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The Deli NYC #55 - Half Waif, NYC MixCon 2018

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The basic point of a record label is simple: use

the master recordings to the advantage of the

artist as much as possible in order for the

artist to be free to write, record and perform.”

ing label: proper artist development and a strong international

network that believes in the quality of our releases and is

ready to prioritize them. You won’t get either if you go DIY.

Both IDLES and Cigarettes After Sex were doing a really good

job of DIY when we signed them: they had taken it as far as

they could on their own. We’ve always been really respectful

of that—we don’t try to change what works for these acts,

we add fuel to it, increase the team and make it even better.

M: Some artists don’t need labels. If they’re not super ambitious

and aren’t going to do a ton of touring and are happy with

doing Bandcamp sales, that’s great and more power to you.

Then you have someone like Frank Ocean who’s on the other

end of the radar and also doesn’t need a label as he has a huge

team that does what a label does. The basic point of a record

label is simple: use the master recordings to the advantage of

the artist as much as they can in order for the artist to be free

to write, record and perform. You need experience to do that.

N: Everyone’s situation is different. You can’t say “better”

or “worse” in blanket terms, artists need to make the best

decisions for themselves at whatever stage of their career

they are in. Do you want to handle everything yourself, or do

you want to spend time making music? Some people can

do both. Most successful acts are successful at delegation.

A: We’re big believers in quality control and in the extra layer of

perspective you get when you (the artist) pass the music along

to your label team and they are able to bring it from like 80% to

100%. It really helps to get another set of ears to pick through

the songs, help bring in a few features, sometimes help work

out who should mix it to get it sounding just right, and work out

art and marketing strategies to package it for the world to discover.

The label is also able to fund this process when needed.

In the future do you see your label focusing on having

artists that represent a variety of genres or specializing

in niche genres? How has this approach differed since

you first started?

A: Fool’s Gold has never been genre-specific. Nick and I are

DJs, we’re both known for a certain eclecticism that is rooted

in hip-hop but reaches a lot of other spaces, and that has always

driven the vision of the label. Kids are more open-minded

than ever. Rap fans listen to Mac DeMarco. We look at it

from a lifestyle point of view much more than a genre.

M: At Captured Tracks we’ve always strived to have a sonically

diverse roster within the broad section of “indie rock.”

When people think of “The Captured Tracks Sound” perhaps

they think of Wild Nothing, DIIV, Beach Fossils and Craft

Spells. That’s okay—because I love that type of music—but

I have to remind them that we also have had Perfect Pussy,

The Soft Moon, Naomi Punk and The Holograms on the label.

I liked what Chris Lombardi from Matador once told me about

the subject. He said, “People always thought of Matador as

Pavement, Guided By Voices, Yo La Tengo… but at the same

time we had Unsane and Pizzicato Five on the roster.”

Z: Partisan Records is growing its roster to be increasingly

varied and we find ourselves looking to fill gaps in some

ways. We’re careful not to chase what genres are selling the

most at any given time and stick to the principles of signing

musicians who are making genuine, honest art.

N: With every year we learn from our past releases, tightening

up the business and getting more selective—there’s so much

good music, but not everything makes sense to put your

time, effort and money behind. It’s all relative but the mission

is the same: you have to be DOPE, regardless of genre. d

16 the deli Summer 2018

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