Mon Hills Records – Part 2


In Part 1 of this story, we learned about the Mon Hills Record Label which is nestled into the Music Industry Program at West Virginia University in Morgantown West Virginia. Here’s General Manager Josh Swiger on the Mon Hill’s aspirations.

“The underlying goal would be to sign, you know, a larger artist. There’s no fear in that, you just have to do it, you know what I mean? But you take your time and make sure that your processes are established.”

But what exactly are those processes? How does a label actually produce a record? I’ll let the students explain their individual parts of the process, from conception to execution.


“My name is Chris Kuskey, I’m A & R manager of Mon Hills Records: stands for Artists and Repertoire.

We try to go to local shows, If we see a band that we like, we’ll approach them. Or sometimes they contact us. They reach out to us and send us demos and we’ll sift through those. Before we talk about music, we need to get a sense of who they are as people first. It makes more of a difference than people would think. But if that goes well then the next step is sitting down with them and hearing their songs and if they were to sign with us sort of hypothetically discussing what a project with us would look like and what their goals are for that as well as what our goals are for them. And then we go over our contract, which is an incredibly artist-friendly contract we split all revenues 50/50 with our artists and they retain ownership of their music and it’s…your not going to find a better deal, honestly. ”


“I’m Alexander Merandi and I’m the Associate General Manager of Mon Hills Records; I’m also the recording production manager of Mon Hills Records. 18 Strings, this event that’s going on right now – their release party for their album – I did all of the bass tracking down at the Metropolitan Theatre and did all of the overdubbing and solos in my studio. And just working alongside them was amazing I learned so many invaluable things about that world, you know, having this opportunity so I’m so, so, so, so thankful.”


“My name is Rebecca Chiartas, I’m the manager of the PR Department. So right now I’ve done the press releases for 18 Strings, and then another artist for Rebecca Berhanu, with the help of my team. And written their bios for their one-sheets as well as their websites. So that’s what we’re working on right now.”


“My name is Tucker White and I’m the manager of Distribution and Sales at Mon Hills, I am also an A&R representative. So, for Mon Hills, my goal is to get as many CDs I can of theirs sold, and their products and everything like that. The other side is getting companies to work with us, you know, partners and things like that.”


Again, here’s (General Manager) Josh Swiger.


“You know, When you’ve run your own indie label for a lot of years and you’re running it on a shoestring budget it’s a few people. And then you’re turned into a GM and you have a staff of thirty – students. And you’ve got all these departments it’s a little bit overwhelming. You really kind of become a CEO overnight. It’s great that there’s thirty people you know and they’re eager to learn, these students. They’re just really eager to understand what this is all about and do these kind of things.”

In Part 3 of this story, we’ll talk to Mon Hills Artist, 18 Strings about music in Morgantown and beyond.

For more information, check out the Mon Hills website!


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