Dais Records a new label simultaneously run out of Los Angeles, CA and Brooklyn, NY by longtime friends Gibby Miller and Ryan Martin. Both being extreme music enthusiasts and obsessive record collectors, the two have created a label that places emphasis on producing both high quality music as well as high quality objects; Dais is truly a collector’s label.
The music released by Dais is somewhat broad ranging, in that they are not only releasing new recordings by contemporary musicians but also placing emphasis on bringing attention to archival recordings, some of which have never really seen a proper release. The first of these being the reissue of one Genesis P-Orridge’s first recordings, “Early Worm”, this will be followed up shortly by Coum Transmission’s “The sound of Porridge Bubbling”. On the new music front Miller and Martin are focusing their energies on a variety of neo-folk recordings and harsh noise.
Ryan Martin: I met Gibby briefly in Boston in the late 90’s, but it wasn’t until late 2002 in New York City that we became close friends. Our common interests and similar mindsets had us become close friends pretty quickly.
Gibby Miller: We lived quite close and hung out at all the same spots, so we began DJing together, trading records and CDRs, and talking about music almost daily. I moved to Los Angeles in 2005 for work, but since then we have maintained strong communication and shared interests, sending new music we discover to one another and talking frequently.
GM: We have both wanted to release records for ages. We always discussed things we'd like to see released or bands that we loved, but I think the pace of our lives and the timing was never quite right. Last summer I wrote a friend at her label this long letter about a band that I absolutely loved and if they would re-release the long-out-of-print album if I helped assemble the pieces - I signed the letter "I should probably just start my own label." At that moment I realized "why not?" and I immediately thought of Ryan. While we still spoke and sent packages of records and collectables frequently, the idea of working together on something like this, sharing the experience and process with such a good friend made the whole idea complete in my mind. I called Ryan to discuss the idea, already knowing his answer - so over the course of two hour long conversations the afternoon of August 25th, 2007 we had already put in place ideas for our first few releases and were excitedly planning.
RM: Well, the challenges are pretty obvious of just not physically being in each other’s presence to work on projects together. It is a lot of phone calls back and forth when it comes to compiling information and input when creating a new release. We have developed a decent system of systematically dealing with projects bi-coastally.
GM: The label definitely brings us closer together as friends - bridging the distance between NY and Los Angeles because we talk so frequently now about schedule and shipping and all of that. Most of our shipping is done out of NY, which results in lower shipping costs to the UK and Europe (great for everyone), and our bi-coastal presence allows us to distribute to shops and contact artists in these areas more easily.
GM: We split our roles appropriately - all decisions on art and artists are mutual. I can't remember ever arguing or disagreeing with Ryan about anything ever - which is a rare and fantastic thing when you're working together on something like this - I deal with bands, design, printing, pressing, etc.
RM: I think we initially planned on having specific roles within the label, to best split responsibility equally. But quickly realized that things don’t naturally work in that way. I handle a lot of the PR, handling orders, mastering. But each one crosses over into the other and offers their input into everything we put our hands on, along with all the artist’s ideas and input as well.
GM: As the archivist to Genesis P-Orridge and the Porridge With Everything Archives, Ryan also handles all of the delicate mastering of old tapes and the preparation for these special releases.
RM: Gibby came up with the name and logo. It seemed a nice, simple
name for a label that releases records of solid integrity and of an interesting nature, in which people take notice of.
GM: A dais (pronounced Day-iss) is a raised platform reserved for something important, dignified, special. Examples would be a raised podium platform on a stage for a speaker or speakers, the raised step where thrones would be in a king's hall, or the stepped platform that competitors stand on when they receive their medals. Dais is a term that has always appealed to me. When I suggested it to Ryan as an idea he immediately felt the same. It just fit and was representative of our goals.
GM: We both knew that we wanted to re-release old material as well as bring new artists to light, and within moments of discussing beginning a label we were really speaking completely in tune about the direction we wanted to take.
GM: The logo is a child's drawing of a coyote - but it is representative of all animals to us. It is also a Wolf, a Raccoon, or a Fox. It is the face of Nature and wild energy and passion. Where I live here in the hills surrounded by Griffith Park in Los Angeles at night all you hear are the howling of the coyotes - hence our well-wishing "greetings and love from the howling hills". There is plenty of howling after dark on the streets of Ryan's town in Brooklyn as well - depending on how late you stay awake... and how well you listen.
GM: Factory Records above all for me - I absolutely fell in love with New Order and Section 25 at a very young age, and from that my passion for design and record collecting grew as a result of Peter Saville's sleeve design and Factory's attention to detail and willingness to embrace dark horses and take chances. The love of post-punk connected me through all of the artists, sounds, and labels I grew to love today - Rough Trade/Creation/Cherry Red/Midnight Music/Flying Nun - Industrial Records, NER/Durtro, Threshold House, Uniton, Some Bizzarre, etc...
