INTERVIEW: Allison Dore on Launching Her Female-Centric Comedy Label, Howl & Roar Records
Hi Allison, thank you so much for talking to Defective Geeks! We are also a female centric website! Please tell us more about Howl & Roar Records and what inspired you to start this record label.
Thank you so much for inviting me!
When I started hosting and curating a weekly radio show celebrating women in comedy, I realized that women just aren’t releasing content at the same rate as their male counterparts. Even proportionally speaking. So, I thought back to all the challenges and issues I faced when I recorded my album and realized that with all the contacts I have made in my 5+ years in radio, plus my 17 years as a comedian, I am in a unique position to make it easy for people to record. As well, here in Canada we really devalue our artists unless they find success elsewhere, so I wanted to create a place where comics felt valued.
Why do you think female comedians are often overlooked or underrepresented? How do you hope to help them with Howl & Roar Records?
There are so many things that go into it, but one big one is how we think about being funny. Most women have a story about being approached after the show by an audience member and having them say “I don’t usually think women are funny, but you’re so funny!” I have had both men and women say it to me. There is still this subconscious idea floating around that women just aren’t funny. With bookers and club owners, they often feel that an all-female line up is a “specialty” show, whereas an all-male line up is common place. So, there are these deeply rooted ideas that affect how we look at women in the industry that are difficult to change and can be discouraging for newcomers in the industry.
What has been the most rewarding part of working on launching this record label for you? What kind of challenges do you foresee?
Having people excited about Howl & Roar and being interested to work with me has been so amazing. Everyone who has played a role in building this label has not only brought their expertise but also their enthusiasm and support, and I couldn’t ask for more. A couple of comedians approached me when they heard I might be starting a label, and asked if they could work with me, and I was so honored.
The challenges are the same as any new business I think. No matter how hard you plan, unexpected obstacles are going to pop up, and you’ve got to find a way to roll with the punches. Another tricky issue is keeping people involved and excited….as I am thinking about the challenges I am imagining more and more of them. I think to be as prepared as possible without getting lost in the “What ifs?” is key. So, I’m going to take each challenge as it comes, and find a way to make it work!
Do you already have albums lined up? If so, what kind of albums can we look forward to? Where will they be available?
Our official launch and first album recording is on September 19th, 2018 in Toronto. Kate Davis is one of Canada’s great headliners, and through some recording misfortunes hasn’t yet released an album, which must be rectified! We’ll be doing one or two recordings a month for the rest of 2018. Although we are a female centric label, no one is excluded, and we want to make sure we support LGBTQ+ performers as well. In November, we head to Ottawa to record Kyle Brownrigg, who is having a breakout year. We are also doing EP recordings, for comics who are feature performers that haven’t yet made the leap to headliner but have great material that should be out there! And in December we’re doing our first sketch album, a hilarious slam poetry duo.
Albums will be available on all streaming sites, iTunes, the Google store, and on our website HowlAndRoarRecords.com.
Tell us about your personal journey as a creative and entertainer. Who or what inspired you the most along the way?
It has been a long and winding road! Two people immediately come to mind. My brother is my greatest supporter and one of the funniest comedians out there. He is unabashedly silly- which I think is so important to creativity- and he’s not afraid to try really crazy, outside the box things on stage. He also treats everyone with kindness and respect and makes sure he shows his appreciation to every member of the team, which is so important.
The other person who constantly inspires my life though I never met her, is Dr. Maya Angelou. She is someone who raised the bar for herself before others, and truly lead by example. I let the quote “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” guide my life.
What kind of advice do you give young comedians these days?
That there is room for everyone. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if someone gets something– a gig, a festival, a writing job– that it somehow takes away from you. Or that it means you aren’t as good or aren’t getting what you deserve. The more we support and lift each other up, the more space we make for success. It sounds trite, but I truly believe that.
I LOVE TALKING! My entertainment talk show The Breakdown is heard on SiriusXM channel 167, from 2-5pm ET Monday to Friday. My weekly show celebrating women in comedy is called Allison Dore’s BroadCast, Tuesdays at 8pm ET on SiriusXM channel 168. And my podcast is called Digging In, and can be found at diggingin.libsyn.com.
Now for the most important question: if you could have a single super power, which will it be and would you use it for good or evil?
Definitely reading people’s minds! And I want to say I would use it for good, but let’s be real– at best I would use it for both good AND evil.