Wednesday, September 3, 2014

In a Sea of Indie Labels, Driftwood Records is a lifeline for many bands that need Safe Harbor.


Interview with Dandy, Driftwood Records Owner and purveyor of Oregon’s most interesting Punk Label

Interviewed by Joseph Timmons of Xombiewoof Magazine


Ok, so I wax poetic and made this to sound like a scene from Moby Dick, but the fact is its rough for Indie record labels, one opens every day, and another closes. Fact is, so many great labels never last more than a couple of years with major backing and as many of you know, bands don’t often have enough options, pressing is costly and even with the internet making it “easier” for bands to be herd, who has time to sit at the computer all day and be in the studio?

I follow the Indie labels and connect with many over time; one label that came to my interest is Driftwood Records, a small label out of Eugene Oregon, so I set up to do an interview and found that this is the real deal in labels, not only do they have a large roster of artists and an online store at Bandcamp that is full of some very interesting titles, they tend to do short runs that sell out fast. Covering the genre of “Screamo”, “Emo”, Folk Punk, Alt Indie and Hardcore, Driftwood Records is a true “Me, Myself and I” operation, the company consists of the owner and one other person, sharing a flat and running it all from home. During the interview, I found out that Driftwood will often split or “foot” the cost of mastering and pressing, often running close to making no profit, which made me wonder why, so in this interview we learn that music must be food for the soul and it’s not just the artist that could starve.


So, how did Driftwood start?

Dandy: “I started out just making tapes and such for a few bands I knew, I never thought this would take over my life. Soon after I stated, band after band asked me to do a release, and Driftwood came to life. Now after just a few years I have made some sort of name for myself and we always have great responses to our artists”


Does this mean you are doing really well?

Dandy: “We’re surviving, in this area there are not a lot of venues for shows… heck, I have talked with other labels and it’s tough everywhere, with no places to play, the internet is swamped with bands just trying to get heard and we really have to push out name out there.”


If this is the case, why keep doing it?

Dandy: “It’s what I want to do, I love helping bands and this is my gig! I get into this and I love doing it.”


I see on your site you do more than just Vinyl, you do tapes too; do you get a lot of interest in Tape?

Dandy: “We sell just as much tape as everything else, well actually more… nobody likes or wants CDs anymore, hell, most of the time people download and make their own now. We have several online stores connected together, Bandcamp is by far the best and we, as well as others have some free downloads, some that are a set price and some that are “pay what you want”, and our Vinyl sells too, mostly collectors that want the picture discs or rare split singles, but everyone loves tape, it has something about it, not just because of the sound but there is something about it that just gets you. We also have shirts and posters, but Tapes sell good, and bands get more for their money. The average record o single will cost up to 2.00 each to make, so for a thousand that’s a big chunk, but tapes, we can make a few hundred tapes with labels for about a hundred bucks. Bands sell tapes at shows and make more money that way.”


Well, Vinyl and Tapes has made a major comeback, there are those of us that have always been collecting, but now everyone wants Vinyl in their stash, do you see this as a future benefit?

Dandy: “Hey, as long as there is a way to get the music out, I’ll try to make it work (laughs) got to eat, right?”


Where do you see Driftwood in about 2-3 years, still a humble home grown label or major player?

Dandy: “I just don’t want to be bankrupt! I have been doing this for a while and only now have I come to a point where I am not too deep in debt, hell, everyone is in debt! I know one label that has been in the biz for almost 10 years before they could quit their Day Jobs, as long as I can buy some soup from time to time, I’m good!”

- (At this time Dandy stopped to have a short conversation with his partner in crime, Phoebe (I think that’s how it’s spelled... I did not ask), there was laughter and some playful banter, then Dandy came back to say that they celebrated some great sales by buying some soup last night, and that eating is a bit of a privilege some days.)


Wait, so you actually sacrifice eating to keep the Business going?

Dandy: “To be fair, I don’t take too good a care of myself, I get wrapped up in this and it takes my mind so deep that I forget to eat, but my roommate reminds me and I eat, we are doing this by ourselves, I'm packing boxes while we speak and she is making the screens for some record sleeves were doing custom, got to do what needs to be done”




Driftwood Records has a YouTube Channel, Online Store and Bandcamp Site, as well as they make use of other social media, in a more candid statement, Dandy said he could quit this and find another job, easily, but does not want to, this is his dream, goal, vision… however you want to think of it, but more realistically, it’s his life. I will check back with Dandy in a few months, see how things are and remind him to eat, you go buy some albums now!


Support Local and Independent Music, support the dream Follow Driftwood Records on Facebook - and check out their artists on their store page, you’ll find great music, and help people like Dandy and Phoebe, who are busy helping others make their dreams come true!


Get to the Gig, Fill the Seats, Rip it Up !


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