dots will dubo.

I had continued having a dialogue with Nick from Dots Will Echo. 

In an earlier post, I described a bit about what that band had meant to us in college, and how much we enjoyed them.  Meeting the band was a trip – but we were getting to the point where we were meeting lots of bands and labels we liked.  I was starting to find that simply sending someone an email, or picking up the phone, was enough to get a response.  Not that Dromedary Records was any big deal or anything, but we were at least starting to build a little bit of a reputation in the indie community – probably more because I was online, participating in various forums and mailing lists than because our records were popular or anything.

At some point I had sent the band a letter to their PO Box, re-introducing myself and asking if they would be interested in participating in the Schoolhouse Rock record.  Nick called me back and told me he had no idea what Schoolhouse Rock was (he’s a little older than me), but that if I gave him a song to record, he’d be happy to do it.  From there, we had a number of phone conversations where we started a nice friendship.

One evening Nick invited me to his house.  I drove over, met his lovely family, and then sat in his den with him for a while.  He played a few songs for me on guitar – right there in front of me, playing guitar and singing.  All the musicians I’d met at that point, and nobody had ever done that.  Rather than whipping out a cassette tape of his new songs, he actually just played them for me. 

We talked for a while about the Mommyheads – Nick was a fan, and asked me if he could have a copy of the CD when it came out, and also asked if I could find a copy of Acorn, the band’s first cassette on Fang Records that was nearly impossible to find.  I told him I’d dub him a copy, and in exchange, he told me he’d dub me a copy of some unreleased Dots Will Echo music.

A few days later, I got a tape in the mail that was labeled “Dots Will Dubo.”  It was the dub Nick promised me.

The tape contained a bout 45 minutes of new Dots Will Echo songs that had been unreleased elsewhere.  Most of the songs were in the same vein as the band’s debut CD that had sold 10,000 copies on High Street – power pop songs with great hooks, humorous lyrics and well-recorded, loud guitars.  There were a couple of clunkers that seemed as if they were experiments more than actual songs, but the songs themselves were great.

“We need to put this out,” Sandy said as we were listening to it.

“No way,” I said.  “Could you imagine if we put out a Dots Will Echo record?  After loving them for so long, getting to put their music out?”

It seemed impossible.  

When Nick suggested that we put it out, I was blown away.

The band had been looking for a new record deal for a while, and Nick was concerned that they were losing momentum.  It had been a couple of years since their High Street CD came out, and aside from playing shows regularly in Brooklyn and NYC, they weren’t doing much as a band.  Nick continued to write and cultivate relationships within the record business, but without actual music out there, it’s tough to remain relevant as a band.

From my standpoint, the band had excellent relationships with all sorts of people.  Nick seemed to know everyone – not just locally and in NYC, but nationally.  And since his last record sold 10,000 copies, I felt reasonably confident that we could get some great distribution, and perhaps sell 4,000 or so ourselves.  A record like that could really bankroll Dromedary for a while, perhaps fund two or three more releases.  And since we loved the band, it seemed like a win-win.

Our problem was that we didn’t have any money, and we were on the hook for CDs from the Mommyheads, Footstone, Gapeseed, and Toast, plus the Schoolhouse Rock record.

Nick offered to pay for it.

“Seriously,” he said. “I need to get something out there.”

“Why not just put it out yourself, then?” I asked.

“Because there’s something to having it come out on a label, rather than self-released,” he said.  “Plus, Dromedary is getting a good reputation, it’s growing, and it would be good for us to be associated with a label like that.”

That was flattering.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about him paying, but I agreed to put out a Dots Will Echo CD, one way or another.

Nick was excited.  “There’s a lot of stuff we wanted to do with the High Street record that they wouldn’t let us do.  They just wanted the pop stuff.  There’s another side to us – we’re not that one-dimensional a band.”

I reminded him that it was the pop stuff that caused us to fall in love with the band, and the pop stuff that sold 10,000 records.

“I know,” he said.  “I’m not saying we don’t want any pop songs on the record.  I’m a pop fan.  But we’ve written stuff that’s a lot more avant garde, and really want to put something out that’s more of a representation of the whole band.”

I couldn’t wait to hear what he had in mind.

~ by Al on May 28, 2009.

One Response to “dots will dubo.”

  1. […] couple of weeks ago I referred to a cassette tape we got from Dots Will Echo that was entitled “Dots Will Dubo.” It essentially consisted of 45 minutes of great unreleased pop songs from the band, which resulted […]

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