Zia Prepping Annual Local Music Compilation Disc

Record Store Day is still a few months off, but local chain Zia Records has already put out a call for songs to include on their annual You Heard Us Back When compilation.

Bands have until March 7 to get their material in, and they've got a good shot of getting on the album as last year's comp ran two discs.

Hell, even arguably the worst band in town, VW Trainwreck, made it last year.

So dare to dream!

Below, Zia's general manager Brian Faber answers some questions for us about this year's compilation.

UOTS: How long has Zia been doing this now?

Brian Faber: When Record Store Day was inaugurated in 2008, we wanted to do something special for the occasion and got the idea to revive the Zia Local Music Compilation series from the early '90s. It's been very well received and we're happy to be on Volume 5 of the series, to be released on Record Store Day 2011 [April 16].

UOTS: The name is "You Heard Us Back When," which implies you're trying to break bands -- are there acts from past years you're proud to say you included "back when?"

Brian Faber: We're proud to have included everybody that has been on these compilations. We're not trying to break bands so much as showcase the variety of music you can find at a bar just around the corner on any given night. The title came about because we only press 1,000 copies of each compilation, so if any of the featured bands ever become nationally famous and you own these CD's, you can say you heard them back when.

UOTS: It seems like this is a pretty big undertaking -- I think I got promo copies of three or four discs from you guys last year -- why does a record store want to do something like this? It can't be paying off nearly as well as selling regular stuff.

Brian Faber: It doesn't pay off in money. All profit after the cost of making the CD's is donated to charity. Zia has always sold music by local artists and we always will. The reward comes in being able to highlight that relationship as part of the tremendous positive energy that surrounds National Record Store Day.

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UOTS: How do you select the bands and who do you turn down? What's your goal with the track order? I have to say, one of the bands on last year's compilation, VW Trainwreck, is one of the worst local bands I've ever heard, yet they were the first track. Most of the other songs were much better, of course. Not that I'm saying you should only put bands I like on there, but what's the criteria and what's the goal?

Brian Faber: We try to feature as many artists and styles of music as possible, and the only reasons we've rejected a submission is if the recording quality is unlistenable or the track length is so long it will exclude other bands from being represented. We sequence the tracks in order to have a good pace, not because we think one track is better than another. Our goal is to run the gamut of local music. The amount of submissions we've received has increased with each compilation, which is why we had to make the last one two discs.

UOTS: What are you especially excited about with this year's disc?

Brian Faber: We're really excited to be working with Alice Cooper's Solid Rock Foundation as our charity partner for this compilation. Awareness of the series continues to grow with each volume, and there are still so many exciting and interesting bands out there we haven't yet featured. In this digital age, people get so caught up in downloading the big hit recording artists that it's nice to do what a Record Store should and give them a reminder that there's a wealth of good music in their own backyard.

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