My decision to start Aagoo Records came in 2001 when my friends Jose and Aib were making great music that we wanted to get out to the public. Names were being thrown out and I jokingly suggested “eye goo.” Jose jumped on it and said, “Aagoo!”
Things started fast - we scored distribution with Surefire and then Aib’s Zemog album got a glowing review from Billboard. Best Buy ordered 900 copies of the record and the music business was looking pretty darn easy. When 860 were returned, I realized that running a record label was going to be more difficult than I had expected.
We learned a lot in the early days and when you finally get past the boring stuff like accounting and taxes, there’s one golden rule that defines the success of a label—have a close relationship with your artists. A small label can give artists the attention they need and likewise, the satisfaction you get when your artist succeeds is indescribable.
Being a small label allows us to be nimble and address each artist’s individual needs. Some of Aagoo’s artists sell more vinyl than CDs, other more CDs than vinyl, and some we just give away. This intimacy is perhaps most important on the creative side of the business.
Aagoo’s musicians cross all genres of music—punk (Okie Dokie), cutting-edge rock (AU), apocalyptic doom (Father Murphy)—but they all share the connective tissue of being “artists’ artists.” I would say that Aagoo music is all about innovation, pushing the boundaries of genre and a dedication to the craft of making music.
I think that Aagoo’s approach to making music is the reason why the label has expanded internationally, representing musicians from California to New York to Italy and Mexico. Though we’re separated by language and culture, we all share the same collective love for original music from original people.