The amount of new band names they can spin at you is dizzying...and endearing. And most of all, uplifting. They're possibly the biggest fans of modern, often-as-yet-uncategorizable new music this side of the Rio Grande. It's fun to watch to Dallas Distortion Music, aka Matt Vickers and Evan Henry, grow both in success and size, and also in all of their youthful enthusiasm.
We've spoken to Matt and Evan before, and since then, they've continued to prove that they are part of the next generation of young music fans that are championing new sounds by helping to get their music released.
So far in 2013, they've torn 35 Denton a new exhaust port, thrown a post-fest barn-burner in Dallas at the Crown & Harp, and collaborated with some other DIY labels to showcase their passions in the "unofficial SXSW" arena.
Matt and Evan are currently licking their wounds and recovering from a lack of sleep and decent nutrition from it all, but couldn't be happier to update us on what a great time their having as DDM continues to swell.
It's been about 16 months since we caught up. It seems things have only gone up for DDM....especially in spirit. Have you taken on new fans, as it seems you have? Evan Henry: Yes! Things have been great! More & more exciting as time passes! But yes, DDM is growing & gaining support from all over the nation & worldwide! Matt Vickers: We have seen a definite increase which has been not only local, yet statewide, national, and even international. Due not only to the fact that we made a conscious decision to book, promote, and release outside of the area, but also due to the fact that DDM has had the luxury to work with many national affiliates...whether that be through releasing cassettes, working with other labels, and booking national/international acts. Truly we are blown away by the amount of people, bands, press outlets, and labels whom want to work with us and acknowledge their love and respect for what we do.
It was nice of 35Denton to use Evan as, sort of their personification for 35D in their video promos. how did that all come about? EH: Enthusiasm folks, that's what it takes. For not only the friends who surround you, but the things they bring your direction. At many area shows I can be seen participating as a member of the crowd. This consistent behavior caught the attention of 35 D's Kyle La Valley & Natalie Davila. They approached me with the question of being in a 35D promo video when The Babies & Doom Ghost played Bryan Street Tavern this past December. Half-destroyed from the show, I thought why not? Once fully described, I felt honored to represent. And there I am, raging to a AD+d cover from local psych/garage act Fungi Girls as 111 rad locals are announced to play the 2013 incarnation of the festival. I had a blast filming that one! MV: We had thrown a showcase at 35 Denton the year prior, and I had volunteered the year before that. and through our work with 35 we pretty much got to know everyone involved and were highly visible in not only promoting 35, but also wanting to be an integral part of it. Of course it helps that we both share very common interests and goals in pursuing a broader sense of community through community so the collaboration between the two of us was almost effortless.
Speaking of 35D it looks like it was a very successful run for you all. Including showcases of your own, and a teaming with another label. Tell us about that. MV: We had thrown a showcase the year prior at 35 Denton and were asked if we would like to host a showcase again this year. Of course we were ecstatic and literally jumped through the phone lines for the chance when we got the call. Around that time we were in the works planning a pre-SXSW show with Fullerton,CA's independent cassette label Burger Records and Portland's Gnar Tapes the week following 35 in Dallas. We are ardent supporters of independent labels. Burger and Gnar became close friends to us through booking and promoting their labels thorugh the past two years. Truthfully it has been the most fulfilling time we have spent doing DDM, to a degree. EH: 35D went pretty well for us. It would have been better if the weather hadn't been the way it was. But I believe it was the same for all. We had the honor of hosting a total rager of a show: OBN IIIs, Hunters, hormones, & CODETALKERS at the fest. I felt pretty worn out following that one! John Dwyer from Thee Oh Sees came to take part in the madness. I couldn't have felt more empowered. With 35, we were on our own, no involvement from other labels.
We did, but in that interim we threw a total rager with Burger and Gnar Records/Tapes in Dallas the following Tuesday after 35 which literally packed the house. Two stages featuring twelve plus bands from labels at Burger, Gnar, Hardly Art, and us at DDM. Immediately after that show Evan jumped in the Burger van to SXSW as I followed that Friday to make it to Austin for our own co-op all day/night showcase with Austere magazine out of Denton, and Jinks Spring out of Austin....so many amazing bands from as far as Canada, Australia, Southern California, Florida, and many local acts whom were "official" SXSW acts, like Skeleton Coast, Blackstone Rangers ,and War Party.EH:
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The rager in Dallas was called "Lovefest"! It was an all nighter featuring many of the label's prominent acts. Nashville's Diarrhea Planet, Shannon & The Clams, Gap Dream, Pangea, White Fang, The Memories, Colleen Green, ENJOY, plus a few of our own, locals War Party & Sealion, as well as L.A.'s Snow Wite. We brought the power of Burger to Dallas. Couldn't believe what we had achieved that night. But because Burger was kicking off their SXSW journey the next day, I hopped back in the Burger van & headed to Trailer Space for a day of at-capacity wonder. Wednesday through Friday, I bro-ed down w/ the Burger boys & girls in Austin. They showed me one hell of a time! Though Saturday rolled around in time for us to co host "SXSW Our Way" w/ Austere Magazine & Jinks Spring at the Wardenclyffe art gallery in far East Austin. From the moment I entered Austin, I avoided any sort of official SXSW jargon & chose to take part in all the garage & house madness. I felt I had more fun that way.
Yeah, I guessed! I imagine you guys would be great tour guides for taking in great peripheral, underground, and unofficial goings-on at SXSW, and great "buried" stuff at 35D. Seems like you'd be great for digging deeper to some great as-yet-unknown sounds. Unknown on a wider scale, anyway. MV: As far as being tour guides to the debauchery and madness which is the SXSW corporate machine, I'd dsay while we hit up many great shows the vast majority of our time spent was watching unofficial showcases on the Eastside of Austin. Truly the whole debate as to where the authenticallly "good" music at SXSW is can be daunting, but the unofficial showcases at SXSW are it and hold the greatest amount of enjoyment and experience you can get. EH: Our connection with 35 Denton has been a remarkable experience and has opened many doors to not only us, but the bands we have brought. Acts such as War Party, Doom Ghost, The Rich Hands, and others are all gaining much more exposure and deservedly so.
In October, DDM was nominated for an award for new label! Was that your first nod for an award? MV: Yes, It was our first award nomination and a total shock to be nominated amongst so many other local labels we admire, yet also that two of our own labelmates at DDM, Blackstone Rangers and Cutter, we're nominated as well with both acts coming home with awards in their respective categories. We are a cassette label and very independent in our ideals towards how we want music that we asscoiate ourselves with being heard and how those bands are represented. Seeing them come home with awards was surreal. Being amongst honored and established local labels such as Idol and Kirtland was crazy strange, but having our close friends at Gutterth Records and Pour Le Corps was pretty much all the acknowledgment we need or ever need. Also it was way rad to step on stage and present the award for "Best Venue" to The Granada. Now that was surreal. EH: As far as I'm aware, it was the first of any kind of award, other than the rewarding feeling brought forth by all the shows and releases we've been associated with!
Plans for more releases? Compilations? EH: Oh my. Now that SXSW has come to an end, it's about time to get moving on those. MV: It's crazy enough that tons of bands actually want to release on DDM. The week of 35 Denton we released the new Cutter/Vulgar Fashion split cassette and soon we will be releasing the new Sealion LP "Kenneth". Tentatively we have in the works releases from Zhora, Atomic Tanlines, a Rich Hands co-release with Burger Records, Doom Ghost, Blackstone Rangers upcoming LP, and an EP from Cutter. EH: I suggest you stay in the loop with us. It's about to get all kinds of fun.