I have been doing my East Village Radio show since 2009 and somewhere in 2011, it hit me that I wanted to start a record label. Why? Because I kept hearing amazing music from new artists; from radio submissions to guests on the show to local live shows to Bandcamp discoveries. Everywhere I listened, I began hearing more and more music that had that special thing. That kind of unexplainable magic.
Inspired by the magic, I began setting things in motion and figuring out how to go about starting a label in late 2011 and early 2012. When I told my friend (and now label partner) Dominique Miniaci about my plan, she had a very serious interest in doing the same, and also shared that ‘beyond’-style taste in music. So thankfully I now had a partner to help me plot out how we were going to get this thing off the ground.
The name of the label, Beyond Beyond is Beyond, came from the name of my East Village Radio show, as it really came as a logical and metaphysical next step. And “Beyond Beyond is Beyond” was originally inspired by a great visual artist bud of mine, Macho Mel Shimkovitz. I was intrigued by the idea of what is beyond beyond.
What we really strive to do is to present to people what we sometimes like to call “cage-free rock & roll”…or rock music that fucks with boundaries. There’s a lot of boring rock music out there, and some people eat that up. But for us, rock music was always more exciting and hard to define. The stuff I grew up listening to, like Hendrix and Yes and Cream and Zep and the Stones and so on, was wild and magical. Blues guitarists riffing with jazz-inspired drummers and singers who wailed in a new way, while honoring their own heroes. And musicians experimenting with ancient Eastern instruments as well as synthesizers and sounds that were just being invented. That’s the spirit we’re into.
After much plotting and lots of work behind the scenes, our first release came in November of 2012 from Brooklyn’s own Prince Rupert’s Drops. Despite being a band for several years, they had not yet released anything. We were turned on to PRD by our good buddy Chris Millstein (of Psychic Ills and Mondo Kim’s) who said they were the best kept secret in Brooklyn. So we saw them live that weekend and during the show Dom and I looked at each other like…’fuck yeah.’ Now we can’t wait to release their follow-up later this year! We are on the edge of our seats. PRD are such an amazing and unique band.
BBiB is modestly run from our two home addresses in Brooklyn and the occasional coffee shop or pub. Commercial spaces in New York are astronomically expensive. We’d rather spend money on putting out amazing records.
In 2012, we had done a lot of homework in “how to run a record label” but like with most things, you learn best once you’re thrown into the fire. We had some initial hiccups, which we found are quite regular hiccups in the business…like our first release not making its release date because of our first vinyl manufacturer totally dropping the ball. We dumped them immediately and found a great vinyl plant that we’ve successfully worked with every release since. I think we avoided any major train wrecks because we had some good label-owning friends to turn to, who were more than generous with help and advice; namely Adam Downey and Tom Abbs of Northern Spy Records and Bill & Lisa Roe of Trouble in Mind. We’re still learning things everyday as we grow. And quite honestly, there’s never a dull moment. We truly love what we’re doing.
After getting our first release out there with Prince Rupert’s Drops, the next few releases came together through a variety of ways. With the Finnish band Kiki Pau, I came across their album, Pines, on their Bandcamp page about a year prior, and I was just absolutely blown away. I hadn't heard a modern band play with that kind of patience in a long time and I was totally swept away by the music. It was automatically on the list of things I wanted to share with the world. The Quilt and MMOSS split EP release came from my friendship with Quilt and they had even played a live session on my East Village Radio show after their first Mexican Summer full-length. Other releases fell into place from submissions that we got from artists that dug what we were doing and also from artists that we were into that we had some kind of relationship. We’re grateful people are becoming more familiar with the label and that bands that we really look up to reach out to us for consideration. We’re very happy to say that there is no shortage of killer music being made these days.
We’ve recently been wading into the distro pool a bit as we have more and more amazing artists reaching out to us. For non-BBiB releases from bands we love, we started BBiB Records Wholesale Distribution late last year. The first title we worked with on this distribution-only basis was Coke Weed’s Back To Soft. It was something they had pressed on their own and after hearing it, we wanted lots more people to hear it! And what a great live band too and cool people as well! We hope to continue working with Coke Weed for a long time. Also, we’ve got a killer heady and heavy album from Brooklyn band Eidetic Seeing coming to shops near you in March.
Another thing that is new for us is compact discs. Our first several releases we didn’t do any CDs but with The Entrance Band’s Face The Sun release at the end of 2013, we realized that there are still folks out there who dig ‘em…and we don’t want to leave those people out. So now most of our releases will also have a CD release as well as the vinyl.
As for official Beyond Beyond is Beyond releases coming out this year, we have New Electric Ride’s Balloon Age coming out now (and it rules), then L.A. band Jeffertitti’s Nile’s The Electric Hour in April, Japan’s Kikagaku Moyo’s Forest of Lost Children in May and Peru’s Montibus Communitas’ Pilgrim to the Absolute in August. And then one or two more to come later in the year, including that sophomore album from Prince Rupert’s Drops. We couldn’t be more excited for what’s ahead.
What we want to do is keep providing a larger and larger audience for these bands and artists whose music we love so much. And of course to continue uncovering the most amazing music being made all over the world these days. That is, most definitely, our pleasure!
BBisB Sampler tracklist:
01 New Electric Ride – Marquis De Sade (from “Balloon Age”, Feb. 25, 2014)
02 Jeffertitti's Nile – Upside (from “The Electric Hour”, April 29, 2014)
03 The Entrance Band – No Needs (from “Face the Sun”)
04 Devonian Gardens – Lab Coat Country (from “Solar Shifting”)
05 JJUUJJUU – A Forming (from “FRST”)
06 MMOSS & Quilt – Sandy (from “New Hampshire Freaks”)
For all Beyond Beyond is Beyond releases, visit the label's Bandcamp.