Where does Rubellan Remasters license their releases from?
We license every one of our releases from the official rights owners. This is includes major labels like Universal, Warner Bros. and Sony
When did Rubellan Remasters start?
We started as a reissue label in 2018, but the name Rubellan Remasters was first published in 2015 on the CD and LP reissue of the early 80's band Suburban Lawns on the Futurismo label. The name was originally launched as a mastering facility, providing remastering services for the occasional independent label before branching out into our own reissues. Prior to 2015, any projects I remastered, dating back to 2006, were simply under my own name, Scott Davies.
Is starting a reissue label easy?
No! It took years to finally get going and that was primarily because finding contacts within the labels was very challenging. Even the indie labels I had provided remastering services to wouldn't provide any info. It seems there's definitely a competitive vibe among reissue labels. Once a proper contact is found within a label, it takes persistence to be taken seriously. One major label shared with me that they get a large amount of contact from prospective clients who eventually do not follow through, so it's up to us to prove we are the real deal. Although, once proven that doesn't necessarily mean that response time is improved. Many times, the only way we find out if there's any progress or clearance on a project is by following up. These label contacts seem to be very busy people who likely deal with large amounts of clients.
Does Rubellan Remasters use original master tapes?
Yes, whenever the masters are available from the rights owners they will either provide us a brand new flat digital transfer of the master tapes at the resolution we request, or provide us a previously archived flat transfer of the masters.
Does Rubellan Remasters use needle drops (mastering from vinyl) like some of the other reissue labels?
Unlike some of the reissue labels that focus more on quantity than quality, we will ONLY use vinyl as a source if masters cannot be located. But Rubellan Remasters has built a reputation over the years as THE BEST when having to resort to vinyl as a source. Unlike those noisy, distorted transfers you may have heard on other releases, anything from vinyl on one of our releases will likely be indistinguishable from master material. This is only possible because we take the necessary time per track to provide the finest results.
What is Rubellan Remasters' opinion on very loud (or brickwalled) remastering?
We hate it!! There's been so many recordings destroyed by over-loud mastering that greatly reduces or eliminates the original dynamic range in music. The result is what is called "ear fatigue", which means you can't listen to too much of a brickwalled recording before wanting to turn it off because your brain is interpreting it as the equivalent of the music screaming at you. If you look at a speaker with dynamic music playing, the woofer will bounce with each drum beat. With a brickwalled recording, the speaker just quivers because there is little to no difference between the loud and soft elements. We balance volume and dynamic range to provide a result that satisfies audiophiles and casual listeners alike.
What does "Remastering" mean?
In the true context of the word, it means improving on the original source material. Some master tapes when transferred flat may sound rather dull. This could be due to their age or the type of mix that was done back when it was originally recorded. Remastering for our label addresses every song independently to determine what is lacking or heavy-handed that needs careful adjusting. This could be a touch of bass, a reduction in certain mid-range frequencies, or a modification to the high end. We also go further if necessary, which can include very careful reduction of analog tape hiss or repairs to the occasional tape fluctuation or drop out that may be present. We listen to every second of every song multiple times, and in different settings, before finalizing anything for production.
Why are your releases only on CD, and do you have any plans to do reissues on vinyl?
I'm not opposed to vinyl, and do have some ideas. But the cost of manufacturing vinyl is considerably higher than CD and the amount of returns (i.e. losses) due to defect is much higher. Plus, vinyl also adds several months to the manufacturing time. If Rubellan Remasters is able to grow in the climate of lessening demand for physical product, then we will be happy to add some colorful special edition vinyl releases to our catalog. But we're also of the mindset that a properly mastered CD will always sound better than vinyl, and with some of our releases making their debut appearance on CD, that has been driving factor.
How long does it take to get a reissue released?
That varies greatly but it's never quickly. Best case scenario, 6 months to a year. It's a multi-step process that involves making the request to the label, then waiting for approval, price quotes, legal and licensing clearance, master tape availability and transfer, artwork creation and clearance, and then production of the final product. Various things can cause further delay, such as difficulty of the label locating an artists contract or having final clearance required by overseas offices since that's where the artist was originally signed.
Do you ever get denied on requests or are there reissues that started but didn't get released?
Unfortunately, yes. Some labels have lists of artists that just aren't available for 3rd party requests. Other denials have come from the rights no longer being held by the label, or another label has already requested the release. As to the second part of the question, we've had several in-progress reissues that had to be cancelled because even though we had been given approval, another reissue label (with a more established relationship with the licensing label) swooped in and snatched the titles from under us. The resulting products were substandard from our viewpoint, and we don't currently attempt to license further titles from that label.
Do you try to get the artists involved in your releases, and if so are they often happy to work with you?
That also varies greatly. We have reached out to artists that have happily responded willing to assist, have not responded, or responded in very rude and disinterested manners. We've scrapped a couple of tentative releases when the artists, who owned their material, disregarded that we were financing the entire project and going to pay them a fee as well, and promptly attempted to dictate very early on, even before any agreements were made. After assessing the situation, we cancelled the projects. So yeah, it's great if you have artist involvement as long as it doesn't become a power struggle.
How do you choose what albums to reissue?
It really comes down to personal interest. For the amount of time and money involved in each release, it only seems feasible to commit the effort on something we'd like to see in our own collection. That being said, some titles of interest are given priority based on sales potential but we have yet to request a reissue we don't really like. But if Rubellan Remasters grows into a larger business, the focus will expand to what other titles, not necessarily personal favorites, will have decent sales potential.
How many copies of your releases are manufactured?
It depends on the title but generally 1000-1500 are initially pressed up, sometimes less. The deal with the majors allows us to request additional copies, if so desired, for a term of approximately 3 years.
What does "Rubellan" mean?
Oh, this one is always fun to answer. It basically comes down to an inside joke that dates from a party in the early 90's, but to try to explain it with any cohesion would take paragraphs and still likely cause confusion. But we will say this much, the alien in our label logo is a direct reference to that in-joke. It is called Ruby, it's from the planet Rubella, which makes it Rubellan. See, I told you it would be confusing. The original outer space theme that I had saturating this website was to depict the cheesy sci-fi element, but it seemed to be lost on most people and they just thought it was an odd choice, so I took it down a notch.