"As the years went on and we learned more and more, we realized that we had figured out a lot of the aspects of what a label provides and [we] were doing those things for the bands we were in," says Ross. "By putting a name to it we realized we could both unify our efforts for our upcoming band releases as well as provide these services for artists in Pittsburgh that we believe in."
The name they choose was Walker Records, and earlier this year, Pittsburgh's newest independent record label was born. One that Ross says will stand out from other local labels because they "are run by artists for artists."
"We will constantly be looking for music that we believe in based on nothing more than the music," says Ross. "Walker will also actively be a force against the lack of diversity commonly seen in emerging artists in the area that dare to do something besides hip hop/R&B. That's not to say that we do not love these genres or will not be working with them."
Ross noted that often when he sees artists of color experience success in Pittsburgh, it is only in the hip-hop and R&B genres, "while there are plenty of artists (both of color as well all other disenfranchised groups) here in Pittsburgh, right now making all kinds of exciting music that deserves the spotlight," he says. Walker Records will make it a point to find and illuminate those artists.
So far, the Walker roster consists of rock bands Brightside, Rowdy, and Jack Swing, indie electronic artist Swampwalk, and alt-folk musician The Childlike Empress. Each of those acts is excepted to have forthcoming new releases.
"I don't want to say too much but it's safe to say the majority of our artists have full-lengths coming out within the next year," says Ross. "Also have something exciting in the works for fans of The Childlike Empress' debut album."
Along with Ross — who is label president and handles PR and marketing — and Williams, who is the VP/director, the Walker team consists of Matthew Vituccio (director of art and graphic design) and Rowdy Kanarek (in-house recording specialist).
"By taking it slow and really focusing on releases one at a time, things have run super smooth so far. It also really helped that we waited until we confidently knew how to handle a lot of label related services," says Ross. "Playing in bands for the last decade really forced all of us to figure a lot of these different aspects."