Housed in the Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego music complex, adjacent to the Valley View Casino Center, Pacific Records has released albums by a legion of local and national talent, including hard rockers Sprung Monkey, soul singer Rebecca Jade, rap combo The Kneehighs and singer-songwriter Ryan Hiller.
The label’s most recent signing is platinum-selling boy band, O-Town, who will perform locally at the Music Box on Aug. 10. “We’re so excited about this signing,” said Pacific Records CEO Brian Witkin. “I love the music of that era and there is a whole revival of it going on right now, in fact they will be doing shows with the I Love the '90s Tour featuring Salt N Peppa soon.”
Though Pacific Records is an indie label, they find themselves approached by new talent on an almost hourly basis. “I couldn’t begin to count the submissions we get,” Witkin said good naturedly. “At first I figured we’d end up receiving 30-40 a week, but it’s more than that, we get a lot each day.” While not all artists pass muster, according to Witkin he has discovered some contenders. “Most tracks aren’t so good,” he continued. “But we have found some people this way, through basically what are cold calls.”
Witkin acknowledges the music business is tougher than ever. “It seems to be getting harder every day,” he said. “But music is what we love, so we’re happy to keep things going, in fact, we’ve released music every Friday for the last five weeks and plan on continuing to do so for some time. Luckily, we have had various small successes that help pay the bills, whether it’s radio airplay or music placement in a film or TV program."
An enviable bit of promotion are the pre-mainstage performances from Pacific Records artists at the Valley View Casino Center’s Stella Artois lounge. It’s an unparalleled opportunity for musicians, getting to open for major stars. “It’s been wonderful,” Witkin said. “Artists are placed with like-minded headliners, exposing these young acts to audiences they wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise. Even beyond that, it’s a great room to play with great sound and sightlines. It’s almost a bonus that there is an audience there,” he laughed.
Two of the label’s biggest success stories in the past year are Ryan Hiller, who scored a No. 12 placing on the i-Tunes blues chart with his latest album, “Big Medicine,” while The Kneehighs took home the award for “Best Hip Hop or Rap Album,” at the 2017 San Diego Music Awards, for their disc, “We Put the Fun in Dysfunction.”
“We have high hopes for all our releases,” Witkin noted.
“But one in particular that is coming along great is the next album from singer-songwriter Benton Blount, who is currently recording at Dave Grohl’s place in Los Angeles, Studio 606.”
According to Witkin, plans are for “more of the same,” throughout 2017 and 2018, with a raft of new release being planned. “We’re here to support these artists,” Witkin said. “We believe in them. But really what it comes down to is that everyone here loves what we do, we love music. We consider ourselves fortunate to be able to do this,” he said.
For more information, visit www.pacificrecords.com.