A year ago, local musician Kirk Thurmond was working on an album for his label, DefDisco. In May, it all came to a sudden end when the label severed ties with its Dallas office.
Thurmond isn't bitter, maybe because he's not short of work. He’s prepping to release a new, self-produced single, "How Low," with his band the Millennials. “This is probably the best situation I’ve been in since I started playing music,” he says.
“How Low” was written around the time DefDisco (based in Sheffield, England) decided to drop the Dallas artists it had signed, including Sam Lao and Kaela Sinclair. Thurmond, who grew up in southwest Dallas and lives in the Bishop Arts neighborhood of Oak Cliff, says the song isn't meant to be about DefDisco, although he had suspicions something was up.
Since his relationship with DefDisco dissolved, Thurmond has assembled a team of people he trusts to help him run his music machine.
“It feels a whole lot better for a lot of reasons because I know more,” he says. “Everybody’s not in the U.K. The way these guys’ minds think is very refreshing.”
Despite his experience with DefDisco, he still believes in delegating. “I’m such a team-oriented person,” he says. “I learned early on that you can find somebody that does what you’re trying to do for yourself better than you.”
Thurmond is almost finished with a new full-length LP, which he plans to release in 2018. He recorded the majority of this material more than a year ago when he was on DefDisco. Now, those songs, along with some new music, will see the light of day.
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“If DefDisco was the only way I was going to make it, that was a slim chance to begin with,” he says.
He says he received very little advice or feedback from the label when he presented new material. “I didn’t hear hardly anything from the UK, but [Dallas manager] Cliff [Simms] was always pretty adamant about getting the product finished,” Thurmond says. “He’s right. He’s a strong believer in ‘If the songs aren’t ready, then we can’t work.’ He was on top of that and he’s still on top of that.”
Thurmond still has a relationship with Simms, and along with Sandra Smith, they have created a label arm to Simms' new branding and marketing business, Resident Alien.
After "How Low," Thurmond will release a second single and a new EP, Mercury Retrograde. You can see him perform his new material Sept. 14 at Beats & Eats at the Granada Theater.