Exclusive video premiere: Watch the video for Calgary duo Mister & Mystic’s new song All the Way

There’s one simple reason Matt Olah started up an independent record label.

“Masochism,” he says, sitting on the patio of Inglewood pub The Hose and Hound. “I like suffering.”

Actually, it’s kind of the opposite of that.

If he truly was a masochist he might still be a part of longtime local band Cowpuncher, who gigged hard and slogged it out for a decade, coming close — their last album Hustle was one of the finest rock records to come out of this city in the past decade — but never quite hitting the heights they should have, finally disbanding earlier this year.

“So, when we put Cowpuncher to sleep, it was just a natural thing, ‘OK, well, why don’t we help other bands that want to do this horrible thing with their lives?’ ”

So he and fellow former ’Puncher Ryan Kelly started up Soaring Eagle Records.

It actually takes its name from the fake label his past band made up for when they were applying for festival and grant applications.

Olah, Kelly and a pair of advisors are looking forward to helping acts and artists navigate their way through the swamp that is the music business and thinks all that Cowpuncher went through — as well as his current position as marketing manager for the Calgary Folk Music Festival — make him infinitely qualified to guide and offer advice to the up-and-coming.

“Both artist experience and industry experience are a little harder to come by,” he notes.

Acts that Soaring Eagle is currently working with include local acts Mister & Mystic, Jason Famous and Le Fame, Todd Stewart fro Northern Beauties, and Sinzere. All of them will perform this Friday night at Festival Hall for the We Are the Wind: Soaring Eagle Records Showcase.

It will also double as the release party for the first EP on the label from Mister & Mystic, the duo of Kat Westermann and Matthew Spreen.

“I really like what they’re doing. I like the focus on Kat’s vocals and writing and what she’s doing with Matt,” Olah says of the new project from members of Calgary band The Heirlooms, describing their sound as having “a post-hippie era Edie Brickell thing going on with some Cat Power vibes.”

(You can watch below to the exclusive premiere of their first video for the song All the Way.)

In fact, liking is probably the biggest thing that Soaring Eagle will look for when it comes to the bands they work with in the future — and not necessarily Alberta-based artists.

Masochism aside, that’s the biggest reason he’s doing this, to help promote artists he believes in and protect them from what he knows is out there waiting them.

“It’s my personal declaration of war against what labels actually are a lot of the time, which is a shitty bank that takes advantage of vulnerable people,” he says of the label. “And those vulnerable people are artists and they’re poor and they work hard and sometimes they don’t know how the business world works and they’re easily taken advantage of.

“I want to help artists I like, who are friends, make the most of their careers. I want to help them do that.”

Soaring Eagle: We are the Wind, a showcase of emerging Calgary talent, takes place Friday at Festival Hall and features Mister & Mystic,’ Todd Stewart, Jason Famous and Le Fame, and Sinzere.