Shoot To Kill Music was founded by Kevin Wolff in 2003. Working with such artists as The Glitch Mob, Travis Barker, Rancid, Loudpvck, The Interrupters, Blink 182, PANTyRAID and more, Shoot To Kill has proven to be a home for an eclectic mix of artists across various genres. Kevin Wolff & Shoot To Kill are also long time partners with the Deckstar management firm. Alongside Deckstar, Kevin and S.T.K. help develop, manage and market some of the worlds most renowned artists, DJ’s, remixers and producers.
In this Label Spotlight, we chatted with Kevin to get a deeper grasp of how Shoot To Kill came to life and his overall approach to music business.
Can you give us a brief overview of the label and its history?
First and foremost, I am a manager. With that being said, I do feel it is crucial for managers to understand how to make, manufacture, market and distribute records. I didn’t go to college; I DJ’d and ran street teams (both online and hand-to-hand) for metal bands in my formative years. When I decided to jump into management, the first client I ever worked with… no one wanted to sign. I needed to find a way to distribute his records and apply everything I had learned in marketing. I ended up having tremendous success on my very first release fortunately. This formula has stuck: being first and foremost a manager, but able to offer my clients the ability to self release their own music, which I have been doing for over 10 years now.
What is your favorite thing about running a record label?
My favorite thing about running a record label is the control. I do not mean that in a domineering way, I mean that I like my artists, myself and my team being in control of how, when and where our records are recorded, released and marketed.
What is your favorite way to discover new music?
I would say that my two favorite ways of discovering music are online and word of mouth. We live in an era where music is being uploaded and released every single second online. Where an artist can upload a song one day, and the next day have every single manager or label trying to sign them. I like that artists have these types of platforms now for people to discover them. I also really enjoy the personal connection of word of mouth. I think it is safe to say that every artist I currently work with, I work with due to “word of mouth.”
Tell us about an album that you put out that taught you the most about running a record label.
Without question, the first album I ever released taught me the most about running a record label. I had discovered a subversive artist by the name of Mickey Avalon whom no one wanted to get near with a 10 foot pole. I had no choice but to figure out and learn how to put it out on my own. There are still things I apply and reference from that experience that I use to this day.
What are your must listens for 2016?
Current must listens from my roster in 2016:
Penthouse Penthouse x Bobby Saint – Upload EP
The Interrupters – Say It Out Loud
PANTyRAID – After Glow
Blink 182 – California
What piece of advice would you give other label owners?
The best piece of advice I can give other label owners is listen to and invest in your team. Teamwork makes the dream work!
Where do you see the industry headed?
I have way too many theories on where the industry is headed. HA! I do feel very strongly though, (as I am sure you can tell by this interview) that being able to do everything under one roof for an artist’s career when necessary is crucial in a management situation. As a manager, you better know and learn how to do EVERYTHING!