Purveyors: Car Crash Set

In this day and age, just about anyone can run a record label. WordPress and Blogger allow for the creation of a snazzy website in minutes, while Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Mixcloud, etc. allow for the free  (or reasonably cheap) proliferation of music. Digital music distribution is as easy as ever. This also means that the market is completely flooded with underdeveloped concepts, both in the music itself and in the pseudo-labels that distribute it. When a label does succeed at bridging the gap between functionality, aesthetic and sonic quality, it makes it that much more impressive. Heavy hitters like Warp, XL and 4AD have the established distribution networks and fan backing to take chances on artists, allowing them the freedom to pick and choose an eclectic roster of both old and new talent. Newer labels like Body High, Friends of Friends and Night Slugs appeal to more niche audiences and often prefer to release music digitally. To celebrate the labels we love, we bring you Purveyors. With every feature, you will find a behind-the-scenes look into the inner-workings of the most innovative, eclectic labels from across the globe. You will get to know the people pulling the strings and delivering exciting new sounds straight to your cerebral cortex. Without further ado…

The digital only label is a fairly common occurrence these days as Soundcloud, Bandcamp and Beatport have made online distribution relatively easy. These labels usually rely on email subscription lists, social media and online advertisements for promotion and can be quite obnoxious in their methods. This is going to come off as a little bit of a humble-brag, but I get a lot of badly written emails every week from labels pimping their latest release. These usually fall on a scale of unobtrusive to the obnoxious “HEY LOOK AT ______ NEW POST-TRAP&B SINGLE” variety. Anyways, digital labels walk a fine line between promotion and spam is all I’m saying.

Seattle’s Car Crash Set, helmed by man of many talents Will Creason aka Ill Cosby, eschews online promotion and allows the label’s reputation to function as its sole promotion tool. With releases from risers like Cedaa, Mike G and Mak and Pasteman, many of you are probably surprised you’ve never heard of C/C/S. The truth is that there aren’t many people outside of the Northwest who are familiar with Cosby and/or C/C/S. This is because Cosby intentionally throws a veil around the label’s proceedings, giving listeners a chance to put in some good old fashioned legwork to find out about artists and releases. I exchanged emails over the past few weeks with Creason, who recently moved to Washington D.C. (Seattle will miss him), to get the inside scoop on C/C/S. Hit the jump for the full interview…

What are the origins of the C/C/S? When was it started? What does the name mean? Who all is/was involved?

I’m the only person behind the label and take on all of the duties.  The label’s first release was in 2009, but the idea for the label and the initial A&R work stretches into late 2007.  The label started when I was frustrated that a lot of really awesome music was being spread through blogs, but didn’t have a label that wanted to stand behind them and get the music to a wider audience.  It started, and has continued, as a platform for emerging artists and emerging sounds.  The name Car Crash Set is a reference to the last line in the song ‘Warm Leatherette’ by the Normal – a few people have caught on to that, but far fewer than I would have thought!

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You guys were releasing bass music before it really made much of an impact Stateside? What tipped you off?

The label has always been an outlet for music that I’m personally into at the time.  Also, being a digital label allows us to stay agile and put out releases that it may take another label 6 months or more to pull their resources and put out.  I think the combination of being locked into what is going on and what people are excited about and the ability to quickly highlight a new sound as it is happening is how the label got ahead of the bell curve with a lot of genres, including bass music.

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Favorite C/C/S releases off the top of your head?

I hate to pick favorites, but the two EPs from NUMBJAC are some of my favorite music period.  His music is his own, trends don’t seem to effect his work, and it’s gorgeous and heartbreaking and makes you want to dance all at once.

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Walk our readers through a C/C/S release, start to finish.

It’s really a simple process: I will approach an artist or they’ll approach me with new music, we talk about what we want to put out, perhaps we try to get some remixers involved, everything gets sent to mastering, and finally the music is sent to our distributor and in a few weeks it’s out and available to the public.

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Despite being a digital-only, C/C/S doesn’t have a large internet presence? Is that deliberate?

Yes, definitely.  I remember being a teenager and being really into small record labels, but not knowing much about them beyond their artists and their output.  There was a degree of mystery in how they operated that I miss in the present day where everything a label does is transparent and is highly advertised online.  To me, it’s more fun to have to follow a label and connect the dots on my own rather than having everything laid out from the begining.

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How is the process of drafting, releasing and distributing a digital release different than a physical release?

I don’t think it’s much different.  With digital releases, taking away the cutting, reference copy, and pressing stages speeds up the process of getting new tracks to listeners.

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Is there a philosophy behind being a solely digital label? Can you imagine expanding into other mediums in the future?

There isn’t a greater philosophy behind being digital only I have to say.  It’s worked very well so far, but I think it’s safe to say that there will be a physical product from Car Crash Set at some point in the near future.

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C/C/S has championed the early work of artists like Cedaa, Mak & Pasteman and Mike G who have gone on to achieve world wide acclaim. Do you feel a sense of pride to see them where they’re at now?

Oh yes, absolutely.  Being able to help these guys garner more acclaim and more fans has been excellent.  In each case, it was obvious from the start that there was something special with each artist, so it’s exciting when other DJs and labels and listeners discover their work.

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What do have planned for the rest of 2012?

The next three releases are from a new artist called Dwindle (I’ve been playing their tune everywhere for almost a year now), an excellent veteran producer based on the West Coast called Tony Goods, and a fresh young French producer called Melja.  On the horizon is another release from Mak & Pasteman, a really killer EP from Koloah, and the debut release from an exciting new Portland-based act called Celoso – look out for that one!

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