A new country music label is recruiting and promoting anti-woke artists, launched by the young founder of The Post-Millennial. Matthew Azrieli, who is also a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, started Baste Records to promote talented country singers who are struggling to survive in the mainstream music business due to their right-leaning political and cultural views. He’s brought on talent like Chris Wallin, a singer and songwriter who has written music for some of the biggest country stars, including Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks, and Trace Adkins.
Azrieli told The Arizona Sun Times that he started Baste Records because music is a passion. He wanted to “provide a healthy outlet for conservatives, instead of just complaining.” Baste Records intends to appeal to a certain niche, the center-right, instead of attempting to have a broad appeal that risks alienating factions.
He pointed out Netflix is an example of an entertainment company that is engaging in the latter, angering both conservatives and the transgender community, causing it to lose market share. He said, “Cultural and political identities are driving entertainment media.”
Baste Records is working with experienced musicians, recruiting some of the best in the industry to ensure maximum success. Azrieli is building a cultural infrastructure to assist the musicians that will include touring and media appearances, “a space for artists to live in.” They’ll be “fellow travelers” who can reach out to each other within the network. He told The Sun Times, “They’ll actually be able to say ‘God’ in a song, talk about a woman or a man.”
Azrieli, an Orthodox Jew from Montreal, said he didn’t grow up with conservative parents. However, he moved to the right, identifying as a social conservative as well, seeing what he saw as a “benevolent cult” on the left that was becoming “tyrannical and destructive.”
He said the left is “all about themselves,” pointing to Sweden’s left-leaning society as an example. He said the government taxes people to pay for all expansive benefits for parents who have children, yet people there aren’t even bothering to take advantage of it and have lots of children.
Azrieli views “secular and progressive politics as one single thing.”
In contrast, he views those on the right as “co-religionists,” even if it just means “a disbelief in the progressives.”
Both artists started writing music at a young age. Azrieli composed alternative folk at the age of 15, featuring yearning songs like Chloe about girls he’d dated.
Wallin grew up in the country music world; his mother sang, and the family lived on top of a Honky Tonk bar in downtown Nashville.
There were times when they had no running water and used an outhouse. He remembers a story when his mother was too poor to afford a dress for church, and the deacons, who were all related to her, took her aside and scolded her.
His mother reacted, “You cannot tell me that God cares about what I wear as long as my knees hit the ground.”
Wallin ended up writing a drinking song for Chesney. Wallin’s music includes the energetic Barn Burns Down.
Azrieli loves history, and said he notices parallels today to the 1930s, when the Stalinists cozied up to the liberals, referring to them as “fellow travelers” and “social fascists.” He cited the book The Red Decade by journalist Eugene Lyons, which chronicled the rise of Stalinism in the U.S. until its split with the Nazis. He relayed how many of the liberals at the time were unaware what was happening “since they were so adept at disguising the ideology,” like Eleanor Roosevelt, who gave speeches at Stalinesque events.
Azrieli said one thing the left is good at is having an end in mind, unlike conservatives who merely want to keep the status quo. He pointed out how the Stalinists pretended their goals were fighting the Spanish Civil War and the conflict with the Chinese.
Another purpose of the record label is to provide production music to film studios and political campaigns, Azrieli said. He explained how if he can acquire just one to two percent of the publishing rights to a song, he has considerable access. After a song has been recorded, anyone can recut it as long as they pay the correct royalties. He said artists get rights to the particular recording, whereas master royalties provide far more benefits. Wallin pointed out that “hedge fund guys” are now buying full catalogs to get these rights.
The Sun Times asked Azrieli how he was able to make The Millennial into such a success so quickly. He started the site in 2017 and sold it last April. He said it was a combination of hiring “really good people,” being a “master delegator,” and finding excellent writers who would provide articles free or at a very low cost. He and his founding partner put in $100 each to start the site and received a small amount of money for advertising.
Azrieli is fairly positive the label will be a success because the time is right for it.
His philosophy is, “You build your business based on what you believe. If the world needs your business to have a future, then your business will have a future — no matter how long the odds are.”
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Chris Wallin” by Chris Wallin.