Green Line Records looks beyond Top 40

The majority of bands and solo acts that make it big on the national music scene—particularly those that sign with big labels—have a similar sound, according to Joey Lafyatis, a second-year music industry major. And that’s just fine with Lafyatis, who is president of Green Line Records, Northeastern’s student-run record label.

“We’re not looking for the next Justin Bieber, the next Adele, the next fill-in-the-blank,” Lafyatis said. “We’re looking for the next unique act.”

Lafyatis has spent much of his time at Northeastern helming Green Line Records, particularly helping it transition from an overburdened student group to a fully-functional label that helps student acts record albums, sell merchandise, and book shows. The College of Arts, Media, and Design recognized Lafyatis last semester for his entrepreneurial leadership with the label’s restructuring, which involved jettisoning Green Line’s existing crop of artists in order to rebuild the organization from the ground up. In the past year, the organization has developed a sustainable business plan and provided music industry students with valuable experience in recording and management.

Prior to April, Green Line had signed three groups since its reorganization last year. But that number grew earlier this month during the Green Line’s first ever “Signing Week,” which saw the introduction of five new solo artists or groups, including singer-songwriters Brandon Pascua and Anneka, indie rock band Bonfire Blue, indie folk act brave elephant, and free-spirited jam band Underwater Bear Ballet.

Green Line Records signed The Great Destroyer, a local act made up of two alumni and a current student.

Green Line Records signed The Great Destroyer, a local act made up of two alumni and a current student. Courtesy photo.

In addition to Green Line’s burgeoning portfolio of artists, they’re becoming a go-to source for recording on campus. They provide their acts—all of which have some Northeastern connection, either as students or alumni—with the resources to record anything from a single track to a full album.

Musicians signed with Green Line say being part of a label makes it easier for them to focus on their music, leaving details like booking shows and ordering merchandise to those with the know-how to do the job. And having others working for the success of your band serves as an extra push to create the best possible music.

“It gives us motivation to become the best band we can be,” said Joe Froeber, a third-year music technology major who is a member of The Great Destroyer, a classic rock-inspired band formed by two Northeastern alumni, Anders Olson and Mike Simpson. “When you see them wanting us to succeed, it pushes us to do even more.”