When Sonoma County favorites Sonicbloom disbanded in late 2010 to explore solo projects, former MC and CFO Recordings founder Spencer Williams, aka Spends Quality, seized the opportunity to help keep local hip-hop alive.
Fostering the individual careers of several members of Sonicbloom, CFO Recordings was initially a close-knit family of friends. Signing Sacramento hip-hop heavyweights the CUF as the label’s first major outside talent brought out the company’s long-term potential. “Resuscitating this amazing talent put me into business mode rather than artist mode, which was a really healthy thing for me,” says Williams.
This has been an impressive year for the indie label, currently promoting some 20 individual artists while putting out two full-length albums and a stack of quality singles. “This year was about branding and building the CFO name,” Williams explains. “We put out 16 artist singles this summer, one every Tuesday from May through September.”
Independent labels have long been distinctly progressive in the creative flexibility given to musicians, and Williams acknowledges that his role as label executive is to provide structure for talent that is already there. His greatest limitation is the absence of financial backing.
“You have to take as much responsibility for yourself as possible,” Williams says of the current landscape. “Everybody has got to be an ‘entrepren-artist.’ The limiting factor is really how much artists are willing to do for themselves. That’s where certain artists will separate themselves from others.”
Grateful for years of support, CFO Recordings will host an upcoming night of polished local talent from some of the biggest names in the county. Internet DJ collective CuttyRoutes.tv will be spinning pure vinyl with Brycon and DJ Fossil alongside Santa Rosa rapper Shaya. Former Disflex6 MC Jason the Argonaut, of Good Hip Hop Saturdays at Jasper O’Farrell’s, performs as well, and Rohnert Park natives Distant Relatives will be celebrating their second album, This Changes Everything. Williams’ own Work.Play performs as an MC duo with Spends Quality and former Sonicbloom wordsmith Adam Fission.
For Williams, the show is all about community. “I want to give back to the local cats with a little spotlight on what I’m doing,” he says. “I wanna share this platform with the homies.”