Tuesday, December 14, 2010
True Womanhood continues our very last TVD Takeover Week ever:
Since this is a vinyl themed blog, we wanted to highlight people involved in many aspects of creating a record. Over the week you’ll see features focusing on not only bands but also engineers, producers, and today, a record label.
Lio Kanine is the founder of Kanine Records, of Brooklyn, NYC. When we were thinking of who we’d like to highlight in our takeover feature, Lio was one of the first people we thought of -- he’s put out records with a lot of our friends’ bands and we consistently hear great things about him and his work. His label, only begun in 2002, is responsible for putting out Grizzly Bear’s first album as well as the likes of Chairlift, Oxford Collapse, and the Depreciation Guild. In 2010, they released the Surfer Blood LP, "Astro Coast" which has quickly become a best seller. Be sure to check out the Kanine Records store here for all your vinyl (and other) needs.
Growing up in DC, we were privileged enough to see firsthand one of the great American independent record labels in action. What are some of your favorite independent labels past and present and do you think any one in particular has helped shape the way you run Kanine?
We are big fans of indie labels like: Creation Records, Rough Trade, Sarah Records, Slumberland, 4AD, Beggars, Domino, Wax Trax, Dischord, SST, and Polyvinyl. Really labels that went for it and did their own thing. Didn't care what others were doing. Just went out there to put records that they loved and worked them their own way.
I am heavily influenced by Creation Records the most out of any label. I have always been a huge fan of what Alan McGee did with his label. I've read all his autobiographies, bought all of his records, and looked into what he was doing. He is one crazy dude that just loves music and does what he wants. I love that. He often had to work multiple jobs just to get more enough money to keep the label going. That is pure dedication. In the beginning I was often working like 5 jobs to raise enough money for Kanine, to keep it going and continue to build our little dream. That often lead to only a couple hours a day of sleep for weeks at a time, but well worth all of the hard work.
Much has been made of the death of CD and the resurgence of vinyl. In our experience as a band, we still see a lot of people buying CDs at shows. You are in a pretty unique position to offer insight on this so we were wondering, how do vinyl sales compare with CDs or downloads at Kanine? Which is your favorite medium?
Vinyl sales are still only about 10% of our business. CDs still out sell vinyl for normal touring bands. It’s the bands that don't tour much that don't sell CDs. Digital out sells everything. Its becoming about 60% of our business, so that would leave CDs at 30% of our business.
CDs are just an old format but still are valuable in the sense as people like things that are easy and its super easy to just pop it into your car stereo or home stereo to listen to. A lot of people dont see the value of paying $9.99 for album download when you can buy the cd for $10 at a show.
Vinyl is my favorite medium and the only one that I personally buy. I am a vinyl junkie and collect a ton of vinyl.
You seem to have a really eclectic lineup. Whereas certain labels (including DC labels like Slumberland, Dischord and Paw Tracks) seem to be aiming for a very specific sound, Kanine is a little harder to define. What do you see as the common thread between the bands on your roster?
When I first started the label, we signed bands mainly from the NY area. A certain sound wasn't the main factor. Just a good indie and DIY attitude is what we were looking for. As long as they were playing something prevalent that we loved and they wanted to work hard.
In the past 3 years, I've more been into signing bands that have a past 90's indie sound. As that was and still is my favorite era of music. My favorite styles of music are: Shoegaze, Twee, and Indie pop.
I'm way open to multiple styles of music though, but now want to stay in this main area of sound for a bit.
Fellow NYC label, True Panther, recently was bought by Matador Records, another very large independent label. What are your thoughts on this and could you ever see Kanine in a similar situation?
Never say never, but for now we are happy with being completely independent. We've had offers, but felt that having someone else buy us and control us, would ruin the aesthetic of the label.
What are Kanine’s plans for 2011 - any new releases coming up soon? Who are the bands we should be looking out for?
Yep lots of rad stuff coming up on Kanine Records:
Jan. 18, 2011
Young Prisms "Friends For Now"
Braids "Native Speaker"
Feb. 15, 2011
Dream Diary "You Are The Beat"
April 19, 2011
Xray Eyeballs "Not Nothing"
We Are Country Mice "TBA"
Viernes "TBA" EP
Surfer Blood "TBA" EP
Eternal Summers "TBA" EP
Pepper Rabbit "TBA" LP
Have you had any good musical experiences in DC? Any favorite record stores or hangouts?
I met Ian from Fugazi/Dischord in Crooked Beat. That totally blew my mind. He was showing me some German Minor Threat imports and we rapped about the industry for awhile. That totally blew my mind and I was super stoked. He was a super rad dude.
Posted by Jon at 9:22 AM