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Indie Label Roundtable #5 – Asura Revolver / Flag Day Recordings / Dead Definition

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Dead Definition

Contents

Dead Definition

What made you start a label?

I’ve worked in many capacities on many different types of music projects over the years. Performance, composition, concert promotion, recording.

At some point I released some splits I made with friends on cassette. Helping connect people I didn’t know to sounds made by friends hit me as a tremendously worthwhile endeavor, along with the appeal of curating music I believed in. I helped other friends with releases, and things kind of slowly expanded outside of my immediate creative circle into something bigger.


What are some of the challenges you see as a label owner?

Forgetting why you’re doing it. It’s a passion project, for sure. Personal reminders are paramount; you have to remember that culture work is important labor worth every unpaid hour you put into it. Managing expectations, both your own and those of others.

The press game is a struggle, and there are so many variables that go into creating physical media that you have to be along for the ride and remain present, not letting the rough spots stop you from finishing through with something even if you think it could have glimmered more than the end result.


What is your take on Spotify and streaming services?

It’s difficult. For the most part it seams that these companies are horrible. They’ve kind of augmented the surplus value of musicians’ labor, compensating creators virtually nothing even though their work generates wealth for these companies.

But I don’t see anything wrong with reaching a few new listeners who wouldn’t have otherwise found out about an artist I’m working with because I chose to put a record up on Spotify. At the end of the day, it’s about reaching individuals who are genuinely impacted by our music. I have misgivings about the business practices behind it, but as a super small indie imprint I think we’ve only benefited from playing the streaming game. At least up until this point.


Is there a specific focus as far as genres or local/regional aspect of music you’re releasing?

Yes, though it’s going to seem super general. We started with drone and ambient music made by folks along the East Coast. It grew to include the work of multi-media performance groups and modern dance ensembles. Kind of neo-classical and minimalism, post-rock and instrumental. Then into that mix we introduced some avant-folk and punk. We’re based in Philadelphia and the DIY scene here is incredible. It’s young, it’s inclusive, and it’s producing a lot of great music. Music is a social art form, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of the city’s music life right now. In short, thoughtful experimental music from around the world and Philly’s next wave.

We’re based in Philadelphia and the DIY scene here is incredible. It’s young, it’s inclusive, and it’s producing a lot of great music. Music is a social art form, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of the city’s music life right now. In short, thoughtful experimental music from around the world and Philly’s next wave.


Do you believe that music could bring about social change?

Where music makes a very concrete, palpable impact is the space where it’s created. Philly’s DIY scene is glorious, and part of this is because of the welcoming venues that pop up here. The world is really shitty and scary, but you look at places like these and you see folks creating small worlds that presage better, less destructive, more desirable futures. And that’s really fucking cool and worthwhile. Music makes it happen.

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