Local 'concert-going fools, music nerds' find success with dizzybird records

"We are concert-going fools, music nerds and spend way too much money on records and beer."  

Brian Hoekstra's self-introduction for the founders of dizzybird records really says everything you need to know about this music-obsessed duo. Meet Nicole LaRae and Brian Hoekstra, the co-owners and founders of dizzybird records, a West Michigan-based music label that is all about spreading the word about interesting new artists and bands.  

Hoekstra says the business model is pretty straightforward. "We produce albums on vinyl for our artists and bands," he says. "We also organize, curate, and promote events for them. We manage the digital distribution of their releases. We run an online store (dizzybirdrecords.com) and keep people up to date on everything they get into via our social sites, Facebook and Twitter."

dizzybird was officially launched at the Pyramid Scheme on October 17, 2014. Hoekstra says that, besides announcing their business, it was also a release party. "Our first two records came out on that date, a Heaters 10" (Solstice) and a Gringo Star 7" (Long Time Gone b/w World of Spin)," he says.

Following the launch event, dizzybird was part of "The Michigan House" at the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas: "We had a label showcase featuring our bands Las Rosas (Brooklyn), Gringo Star (Atlanta), Heaters (Grand Rapids), and friends of the label The Mystery Lights (Brooklyn). It was basically a bucket list situation for us, to have our very own showcase at SXSW. We can't wait to do it again next year."

Both Hoekstra and LaRae are in deeply involved with the local music scene. LaRae is the Venue Manager/Talent Buyer for The Pyramid Scheme and the Community Relations Coordinator for 88.1 FM WYCE. Hoekstra is the Music Content Manager for Grand Rapids-based AMI Entertainment, managing the digital music catalog for a network of touch-screen jukeboxes in bars and clubs across the U.S.

Hoekstra says the inspiration for dizzybird was a natural evolution for the duo. "We've both made a lot of interesting friends and connections over the years working in music. We are naturally drawn to this kind of work. There is so much energy in the region for live music, and we travel to a number of music festivals throughout the year. It seemed like a perfect fit for us. We came to the realization that if we teamed up, we could offer artists real opportunities," Hoekstra says. "That, and we are always sharing new sounds with friends, family and whoever will listen. Seems like we absolutely had to give the label thing a shot."

Upcoming events for dizzybird bands include the Local First Street Party (6/6, Heaters) and Founders Fest (6/20, Gringo Star). "We are also in the planning stages for our one-year anniversary party, to be held in October! Stay tuned!"

To learn more and stay tuned to dizzbird records, you can visit their website here and like their Facebook page here.

Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News
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