INTERVIEW: Carl Caprioglio, president of Oglio Records
- Bob Gajarsky
West Coast independent label Oglio Records has quickly gained a reptuation among astute modern rock fans as *the* place to go for compilations of rare 1980's releases. By securing the licenses of numerous tracks which were previously unavailable on CD, the label is succssfully battling the larger labels on the burgeoning reissue field. Consumablerecently had a chance to chat with the president of Oglio Records, Carl Caprioglio.
As a youth, Caprioglio listened to several Los Angeles based radio stations - the rock of KMET and KLOS and the "modern rock" played on KROQ. He recalls, "I had two groups of friends. One group listened to Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith etc. and the other listened to "New Wave". As a result I know the words to "Houses Of The Holy" *and* "Rock Lobster". New Wave always struck me as being lighter, more upbeat and fun. After listening to Pink Floyd's The Wall it was a great escape to hear something non-cerebral like Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough".
In 1984, it wasn't enough to simply be a collegiate fan of the music he loved - Caprioglio and a friend began to disc jockey at parties and dances with a portable sound system The business grew, and soon the pair purchased sound multiple sound systems (up to 10) with a wide variety of disc jockeys under their guidance. They were soon called in to bail out another disc jockey that was doing a gig with the KROQ DJ, Poorman, at a local high school. Soon, Caprioglio's DJ service was the main supplier of sound and lighting equipment to KROQ. The upstart Los Angeles urban outlet Power 106 was also added to the client list. However, according to Caprioglio, "Business was doing well but I was restless and I decided it was time to go. I needed a new challenge and the record business called". Consumable: Did Richard Blade help at all in gaining contacts, or had you established those from your DJ days? Oglio: While at the DJ service, one of my responsibilities was to convert the vinyl music libraries to CD. In order to save money I searched the planet for compilations, best ofs and straight ahead replacements for the old vinyl. I learned what was and what was not available on CD from the big band era to modern music. Working with Richard was a great way to bounce ideas around and benefit both of our careers. C: How do you determine individual songs / albums / ideas that you can use? O: At this point I have to rely on my personal experience to select repertoire. If I like it, I figure that others might too. So far, I have been lucky. My next goal is to continue building the Oglio team to give our products a broader range. We have started working with independent producers that come up with ideas on their own and as a result we are breaking out of the '80s reissue craze. When I released my first compilation in 1992 I was just about the only guy in the pool; now there are more people than water in this pool. It is time to move on. Our Christmas record (due out the end of October, The Coolest Christmas) contains the coolest holiday tunes from the '50s to the '90s and represents a big departure from our past. C: Are there times when you are denied permission to use a track on your compilations? O: Yes; we are turned down for a wide variety of reasons. That is the nature of the business. Even the big guys have trouble sometimes; my friends at Rhino have been denied for tracks that I have licensed and Rhino has been successful where I have been denied. C: Has there been any times where a license has been denied *because* of a label using it on its own compilation? O: Many labels are forming their own compilation factories utilizing their own repertoire and repertoire licensed from outside sources. My personal opinion is that it is a natural progression for those labels but it does interfere with my ability to do business. C: Does the cost to license a track differ based on the success of the band or the individual song? O: Generally speaking, the cost is not the issue. If the band or the label does not feel it is in the best interest for the band's development they will deny the license. Rarely do they simply want more money. C: With the proliferation of 1980s compilations, how does Oglio differentiate itself from others? O: It is a constant battle for us. We call retailers and they tell us that reaction to our package is good, but with the glut of similar compilations, there is only so much shelf space. We try to emphasize that our compilations contain many extended mixes and first-time-on-CD tracks. That angle wins us some fans but, as I stated before, this pool is crowded. C: How long does it take for a compilation to be completed? O: It typically takes about six months from the start of licensing to the time the CDs are in the store. Oglio is small and we can react quickly to trends. Some larger reissue labels have spent literally years putting together compilations that eventually bombed. C: How many tracks, per CD are normally cut because of licensing problems? O: We generally ask for twice as many tracks as we expect to clear. C: You've recently issued the first Freur album, Doot Doot, for the first time on CD. Are there any plans to release the second album, Get Us Out Of Here, on CD? O: Sales of the first album have been good. We have started the process to do the second. C: Are there any reasons why the 12" version of the title track for Doot Doot did not appear as a bonus track on the CD? O: We put the 12" of Doot Doot on Richard Blade's Flashback Favorites Volume 1. When it came time to choose bonus tracks for the album we wanted to include things you could not get anywhere else. C: Are you limited in the range of majors they can license material from? O: We can request a license from any source. We have been granted licenses from the guy across the street (literally) all the way up to huge billion dollar corporations. C: What are your own personal favorite 1980's new wave song(s)? O: Roxy Music "Avalon", Style Council "My Ever Changing Moods", Suicidal Tendencies "Institutionalized" and New Order "Blue Monday". C: What reissues are in the future for Oglio Records? O: We are currently looking into reissues for Flash & The Pan, Red Rockers, Translator and Wire Train.
As one can see, the process to release a reissue CD - any reissue - requires a great deal of time, energy and devotion to make things *just* right. Making the proper choice of tracks and overcoming the legal tape required to release a reissue can be an arduous process. Oglio has overcome all these obstacles, as well as those associated with an independent label, to consistently put out the best 1980s compilations available on the market.