Interview by: Lindsy Carrasquillo
Words by: Lindsy Carrasquillo
The DIY queer independent label, Get Better Records was founded in 2010 and is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The non-profit label prioritizes seeking relief and focuses on underrepresented bands in the music scene from different genres such as punk, hardcore and alternative rock. We got to talk to the label’s founder, Alex Licktenhour, about how the label got started, the Philly music scene and more.
How did the label get started and had you worked in the music industry previously?
I’ve always loved music. I started my first band when I was about twelve years old and I was always interested in how things worked. I realized that it was easier to do things yourself and there’s no guidelines. I started the label in New Hampshire while working on my undergrad with my roommate Nick. I’ve had other people help throughout the years but it’s my thing now.
You’ve worked with bands like Bad Sleep and Count on Us. How do you decide what artists to work with?
They’re my friends first. They’re usually people I’ve known for many many years. I normally work with them or with bands that have a bigger draw.
How do the benefit and compilation albums come about?
The only requirement really is that it’s based off current events. In 2012, we put out a compilation for my friend with cancer. We also put out a benefit compilation for the Pulse shooting.
Cayetana’s a Philly band so I just asked if they wanted to put one out and they said yes. The label started off with CDs and there’s a lot less risk with cassettes. Most music today is available on Bandcamp and I think labels at this point are obsolete. Physical releases are becoming irrelevant.
Get Better Fest 4 just occurred, how did that festival start?
It started in New Hampshire as a push to start a music scene, that was the biggest influence. It’s also good to raise money when you’re able to. We’ve donated to organizations like a Queer/trans shelter in Philly, Women Against Abuse and a queer youth center in Austin.
How would you describe the music scene in your city?
It’s great, I’ve been living here for about a year and a half. I used to book shows and now I don’t have to. There’s hundreds of bands and it’s overwhelming but also great. With so much happening, the scene is still successful. Most of the shows I go to are at Lava Space, Everybody Hits and First Presbyterian Church.
What are some of your current plans?
Just today, I was advertising for an intern. The plan is to keep growing and since the end of last year and this year are the first where I’ve really gotten recognition. I’m helping bands get a platform and I don’t ever plan on stopping really. I do it because I love it and through the internet, you have countless resources.