Posted by Billyjam, March 3, 2009 08:30am | Post a Comment
daedelusFor many, many years now Tuesdays have been the music industry's standard day of the week to release new records and CDs. And today, Tuesday March 3rd, is when brand new Los Angeles music label FoF Music is dropping its inaugural release, Friends of Friends Vol. 1 featuring Daedelus and fellow LA electronic act, duo Jogger. But similarities with the traditional music industry business model end there for this modern, post-Internet age, self-described "T-shirt label," whose catalog will be all digital file only releases.
"The Internet in many ways has been “the great equalizer” for both artists and music fans, giving us all new opportunities to release, buy and receive music," writes creator of this new indie label Leeor Brown on FoF's website. The concept for FoF Music, which stands for Friends of Friends Music, he writes, is to invite an artist "to join the FoF family by signing on to do a split EP; they in turn invite another musician or group to complete the split release and commission a designer to create the EP’s artwork on a limited edition T-Shirt which will include a download card (100% seed paper card-- Included will be the release, exclusive remixes and special content: ie videos, mixes etc)."

Today's premiere release, Friends of Friends Vol. 1, is a digital only six song shared "EP" with three songs each from number one "friend" Daedelus (born Alfred Darlington) and his friend Jogger. Alfred also invited friends Amir Yaghmai (who he attended high school with) and Jonathan Larroquette, both of whom are active live band members of his side project The Long Lost with his wife Laura, to also contribute to the new project. Additionally he invited the husband and wife art duo Kozyndan to do the cover art/t-shirt design for the release.

I caught up with FoF mainman Leeor Brown to ask him about the things that led to his new label, what upcoming projects he has planned, and the ever-changing music business model.

Amoeblog: How did the idea for FoF come about initially?

Leeor Brown: I've always trusted the "art, label and guests" mantra when digging for new music. If you come across an LP you've never heard of, you check the art for sheer visual connection; if it blows your mind, there is a decent chance it's listenable and sometimes mindblowing. Label: if a label puts out quality shit, you'll be coming back for more whether you've heard of the new releasing artist or not. [Finally,] guests: you've already established a relationship with some artists; if one you love is a guest on a new record, check it out. I just decided to create a label that made these things the focus because i think it's something we all do when finding new music. The "FoF" Friends of Friends idea made sense as the culmination of this all at once. It's like an instant referral! If someone you really love is getting involved, why not try and give them the creative freedom to invite another artist/invite a designer and put together something that tells their story their own way?

Was the idea of the T-shirt as part of the music package a way to get around free downloading since you can't illegally download a T-shirt too?

Leeor Brown:
Basically, I mean it was an extension of the thought that people still want something tangible but don't want to waste money either. So we make a quality product -- 100% organic cotton T-shirt + 100% seed paper download card -- that is fresh and gives people good music all while trying to put a new value on music. People are used to getting music for free right now and we as fans need to find ways to the show people who release music what we're willing to pay for. I figure most people pay $32 for an organic T-shirt anyways so the music and goodies are almost a bonus.

Amoeblog: Besides the T-shirts, what are some of the bonus things in the package that people get with the music?

Leeor Brown: Right now it's just remixes but soon there will be a music video as well and possibly more things will be added as they become available. The remixes include Michna, Eliot Lipp, Nosaj Thing, Mexicans with Guns, Meanest Man Contest, Grahm of Thunderheist and more...

Amoeblog: Was your decision to not release on vinyl or CD but only digital files an easy one?

Leeor Brown: Honestly, my lack of funds drove that decision. CD was never an option because I hate them, but as a vinyl collector and freak I definitely have struggled with not releasing wax. But for me this HAD to come from a different angle and a label just releasing vinyl didn't have the same "new" feeling for me and there was no money for both. T-shirt and download card was just different and made so much sense, i couldn't  pass it up.

