Just as a recap, the Record Label Spotlight series will focus on the dedicated people at work behind the scenes of our favorite records and bands - the ones out there discovering new music and finding a way to bring that music to us - the record labels. Believe it or not, there are some labels that are still honest, passionate, and fair to their artists. The Force is strong with them. These are the labels When The Sun Hits want you to know about.
Record Label Spotlights include an interview with the label, tons of information about the bands on the label (including in depth spotlights on 5 bands on the label), videos, links, photos, resources, and a FREE downloadable mini sampler put together exclusively for When The Sun Hits readers by the record label (downloads are in mp3 format). In short: It's a win.
And so without further ado, we present to you The Awesome.
1. How did XD Records get its start?
I started XD Records with a long time partner of mine named Dean Garcia. We came up with the concept of the label to get everything out and going from our own projects and many releases from other like minded artists. We originally came up with the name from an email that Dean signed off as "XD" (hugs, Dean), and it just sorta stuck... it happened to be the email where we were throwing around name ideas and immediately got an email back going "That's the name... it has to be it... XD" .. and I loved it.. it just fit somehow.
2. Would you consider XD Records to be a shoegaze and/or dream pop oriented record label?
I would say yes and no. We have some artists that are very Shoegaze orientated and bringing that sound along with more Dream Pop-esque type music to the table. I feel that the label overall is Shoegaze, Electronica, Darkwave, Dreampop and experimental, and anything with that sort of noisy twist. Curve was one of Dean's main acts from the 90's and you can hear some of that in his music too, of course, but I feel it is in a whole new light that is very modern and up to date, especially acts like SPC ECO and Morpheme. We will be releasing the first release this fall which is Morpheme's debut full length and is featuring some very special guest appearances .. they really have something that is unique. We release everything from Trip Hop, to Shoegaze, to Ambient and pretty much anything in between... any of the type of music that people can just get lost in or can strike a chord with their emotions.
3. How do you choose the bands that are to be represented by your label? Is there a specific sound you are looking for?
We are looking for the sounds I was just talking about overall, but always open to hear what an act can bring about. As you know there are a few acts that Dean is involved directly with (SPC ECO, Morpheme) and myself (Crying Vessel), but we have some other artists such as Bloody Knives (http://bloodyknives.bandcamp.com/) that are just out of this world original and refreshing... they are really paving their own way in the scene and we are excited to have them as part of the XD Records family. We also have Music for Headphones which is such an organic approach on music and will fit nicely on vinyl in the new year.
4. Who are the 5 most recent shoegaze/dream pop acts to be represented by XD Records?
Bloody Knives - http://bloodyknives.bandcamp.com/
SPC ECO - http://spceco.bandcamp.com/
Morpheme - http://themorpheme.bandcamp.com/
Crying Vessel - http://www.facebook.com/cryingvessel
Lightfoils - http://www.facebook.com/Lightfoils
Music For Headphones - http://www.facebook.com/musicforheadphones
bliss.city.east - http://www.facebook.com/bliss.city.east
(for all other artists) - http://www.xdrecords.net/
5. What do you think of the modern shoegaze/dream pop scene?
It is coming back full steam. It never really fully died out, but was just abandoned for a bit. There are so many noisy acts coming back around that are just really doing it...not only noisy shoegaze type but the whole darker, emotional realm of things. I think people are tired of the poppy nonsense that is just everywhere...they need that escape. Something a little more personal to grow on... something they can just say fuck off to the world and sit back with their headphones on and get lost in. This is all coming back as I said and all of us here at XD pride ourselves at being at the forefront on the way in.
I really enjoy lots of acts and labels. Too many to name really. I have always liked what One Little Indian Records do...keeping it real, natural and underground but still hip. I love it.
We have a massive remix EP coming up of Bloody Knives based from their new full length album that will be released in Fall with the album following in early 2012. SPC ECO full length and single release. Crying Vessel full length self-titled debut album. Lightfoils EP. Morpheme have a big release coming up on XD too with (as I said and cant seem to say it enough) VERY special guest appearances that we will announce soon. We are also looking to release this really wicked act called Music For Headphones in the new year to Spring time.. just some amazing works from him so keep an eye out! Alongside all of this, most of the bands are out touring currently and loads of these bands merch will be set up in the XD RECORDS SHOP on http://www.xdrecords.net/
8. What is your goal for XD Records?
We want to bring you music that we enjoy too. Music that is truly straight from each and every single one of us and our own personal approaches and ideas within it all. Something outside the box, not because it is forced to be that way, but because it is meant to be that way.
