10 Questions with ... Josh Epple
September 13, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I worked at Vagrant Records from 2013 to 2015 doing Production, Merchandise, and anything else anyone would let me help with. Began working at Hopeless Records in June 2015 quarterbacking our Radio and Digital Sales.
1. How did you become interested in the record business?
I spent a lot of my high school and college years playing in bands, but was WAY better at managing and booking them than I ever was playing an instrument. My original goal was just figuring out a way to get the hell out of Lancaster (super Pop Punk, I know), so I booked us shows and put us on the road, and that lead to me falling in love with working on music. I grew up on labels like Hopeless, Vagrant, Equal Vision, Jade Tree, etc. so as soon as I knew I wanted to work in music those were the first places I looked.
2. How did you get started at Hopeless Records?
A few months after Vagrant was acquired by BMG in 2015 I decided I wanted to work at a smaller label. Hopeless had an open social media position which I applied for. Luckily after talking to them they decided to put me into promotions, which really worked out....I am terrible at social media.
3. What is it like working at the label?
Working at a label is wonderful and strange all at the same time. I love working with bands who really believe in what they are doing. I couldn't ask for anything better or more fulfilling. But, working at a label is not a job that most normal people think is a job. I get a lot of questions on what I do and my family still thinks I work at a recording studio because that's all they know of this world.
4. What is your favorite part of your job?
I love working with young bands who just want to go on the road, play music, and connect with other people. I'm also a big hang-er-outer and I basically get to do that all the time, so I am a big fan.
5. Hopeless Records just released the new Sum 41 single "War," which I think will really surprise a lot of people. Tell us about the new Sum 41 record and your other priorities right now?
"War" is awesome!! And the record is great and has a ton of heart. Deryck (frontman) has gone through a lot in the past 5 years and was knocking on death's door, but he regrouped, wrote a killer record, and is back with a vengeance. I actually performed "Fat Lip" for a 5th grade talent show type thing and now I am working with the band which is insane to think about.
We are working on new records from Taking Back Sunday and Yellowcard; this will actually be the final Yellowcard record which is a huge bummer. We also have a few up and comers who are doing great right now. We have a band from the U.K. called Neck Deep who are gearing up to be the next Blink 182 and are selling out shows all over the place. We also have a band called Sylar who are a modern take on nu-metal, new-nu-metal if you will, and they are starting to pick up serious steam at Active.
6. Where do you get your greatest pleasure in doing record promotion?
I get my greatest pleasure from finding ways to get our artists to ears that have near heard them before. A lot of artists in our world do not get radio play so when something breaks through and the artist gets stoked about it, it feels really good.
7. I can't believe Hopeless Records will be 25 years old in 2018. The label has a plethora of well-known artists. Give us the 411 on the label.
It is pretty insane right! Hopeless has had a ton of success in a lot of different areas. We started off as a very Punk/Ska focused label with bands like Mustard Plug and Against All Authority and then morphed into a Metal/Post-Hardcore label with the success of bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Thrice. Then All Time Low came along and changed the game and we have really found our niche in this current wave of Pop Punk and Emo. Hopeless' owner Louis Posen has a great mind for thinking about the future and being ahead of the curve, and we have an insanely talented team so I cannot wait to see what is to come.
8. What is the toughest part of your job?
The toughest part of my job is the current state of radio. A lot of bands in our community do not see a lot of radio play because it is just not mainstream enough right now. In the early 2000's bands like Yellowcard and My Chemical Romance were huge and saw a lot of success at radio, but that's not the case right now. Everything is cyclical though. We definitely feel it coming back around and it is getting better every day, which is awesome. Luckily for us bands in this community can be massive without a radio hit (Look at All Time Low, A Day To Remember, etc.) and we also have a few stations like Octane, Faction, 89x and a few others who really champion our stuff and it give it a shot, which we couldn't be more thankful for.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _______ ?
Lunch. Gotta have a good lunch, gotta have a good lunch crew.
10. What would surprise people the most about you?
I don't drink. A lot of people assume people who do Promo are like insane party animals, but I'm kinda lame. I just really like hanging out.
What are your hobbies?
I do a lot of Boogie Boarding and I LOVE movies (even exceptionally bad ones). I got a lot of flak for seeing Nine Lives recently.
Last non-industry job?
I taught Gymnastics. I had no Gymnastics experience, but I figured I could learn faster than six year olds so I could easily teach it week by week....I was wrong.
First record ever purchased?
Green Day - Nimrod
The first one I can remember is Projekt Revolution in 2004 with Linkin Park, Korn, and Snoop Dog
Favorite band of all-time?
Tie game between The Mountain Goats and Pedro The Lion