Dallas Observer Mixtape with Gavin Guthrie: TRU Label Showcase

Wanz Dover
Gavin Guthrie, under his alias, TXConnect, has released 13 vinyl on a fistful of notable labels from both sides of the ocean. One would be hard pressed to find many producers in this part of the country who have cranked out so much output in such a short amount of time. This has led to the occasional road trip, but Guthrie still stays busy regionally playing regularly as a DJ.

Riding on the wave of his success, Guthrie launched the Texas Recording Underground label two years ago to showcase tracks on vinyl by a who's who of Texas underground electronic music — notable names such as E.R.P., Bill Converse, Cygnus, Vectorvision and ill76. Seventy percent of sales are overseas, contributing to the rising fame of Texas artists internationally.

Guthrie is throwing a hot ticket label showcase for TRU at SXSW. This week's mixtape is a blend of tunes featuring the artists on TRU releases.

How did TRU get started? What is the mission statement for the label?
TRU was something I had in the back of my head for a very long time. I’ve always been extremely enamored with and appreciative of the wealth of talent in Texas. I’ve met so many artists along the way that have fueled my own creativity and have inspired me immensely. I wanted to do my part to release music by Texans whose music I’m inspired by and allow it to be heard by the rest of the world.

Why vinyl-focused in a sea of digital?
We’ve always had digital as an option, but vinyl is first and foremost. It’s a rewarding experience to hand an artist a record as a finished product. It’s something you can touch and show someone as a point of pride. You can’t do that with a digital release.

How did the showcase for SXSW come together? Who is playing?
A friend of mine who has been working for SXSW for years approached me about showcasing the label late last year. It wasn’t something that had really crossed my mind, so I was elated that he felt we’d be a good fit. The showcase will be at Plush and will feature Ben Zink (Son Fjord) b2b John Ousley (Daetron Vargas), Submersible Machines b2b Brooks Mosher, Vectorvision, Cygnus (live), and myself and Rick Simpson, also playing back to back.

Tell us about the mix and how you put it together.
I chose to use only tracks that have been released on the label. It’s basically a retrospective of the first two years. I believe every artist I’ve worked with has been included. I simply recorded it from records and acetates to my computer.

What upcoming releases do you have coming out for the label?
The next release will be a Record Store Day split with one side featuring TRU artists and the other from Dolfin Records. The TRU side will feature Spice Boys, DFG and M’Ress, all three making their first appearance on vinyl. After that, there will be an EP by Sean Kirkpatrick’s Mirror Box project, followed by an EP by Jeff Johnson.

How many releases do you have out now?
Six so far. Cyber_Tex v/a, Bill Converse, a v/a Halloween compilation, Texas Instrumentals v/a, Dylan Cameron, and the recently released TRUTOOLS001.

What is coming up for you, release-wise?
Recently I was a part of a great compilation entitled Spirits of the Black Lodge Vol.2. This was put out by some friends in Los Angeles who are throwing spectacular parties and now releasing extremely solid records.

Do you have preference between playing live and DJing?
I was reborn a bit in the live sphere of music a few months back at Mutant Wave as it had been two to three years since I had done it. It’s very time consuming for me to execute a live set, but this one was 100 percent reassuring that I should be doing it more often. I stepped away from it to focus on DJing for many years, but I’m ready to get back on that horse every once in a while. The two are just completely different beasts, and it is difficult to choose. DJing is more instantaneously gratifying, whereas playing live takes much more work. They are both very rewarding in their own ways.

What drew you to DJing? How did that turn into starting a label?
I was always obsessed with music as a kid and was always glued to the radio or playing guitar, participating in percussion in middle school, etc. I always had fairly different tastes than friends of mine when I was younger and always was the kid who was bringing his Walkman to school, making anyone listen to my newest tape I had bought. I suppose that love manifested itself into collecting records, making friends in college with similar tastes in music and beginning that journey of DJing about 10 years ago.

Where do you like to dig for records?
I typically stick to Josey for records locally, and the rest I buy from stateside shops such as All Day, Pacific Beach, Amoeba and a large portion from Discogs.

What are you doing with your Midnight Rambler residency?
Rick Simpson and I are recent additions to the rambler and have been bringing a bit of a Paradise Garage/Music Box vibe to the rambler. For myself, it’s a very ADD gig as I’m all over the map musically. There have been nights where I’ve played everything from Bob James, The Clash, Thompson Twins, Cabaret Voltaire, Donna Summer, Level 42 and Liaisons Dangereuses in a single night. We’re basically trying to keep things upbeat and continually adjusting to the mood and crowd. We start things light in the night and ramp it up toward the end.

What gigs or releases do you have coming up?
I’ll be at the Midnight Rambler on the 24th of this month and playing live once again at Mutant Wave on Aug. 18 alongside Gel Set and Twins.

Tom Strong — "Martian Time Stripper"
Jake Schrock — "Night Pursuit"
Bill Converse — "Ahead"
Sam De la Rosa — "La Rata"
Brooks Mosher — "Magic Hat"
Bill Converse — "7 of 9"
The Agus Effect — "March of the Ant Tribes"
R-Computrax — "303"
Dylan Cameron — "Dark Sorcerer"
Ill76 — "New Years Night"
TX Connect — "Ghetto 214"
Cygnus — "Pink Lipstick"
Vectorvision — "Beta Cloud"
Dylan Cameron — "Celsius"
E.R.P. — "Tandy Center"
Submersible Machines — "If You Know how I Feel"
Cygnus — "Make The Brain Relax"
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Wanz Dover
Contact: Wanz Dover