Mon Hills Music Group, a student-run organization under The College of Creative Arts and Music Industry Program at WVU, recently created its second record label: Go 1st Records. The label was started over the summer of 2020 and is based in Morgantown.
Mon Hills Records is the organization’s first and more established record label. The label and program have been running for some time now, according to Sarah Giles, the general manager of Mon Hills Records and a graduate assistant of the music industry program.
“The record label was actually started by our director, Darko Velichkovski,” Giles said. “He wanted to integrate a student organization and element of the program that was hands-on.”
A lot of responsibility comes along with the “student-run” title, and Giles was happy to detail some of those responsibilities.
“We’ve got students that are producers and engineers for the studio, and we’ve got students running our account from a business perspective,” Giles said. “Everywhere from managing the entire label from the day-to-day, to working with artists in the studio and going out and finding talent.”
At the program’s beginning, it experienced a huge influx of new members. With all those applicants, it was difficult to provide students with the help and experience they needed. This led to the creation of the second label.
“Our main goal is to give an educational experience for students to get their hands and feet wet, and hit the ground running,” Giles said. “We just weren’t doing that anymore because we were just taking on too much as one label.”
Jonathan Flood, co-manager of Go 1st Records, explained the difference between the two labels.
“Mon Hills Records is more focused on releasing a full and complete polished product for each artist,” Flood said. “On the Go 1st side, we are more focused on a compilation album, which features eight artists only recording one song a piece.”
Strangely enough, the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic came as a blessing for the Mon Hills Music Group, giving it the time it needed to better develop its programs and create new ones.
“We just wanted to find a way to take our time off to do something really productive for our students,” Giles said. “We thought, ‘Let's just start a new record label.’ It’s kind of a new generation of students with new ideas and fresh perspectives.”
Having the opportunity to work with a record label can be beneficial to students looking to see if music is something they want to pursue.
“I’ve really seen a lot of members come into their own, be highly motivated and come out of their shell,” Flood said.
Students interested in being considered for a recording deal can email MonHillsRecords@gmail.com.