RM: For me personally, Industrial Records would be my biggest influence and example on how I structure Dais in my mind. Factory Records would be another example on how we aesthetically approach label structure and design (without buying huge, obnoxious office furniture, of course). Also, a lot of the small early 80’s tape labels influence me a lot when it comes to design and packaging but the list of those labels would be a mile long. As a more recent example, Vinyl-On-Demand would be a label in which I take notice on and would consider a current influence on their design, ideas, back catalog and quality.
GM: Ryan is the archivist to Genesis and he/r archives... I'll let Ryan tell this story. Our ability to release this fantastic material comes down to trust and friendship.
RM: Well, to make a very long and personal story as short as possible… A few years ago, I started working with Genesis P-Orridge, he/r wife Jackie, and Eddie O’Dowd by helping out with website stuff and archive maintenance. Over the course of a few years, we all became very close and personal friends and worked more in depth with research throughout Genesis’ massive and extensive archives. Having access to such a wealth of obscure knowledge and one-of-a-kind documents and artifacts makes it an invaluable resource. For years, I would make mention to Genesis that s/he should really make use of all the recordings/ tapes that are sitting unheard in the archives. I was always given the brush off and the excuse that “no one wants to hear that old stuff” excuse (the same excuse that William S. Burroughs gave Genesis almost 30 years prior upon finally giving Genesis permission to release the Nothing Here But The Recordings sessions on Industrial Records). Finally Genesis gave in and warned me that the recordings were old, dated, and just not good, but said if I wanted to put them out myself…that I had he/r 100% blessing. Upon listening to many hours of reels of tape, I was blown away by what I had heard... and so the story goes.
GM: We are collectors! As such, we love a beautiful record with fun and interesting packaging. A record should be a complete experience inside and out. We try to put everything that we would love about a record into what we release.
RM: One thing that that I know Gibby and I both appreciate as record collectors is attention to the detail of packaging and quality of the record. It is worth the extra couple cents a record to get them pressed at a more reputable pressing plant. It’s worth the extra couple bucks to use a higher quality print press. Makes the record more worth owning and people feel like they are getting something more, because they are. Running a label is a learning experience and with every release we find out about new mastering people and techniques, new printers that offer various printing techniques not typically offered, relationships with the people at the pressing plants, etc… With each release we learn a lot and take that knowledge with us to the next release to make it better quality and a smoother ride as far as production goes.
RM: Gibby does mostly all the technical packaging/ design unless the artist does it themselves.
GM: I handle the layout and preparation and work directly with the printers and press. For the most part, our artists submit the artwork to me and I simply lay it out and suggest ideas to make it interesting at print (such as the matte finish and gold foil lettering on the Cult of Youth LP.) Thee Early Worm record Ryan and I both worked on - using an old photo from a journal of Genesis's dated 1968, and the original "Early Worm" writing from the sleeve of the actual acetate.
GM: We listen to a lot of music every day and continue to dig and explore old sounds. We send lots of material back and forth and are always writing to artists and reaching out to musicians that we love. If something clicks, we hope it falls into place.
GM: This is very tough - but at the moment it would have to be Marc Almond!
RM: I already am releasing stuff by some of my favorite artists…
GM: If we get our wish, we might be doing just that... so I'll have to wait on this one.
RM: I have a list of them, but I keep that list under lock n’ key… but I wouldn’t mind doing a re-issue run of those early Jandek albums, since they are all out of print on vinyl nowadays. Hopefully he will repress those some day.
GM/RM: We are always ready and willing to listen to anything old and new.
GM: Coming up very shortly is the Cold Cave 12" EP... dark minimal synth from Philly. The A-side is this odd 4am bouncy summer anthem - hard to describe but highly addictive, and the B-side contains two heartbreaking tracks with pulsing synths, very danceable beats and deep vocals. Very excited about it!
RM: For the rest of this year we have slated more COUM Transmissions recordings, new full length LP by one of my favorite groups out right now called Awen, vinyl reissue of Robert Turman (ex-NON) classic 1986 cassette entitled “Way Down”, Cold Cave 12” single, full length by Aaron Dilloway, and we’ve just recently agreed to a few other gems to be announced at a later date, everyone loves surprises.
GM: Robin Guthrie and Harold Budd's "After the Night Falls" and "Before the Day Breaks", Tor Lundvall's "Yule", Heartthrob's "Dear Painter Paint Me", and Tim Story's "Buzzle"
RM: Deviation Social, anything on Fag Tapes, new Emeralds album on Hanson Records, Cult of Youth LP, The Wiggins 7”, and Andrew King, at least that’s been my playlist for the past week.
-- Cory Card (27 August, 2008)