An Interview with Mark Schaffer of Houndstooth Entertainment

This Friday is Houndstooth Entertainment‘s official launch party featuring performances from Norwegian Arms and Scott Churchman at everyone’s favorite mausoleum of contemporary art, PhilaMOCA (531 N. 12th Street). Tickets are $10 at the door and $8 presale. Philly-based Laser Background and Circadian Rhythms will also be playing, so this means you should probably RSVP and attend (we’ll be there, too).

But what exactly is Houndstooth Entertainment? Well, I’m glad you asked, because we happened to just wrap up an interview with Houndstooth’s co-founder Mark Schaffer to find out more about Philly’s freshest music promotions/publishing company.

Aroundphilly: What is Houndstooth Entertainment?

Mark Schaffer: Houndstooth Entertainment is a music publishing company that I started with my business partner Mark Tedesco toward the end of 2012. In short, we aim to build up a catalog of music from artists that we love and license that music to be placed in film, television, commercials, etc. Then, of course, we trace and collect royalties for those artists so they can afford to eat, pay rent and keep making music at the same time. The promotional aspect of the company is a natural result of and for publishing. With the right placements, an artist’s audience can grow exponentially and, on the other side of that coin, the more people that hear a song, the better chance a placement opportunity will come along.

AP: Sounds about right. So, how did Houndstooth form?

MS: I should start by saying we are really more than just fans of music. Full disclosure: it’s more of a creepy, unhealthy obsession. Anyway, we often celebrate said obsession by constantly listening to, studying and analyzing the music that we love, especially that of our friends in the local scene. I think about the millionth time we had the “everyone should have a chance to hear this” conversation, we were listening to a song and sarcastically arguing over whether or not it had been in the latest Ford commercial. I have experience in the publishing field, so I’ve always been interested, but I think it was those conversations that that got us thinking about how important it is for artists (struggling ones in particular) to get as much mileage out of their material as possible. For us, the idea that an artist “sacrifices their integrity” by placing their work in a commercial, for example, is absurd. I think in that respect, we would base our concerns more on what intention the work was created with.

AP: What bands are you currently promoting?

MS: You always start with what you know, so we of course are starting local. Right now we are in the process of solidifying deals with Laser Background, Neighborhood Choir and a great band based in the Philly suburbs called The Breaks.

AP: Which local bands are you guys most stoked about at the moment?

MS: Other than the bands we are currently working with, two of our favorite bands in Philly right now are Norwegian Arms and Circadian Rhythms. No wonder they’re in the line-up for the launch party, right? I could really go on about all of the bands that make the Philly scene great, but, for the sake of brevity, I’ll stop there.

AP: Where would you like to see Houndstooth Entertainment in five years?

MS: Probably at a dinner party with Jay-Z and Beyonce (our friends of 4 years) discussing their share of the company… Realistically, I would hope that in five years we will have established relationships with music supervisors nationwide and be able to provide consistent placement opportunities for our expansive catalog from artists across the globe.

AP: Tell us a little bit about Friday’s show at PhilaMOCA.

MS: There’s a lot of stuff going on for this one; it’s going to be a great night. Obviously, it’s an important night for us, as our official launch party. We are really excited to have Scott Churchman playing the show, who will be releasing his third full length on cassette. He should have a killer set. Both Circadian Rhythms and Laser Background are supporting, and the show is also a send-off for headliners Norwegian Arms, who will be making their way out to SXSW this month. Doors at 8pm, bands at 9pm. $10 at the door or snag some tickets ahead of time!

AP: Can we bring beer? Please?

MS: Nah man, we got you. Yards kegs!

AP: Nice. This is going to be fun, isn’t it?

MS: Funner than fun. If you’re a fan of music, you should be there. Also, if you’re a fan of the Back to the Future trilogy, you should definitely be there.

Head over to The Book for more information on Friday’s super-show, and be sure to follow Houndstooth Entertainment on Twitter and FB for more worthy music happenings in our fair city.

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Chris Lipczynski

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