Independent Label Snappy Little numbers makes Great Music with no reservations.
Article by Joseph Timmons – IndiePulse Music Magazine
Working in the Indie music Scene, we have many labels come forward and share with us the amazing and sometimes “not so amazing” music they have procured and published. With the resurgence of recording to vinyl and the growing national and international music scenes, there are multitudes of labels to choose from to find just what you want to hear and experience.
But personally, I like it when I find the label that has creative intelligence and the humility of a real artist, which is Snappy Little Numbers.
I found them while perusing the web through a record collectors group IndieWax, which is the location to connect with the new indie labels, and it is rewarding and refreshing to see so many innovative producers looking at reviving the music world.
I reached out to the Owner / Operator of Snappy Little Numbers, Chuck Coffey to get some titles and learn more about his label, and again, not one disappointment.
The artists on his label are diverse and multi-talented, giving 100% to every note. I received several records and one thing I want to point out is the quality of production, the records are produced very well, the label art is superb and somewhat nostalgic, the album cover art ranges from pro-press to hand done and many will be collector’s items. The final result of all the work is a perfect limited run collection of singles, splits, ep’s and albums that would rival that of larger production companies, yet have the humble simplicity that we, the Vinyl Addicts of America yearn for.
Here are some things others have said about Snappy –
“I’ve known Chuck Coffey since the Not Bad Records days, circa 1998, when my previous band The Reddmen played with The Facet in Pierre, SD. But even before that The Reddmen played a show in Casper, WY in 1997 with Don Bersell’s band Gutbucket, which I still have their cassette our bands traded each other.
Chuck and I became instant pals and over the years set up shows for each others’ bands, more than the occasional weekend rock excursion in various parts of the U.S. then eventually The Reddmen would release 2 full length albums on Not Bad World Industries, including a split 12” with his band Eyes & Ears.
My latest project Friends of Cesar Romero has put out two 7” singles on Snappy Little Numbers, with an LP in the works slated for a summer 2018 release date.
I always dug the way Chuck has run both labels. The community based DIY model with the co-op handshake deal is probably the last of it’s kind in this day and age. He’s one of the most honest people I know, no pretense, no bullshit. “Just rock n roll and the truth!” to quote Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains movie. And that particular model wouldn’t work if there wasn’t honesty and trust.”
-Waylon Porcupine (Friends of Cesar Romero/The Reddmen)
“Working with Snappy Little Numbers has been an excellent experience for our band (Autogramm). Unlike many others in the industry they were open and communicative and were able to get to the business of releasing our music swiftly. We’ve been very impressed with their knowledge of the independent music world and their ability to get our product to reputable distributors. They got to work immediately on the promotion of our release and garnered reviews from around the continent. Above and beyond the work he does for his bands, SLN’s head honcho, Chuck Coffey, is a great guy and really cares about the bands he works with and the records he releases. It’s this love for his craft that makes SLN stand out from other independent record labels.”
-C.C. Voltage (Autogramm)
“SLN is an incredible indie label. One of the best! Working with Chuck has been absolutely fabulous. He is dependable and trustworthy, and often chases us punk rockers down just to give us the scratch that our 7″‘s have grossed. He listens to our gripes (artists, right?) and often has a supportive word to keep our eyes on the prize. It’s that personal touch that makes these kind of financial, artistic arrangements really jive. Big ups to Chuck and SLN. A gem in the Mountain West.”
-Eric Bliss (Mako1972)
“Before Chuck put out our “Dudeman b/w Hot Garbage” 7″ he had heard our tape and seen us live. He had generally positive things to say about both, so when we recorded the 7″ we kinda just decided that he was gonna put it out for us. Even in the studio we called it the “snappy little ep” even though we hadn’t even ran the idea past Chuck at the time. We just knew he had good taste and that he was someone we wanted to work with. Jump ahead 2 and a half years, and now he is putting out our debut full length. Sometimes you just trust you gut and things work out for everyone involved. We love you Chuck!”
-Ryan Heller (Lawsuit Models)
“Snappy Little Numbers is my musical home. I’ve been lucky enough to play in a few SLN bands, watch and listen to the other bands on the label, design art and packaging for SLN, and be very good friends with Chuck. Chuck is the best person to work with. Not only is he an extremely talented musician and song writer, he knows exactly how to take a record from an idea to wax (or tape, or file). He’s funny, smart, wise, and most importantly, kind. SLN is Chuck’s love letter to the music scene, and one of the best labels around.”
-Jenn Dewey (Eyes & Ears/Sophisticated Boom Boom) – Art Director
“Working with Chuck and the team over at Snappy Little Numbers has been one of the most refreshing and easy going experiences we in SPELLS have had. It’s refreshing to have someone be so “up front” with all details that come with putting out records. His passion for the records he puts out is only matched by the respect he has for the musicians who record them. While some record labels are looking for the “next big thing”, Snappy Little Numbers is focused on putting out quality records and tapes with a wide variety of musicians and styles of music. It’s been a real treat to work with Snappy Little Numbers and we look forward to putting out many more records in the future.”
