Music Is Not A Commodity, It’s an Art. Pseudo Recordings Gets Deep on Our Asses

Owner/Founder: Ryan Workman Year Established: 2002 Current artists: Wolfs, Red Bennies, Black Hole , ´┐ŻANDALE! , Danger Hailstorm, Madraso , Vile Blue Shades Number of releases to date: 15
National Distribution:, interpunk. com, as well as directly through pseudo recordings (and 8ctopus records with certain releases)-most is direct mail order from Ryan’s house.
Is Roster Available on itunes?: No, but you will find most (if not all) of the catalog online for download by the end of the year.
Number of albums sold: Just shy of a thousand locally and abroad.

Photo by Sam Milianta

Maintaining anything in the local music scene can be tough for most people. Bands come and go with members in various states of faltering dedication to their music. Labels spring up for a release or two then pass on just as quickly as they arrived. Pseudo Recordings is a rare entity in such a scene—it’s still around after six years. Pseudo has featured some of the most talented and diverse bands Salt Lake City has ever seen, including The Red Bennies, Cosm, Andale!, Erosion and The Vile Blue Shades. Several more acts round out the roster of label affiliations, amounting to 15 total releases.

Some labels specialize in a niche or at least think they do, but Pseudo Recordings’ owner and operator Ryan Workman has never been one to be constrained. “I don’t want it to have a set sound. Some labels, that’s what they build their roster around: a certain style of music. But the scene here is not a certain style of music and I want it to be representative of that.”

Looking at the long list of artists affiliated with Pseudo Recordings, including Seattle-based Madraso and local groups Danger Hailstorm, Cavedoll, Blackhole, and The Wolfs, one can see that diversity is a factor. “I’d like to say it’s deliberate,” Workman jokingly adds. Still, he says “a lot of the bands have been on the louder side, whether it’s rock and roll, punk rock, garage rock––whatever the current buzz term is. At the same time, I worked with Cosm, which is totally west of center.”

Because Workman is a musician himself (he played in local act Mayberry), he knows more than most about what makes a good label work. “If you’re just some schmuck who comes off the street with a few bucks and says, ‘I want to produce your band,’ but you’ve not played in a band you’re not going to know the recording process, you’re not going to know rehearsals versus shows. You’ll be just another profiteer,” Workman says.

He continues, “If anything you’re just going to see it as a commodity. And from a musician’s point of view, you’re seeing it more for the art and the music involved. You realize that ‘I helped get it into the hands of the people.’ These guys [musicians] created it. These guys wrote the songs. And I helped get it to the public. And you feel good about that because you have to feel good about the music. You can’t throw money at a pile of garbage and expect it to make money. You have to really want it to succeed.” He concludes, “If it was a money making venture, though, I would have given it up a long time ago.”

Though he has already found success with the label, Workman is still interested in expanding the Pseudo sound. “I would be willing to approach anything from avant-garde to acoustic. Throw in some altcountry or go the other direction with extreme noise or metal. There’s no reason I shouldn’t.” From his track record there isn’t a reason he shouldn’t try, regardless of the style en vogue locally. “I’ve been doing it for five years and I’m not planning on giving up. I’ve been frustrated and I’ve also been really excited about stuff. As long as I feel that what I’m doing is considered a contribution to the local scene, I’ll still do it.”

Keeping artists happy is of great importance to Pseudo’s continued existence as well, and the key to that is communication. “Because I’m a small operation, who else are they going to talk to? They’re going to talk to me.” Even though running the label solo can be difficult for Workman, he still says, “I try as hard as I can to be the one at the shows selling the merch. Not some guy with a box of CDs he doesn’t worry about.” He clearly embraces the DIY mentality.

Current releases to check out from Pseudo include the Andale! Debut, made of eco-friendly packaging from recycled materials, down to the soda bottle plastic tray, a Vile Blue Shades 8ctopus Records split release entitled Triple Threat and Danger Hailstorm’s first release, One.

Workman has done his part to keep the local scene alive, but ultimately, the future of the scene isn’t in the hands of the labels or the bands, but the fans. “I think what the scene needs, if anything, is a little bit more support from the people. Not for the sake of spending money at a bar, but to give their moral support in-person for the band. Just being there. Listening to the local bands, it’s vital.”

Pseudo Recordings

PR-001: Erosion – Coma – 3 Song E.P. 7 inch (colored vinyl only) (2003)
PR-002: Cosm – 6 Song E.P – CD (2003)
PR-003: Cosm – Fast Way To Go – 12 inch E.P. (vinyl only) (2004)
PR-004: Erosion – No One Can Hear You Scream – CD (2003)
PR-005: Wolfs – I Want More – 7inch (colored vinyl only) (2003)
PR-006: Cosm – Fast Way To Go – CD Single (2004) OUT OF PRINT
PR-007: Red Bennies – Walk Right In – (colored vinyl only) (2004)
PR-008: Wolfs – Lights Out +4 – CD E.P. (2004)
PR-009: Wolfs – The Wolfs – Full length CD (2005)
PR- 010: Blackhole – Blackhole – Full Length CD (2006) (Co-released with 8ctopus Records)
PR-011: Cosm – Microphone Boutique – CD EP (2006)
PR-012: Vile Blue Shades – Triple Threat– CD (2007) (Co-released with 8ctopus Records)
PR-013: ANDALE! – S/T – Full Length CD (2008)
PR-014: Danger Hailstorm – One – Full Length CD (2008) (Released on Pseudo Recordings, even though Pop Sweatshop is listed)
PR-015 Blackhole/Madraso (from Seattle) Split 7 inch (vinyl only) (2008)