Mark Aceves is one of those dudes at the heart of the Ripple community. Not only does he deliver a FAT bass tone in the band Zed, he has been doing the layouts for many of our releases for years now. He has had a huge part in creating the family vibe that makes Ripple so special. It was a rare pleasure to get to sit down with him and talk about what differentiates Ripple and what makes this whole crazy rock and roll thing worth it to him.
How did you get involved with Ripple in the first place?
I had known about Ripple for a few years before I got involved with them. Shortly after our first album came out I was told I should talk to Ripple. So I said “Okay” and forgot about it for a few years. Then we released our second album, Desperation Blues and I knew Ripple had their own distro and I touched base with them to get the material on their store. Todd responded and I sent him a bunch of product and a few weeks later Todd said “Hey man, this is really good!” and we started talking from there. He came to some shows and one night over some barbecue we signed a contract with him.
How did you end up being more involved then?
I have a background in graphic design and web design and I emailed Todd offering to help and he took me up on the offer and for a while I was doing a lot of layouts and was managing the websites. It turned into a lot of cool stuff!
You have a family and a lot of cool stuff going on – why take the time?
What I saw early on with Todd and Pope is that number one they are fans of the Music. They don’t have a label because they are trying to make a living off of it. They have a label because they love music. It’s very apparent when you talk to them how excited and animated they are. They have their day jobs and that’s their living but this is their passion. When you can involve yourself with people who have such passion with what they are doing that gets me excited. I’ve been on labels where it was a business and they treated it like a business and it didn’t have that family feeling that Ripple has. That was a mindblowing experience when I met them and saw the contract. It’s artist friendly and geared towards mutual success. Not them screwing the bands over. They love the bands. I want to be part of that.
Is the family vibe what differentiates Ripple from other labels for you?
At least labels I’ve had experience with. I know there’s labels in this genre and other genres that have this feeling but for us with Ripple that’s a huge part of it.
Obviously a lot of Ripples growth is out of that – but where do you think Ripple will go?
That’s a good question. Four or five years ago most people would have thought Ripple would just be a small label. While they are still a small label they have kind of risen to be one of the top labels for this kind of music. I know so many bands that would love to be on Ripple and not all of them are small bands. There’s a lot of great mid level bands that would love to be on Ripple. I see that upward trajectory just continuing. Who knows? I feel like this whole scene is on the verge of becoming something bigger altogether. Ripple is really going to be on the forefront of that, riding that wave.
It feels like Ripple was the right people at the right time. Why do you think this music is blowing up right now?
Rock and roll, it comes in cycles. It’s done that for the past 30 something years. It had a one two punch with grunge and the punk stuff, then it went underground for a while, I feel like people whether its kids or older folks are wanting to hear something fresh and organic, we don’t get that from computerized beats. I’ve really noticed an increase of younger people at the shows I’ve been going to in the past few years. If you go to an Iron Maiden show it’s crazy how many young people are there for music that started 40 years ago!
What’s your favorite Ripple memory?
The first Ripplefest. That was where the tradition of bringing cake to the shows started. Now at a lot of Ripple shows there is always a cake involved.
At what point did you see, “Oh shit, this is happening?” When did you see it would become a bigger thing?
I think with every subsequent signing. They are really smart about who they sign whether it be a band that has been on the scene for a while and has a following or a new band that has a lot of buzz or reissuing stuff that is old and super rare or hard to find. I think that each time they sign someone it’s like “Oh wow!” It’s a level up for the label!