Help Collective Confusion select project

News / Special Features / February 18, 2012

As Mike Colleran looked at the state of the music industry a few years ago, he was disappointed to say the least. But he wasn’t disappointed in the musical output that was being created. Instead, he was puzzled as to why certain artists were being overlooked or even ignored altogether.

“As an active music listener I was always wondering why certain bands got big, and why others fell by the wayside,” said Colleran. “There’s so much great music out there, but 99 percent of it won’t reach listeners because it’s not accessible or it’s not profitable. Even with the Internet connecting the world, most labels are afraid to take a chance on an unknown band.”

Through that frustration, Collective Confusion Records was born, a label that would take those chances the majors were missing out on. It would be a label not created for profit, but instead to give under appreciated or unknown artists a chance at a physical release.

“I wanted to give the artists I love the chance to have a physical release they can be proud of,” said Colleran. “I wanted to work with the bands that for one reason or another weren’t getting any help.”

For his first release, Colleran pressed “Aurora,” by the band, Hailey, It Happens. Then, for the second release, he was able to press John Nolan’s “Songs I Wrote.” You can pick up both of them in a bundle package for only $15.

And now, as Colleran prepares to begin his third project, he’s looking for a little assistance. Do you know of an artist that deserves a vinyl pressing? Maybe it’s a band you know locally, or just a group that hasn’t quite made it to the big stage yet. Whatever ideas you have, Collective Confusion wants to hear them.

What type of musical genres would you consider ideas from?

I’d be open to working with any genre, any artist. If you think it should be on vinyl, I want to hear about it.

Would you rather work with an established artist or someone who’s only known in certain circles?

Like I said before, if I like the music, I’m open to putting it out. Obviously there are some considerations that go with putting out a record, and money is a factor, but that’s a decision that can be made after I’ve heard the songs. At the end of the day, working with an established artist does make the process a lot easier, but initially getting in touch and working out a deal is tough. There’s a lot more legal stuff that needs to be worked out.

Working with the guys in Hailey, It Happens was great just because we were both psyched to get the record out there. There’s nothing like putting out a record by a band from Boston and seeing orders come in from California, Texas and the UK. It’s pretty wild when you’re a part of it. So there are pros and cons to both sides, and right now I’m open to any suggestions.

What’s the criteria you’ve used in selecting artists for your past projects?

I really like Hailey, It Happens. To tell you the truth, I’m in general not a fan of electronic-ish music, but the guys in Hailey stuck out to me because they not only had these lush, well programmed music, but also amazing melodies and great lyrics. Chris and Bobby are extremely talented, and when I saw they were in the process of recording a record with Paul Leavitt (if you’re not familiar, he produced Anhedonia, The Red Tree, Reach For The Sun, On Letting Go, the list goes on and on) I reached out to see if I could help. It was pretty much a no-brainer; if they were on board, I was too. Aurora exceeded all of my expectations – I really love the record. I’m proud to have a hand in getting it out there to people. Anyone reading this that hasn’t checked it out should check out the songs at

Working with John Nolan was another no brainer – he’s one of my favorite musicians of all time. I was a freshman in high school when Tell All Your Friends came out and it knocked me sideways. It opened up the floodgates to the whole Long Island scene, and shaped the music I listen to today. That record, and Straylight Run’s self titled, are two of my favorite records. Fast forward to the last couple years as I drove an hour and a half by myself to check out John Nolan’s solo tour, right around when Height came out. We talked for a few minutes, that was that. When I started Collective Confusion, I wrote out a few emails to artists that were on my “wish list” to work with. I figured it couldn’t hurt, and if someone responded (I didn’t think anybody would) then awesome. John got back to me, and we went from there.

If someone wants to submit the name of an artist they admire, what can you tell our readers about how the artists are treated at your label?

All I can really promise is that I’m going to do everything I can to make your release the best it can be. I don’t have a lot of cash to throw at bands, I can’t fund tours – but I can really work hard to get a great record put out. I’ll be the guy that worries about the artwork, the packaging, etc., so that the band can worry about the shows and the songs. It’s a one man operation, but I’m accessible and I take pride in what I do.

It seems to me, that you truly do this for the love of the music. So what are you spinning now a days?

I’ll just list the stack of records that I haven’t yet filed back into my collection, since that’s usually a pretty good indicator of what I’ve been listening to. The Horrible Crowe’s Elsie hasn’t left the spot next to my turntable since it came out, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. The Gloria Record’s A Lull In Traffic is underneath it. I’ve been spinning a lot of Kevin Devine recently. I’ve got the Bad Books LP and Put Your Ghost To Rest back to back. Ryan Adams is and probably always will be my favorite musician (I’ve got a RA tattoo, to put things in perspective), so I always have Love Is Hell and Heartbreaker within easy reach. His new record Ashes And Fire is pretty great too.

When I want something more upbeat, I’ve been spinning a lot of Chamberlain’s The Moon My Saddle, The Black Keys, Girls, Ryan Adam’s Rock N Roll or Gold. I could go on forever probably but I’ll stop there.

Update: Thank you to everyone who submitted an idea! We’ll keep you up to date on what the label picks as their next project.

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Christopher Lantinen
Chris Lantinen is the owner and editor-in-chief of Modern Vinyl. Along with his modest collection of sad sounding records, he collects his share of soundtracks and previously adored indie up-and-comers. Chris is currently a professor of journalism and public relations at Edinboro University in the Erie, Pennsylvania area.

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