Carved from Stone Records: A Personal Look into the Labels Founder, Jake Woodard
Jake Woodard was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, making the big move to the North Carolina city of Locust in 2007. Currently residing in Albemarle, North Carolina, Jake attends Catawba College in Salisbury where he is majoring in business administration (concentration in entrepreneurship) and minoring in music.
When interviewing individuals in the music industry, more times than not, there are deep familial roots that encouraged their connectedness and pursuit of music; Jake’s endeavors seemed to develop organically, saying that:
“Truth be told, I didn’t come from a musical family. I didn’t have any relation to musicians or anything like that. I just felt like I lived through music. Whatever the phase of music was, I never took the time to be “away” from it. I listened to it for hours and hours on end. (I remember I started really liking rap music in sixth grade – that moved to alternative music my freshman year of high school, and metal / alternative / rock music from junior year onwards). My first real experience with music was taking a choir class my junior year of high school. It was a really fun experience and I was able to make who I call some of my first life-long friends through that class. That was only one trimester of the school year, but it made a lasting impact on me. Now I’m taking chorus classes at Catawba and have gone through A LOT of development via vocal training.”
After grappling with high school graduation and trying to start a band, Jake began critically thinking about his future and how he could realistically apply his talents to a career in the music industry. The realization came during a friends birthday party:
“We were talking about dreams we had after graduation, and at this point, I have had an unsuccessful attempt at creating a band. Being from where I’m at not Charlotte, just my area in particular), there were not a lot of people that played music, let alone hard rock or heavy metal. He asked if I was going to do anything in music with my dream career, and having experienced that, the thought popped into my head about a label. That sounds kind of spontaneous rather than contrived, but I have always had this weird fascination with making lists and keeping things organized and all that kind of stuff people associate with OCD, haha. I thought that organizing and creating a roster of bands and artists would be the coolest thing in the world, and there, my dream was born.”
For many established individuals, starting a business is a very daunting, intimidating task. While being only 20 years old may have it’s disadvantages, one of the many beneficial aspects of still being in school is having a wide range of guidance from academia to help navigate the logistics of business planning and acquiring an LLC. Catawba College has an incredible program in place known as the Catawba Center for Entrepreneurship and Exepriential Development (CEED) Program.
“Contacting my advisor for CEED, who happened to be one of my professors for an introductory entrepreneurship course, we discussed how I could construct a business plan for this record label and what I could do to bring this dream to fruition. After many edits and criticisms to my business plan, it was brought before the board. I started promotion for it in November of 2018, but I became a registered LLC on May 6th, 2019. Top ten date in my life, for sure.”
Many entrepreneurs will find various difficulties and successes when first establishing their businesses. Starting Carved from Stone Records at such a young age, Jake was no different discussing that “Being a record label, nobody will really pay attention to you until you have something out, right? It was hard finding bands to be on the initial flagship roster. Bands that want to have a symbiotic relationship with their label are a dime a dozen, and my goal is never to distance myself from my bands and artists, so having a personal touch and working with who I work with has been an overall success. Dealing with other labels and organizations that affiliate with bands (things like Artery Global, other labels, etc.). for the first time was also a learning experience. I haven’t garnered that reputation to be recognized, so it’s a bit hard getting my foot in the door with things. Booking shows was the hardest experience I have ever faced. That is in a league of its own.”
The mission of Carved from Stone Records is to “sculpt the best up-and-coming artists the world has to offer. There are a ton of unsigned bands in the world that have so much potential to make it to the next level of stardom or relevancy or whatever you want to call it. I want to be there with these bands side by side as they grow artistically, musically, aesthetically, etc. and be able to help them out as much as possible.”
Focussing on establishing intimate, trusting relationships with his artists Jake was ultimately able to establish the initial flagship roster garnering bands such as Birthright, Cloud Walking, Men and Mountains, and With Friends Like These. “They are all fantastic people and have been so pleasant to work with. It’s also a nice mixture of music as well, ranging from alternative rock to melodic hardcore. As far as recent accomplishments, I just announced pre-orders for our first vinyl record (here’s the shameless plug for it). That took about nine months to develop, so it’s quite literally my baby. The tour that I am promoting is The Bayou Beatdown Tour, with Mirages and The Weekend Transit touring from Louisiana to North Carolina. These guys have also been amazing to work with (we’re partnered but they are not on the official roster as of now). I also have a band I am waiting to announce on the Welcome to the Family Fest lineup in August (set to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina at Heist Brewery’s Barrel Arts, as well as With Friends Like These, so the bands are traveling some.”
This new aged networking through social platforms has given many start up business owners the opportunity to connect with other working artists on an incredible scale, offering growth and connectedness. Jake discussed his experience entering the Charlotte music community stating that:
“As an individual, it’s been nothing but incredible. Everyone has pushed me to keep moving forward with CFS and to never lose hope (the typical cliché motivational jargon), but with how tight-knit the Carolinas music community is, I feel the genuineness in it all. As a professional, however, it really hurts when I have to tell someone I can’t sign their band right away, even though I really want to. Turning people away has always been hard, but now that some of those people are friends, it makes it all the more difficult.”
There is a thrill and excitement as Jake looks toward the future of CFS in the next few years as he works toward “more vinyl releases, as well as CDs and possibly cassettes? I haven’t thought much about those. I have a short list of about four bands that I want to add to the roster in due time, and there’s a big plan in 2020… but we have to keep that one a secret!”
With finding his footing in finishing school, working, and developing a longstanding, successful business we asked Jake to give his best advice to entrepreneurs seeking to start their own label to wanting to enter the music industry.
“This is going to sound cliché, but don’t ever give up. I am a 20-year-old kid, there’s no way to beat around that bush. I got where I was through a fantastic group of people and I networked through Facebook. Go out to local shows, talk to those bands, have a friendly persona – being social is the best way to present yourself. Surrounding yourself with people you trust is another big thing – not necessarily with your BUSINESS endeavors, but having people you can talk to about things goes a long way.”
If you are a local artist or band seeking a label dedicated to your personal endeavors, staying true to your mission, and taking a personal stake in not only shaping your professionalism, but helping your manifest your musical goals look no further than Carved from Stone Records.
Be sure to “go pre-order “The Things That Surround You” by With Friends Like These on vinyl record. Every order comes with a record, a CD, and a chance at a T-shirt. Come see them on August 24th as well, as part of the Alt Talks “Welcome to the Family” Festival, and check out the rest of our bands on social media and streaming services alike.”
You can preorder the record here: