James Niche, Act Live

James Niche, Act Live

Starting off this week we got the chance to interview James Niche from Act Live Music. If you are from Rochester and are even remotely aware of the music scene, you know about Act Live. If you haven’t, this is a good time to crawl out from the rock you have been living under, and read this:

How did Act Live get started.

Act Live got started out of a notebook basically. I had been working with music since I was a teenager, whether it was with a band, with radio, record stores, or studios. I was also a tour coordinator for a while. There was a point where I wasn’t doing too much musically, and then I met Reese Q. He and his friends were rapping but they didn’t have a way to get their music out there. I started helping him out and it just evolved into helping other local artist.

How did Act Live evolve?

Act Live itself was originally a blog, where I went to every event and art gallery, and every show out there and covered it. I was a fan first, I was going to go to these shows and be in the scene anyway. After awhile, I met enough artists and had created enough relationships to the point where we could begin releasing albums under Act Live.

Act Live itself is the blog, the label, and I assist lots of artist on a development level. If an artist comes to me with a project and doesn’t really know where to go with it I will work with them on a project to project basis. I don’t really have a roster of artists, there is no long term contract keeping artist in Act Live.  It’s more of a way to promote Rochester music.

Do you produce as well?

I produce in the sense of funding and support. For the “King of Kings” Video, I took care of locations, casting, and any kind of funding for the project. I don’t produce beats though, just actively evolved in what ever project I am in.

You just re started your Influence Podcast how is that working ou

Influence Mixtape Radio Show started last year, I was working mainly with Tim Tones and Harvey Who. Various guests would come out and record with us every week. It was steady for about 15 weeks, but it got hard to meet up and it just slowed down and stopped.

I just wanted get the show going again and start getting local music back out there. We are sitting in a wealth of artists in Rochester, and we just need to get it back out there.

What keeps Act Live in Rochester? 

Rochester is a great place; this is where all my resources and ties are. There is nothing wrong with repping your own home. There is nothing wrong with people knowing that in order to work with Act Live they have to come to Rochester; it’s the same as if you want to work with Duck Down Records I have to go to New York. I am proud of my hometown and I am not going to skate down someplace and start pretend to represent somewhere else.

But I could go to New York at anytime, I have thought about it, and it is probably the next logical step. I know right now Act Live is still growing and I have a lot to prove. Act live has been around for three years; there are so many other people that I know who have put more time than I have, I feel that I still need a few more years under my belt before making any big moves.

Do you have any new direction for the label?

Running this label and the blog I have not been motivated by money. That being said, I has been really hard to figure out what the next step for the label is. There are talks about doing more with merchandise and possibly opening our own store front. But that is short term stuff.

It’s hard for me to sell a record just to support Act Live. What I want to do is start to raise money for a charity or organization. I am looking into developing a grant giving public foundation to support art and music. Let’s say a living center wants to start music program for their residents and they need a grant to get a few instruments or get started they could get funding from the Act Live Foundation. This would allow local artists and fans to give back to their community.

Check out Act Live Music

Download the Influence Podcast

James was generous enought to hook us up with some new music:

Download YC The Cynic ft. J57 – ‘Boom Bap Is Back’ (Live From The Bug Jar)




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