Interview by Paul D Houston
Operating out of both Los Angeles and New York City, DAIS RECORDS can take the pulse of modern music at any moment. Their roster features a plethora of fresh new talent, who work in the realms of the avant-garde, noise, punk, dark electronica and beyond, but they do more than just work with new and modern bands. They are also home to a wide variety of re-releases from legendary bands like, COIL, PSYCHIC TV, MERZBOW and more. If you know anything about those bands, you might understand what DAIS RECORDS is all about.
Born in 2007 by friends Gibby Miller and Ryan Martin, DAIS RECORDS steadily assembled an impressive roster of talented musicians over the next decade plus. A quick perusal of their label's roster, reveals a successful and thriving community of quality music and a healthy amount of renowned re-issues from underground greats of the past.
Gibby Miller, co-owner of DAIS was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the label and what they are trying to achieve.
The name of your label, DAIS, where does that come from?
I thought it was a lovely word. A "dais" is a raised platform or plinth, to elevate a speaker, person, or object. It felt in-line with our mission which was to find and release special things. I ran it by Ryan (Martin, co-owner) and he really liked it! So that was that. It just felt perfect to us both.
How did the DAIS RECORDS style come to be? Was it an angle you wanted right from the start, or was it something that developed more organically?
Completely organic, and largely shaped by the artists we sought out and by the artists we attracted. We didn't intentionally hammer out a specific vibe, that aesthetic just evolved over time based on the tone of our projects.
So when choosing new bands to work with, what exactly do you look for?
We have to all love it. When we get turned on to a new project or come across something we feel is special, everyone at Dais has a listen and shares thoughts. If we are all on board and if schedule permits, we try to collaborate. As you can imagine we hear some incredible stuff, and the most frustrating part of running a label is that there is only so much time in a year, and only so much we can do at once. More people should start labels and help us out! There's some amazing stuff out there worthy of release!
I see a lot of the bands you work with, do extensive touring, is that something you push or was it a requirement you wanted to see when deciding to work with a new band? We dont have requirements or necessarily push anything. We are pretty hands off and tend to let our artists lead. We offer support and ideas when and where appropriate. Touring is among the best ways to share your music to the most people effectively, but we work with plenty of artists who are solely studio musicians, or who play live very rarely. The music is the most important thing for us. You have a very solid catalog with re-releasing material that had gone out of print, what sparked the idea of doing re-issues or re-releases of older material? And how did you come to work with giants like Psychic TV, Coil and William Burroughs? Ryan has worked closely with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge for over a decade, and is tightly integrated with New York's art and underground music communities. Our first release was an edition of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge's "Early Worm", a previously unreleased recording that predated Gen's COUM TRANSMISSIONS and THROBBING GRISTLE days. We always knew reissues were going to be an important part of our story, as we find there are parallels between the past and the present - of course. A large drive to start the label was to create objects that we ourselves wanted to own!
We continued working with Gen (and PTV3's Edward O'Dowd) on specific PTV releases, we became friends with (and released music by) Drew McDowall which led to the incredible Coil projects, and Ryan worked very hard with the WSB (William S. Burroughs) estate to reissue the Burroughs stuff. We are constantly digging, communicating, and discussing what reissue projects would work well. It's always fun and fulfilling, both as an endeavor and as a final product. We've made great friends along the way!
How is the market for the re-issued stuff? Is it selling to younger audiences or still just to dudes like me, 40+ years old, who were there through Psychic TV and Coils heyday and loving everything they released?
We hope our reissues allow old fans to own something that may have previously been out of reach due to rarity or cost, and also expose new music-lovers to something they may not have heard before.
ALLEGORY & SELF by PSYCHIC TV, was an album, my friends and I would play constantly. The original record with the amazing artwork, seen above was a real treat too. A really gorgeous record in person. - Paul
Do you work with a distributor? And if so, who are they and what’s the process like between you all? We are exclusively distributed by Secretly Distribution, who are incredibly organized and professional. Amazing company, amazing people.
When promoting your new releases, could you share a few details and how important is the bands effort in the promotion process? Some bands and artists really love social media and and are excellent at self-promotion, and some don't or just dont have the time. As a label we understand our job is to provide as much room as possible for the artist to focus on their music and creativity, so we do our best to collaborate on publicity and come up with a fun plan for each release way in advance. The artist is welcome to participate as much as they wish. We work with an amazing group of publicists and love our team. Social Media and the internet have created some great tools for self-promotion, and with smart phones - it's amazing. The fact that I can go on instagram and see videos and photos from one of our artists shows 3000 miles away an hour after it happened, reshare, tag, and thank the photographer... thats amazing! Bottom line is communication and synergy. What’s coming up in the near future for DAIS RECORDS?
Re-presses of old Dais catalog, some new artists, some surprises, an exciting 2020, and (hopefully) time to take a nap somewhere along the way!!
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Here are a few of DAIS RECORDS upcoming releases, preview em below and let Dais know what you think in the comments section below!