Anthony Cianchetta and Marcus Vandeyacht had just entered Belmont as freshman audio engineering majors when they decided to start their own label out of Cianchetta’s Pembroke Hall dorm room.
Started in February of 2016, Mind Flight Records currently boasts a roster of several artists and a custom home studio — but it all started from a simple observation.
“People in Pembroke saw all these musicians coming in and out of our rooms,” said Cianchetta. “They joked that we had our own little record label and we realized that was a good idea.”
The label’s first songs were recorded in Cianchetta’s makeshift dorm room studio. Belmont artists would step into the isolation booth — a blanket hanging from the wall — and record their songs with the fledgling label. However, artists like Emma Shilliday recognized the duo’s drive and talent from the beginning.
Shilliday was the label’s first signed artist and started work on her EP with Cianchetta shortly into their freshman year.
“My experience crafting my EP with Mind Flight was incredible,” said Shilliday. “Anthony and I collaborated for a little under a year and produced a body of work that I felt really showcased who I am as an artist. It was an absolute blast and I can’t wait to work with them again.”
Mind Flight now has a quickly growing roster of artists consisting mostly of current or former Belmont students.
Additionally, Mind Flight recently underwent a serious studio upgrade. In the summer of 2016, Vandeyacht and his father worked for months constructing a custom home studio the label is now using for recording artists both signed and unsigned.
“We spent half the summer prepping,” said Vandeyacht. “I have 50 pages of drawings and designs and ideas because neither of us had ever built a studio before. But we did a ton of research like what frequencies are stopped by what density of foam and a million other details we had to figure out and it payed off.”
“Really knowing an artist’s sound is knowing what the artist listens to and what has influenced their sound,” said Cianchetta. “I try to know the artist’s intent without them needing to say it — to me, that makes good production.”
A big part of this is accomplished by focusing on lyrics, Cianchetta said.
“I’m inspired by producers who start by looking only at the lyrics to a song. The mix and production should bring out emotion and purpose and I think that translates really well when you take the time to understand what the song is about,” said Cianchetta.
Mind Flight doesn’t restrict artists based on genre, but they are not willing to work with just anyone.
“I look for artists who are more than just proactive about their music,” said Vandeyacht. “I like to see someone with a hunger and desire to be better and that goes beyond any genre. If they have the passion and the hunger we can learn together.”
This philosophy is even evident in the label’s name, which came from a Plato quote that reads, “Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything.”
Both owners have taken this quote to heart in their business partnership.
“I think we work so well together because we can really sit down and work hard on our music,” said Vandeyacht. “Anthony and I inspire each other musically and in terms of work ethic. If I hear him working on a song in the next room, I usually start working on one too. We inspire and push each other to be better. We really try to set goals and act as accountability partners for each other.”
As for keeping that business going, Vandeyacht has simple advice.
“A business partnership really is like a marriage,” Vandeyacht said. “You should never go to bed with an angry heart.”
Photos courtesy of Mind Flight Records