Introducing labels: Devil Town Tapes

We are starting new series where we introduce indie labels. They will recommend 3 releases from their catalog and share 3 things they have learned by running the label.

The next one is with Devil Town Tapes.

3 Albums Various Artists – Welcome To…

This compilation spans the first five artists to release on Devil Town Tapes, with original tracks on Side A and covers of each other’s songs on Side B. This is a very special release to me, with all involved helping to chart the course for the label both sonically and visually. It’s the perfect introduction to Devil Town Tapes.

Snowhore – Everything Tastes Bad

One of the great joys of running the label is being able to introduce listeners to older releases that may have flown under the radar upon being initially released. ‘Everything Tastes Bad’ from Philadelphia three-piece Snowhore is the first reissue we released, and was such a blast to put together. The record travels from the catchiest jangle pop you’ve ever heard all the way to sombre introspective folk, all tied together by singer Veronica Mendez’ raw and entrancing vocals.

Conor Lynch – Fake

Conor has been a big favourite of mine for the longest time, and it’s a real privilege to have been able to work with him on a couple of releases. ‘Fake’ (his first on Devil Town Tapes) encapsulates everything that was great about his previous work, whilst also breaking new ground and pushing into a number of new and unexpected directions. His freewheeling and playful approach to genre is so exciting to me, constantly keeping you on your toes and subverting expectations from track to track.

3 Things I’ve Learned

Make Sure You Do Stuff IRL

I definitely won’t pretend that the internet is a “bad” thing, especially as things like Bandcamp, social media and the ability to release artists from around the world have been tremendously important in terms of finding an audience for Devil Town Tapes far beyond what I could have ever imagined when I started the label. But, for the sake of your sanity, make sure you balance this with doing things in the real world. Make physical objects with whatever means you have (tapes, handmade CDs, photocopied zines), put on gigs, sell tapes at art markets. Real life feedback and being able to actually see and hold the fruits of your labour is especially rewarding and for me personally, even doing something as simple as posting a tape, helps me to feel more connected to and involved in the music community.

Ask For Help and Enjoy Learning

At every stage of the label’s journey, I’ve always drawn on the help of those around me, whether this be closer to home with my partner teaching me how to use Photoshop, or reaching out to other labels for advice online. No-one expects you to know everything and everyone has to start somewhere so don’t be deterred when you hit a wall… learning is part of the fun after all! Don’t be afraid to reach out to folks if you’re feeling lost, and dig around on the internet for helpful resources (this video series by 424 Recording, in particular, was invaluable for me when I started dubbing at home, I highly recommend it!).

Do It on Your Own Terms

There’s no right way to do it. If you want to do a pressing of 2 tapes, do it! If you want to release a 100 track compilation, go for it! As much as possible, I try to make sure all my decisions are dictated by whether the thought of doing it makes me excited, and not driven by obligation. By extension, there are points where I forget Devil Town Tapes exists, and the thought of releasing something is the furthest thing from my mind. This is okay too! Your energy transmits through the work you put out, and if you’re not feeling it and try to force it, it won’t be as good as you want it to be. Establish your own relationship to your work and make sure that it’s always coming from a place of genuine enthusiasm.

Support Devil Town Tapes.