-Rob Burleson (SPELLS) – Junior Associate
I had an opportunity to get the following interview, learn about and support this wonderful label.
Tell us about Snappy Little Numbers, what was your inspiration and what are the goals of the Label?
My inspirations are many, but most notably Dischord and 60’s-era Motown. Dischord is huge because of the great DIY and ethical example they’ve set and for being documentarians of their corner of the DC scene (or scenes) over the years. We do a lot of Denver-based acts to document what’s going on here in our little corner, but we also do other bands outside of Denver. I’m a big relationship guy, so I tend to work with people that are already friends or people that seem like they’ll become new friends. 60’s era Motown is a big influence in terms of establishing an identity (company sleeves for 45’s, a sharp looking center label template) and steadily releasing new music. A lot of our releases the first few years were 45’s in gold company sleeves and we continue to use a custom center label template for 7”s, one for cassettes and one for LP’s.
What is your experience in music, and did it fuel your desire to create this concept for business?
I’ve been playing in bands for over 20 years. Punk, garage, indie, whatever. I had a label with Don Bersell called Not Bad Records from 1997-2010. We started it as a way to put out our own bands’ records and it grew from there. After that wound down, I still wanted to do a label and started Snappy Little Numbers Quality Audio Recordings in 2011. I also have a DJ branch called Snappy Little Numbers Entertainment. That’s more of a business, how I make part of my living. The label is not so much a business to me as it is a resource. Knowing how to put out a record means not ever having to rely on someone else. I run it as a cooperative in conjunction with the bands.
Who do you have on your executive team, and do they share your vision completely?
I’m the head honcho and a few folks pitch in from time to time to make the ship sail. My wife, Feb Coffey, is in charge of Process Improvement. Jenn Dewey is our Art Director. Rob Burleson was just brought on board as a Junior Associate and Don Bersell remains as our Reigning Figurehead. That’s the team and they share my vision, which is pretty loose. I just want to have a good time helping out good bands and friends.
So far, what has been the feedback; do you see a rise in interest in your artist catalogue?
The feedback has been largely good. Recess Ops picked us up for exclusive distribution in 2017 and that has really helped give us a boost. It’s really cool to have a great DIY company supporting us like that. We also have some folks that follow the label closely and some who follow a few bands. If anyone doesn’t dig what we’re up to, there’s plenty of other stuff out there for them to get into and that’s fine.
Who would you say are the most popular artists you produce?
SPELLS and Friends Of Cesar Romero are probably our most popular bands. They tend to play outside of their respective towns the most and that helps get the tunes out there. Hooper is also a long-running band that people enjoy and Lawsuit Models are an up-and-coming band that is picking up steam. Luckily, any band we’ve worked with has had a fun following in one form or another, so it’s all been pretty great.
Could you tell us of any drawbacks, and “scene wide” stereotypes you’ve had to overcome?
I think we’ve done OK with avoiding stereotypes. There are so many bands and so many labels, there’s room for everyone to be creative and produce their art. That means we’re free to do our thing while others are doing theirs. As for drawbacks, the music industry is a tough one. That’s one of the biggest reasons why I run it as a cooperative. No one’s livelihoods are depending on it. I feel like we kind of operate outside of that world at large anyways. We’re a small, independent, DIY-style label. We don’t need to fit in the typical music industry constraints.
Have you had any tours or participated in any festivals that really stand out as “win-win” moments?
I also happen to play in SPELLS and we had a short stint opening for Off With Their Heads, Iron Chic and Toys That Kill in November of 2017. That was a great little tour for us. I’d call it a huge win for the band, but the other bands got the pleasure of our company for a week so that seems like a win for them too! As for festivals, I’ve been lucky to be a part of many over the years including SXSW. There are pro’s and con’s to every festival but I can say without a doubt my all-time favorite festival was Denver Fest. It only lived for a short time in the mid 2000’s but was largely DIY and included so many standout Denver bands and made room for smaller out of town bands to come and rock with us.
Looking at your accomplishments, would you say that you have made an impact in the present music scene? And with that being said, do you see room for growth or improvement?
I’d love to think we’ve made at least a tiny impact to a few people some music scene. Really, what I hope is that we’ve provided a good home for like-minded bands to be creative and supported. There is always room for growth and improvement and because of that I will continue to do my best on behalf of the bands and for the people that are nice enough to listen to us all.
What are some of the big plans you have for the label?
I more have many small plans vs. a few larger ones. I want to put out a few more LP’s and should probably freshen up our main website. The blogger platform has been extremely user-friendly but I could definitely learn more about building a more functional website with all the bells and whistles.
In closing, what would you like our readers to really know about Snappy Little Numbers?
For me, music is not only a very creative experience but an incredibly social one as well. Snappy Little Numbers is really about relationships through music. Helping friends, making new ones and continuing to do our best so that every band we work with can do their best in turn is why I continue to do the label.
I would like to again thank Chuck Coffey for the music and for what he, and so many indie labels are doing for the global music scene, it is because of you that we have so much rewarding music choices and so many great memories.
The links below are the where to’s and how to’s, so go do and do it up !