Amplif[ie]d | Rag House Records
By: Marissa Scheerer
It takes guts to put your ideas to the test and chase big dreams; we know. But, think: if the world were full of more people fueled by their passion and entrepreneurial spirit like Rag House Records founder April Duran, it could be a seriously magical place. Lucky for us, we have her and the awesome creations born from her enthusiasm for music, community and collaboration right here in the IE.
After graduating from Musicians Institute and being thrown into the "real world," Duran became inspired by a number of gaps she saw surfacing in the music industry: Where were the strong women? Where was their support? How could women be (equally) rewarded for their hard work and encouraged to embrace their freedom to contribute freely and collaborate? How had this not been done?
Enter Duran’s solution: an all-female, all-genres indie label, Rag House Records.
Q. What's your personal relationship to music, April? Do you play?
April Duran: I have played a little drums and guitar but that’s about it. [But] I have been going to see shows since I was in high school. Growing up in the IE there were shows all around us, so I ventured out to UC Riverside (The Barn) and would see No Doubt. Or [I'd go] to LA to see the most epic concerts ever (Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Palladium). Or San Diego or OC. [And] back then The Glass Door in Pomona used to be a small black room where we would go to dance to DJ music.
Q. Do you have a favorite genre of music?
Duran: I do not have a favorite genre. I have always listened to everything since I was little depending on my mood or what I was doing. I even listen to a little country here and there.
Q. Does that influence which artists Rag House supports?
Duran: Absolutely, I do not want to have any restrictions!
Q. What makes you passionate about women in the music industry?
Duran: Women in the music industry are busting walls, working hard with sometimes their kids in tow. While I was working in production in music, I was always looking for other women to connect/collaborate with, and they existed but they were minimal. So because I couldn't find somewhat of a sisterhood, I decided to create one myself.
Q. What motivated/inspired you to create Rag House Records?
Duran: After graduating from Musicians Institute (Hollywood) in the Music Business program I landed a position with Live Nation and another private owned music venue. There were two things I couldn't help but notice: 1. It’s very widely known that the music industry is a very heavy male dominated industry. 2. The women I did know that were working were overworked and underpaid. I also felt there needed to be a creation of some type of sisterhood with the women already in the industry. So one day at work I threw out, "Someday I’m going to create an all-female label or something." The response was really positive, so I created Rag House Records: An all-female, all-genres indie label to empower, encourage, support and promote women in music in front and behind the scenes. This creation has been a collaboration of supporters from my son, my fiancé and of course, my family! I have all of them assisting me. [I'm] with my son when I have to run to LA or the OC, and I have [him] as an assistant for Rag House so I can teach him about how much work it takes and how rewarding it is to work for yourself.
Q. When exactly was Rag House Records started?
Duran: I launched Rag House Records right here in the Inland Empire at the ending of last year, scared and weary of the unknown. I am so glad I did [...] Since then many doors have opened [...] such as the launching of the "SoCal 1st Annual Girl Fest" (highlighting 21 female or female influenced bands), Rag House Radio on Kaoticradio.com [is] also right here in the Inland Empire [as well as] Indie Label Swap Meet and a few other big exciting things coming up.
Q. What is SoCal 1st Annual Girl Fest?
Duran: A celebration of women in music in front and behind the music scenes to play some awesome music and kick some ass.
Q. What do you hope to create with SoCal Girl Fest?
Duran: A positive awesome awareness for women in music! This festival was created by women for women and all her awesome supporters!!
Q. What can we expect of the experience? Who will be playing?
Duran: All local bands from the IE, OC, LA, and even an R&B artist from Arizona and a country-pop artist from New Mexico.
Q. What inspired you to create SoCal Girl Fest?
Duran: There are festivals everywhere but nothing here in the IE concentrating on women so I said let’s do this!!
Q. What are some future goals you have with Rag House Records and SoCal Girl Fest?
Duran: To create a home base that’s safe and positive where girls/women can go to be inspired, collaborate, have questions about the music industry answered, record music, have small intimate shows and sell some merch from women artists.
Q. Are there other projects Rag House/you/your community or artists are currently working on that you are excited to share?
Duran: YES! Stay tuned!! Remember . . . an all female record label, radio segment and festival is extremely rare, and it’s all happening right here in the IE!!!!
Don't miss the first ever SoCal Girl Fest September 26th 12p.m. to 2a.m. at M15 Concert Bar & Grill in Corona. Until then, check out Rag House Record's Facebook page, and tune in for Rag House Radio one hour segment promoting women in music airing live (Thursdays 5-6p.m.) in September on Kaoticradio.com (located in Rancho)!