I had the opportunity to chat with Allison Dore, the founder of Howl & Roar Records. This female centric comedy label wants to empower and promote underrepresented comedians. Thank you to Allison Dore for answering all of my questions.
Could you tell our readers a little about yourself?
Of course! I am the founder of a comedy record label, Howl & Roar Records, I host a daily entertainment talk radio show on SiriusXM channel 167 (Canada Talks) called ‘The Breakdown’ and I curate a weekly show for the comedy channel (168, Just For Laughs Canada) called Allison Dore’s BroadCast, which is a celebration of women in comedy. I have a corgi named Chili, who is the cutest little boo in the world, and I love story-telling of all kinds. Books, TV shows, movies, podcasts…I want ALL THE STORIES!
How would you describe the label you founded, Howl & Roar Records?
Howl & Roar is a female centric label, which means that 70-80 percent of our focus and content is female based. In the remaining 20-30 percent we give priority to men of colour and/or who are members of the LGBTQ+ community. Initially it was going to be women only, but I am not a big fan of exclusivity in any form, so I made some space for the boys.
What inspired you to create it?
For my show BroadCast I am basically a DJ, but instead of songs I play jokes; and I started getting frustrated when I realized that many women that have been performing for a long time had no content available for me to play. When I thought back to the album I had recorded a few years before, I remembered feeling like I wasn’t ready, like I wasn’t good enough, like I didn’t want to toot my own horn. I remember wishing there was someone who could take care of all the details for me, and that if certain people hadn’t pushed me to do it, I wouldn’t have. I had stopped performing, but still wanted to be a part of the community I had spent so many years in and still loved. And then I realized that all the things I hadn’t wanted to do for my own album I would love to do for other comics. And I’d be good at it. Initially I didn’t intend to start a label, I thought I’d just low key help out some people, but the idea just kept growing until September 19, 2018 when Howl & Roar officially launched.
What have been some of your favorite moments with the label?
Kate Davis has been one of my closest friends for about a decade, and she was long overdue to record an album. Launching Howl & Roar with her album recording last year was extra meaningful for me. I have also felt so much support and appreciation from the comedy community at large, which has brought tears to my eyes at times. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with work and I can forget why I started this label, but when a comedian says “I don’t know if I would have made this album without you” it brings me back to my purpose and energizes me. I love laughing, and getting to work with people who provide that for me – and helping them to share it with others – is amazing.
Could you discuss your Fall lineup and what people can expect?
Oh boy, we’ve got lots of top notch jokes coming your way! And a ton of diversity. On October 24th and 25th Jen Sakato records her debut EP and Gavin Stephens records his latest full length album. On November 20th Brandon Ash-Mohammed and Meg MacKay record their debut EPs, and in December Ian Lynch records his debut album! We need people to come out and laugh, so if anyone is in Toronto you can find tickets on our Facebook page or at our website. Plus we have great albums by Martha Chaves and Marilla Wex coming out in November. It is a very busy time of the year for us.
Do you have an advice for aspiring comedians who fall outside of the mainstream?
There are more niches in comedy than ever before, so there is an audience for everyone out there. The hardest part about comedy can be finding your voice, and I think that can sometimes be easier if you focus on the things that make you unique. Lean in to the fact that you aren’t mainstream.
Where can our readers keep up with you and Howl & Roar online?
We would so appreciate a social media follow @howl_roar, and you can always check out howlandroarrecords.com for information.