Sartain as a member. Two of Sartain’s solo albums, Bash Your Face In and Beep!, have been released on the label and his Automatic Body EP will be released by Kilby Records on Dec. 6. “Every band is a different dynamic and requires different things. The ones that are touring have completely different needs than the bands who aren’t touring and are re-releasing albums through the label,” Saunders says. “Take the Red Bennies album. That was originally released almost 10 years ago [June 27th, 1999]. We re-released it because, musically, we thought it was a very important album. We wanted a younger generation to hear it.”

The idea of starting a label first came to Sartain while he and Saunders were on a road trip last summer. “We were working really hard and booking a lot of big shows [with S&S Presents]. If we have no overhead and if we made any money, then what else are we going to do with it? We’re two young, single guys. We want to put the money we make into the community to make it a better place for everyone,” Sartain says. Saunders explained that they wanted to start a label that wasn’t just local, but one that was an expansive national label that people in Salt Lake City could be proud of. “Really, it’s not a money making business, nor is it about Will or myself,” Saunders says. “ All the money that’s made through Kilby Court, Urban and S&S Presents goes into the label and to supporting the bands. It’s outlandish to want to make money in this business––it’s about the bands and their music and the hope that they can inspire and influence others the same way they have for us.”

The initial goal of the label was to create compilations from established national bands that Saunders and Sartain would pay for and oversee the creation of. “The idea was for us to pay for wellknown bands to come to Salt Lake and record a couple of songs for a compilation or an EP, but we gave it some thought and decided that the best thing to be doing was to focus on the bands that are swimming in the talent pool of Salt Lake City,” Saunders says. “In some ways, it’s a little bit of a failure because I wanted to do more.”

As a label, Kilby Records is committed to doing everything they can for the bands they represent. They are associated with local record store Slowtrain who builds websites for the bands. All the label’s releases are available for purchase in the store and online at Slowtrain is also associated with the Alliance of Independent Music Stores, and because of that they are able to get a band’s album into listening stations in places outside of Utah. “Band of Annuals are in listening stations in Kansas City and Seattle because of AIMS,” said Saunders. “And in return, Slowtrain puts a local band from Kansas City or Seattle into their listening stations.” Saunders has also physically taken albums from bands on the label into record stores throughout the country when he was on tour with Band of Annuals. “I’d take a band’s bio, press sheet, and album into a store and ask them to listen to it. It works well with the bands that are touring, because I could just say, ‘Hey, this band is amazing and they’re playing up the street tonight,’ and most of the time they’d listen to the albums and come to the show and start selling their albums in the store.”

Financially, Saunders and Sartain come to the aid of a band when they’re in distress. They wired money to Band of Annuals twice during their most recent tour because their van had broken down. They also have radio distribution for the bands, especially those that are touring, and keep a record of how often the bands are getting played. Currently, over 300 radio stations are playing Band of Annuals, and they’re working on getting them on the radio in Canada and Australia. “Our goal was to get a full catalog and then try to get distribution from each release after that. Our idea was to put full press and radio stuff into each record and take it seriously like any old release,” Sartain says. Saunders credits the bands as being the ones who gain the press through. “Thus far, press promotion has pretty much taken care of itself. It sort of falls into place after people have heard the bands,” Saunders says.

Their future plans for digital distribution are simple: find an outlet with the ability to deliver physical and downloadable musical works for sale through online services including iTunes,, Amazon,,, Beatport, Bleep and other digital providers. The challenge is finding an outlet that offers all these things.

For these guys, what it really comes down to is the music. They are genuine and diligent. They’ve chosen to remain a local label because they want to do as much as they can for the bands they represent without having to compromise anything that’s necessary to help them. Ultimately, they realize that there is real talent right here, and they want people throughout the country to realize that too. As far as future plans go, they’re looking at the big picture. “We want our label to have a hand in getting the bands that we all enjoy as a community the recognition that they really deserve. These bands have inspired us, and they have moved us, along with many others, to create something new,” Saunders said. “It’s not just about the label, it’s not just about the bands, and it’s definitely not about the money. It’s all encompassing. It’s a chance to make Salt Lake City a better place for music. We want people to acknowledge how amazing this place is musically.” Saunders couldn’t have said it better.

KR-001: Red Bennies – Red Bennies (Reissue)– CDR (2008)
KR-002: Mike Sartain – The Camelot Sessions– CDR (2008)
KR-003: Will Sartain– Beep – CDR (2008)
KR-005: Band Of Annuals – Repondez – CDR (2008)
KR-006: Will Sartain – Bash Your Face In – CDR (2008)
KR-007: Band of Annuals – Let Me Live – CDR (2008)
KR-008: The Future of the Ghost – Freak Out – CDR (2008)
KR-009: Taughtme – Lady – CDR (2008)

Upcoming Releases:
KR-010: Will Sartain – Automatic Body
KR-004: Beard of Solitude – Beard of Solitude – CDR