Amoeblog: I know you are a major music fan and that you work in publicity with Terrorbird, a West Coast press and promotions company known for its good taste in hip-hop, electronic, and alternative music projects. Has your experience at Terrorbird helped shape the ideas for FoF Music? And if so, what specifically?

Leeor Brown: Every idea that went into this really was shaped by my work with Terrorbird. It's all been a learning process that's taken place in my almost 3 years there. Getting to know artists and labels, working closely with them and seeing what i think works and doesn't. I wanted to find a way to work with the folks I loved but also get connected with new folks i may not. The Friends of Friends notion helped me understand how the label can continue to grow in infinite directions really driven by the artist and their network colliding with FoF's. And because Terrorbird is a PR/marketing company, through my every day work I began to see what seemed to be getting people's attention and that's interesting releases and unique content. My goal was set...just try and make it interesting. To me that meant really allowing the artist to invite their homies along for the ride. I think we'll be pleasantly surprised by some of the "Friends" we get to know through future releases.

Amoeblog: How did Daedelus end up being the first "Friend" and can you explain who the others, including Jogger, are on Vol.1?

Leeor Brown: There was no doubt in my mind that if he'd have it, Alfred (Daedelus) would be the one to lead the way on this new idea for me. I had been a huge fan all throughout college and even brought him to Santa Cruz (yeah, I was a Banana Slug) for a show there. I went on to do radio promo for Alfred and getting to know him. Eventually we became homies and I told him i had an idea for a "T-shirt label"... he was ALL about it. He actually is the only reason this is really happening. He kicked me in the ass when I was napping and the rest is history. Jogger are goooood friends of Alfred's as well as Kozy and Dan. They're all really close and was a pretty natural connection on all fronts.

Amoeblog: Who will future Friends be? And wIll FoF be mostly LA area artists?

Leeor Brown: I definitely feel like I will be working with a lot of LA artists because that's where I'm living, but FoF is something that will continue to grow. The second FoF release is actually far from will be headed up by Swiss electronic-pop duo Larytta. I did PR for their record Difficult Fun on Creaked -- a great Swiss label that has released Mochipet and others -- and was floored. They made my favorite record of last year, so I just straight asked them.

They've already turned in their songs and they are amazing! They've invited their homie Bauchamp to complete the music and Tatiana Rhis to do the art. I'll  let you know when we get it scheduled. We'll also be working with my homie Ernest Gonzales from San Antonio. He has an awesome and beautiful full length coming and we're working on making that extra special as well.

Amoeblog: Right now the whole free downloading of entire albums, readily  available on blogs (typically even before they have been released), is so common that it is killing not just CD sales but also legit digital sales of new music. We now have a new generation of music fans who feel entitled to getting their music for free. Will this attitude prevail? And if so, what, do you think, will the long term effects be on future recordings if there is no money to be made on selling music?

Leeor Brown: I kind of alluded to this earlier but I still believe people are down to support the artists they love and truly move them. I think the days of people having to buy a record just to give a listen and see if they might like it are over. A lot of people made a lot of money on that model but those days have passed. What we all need to do is buckle down and try to create interesting and provocative releases so people feel inspired to spend hard earned cash in tough times. If you're still doing the cookie cutter thing, people know how to get around it now. And don't get me wrong, I recognize it's really hard to release music and make money, but it's up to the people releasing as much as it is the consumer. The story no longer has to be told on the actual record, it is a small piece of a larger puzzle nowadays. There's up to the second updates, tour blogs, special content, new technologies and just too many ways to tell your story. I just think it's time we explore it all.

Amoeblog:  Anything you want to add?

Leeor Brown: Check out the Larytta short US Tour coming up beginning March 16th. They'll be in LA, NY, SxSW and more...don't miss them!

The release is available on iTunes March 3rd and at all retailers March 10th. The shirts are $32+tax+shipping on the FoFmusic website in the store and are not available without the music.

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Daedelus (11), Fof Music (2)