2006 - We are happy to report that we have received a judgment in this matter. If you are one of the bands involved, will you please drop us an email with your contact information? Click here. Thanks again for all your support.

2007 - After withdrawing his petition for bankruptcy protection in Kansas, Stan Hartman has relocated to Lethbridge, Canada.

* * *


Thank you for visiting this website and taking the time to learn more about our situation.

We (Ryan Lewis and Daniel Geller) founded Kindercore records in 1996 to document the emerging music scene that we saw in our community of Athens, Georgia.  One night at a Butterglory show, we decided to start our own record label.

Our first release was a cassette compilation called "The Treble Revolution" that sold out in a week. This release was followed by our first vinyl 7", this time by our own band, kincaid.

With the success of that record, we knew we were on to something and started to put out a string of great 7" singles by our friends in The Mendoza Line, Masters of the Hemisphere, and others.

Although our label was often called "indiepop" by many, we knew that we had many tastes that existed outside of that narrow genre.  We soon added the hip-hop influenced Kitty Craft to our roster (our first Top 10 record at college radio), along with the alt-country tinged instrumental group, Japancakes (eventually our biggest selling act).  Also coming on board at that time was the restrained and acoustic based band, Vermont, a side project of The Promise Ring.

With these new bands, Kindercore began to gain national attention. Emperor Norton Records approached us about financially backing our label.  With this new support, we were able to sign and release records by one of the premier Elephant 6 offshoot bands, The Essex Green; the first domestically available album by French genius Etienne Charry; the sophisticated pop songs of Britain's Birdie; and the first release by Kings of Convenience, who later signed to Astralwerks. Most importantly, we were able to build a studio with our friend Bill Doss of the Olivia Tremor Control, which we christened with the recording of one of Kindercore's most popular albums to date, the debut by San Francisco's Call and Response.

After our arrangement with Emperor Norton came to an end, we decided that we wanted to continue to broaden the scope of Kindercore's sound by signing new artists that reflected our ever-changing tastes. These included Maserati, Jet By Day, and Paper Lions. Around this time, we were approached by a new distribution company called Telegraph that wanted to go into business with us.

Owing to the fact that we no longer had the generous support of Emperor Norton and were hoping to partner with another company who could provide administrative support, we were open to the idea of this new scenario with Telegraph.

As you can gather from the above narrative, Ryan and I were very good at spotting talent and building an image for our label around which that talent could align itself.  Our catalog is impressive by any standard.  Spin Magazine named Kindercore the "indie label to watch" in 2000.  We were very, very proud of the artists we signed to Kindercore and extremely proud of the good will and loyalty we built among the fans and community of the label. This loyalty was no more evident than in 2000, when we hosted the Athens Expo 2000, a showcase for our friends and bands that lasted for three days and drew visitors from all over the world to our small town.

We never claimed to be the best businessmen in the world, but we've always been smart enough to recognize that, and as such, struck the previous deal with Emperor Norton and the latter with Telegraph, so that we could have the support we needed to do what we do best: honing the aesthetic of Kindercore. The one thing we were not able to recognize in this situation however, is how easily we could have our world turned upside-down by the people we went into business with.

This is what happened after we signed our partnership agreement with The Telegraph Company.  Among other things, about 10 days after Ryan signed on the dotted line, he received an e-mail from Stanley Hartman, a defendant named in our lawsuit, stating: "Kindercore no longer wants, desires, or welcomes any contribution or services from you now or in the future..." Hartman then invited Ryan to take legal action if he didn't like it. This is one of the more tame e-mails that we received from the Telegraph people during the period between signing the agreement and the commencement of the current lawsuit we've filed against them.

If you don't understand what we are fighting for, then please imagine starting your own company, with all of the best intentions to document the music scene in your town, a scene that you're a part of and hold dear, only to receive an e-mail like this after working to build the company into a viable business for the previous six years.

Just 18 months after we first met Jerod Gunsberg and Stan Hartman, we were told that the company that we had developed and nurtured for six years was going to be bought by a "group of investors," which included Jerod Gunsberg. Shortly thereafter, we were informed that our company was no more.  We had no hand in any of these decisions - they were as much a shock to us as they were to any of you.

If you feel that helping us will in turn help other small businesses that may find themselves in a situation like this in the future, please make a donation to our legal fund - any donations, no matter how small, are extremely appreciated. Anyone interested in helping with a benefit in their town or bands that would like to help out by playing a benefit can contact us at kindercore@heratyhall.com. We will do our best to recognize everyone that helps out in any way as soon as this situation is resolved.

Daniel Geller and Ryan Lewis

Please click here to contribute by paypal:

If you'd like to send a check, please make it payable to "The Kindercore Legal Fund" and send it to:
The Kindercore Legal Fund
c/o Heraty Law


11/25/03
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

KINDERCORE RECORDS FOUNDERS FILE SUIT AGAINST THE TELEGRAPH COMPANY, I.D.E.A. INC.

Kindercore Records founders Daniel Geller and Ryan Lewis today filed a lawsuit against I.D.E.A. (International Development of Entertainment Alliances), also known as The Telegraph Company, Kindercore General Manager Jerod Gunsberg and I.D.E.A. CEO Stanley Hartman for breach of contract, slander, libel, and a host of other infractions.

A strategic partnership formed in 2001 between the Kindercore label and Telegraph was intended to strengthen the label’s administration and further the aesthetic and ideals that Geller and Lewis had established. The partnership quickly devolved over the 18 months that the relationship existed, culminating in the recent announcement that Kindercore was folding.

Geller states, “We were as surprised as anyone on November 12th to learn that Kindercore would be closing.  We were also surprised on November 14th to find out the label was not closed and would now be run by Stan Hartman who had previously stated to us that he wanted nothing to do with the creative side of running a record label”.

In the beginning, Geller and Lewis expected that their partnership with Telegraph would allow them to continue guiding the artistic direction of Kindercore while also allowing more time for them to work on their own music.  Geller and Lewis perform in bands on the Kindercore label - I Am The World Trade Center and The Agenda respectively.

Lewis says, “We’re artists at heart and have always been about the music.  We saw this partnership as a chance to keep the label going in the same artistic direction that we had established and to also uphold our commitments to our artists.”

Instead, after the agreements were signed, Geller and Lewis began to see their roles at the label rapidly diminish, a situation that came to a head when Kindercore signed two bands that Geller and Lewis had passed on (in one case) and had never even heard (in the other).  Compounding this lack of control over their own company, Geller and Lewis’ own bands were then dropped from the label, a curious move considering that I Am The World Trade Center is the second biggest selling act on Kindercore.

“Since being in bands on the roster was essentially the last real connection we had with the label we started, we had no other choice but to await further news on the future of Kindercore”, Geller says.  “At this point, we’re very concerned for the bands that are still associated with Kindercore.”

Lewis elaborates, stating that he and Geller are doing “everything we can to bring a quick resolution to this situation.  Bringing this legal action was the last thing we wanted to do, but we felt it was the only thing we could do to help the friends and artists who had faith in us when we entered into this arrangement with Telegraph.”

Quinn Heraty, of the law firm Heraty Hall, is representing the plaintiffs. A legal fund has been established to help offset the tremendous costs associated with furthering this action.  Please click here to contribute:

Legal inquiries can be directed to kindercore@heratylaw.com or by phone to 212-473-1390.

Press inquiries can be directed to Joshua Bloom at Fanatic Promotion, LLC.
212-616-5556 | josh@fanaticpromotion.com | www.fanaticpromotion.com


 

 

 

 

 

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