The company will house two new labels, Skytone and Selectric.

Veteran musicians/entrepreneurs John and Dino Elefante are partnering with Weston Entertainment’s Greg Weston to start 3.1 Productions, Billboard has learned. The company will house two new labels, Skytone and Selectric.

John Elefante was a member of classic rock band Kansas from 1981-86 before he embarked on a solo career in Christian music. But the real news for 3.1 will be a three-pronged distribution strategy designed to serve the specific marketing needs of the labels’ artists.

Provident-Integrity Distribution will handle the Christian Booksellers Assn. market. A deal with a major distributor for the mainstream market was being finalized at deadline and is expected to be announced soon.

The third prong in the Elefantes’ strategy is their existing Deep Music Distribution operation, which will focus on distributing the labels’ developing acts in the mainstream and Christian markets. Franklin, Tenn.-based Deep works exclusively with indie acts and indie labels, including Executive Music, Syntax Records and Face Down Records.

David Bach, most recently VP of A&R at Reunion Records, has been tapped to head the label side of the company.

The Selectric roster includes Christian rock acts such as Monday Morning, Homeless J and Cross Culture. The label’s first release, due Aug. 30, will be from Monday Morning, a new group that Dino Elefante compares to Velvet Revolver.

Skytone will house the company’s adult contemporary-oriented acts. Texas worship leader Andrea Webber will make her bow on the label in February.

John Elefante will issue a new project on Skytone in November. The set, “Now and Then,” will reprise previous hits and include new material. It will be his first release as an artist since “Defying Gravity,” which was issued in 2001 on Pamplin Entertainment. (Dino Elefante is a former executive VP of A&R at Pamplin.)
The Elefantes say they started 3.1 Productions to give talented, faith-based bands a route to mainstream consumers.

“We’ve been getting interest from the majors in New York and L.A. about wanting to get into the whole Christian rock scene,” Dino says.

John sees the barriers between mainstream rock and Christian rock starting to crumble. “Thanks to the P.O.D.s, Switchfoots and Chevelles, the wall is not up as high anymore,” he says. “The wall is now only about three feet high, and it used to be 30 feet high.”
The Elefantes met Weston through a mutual friend and sold him their successful recording studio, the Franklin, Tenn.-based Sound Kitchen, in August 2003. The brothers had run the studio for a decade.

Weston, who is based in San Antonio, has extensive holdings in real estate and the hospitality industry. The Elefantes are now partners with the Texas businessman in Weston Entertainment which, in addition to 3.1 Productions, includes Deep Music Distribution, and Street Launch, a marketing operation.

Other members of the 3.1 staff include former ForeFront employee Jenny Catron, who is heading the creative department. Marc Theodosian will head marketing/merchandising efforts, and his wife, Recah Theodosian, will handle marketing and publicity. Independent public relations firm Savvy Media has also been retained.

Characterizing the deal with Provident-Integrity as “long-term,” Dino says that Provident Music Group chief Terry Hemmings has been extremely supportive of the new venture. “He has really gotten our vision and been a great partner,” he says.