Sensory Overload: Mike Folker

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

After seven years at CD101, Mike Folker was let go last year due to mid-recession budget crunch. That hasn't curtailed his heavy involvement with local music.

Folker records bands like Karate Coyote at his Rokcity Studios and promotes them at concerts like this weekend's Broken Hearts and Broken Strings, featuring the likes of Two Cow Garage, Earwig and Chelsea Automatic.

Last year he started a new record label, Secret Song Records. And he continues to take the stage with acts like 99 Heartaches, who will play a reunion show next week, and Lydia Loveless.

How hard was it to leave CD101?

It sucked because, I mean, I was there forever. I worked there longer than any other job I ever had. And it's the most fun you could ever have at a job. You know, it is what it is. There's no hard feelings. Everyone's cool. I still feel like they're my family.

Any projects at the studio you're particularly excited about?

Yeah, I'm working on a thing with a band called the Matte Black Silhouettes, which I think are my new favorite thing in town. It's two guitar players, drummer, and their singer is super-talented. No bass. So it's fun, and the sound is really cool. It's real dark and dirty and spacey and pretty much everything that really gets me into a band.

You've talked about doing an anti-pay-to-play show. What do you mean by that?

There's all these production companies - and I guess technically I have a production company, Mike Folker Productions; it's the official business name for all the crap I do - but there are a lot of these companies around town that honestly are just ripping off kids.

They make their money off of getting kids to do things and then basically taking all that money, not paying the bands. You know, dangling carrots out there like, "We can do this for you and that for you." But that stuff doesn't really add up.

The reality is if you're selling $10 tickets, and you're selling 100 of them, why would you ever hand that over to some production company that's going to give you back $100?

If you're willing to do that hard work, book the Treehouse and keep all that money for yourself. You can do it. Don't give somebody a giant cut. Giving somebody 20 percent for helping you book, that's a reasonable thing. You taking 20 percent out of some show that you worked your butt off for, that's not fair.

Read more of Chris DeVille's interview with Mike Folker at the Sensory Overload blog.

Broken Hearts and Broken Strings

When: 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13

Where: A&R Music Bar, Arena District


99 Heartaches

When: 10 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17

Where: Circus, Short North