Interview with founder Jamie Coletta | By John Silva | Art by Sarah Schmidt
At the beginning of 2018, SideOneDummy Records unexpectedly laid off most of their staff and dropped many bands from their roster. This came as a shock to employees, bands, and fans alike. The label, largely thanks to the work of its Director of Marketing, Jamie Coletta, had established itself as more than just a roster of artists: it was a community. What hurt the most for everyone involved was feeling like that community was yanked out from under them.
“When all of that ended, it was hard!” Coletta says. “Obviously, surface level, it’s hard because we all lost our jobs. But when you look at what else we lost, it was like these people and their decisions, they took the ground from underneath not just us and our jobs and our finances and our job security but also all these other people who were kind of rooted in what this became—and it was heartbreaking!”
When Coletta was let go from SideOne, she received an overwhelming outpouring of love and support from many participants in the DIY scene. “It was definitely shocking in a good way, but it threw me off,” she says of the reaction people had to the news. “I had to keep putting my phone down, because every time I looked, it was so much! In the most humbling way possible, it was really incredible, but it was also, like, shocking for me, because you just don’t realize that you affect as many people as you do until something like that happens.”
Instead of pursuing a job at another record label, Coletta set out to find a new home for the community she had worked so hard to establish. “I was trying to figure out what I was gonna do when I started realizing and really started thinking about building my own thing and sort of just standing on my own like this. I was trying to think of: ‘How can I provide a home for what we all just lost?’” Coletta says. “It might take some time to get my scene back, but I want it!”
In early January, about one year after she was let go from SideOneDummy, Coletta announced her new project: No Earbuds! What is No Earbuds!? The answer is still a little vague—and that’s very much intentional. “I purposely created it to not be super defined from the beginning,” Coletta says. “I didn’t wanna come out and be like, ‘This is a media company’ or ‘This is a promotions company.’ I didn’t really wanna label it. I almost don’t even wanna label it as a company. I kind of just want it to exist.”
Coletta has been freelancing her marketing and PR skills for the past year, and as of right now, No Earbuds! functions as a way for her to sell that same skillset. However, she wants it to eventually become bigger than just her. “It’s important to me that it stays pretty loose,” she explains, “because for right now, it is sort of operating as the extension of what I already do, but what it’s capable of is entirely up to everybody else.”
Perhaps No Earbuds! will help facilitate the rebuilding of what was lost last year—or perhaps the community Coletta helped build at SideOne was never really lost. At the end of the day, SideOneDummy is just a record label, and a community like the one Coletta helped create is something that transcends those arbitrary boundaries. No Earbuds! may become the vessel, like SideOneDummy before it, but it’s the individual people, like Coletta, who make DIY so special and powerful.
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1) Diva Sweetly
3) derek ted
5) Sleepy Dog
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