Smallman Lookin’ Mighty Big These Days

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Perhaps it’s time for Smallman Records to start thinking about a name change. After all, the Winnipeg-based label’s diminutive moniker is hardly fitting these days, as it prepares for what may prove to be its most exciting year yet. Between organizing tours, preparing to release three of Canadian punk’s most highly anticipated records, and a trip to MIDEM - the world’s largest music industry conference and trade show - in Cannes, Smallman is getting ready for some big things.

“We’re gearing up for our busiest time of the year,” says Smallman’s Rob Krause. “We generally do a big tour in the spring, and this year we actually have three going on.”

In addition to Winnipeg trio Sixty Stories’ Eastern Canadian tour, iconic Calgary-based experimental punk outfit Choke will be taking a spin through the United States, and Toronto’s Moneen and Montreal’s Selfmademan will be headlining the cross-Canadian Smallman tour.

In addition to heavy road work, Selfmademan and Michigan’s Small Brown Bike will be releasing new records this summer, Meanwhile, Moneen will be releasing its second album with Smallman, and both the label and the band are thrilled to announce that the Moneen disc will be carried in the U.S., Australia, Japan and Europe by Vagrant Records.

“To the band, it’s instant recognition in the U.S.,” says Krause of the Vagrant deal. “As for Smallman, we’re hoping that it will increase our international standing as a label and perhaps make Canadian indie bands recognize that a Canadian label can help you achieve your goals.”

Smallman’s presence at MIDEM is proof alone of that statement. While in Cannes, Krause says, the label was able to network extensively with European and American labels and develop opportunities for future international distribution, including a soon-to-be-announced international record deal for Small Brown Bike. “MIDEM was a great experience,” says Krause. “We were able to make some great connections in the international music community.”

With 2003 becoming more and more about Smallman’s chance to shine, Krause is quick to give the credit for the label’s success directly back to the artists.

“We’ve been lucky with the bands that we’ve chosen to work with, and who’ve chosen to work with us,” he says. “Not only are they great musicians, but they work hard and appreciate what we’ve done with them. The success that our bands are seeing now is a direct result of all the work that we and they have been doing for the past couple of years.”

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