ON BAD DAYS, a music scene can be a dark, treacherous forest populated with giant, soulless spiders, toxic flowers, cowardly but poisonous snakes, and fallen, martyred heroes. Positivity and proactive evolution, then, are paramount to making all this trying and sweating worthwhile. Fight the malaise through honest productivity; it's an ancient remedy—one of the best.
Local PR guy Matt Wright and Holocene owners Scott MacLean and Jarkko Cain are doing just that as they launch their new record label, Holocene Music, which celebrates its first release, It's Importland to Me to Be One Step Further Than One Step Beyond: Holocene Remix Compilation, Vol. 1, on Thursday. This is just the first step in what Wright says is a mission to connect Portland artists "to the national and international music community."
How did this whole thing start?
MACLEAN: I got the idea for the compilation on a road trip over the holidays last year. At that point there was no real intention of starting a label, though it was definitely in the back of my mind. Along the way, as we were developing the comp, asking for submissions, etc., sometime around our second anniversary party, there was a great feeling of momentum and it felt right to carry that momentum forward into a physical media outlet.
The idea for the label from the outset was that, besides releasing all high-quality music that we were personal fans of, that we would start with 12-inches of the up-tempo variety which would have a warm home in the halls of Holocene, the venue. Music that we like to hear played at Holocene dance nights. Further, we would attempt to bring artists together that normally wouldn't collaborate together.
What do you guys have coming in the future?
MACLEAN: We have 12-inches by Copy, Swan Island, and Strategy, all with remixes, and we're "talking" to a few bands/artists about full-length releases.
Will the label do anything that others don't?
WRIGHT: To me a lot of that has to do with the approach we take to it. We have strong ties to both the electronic/dance world (Kompakt, Safety Scissors, Ellen Allien, etc.) as well as strong ties to all the awesome indie/DIY stuff going on right now. Hopefully that means we can bring music from one sphere to the other and create collaborations that might not happen otherwise. We're certainly not the only ones exploring that intersection right now, but hopefully we can help push it a little bit further into the unknown. I mean, what would it sound like if Superpitcher remixed Swan Island? I'm not sure, but I'd like to hear it. That said, not all of our releases will be collaborative in nature. We're also interested in the idea of presenting something in its pure form, but recontextualized by the fact that the previous release might have been something radically different.
The Blow, Copy, the Kingdom, Blitzen Trapper, and more play at the launch party.