Shed House Records – A Conversation with Tommy Michael

Over the past few years at 50thirdand3rd, I’ve covered released for a lot of indie labels. It’s easier for me to tackle those releases because do-it-yourself artists on do-it-yourself labels seem like a match made in heaven. That sort of thing doesn’t take a lot of convincing for me to check out.

The same thing can’t really be said for live albums. I love live music but I like being there to experience it.

Hearing a recording of a live show just isn’t the same. That is until I stumbled across Shed House Records, a mostly-vinyl label ran by Tommy Michael. With Shed House’s live album from Natural Child, I was immediately hooked.
Just before the release of Shed House’s Do A Bump For Ben, a new live record from Cheap Time, I had the opportunity to talk with Tommy Michael. We discuss live records, vinyl collecting, and why you should support indie labels like his. Check it out!

Aaron Cooper: What is Shed House Records?

Tommy Michael: Just a one-man operation trying to make it in this brutal industry

What made you say “hey I’m gonna start a label!”? Was there anything that made you drop what you were doing and just commit to it?

TM: I had talked about doing it for a few years and then after hanging out with Natural Child after a show one night we got to talking about putting out a bootleg style record. I went and bought a new recorder and caught the next few shows till I got one I really liked. If it wasn’t for them I probably never would have started recording shows again and I definitely wouldn’t have gotten around to starting the label.

The thing that blows me away about your releases is the sound quality. I’m usually not into live albums but ALL of your albums really capture the feeling of being there. Whats your secret? 
It’s all about the venue, sound guy, and mic placement. All three have to be right. Some venues just sound like shit and no matter what you do you won’t get a good recording in some places. I go in now and just set up my gear and walk away. It’s either gonna sound good or it’s not. Either way, I’m there to enjoy the show.

For an indie label, you’ve released albums from some pretty popular people. JEFF The Brotherhood is my favorite. How Do you decide who to work with? 

I just reach out to bands that I like to listen to. Sometimes it works out sometimes they tell me to fuck off. I have a few recordings of Freakin’ Weekend V that I have been trying to release for a while. Every now and then I hit the bands up and bug them about it. One of the guys would always get pissed and go off on me. A few weeks ago while slightly drunk I sent the guy a message about it and he hit me up and said he digs the recording and he is gonna talk to the rest of the guys about letting me release it. I could have just given up on it, but it was such a killer set.

Your latest release is from Cheap Time and it sounds AMAZING! Was there a reason why you chose that particular show to release? were they satisfied with the set?

I recorded a shit load of bands that weekend. They all kicked ass, but there were a few sets that were just killer, Natural Child, X Cult, Leather Nightmare, Cheap Time and Juan Waters are just a few of the sets that really stood out. Most of the recordings from that night were just unlabeled files on my computer for a few years. I was going through them about two years ago and after listening to the Cheap Time set I just knew I wanted to get this show out there. Dillon from Savoy Motel hooked me up with Jeffrey and he gave me the go ahead. His only stipulation was that it had to be called Do a bump for Ben.

With a lot of indie labels, the records look just as cool as they sound. How important is the visual aspect of your records?

The sound and the artwork are more important to me than what the actual record looks like. I like all the fancy cool looking records, and I have done a short run of 25 variants with most of my releases, but it’s a secondary concern. I’m looking into other pressing plants right now so I’m not really sure if I will be doing variants for future releases.

With vinyl so popular these days, what do you think the appeal is?

For some of us, it’s just something we have always collected. For others maybe it’s the thought of having that physical copy in this digital world. Honestly, I don’t know why others get into this hobby/habit, but I’m glad they do and I hope it continues.

Do you have a favorite record you’ve released?

My favorite is gonna be the Natural Child: Live in Birmingham. It started it all. The Doggerels was also a fun release and I would like to do more with them. I have truly enjoyed all the records I’ve released and bands I have worked with, except one, Dan Sartain….fuck that guy

Are there any artists you are looking forward to working with on a release? Or a dream artist?

I’m trying to get Tobin Sprout to let me release a show I recorded back in August, hopefully, I can make that happen. There are a few others I have been in talks with that I would really like to work with, but I’m slightly backed up on releases at the moment. My dream release would be a Grateful Dead record. I would love to release some of the Betty boards recordings. The old dead bootlegs got me into recording shows and they were the first band who’s records I specifically searched out to collect.

What are you listening to these days?

My taste varies day to day. Some artists getting heavy play from me right now are Thelma & the Sleaze, Curtis Harding, Sturgill Simpson and Denney & the Jets. There is a ton of killer music out there just waiting to be heard.

With so many artists releasing their own music these days, how important do you feel indie labels are for the scene?

I like to think we still play a big part in helping bands get their music out there. I have bands reach out all the time that are looking for a label to help them with getting records pressed.

Whats next for Shed House?

Next is The Hussy live lp/DVD. This show is a scorcher. After that, I have live releases from Ranch Ghost and Foxx Bodies. There are few more but I can’t announce them just yet

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me at 50thirdand3rd! Any final words as to why we need to get out there and buy your records!?

Yes, I want to keep putting these releases out. That only works if I can actually sell the records. So spend a few dollars on a bad ass record that will give you years of enjoyment, and I’ll keep doing what I do.


To purchase the assortment of Shed House Records releases, please visit shedhousrecords.com


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Aaron The Audiophile

Son, brother, uncle, musician. I enjoy music of all genres, shapes and sizes, preferably the good kind.

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