9. What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?
Live life to the fullest and with no regrets. Always reach for the stars and set high goals for yourself, they will eventually become reality.
5 XD Records Acts You Need To Know.
Morpheme is Dean Garcia (Curve, SPC ECO), Perry Pelonero, and Kim Welsh (both of bliss.city.east and Skylight). We've been hyping Morpheme since Day 1, as the band is comprised of some of our favorite musicians ever AND some very close friends, as well. All three members have a rich musical history, and they all bring something unique to the table; the end result being some dark, powerful gaze. Their most recent release is the Red Dog EP, which kicks a whole lot of ass. The song and video for "Red Dog" was released only last week, and people are already flipped their lids over it, and with good reason. Check out the video below, which is a WTSH fave, featuring a smartly dressed Dean wandering around at night, Kim belting it out while looking way too sexy for her own good, and Perry playing the hell out of his guitar while trying not to get a visible boner while he videos Kim doing her thing. Priceless.
Morpheme. Red Dog.
2) SPC ECO.
SPC ECO, another WTSH fave, is comprised of Dean Garcia, Rose Berlin Garcia, and Joey Levenson, and have been making gorgeous sounds together since 2007. Thus far, the band has only released EPs and singles (every one more stellar than the last), the most recent being their Big Fat World EP, but the band will soon release a full length album via XD Records, which we are all looking forward to with great anticipation. Drooling and jumping up and down are involved. These guys can do no wrong.
SPC ECO. Gone.
3) Crying Vessel.
Crying Vessel is the musical vehicle of Slade Templeton, the owner of XD Records (as you've just learned). Slade has a long history of musical projects, especially in the realm of electronica, and is dedicated to releasing dark, haunting tracks with a shoegaze edge and darkwave teeth. If you like the darker side of gaze, with a bad ass, almost industrial undertone, this is for you. Crying Vessel is a newer love of the blog, and everything we've heard so far has been great. We look forward to hearing a lot more in the future, since a full length is set for a late 2011 release via XD Records.
Crying Vessel. Dreams of a Ghost Town.
4) Bloody Knives.
Our love for Bloody Knives knows no bounds. WTSH has admired them since their very first EP, have featured them many times over the past year (notably Amber & Preston's 4/20 Interview that we are STILL giggling about) so when we heard they were jumping onboard XD Records to release an intense and awesome remix EP based from their upcoming Fall 2011 full length release, we were beyond ecstatic. A 3 piece based in Austin, Texas, these guys create a shoegaze sound that you've NEVER heard before, and likely never will again. Truly visionary, brutal, and talented, Preston Maddox, Jim Moon and Jake McCown put on one of the most powerful live shows we've ever seen. Check out the live video below, recorded just last week in Columbus, Ohio by Kevin Monnier/Flyin Bicycle, and you'll see precisely what we mean.
Bloody Knives. Live at the Big Day In Festival.
Video by Kevin Monnier/Flyin Bicycle.
5) Music for Headphones.
Music For Headphones is the very latest addition to the XD family, and again, we couldn't be more pleased - WTSH adores Music For Headphones. Based in Philadelphia, Music For Headphones is a five-piece dark psychedelic band inspired by 60’ s rock, Krautrock, post-punk, new-wave, shoegaze, and neo-psych featuring the members Jonathan Allen, Greg Kinter, Aaron Aleiner, Phil Watson and Justin Gibbon. Their 2011 release, Life.in.Mono, is definitely one of our top albums of this year, and we can't wait to see what they do via XD Records; they are set to release something with XD in early 2012. Stoked.
Music for Headphones. Drive Motorik.
The XD Records Mini Compilation.
With every WTSH Record Label Spotlight comes a FREE downloadable mini compilation, compiled by the label, just for you, featuring a handful of incredible tracks. Click HERE to download the XD Records Mini Comp for When The Sun Hits, and enjoy it, because it is fucking awesome. The track listing is below. Thank you, XD Records!
1. SPC ECO. Gone.
2. Morpheme. Infection.
3. Music for Headphones. Doctor.
4. Skylight. Bad Kitty (Crying Vessel Remix).
5. The Black Holes. Call Me.