If you’re like me, you’ve been involved with music in some degree since you were young. However, if you’re like Greg Long, owner and operator of record label We Are Triumphant, then you’ve probably been more than just involved. Indeed, if you’ve ever wondered might it might be like to run a label and interact with bands and musicians who tour the country and relentlessly release new, mind-blowing material, then wonder no more, and read on about what goes on in the dystopian, Oz-like industry that propagates modern music.
I guess the best place to start would be with an introduction. So, tell me, who are you and what is it you do?
My names Greg, and I own and operate We Are Triumphant. I’m the guy behind the curtain you could say.
What is We Are Triumphant to you? Like obviously it’s your job, and a huge time commitment, but does it have any other significance to ya?
We Are Triumphant is everything to me. It’s my future and my present. It’s very much a living breathing for me. Something you have to constantly keep feeding and looking after with a watchful eye.
Sick, man. How did it start for you? I mean, what made you want to start up a recording label and work with musicians for a living.
It’s going to sound incredibly sad and cliche but I never really fitted in anywhere when I was growing up. Sure I had my friends but they were more scattered individuals of different natures but one thing that always stuck with me and with them is the music I enjoyed while I found myself with them. I spent a good amount of time at local shows growing up. The entire music industry fascinated me and I loved the whole system behind it. That passion made me want to get more involved and the way I did that was through putting on shows myself and managing bands. All that sort of grew out of a hobby into an obsession and I started getting more and more serious and getting myself involved with as many things as possible racking up my experience. I’ve always loved music and it always exceeded a level of just listening to it. So i’ve been taking care of that urge to do so ever since.
So it’s gotta be kind of surreal, growing up going to shows and then finally actually having a job giving that same kind of joy to other people, right? I mean, I know I’ve gone to a couple WAT-headlined shows and it’s been fantastic.
It is surreal, there are plenty of times where I see myself taking pictures of people i’m standing next to and it’s like what am I doing? But I just can’t help that the kid inside me who worshiped this music just comes out in me. Perfect example of this is last year I was privileged enough to do the Warped Tour thing back stage and I ended up right behind Bayside during one of their sets. I still have pictures of literally just the labels on their guitar cases.
As kind of an aside, what made you decide on We Are Triumphant as a name for the label?
I decided on We Are Triumphant as label name because I used to run a label called Catastrophe Records when I was 16. Mind you this was an all punk label and I was still sporting a mohawk and plaid jeans. I always kind of poked fun at the name because it obviously present s a level of distress right off the bat. When I gave another go at the label thing after I did some growing up I wanted to pick something that had some strength and unity behind it.
That’s pretty awesome. Do you feel like that sense of unity goes hand-in-hand with the enormous collection of styles and sounds that you fit under “one roof,” so to speak?
For sure, we work with a lot of bands strictly based off their music. So when we sign them there is a lot of growing that they have to within their fan-base and we love being a part of that. All of our bands are modest individuals who understand that there a lot of ass kicking you got to do to make it in this industry no matter who is behind you. Whenever we can we have our artists supporting each other on tour or even just on a local date. We also try to set up guest appearances as much as possible because we do like to show what this family is all about. Every time our bands go out together they leave strangers but come back brothers.
Do you think the unity that forms between these bands influences their sounds at all? Like “man, I’d never even heard of this band, but after playing a show (or ten) with them, I really feel what they’re doing and want to include that in the new X or the upcoming EP Y”?
With all the different sounds that our label brings to the table it’s almost impossible not to be influenced musically. I think bands hear things that they like constantly and put their own spin on it. Either its happening intentionally or without them even knowing.
Yeah. Like a subliminal influence sort of deal. Anyways, speaking of “upcoming,” what are some of the big plans for We Are Triumphant in 2013? I mean, even if you can’t be specific, can we as fans expect more tours, more releases, signings…all of the above? Fill us in.
Pretty much we are going to have our most active year yet: Tons of new releases, there will certainly be signings, new merch, new WAT tours. The works.
Damn. So it’s a good year to be a member of the Herd, huh? How are things going with We Are Triumphant’s sister label, Cloud Records?
Cloud is moving along steadily. It’s a place for me to really keep an eye on bands even earlier then I already do which is pretty freaking early. It’s good to have it progressing though and making a name for itself. I’m not able to give it as much attention as I’d like to but it serves its purpose.
Yeah, that’s cool. Would you ever think maybe of more formally merging the two?
Not really, if there is an artist I’d want to bring over to WAT I’d bring them over. I like that cloud has a different idea behind it then WAT.
Alright, that makes a whole lot of sense. You mentioned earlier a bit about going to a lot of shows–especially when you were younger and stuff. What would you say is your favorite band or who would you say are your most influential musicians? Doesn’t have to be a WAT act by any means, or even still active/touring/functioning. Just…who are the bands that influence you most, I guess is the simply way to put it.
That is a weird question Connor! I listen to a majority of unsigned artists of all walks of life. I don’t really obsess over an artist like I used to. I’m always all over the place. So I guess you could say I’m influenced by the underground, and the bands I grew up on. I’ve always loved a million bands.
The concept of being influenced by “the underground” is really unique, man. Honestly, I’ve never heard that from anyone before. What are a couple examples of bands you grew up on that influence you today?
Oh man. Everything from Slipknot to Glassjaw and hell and back: Brand New, Bury Your Dead, Korn, Rob Zombie, Elliott Smith, Taking Back Sunday, Cartel, Beastie Boys, Counting Crows. I personally love all those bands, and there are a whole lot more. A lot of good 2001-2007 era bands. And stuff like Rage Against the Machine and Ozzy.
Damn, that’s diverse. Not hard to get why WAT is such a diverse label.
I just want to list them forever.
I know that feeling. It’s easier to find bands that DONT influence you. When you’re not running the label and scouring the world for new artists to sign and what not, what is it you do to have fun and relax. Hobbies and stuff, ya know?
I’m always in some way or another trying to push WAT, so I spend a lot of my time trying to learn all the expert methods for marketing social networks and gather press outlets.
Hah, always have homework to do, I guess.
I also am no stranger to Starcraft.
I dig it. Well, I’m about out of questions, but I have one more. What’s one story you have from a band or a show or about We Are Triumphant that you wanna share? I have to imagine that you’ve got some good ones.
On one of my first tours out with one of my bands we played a festival at this gigantic church in Indiana that had a gym there was crosses on the backboards pretty metal. We had a few days before our next date and we spent most of it playing dodgeball, wheel chairing around the place in the middle of the night and playing a private show to no one in the main hall of the church. Needless to say it was the most fun I’ve ever had in a church.
That sounds pretty rad dude! Yeah, you don’t strike me as a church-going kinda fella. No offense, or anything. I’m not really either.
I’m not, really. Thanks for listening me to talk for a few minutes dude!
Any time, man! Thanks so much for giving me some more insight on what goes on behind We Are Triumphant!
By: Connor Welsh