No Sleep ‘Til Bushwick: Daptone Records
The Daptone Building by Ann Coombs
At a time when industry-wide CD sales are circling the drain, Daptone is thriving in every format, whether it’s CD, vinyl or digital. Sugarman points to the early years when he and Roth were in the trenches, slowly but surely establishing the label as a brand fans could trust. And if the massive turnout at Prospect Park in August was any indication, the label is winning new converts with each new release. Ten years later, does anyone still really believe this is just a faddish “retro” phenomenon?
“Obviously, we’ve worked really hard in developing an identity and we’ve been very careful with it,” Sugarman explains. “To me, the best part of this whole economic downturn is that it shook out all the bullshit. Honestly, it’s gotten much better for us. Every record outsells the one before it and I have to believe that’s because we’ve never compromised. I think you’ll find this in a lot of small businesses. The ones that are succeeding are quality-based; all the ones that have fallen by the wayside were more about turning over a dollar than offering their community something they couldn’t get anywhere else.”
Looking ahead, 2011 promises to be yet another breakout year. Tommy Brenneck’s Dunham subsidiary, which shook up plenty of sample-hungry hip-hop producers in 2008 with Menahan Street Band’s instrumental opus Make the Road by Walking (including Jay-Z), is planning the long-awaited Charles Bradley debut No Time for Dreaming for January release. Daptone will also oversee the reissue of some classic African funk from Benin by the legendary El Rego—and there’s always the possibility that some unreleased SJDK material will see the light of day. Whatever happens, the label’s founders don’t see any need to disturb the groove.
“I don’t want to grow too big,” Roth insists. “We put out a couple of albums and a bunch of 45s a year, and that’s about as much as I think we can do and still keep our fingers on everything. If we do more than that, then we might start to lose that attention to detail that makes the label real special, right down to the artwork and the 45 labels and everything else. Every record is born from the blood, sweat and tears of the family, and I hope it stays that way. I think we’ve got the best studio in the world and I want to make a lot more records—whether it’s gospel, Afrobeat or soul—just more records that feel good.”
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
Ron Sexsmith visits the Relix office to perform a tune from his latest record Forever Endeavor.
Crystal Bowersox stops by Relix to perform a song from her new album, All That For This.
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