Lowell Brams (owner of Asthmatic Kitty music label)

Lowell Brams (owner of Asthmatic Kitty music label)

by Brent

What made you decide to start the Asthmatic Kitty music label?

We knew a lot of people, aside from Sufjan, who had the potential to make interesting, original music, and had the means to get started, so we did.

What qualities do you look for when you are considering artists for Asthmatic Kitty?

Musically, originality and songwriting ability. Personally, they have to be people we like, people who love making music and don’t wear their egos on their sleeves. No one’s perfect, but we wouldn’t work with the second coming of Jim Morrison, as talented as he was, if he acted like Jim Morrison.

What are you hoping to accomplish through Asthmatic Kitty?

Help make more good music available to those who want to hear it.

A number of your artists have a Christian worldview conveyed through their lyrics. Do you consider Asthmatic Kitty to be a Christian label?

No, because being a Christian is not a requirement. An anti-religion person wouldn’t work, but they wouldn’t consider us anyway. I don’t believe anyone we’ve worked with want to be on a Christian label, because they value their artistic freedom.

What do you think of Contemporary Christian music?

I haven’t heard much of it, though the only rap I’ve liked is by Christian artists, like our friends Soul-Junk. One of our original community is related to a member of Jars, so I’ve heard their albums and heard them live. Very creative guys, and they really rock, but don’t know if they’re an exception or not.

Who are some artists you’d like to work with, and why?

I’d like to work more with some of our original circle, the ones who appear on our compilation, but the others are people we don’t know yet.

List your favorite songs from each of the Asthmatic Kitty releases.

Not fair…but okay. Sufjan: Year of the Dog (Enjoy Your Rabbit), A Winner Needs a Wand (A Sun Came), Detroit (Michigan), God’ll Never Let You Down (To Spirit Back The Mews), Liz Janes: Tristeza (Done Gone Fire), Half-Handed Cloud: So Busted Before Your Righteous Throne (Learning About Your Scale), Smiling the Vell-Beat (We Haven’t Just Been Told, We Have Been Loved), Viva Voce: Let’s Bend Light (Lovers, Lead the Way!), Walker Percy, by Con Los Dudes (To Sprit Back The Mews) is my own 3:30 of rock and roll infamy, so it’s special. We had great fun even when we sucked.

What is your take on the current independent music scene?

Wish I could hear more of it; I’m still discovering new artists and material from the 20’s through the 40’s, so time is limited.

What is the hardest thing about running a music label?

Keeping up with everything.

What is the best thing?

The people and the joy of hearing new music. We can’t work all of it, but it’s great fun hearing it and getting to know the musicians through email.

Which music labels and recording artists do you most admire?

Those with similar goals.

What makes you the proudest about Asthmatic Kitty?

The albums! The music and the art on the packages. We’re blessed with so many talented friends.

What is in the foreseeable future for Asthmatic Kitty?

New albums by Viva Voce, Liz Janes, The Castanets, and a little down the road, more Sufjan. The unforeseeable future is even more exciting, because I know we’ll be working with people we don’t know yet.

Any other comments?

Internet search results that reference our website often say “God bless you!” I don’t know why that is, but I hope our music is a blessing, and when someone says that explicitly, it’s a wonderful reward. Life can be difficult and the world is….well, what it is, so when we know our music is lifting a spirit- what more could we want to accomplish? Corny, perhaps, but true.



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