A few months ago, in some office somewhere in the middle of Brooklyn, Syd Butler was trying to figure out how to grow. He had a pretty decent office, running his label Frenchkiss Records with some debonair, and had a few employees under his wing, doing everything but band publicity (that was outsourced to some pigeon that hits windows in Manhattan). But he had no idea what to do from there. He sat down and had a brainstorming session with his subordinates, subordinating them to think of something.
“Think, my lovelies, think!” Syd admonished. “We’ve been at this for three hours.”
“No we haven’t,” said Grace. “It’s been three minutes.”
“Feels like three hours,” said Syd. “Paul, you got something?”
“Uh, IPO?” Paul clearly didn’t know why he was here, he just sorted mail.
“We’re an upstart label, not a startup!” Syd glared with some viciousness. “Phil?”
“Invest in creating the greatest record in the history of great records?” Phil had some understanding of the business, but he preferred to not care.
“Eh, last time that happened, Creation Records got devoured by Sony. Good start, though.” Syd turned to Grace. “You’re the most business-minded of the bunch. Any ideas?”
“Partner with a larger label?” Grace said. “Sub Pop did that with WMG, and they came out okay. They got a couple #1s now.”
“Sub Pop was desperate, lady,” Syd responded. “I… err, we shouldn’t have to lose control when we’re on our A-game. Anyone else?”
“How about forming a supergroup?” Craig Finn said as he waltzed in, looking through the mail, eyes brightening at the coupon book.
“A supergroup. Get a few other labels together, form a larger ‘superlabel’ that shares all the business aspects, including distribution, that a regular label does. Like Rough Trade, only with more kicks.”
“Good idea, Craig,” said Syd, “…But what are you doing here?”
“…Status report on the next record?”
“You still haven’t found a place to live yet, have you?”
Groans aside, Craig’s idea took shape. However, Syd twisted it a little: instead of being a typical superlabel, the newly-formed Frenchkiss Label Group (FKLG) would be a sort of a label farm, allowing smaller labels to gain the resources that a superlabel can have in order to develop into a sustainable and larger business. After getting a variety of rejections from Matador (too big), In The Red (not in the mood), and GAYNGS (not actually a label), they settled on a starting lineup of nine, including JAXART, Pendu Sound, Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records, and Cavity Search Records. The big ones, though, are White Iris (home to FIDLAR and Eric Copeland) and ATP/R (home to Deerhoof, Jackie-O Motherfucker, and Fuck Buttons). To celebrate, FKLG released a compilation record of all the bands now under Syd’s all-encompassing groovy wings, and they had a party at the office.
“This is great, man,” Syd said. “And thanks for the booze, Paul. What should we do now?”
“I think we should get our artists to collaborate with some of the artists on these labels,” said Grace said.
Before Syd could respond, a loud vacuum-like sound silenced the crowd, and a man walked out from behind the FKR blue pillar. “Don’t ask me to collaborate with anyone,” said Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit, before disappearing from behind the pillar. He reappeared 10 seconds later in equally loud fashion. “Unless it’s with Alex Hung of Fuck Buttons. Then, maybe.” He disappeared again.
“We have pneumatic tubes?” asked Phil.
“We do now,” said Syd, cackling.
If This FKLG Compilation Record Were A Supergroup, It’d Require Three Stages:
01. Guards - Do It Again (Extended Version) [White Iris]
02. Slow Animal - Bliss Brain [JAXART]
03. Two Wounded Birds - If Only We Remain [Holiday Friends]
04. Pete Krebs and the Gossamer Wings - Kid Domino [Cavity Search]
05. FIDLAR - Oh [White Iris]
06. So Many Wizards - Lose Your Mind [JAXART]
07. The Memories - Softly [Underwater Peoples]
08. Eric Copeland - Louie, Louie, Louie [Underwater Peoples]
09. aTelecine - 4 AM [Pendu]
10. Fuck Buttons - Olympians [ATP Recordings]
11. Chelsea Wolfe - Tracks (Tall Bodies) [Pendu]
12. La Big Vic - LYNY [Underwater Peoples]
13. YVETTE - Cold Sweat [God Mode]
14. Anywhere - Anywhere [ATP Recordings]
15. Tall Firs - Crooked Smiles [ATP Recordings]
16. Fletcher C. Johnson - Messin’ Up My Mind [White Iris]
17. Starred - Call From Paris [Pendu]
18. Travelogue - Cathedral [Holiday Friends]
19. Matty Fasano - Unkind [God Mode]
20. Mr. Dream - Scarred For Life [God Mode]
21. Von Haze - His Love Is Fine [Pendu]
22. Steffaloo - The Red Runs Free [JAXART]
23. Gentlemen of Leisure - Boy Toy [Cavity Search]
24. Snow Bud and the Flower People - Bong Hit [Cavity Search]
• Frenchkiss Label Group: http://frenchkisslabelgroup.com