By Sean Armstrong | Staff Writer
New Galaxy Records is ushering in arts development with Duquesne junior Michael Matsakis, along with his former high school bandmates Ethan Baechtold and Owen Stone, heading the helm on the unique project.
After graduation, the trio went on to college, with Matsakis and Stone pursuing education in sound recording and music composition and Baechtold studying entrepreneurship with a minor in music. The group, however, moved to different areas of the country, with Matsakis based here in Pittsburgh and Baechtold and Stone in Asheville, North Carolina.
Despite the distance between its members and its rather unique origins, this partnership, which Matsakis described as a “trinity,” is still growing today.
“We used to be called Sir Tuna Records back when we were in high school,” Matsakis said. “When we got into college, we decided that we wanted something a bit more serious and professional because we want to deal with adults, not just high schoolers. So we revamped it, and now we’re New Galaxy.”
The group has worked with such Duquesne University artists as A Life Well Lived, William Sparks and The Uptown Woods. New Galaxy arranges, records and, on rare occasions, plays on albums with groups they have signed to its label.
Speaking of labels, New Galaxy has a different conception when it comes to working with artists.
“Signing people doesn’t necessarily mean they’re under a strict contract or anything like that,” Matsakis said. “It probably will never mean they’re under a strict contract because that’s just not our belief.”
Any artist can record with New Galaxy but has the option to leave whenever they want; all that the group needs is some sort of notice.
The end goal for Matsakis and his partners is to allow the artists that they sign to realize their creative potential — even if that means using unorthodox methods, such as recording outside the studio.
“Our goal is to just have top quality engineers, which is going to be me and Owen,” Matsakis explained. “So we can just go anywhere with you and record anywhere. I’m trying to contact people right now to do certain recordings, even in their own homes.”
The studio doesn’t just work with musicians. New Galaxy is currently expanding into YouTube, poetry and other artistic realms. Another goal for the group is to be able to provide any artist that comes to them with what they want and draw up a contract that reflects that ambition.
New Galaxy’s future doesn’t just include its business ventures, however. It is also exploring the possibility of non-profit work.
“Our goal is to eventually start a non-profit where we are teaching other kids — I mean more so underprivileged kids — how to record and how to write music,” Matsakis said. ==“Because even for most people, it may not turn into a main source of income, and they may not become super famous, but at least it’s a very therapeutic source. It’s given me a lot of peace to write poetry and write my own songs and record them.”
New Galaxy is poised to be the next trend setter in the Pittsburgh region. For Michael, Owen and Ethan, however, they are just taking things one step at a time and growing the goal they started back in high school.
For more information on New Galaxy and its upcoming projects visit NewGalaxyRecords.com.