The Cemetery Improvement Society is hitting the road.
Once in a while two bands join forces to release CDs at the same time. Once in a greater while two bands team up to launch a record label. It's pretty rare for a pair of bands to do both at once.
Despite the odds, two experimental, mostly instrumental bands with a heavy dose of electronics, Madison's Cemetery Improvement Society and Revolving Doors, are poised to achieve the double-double: a collaborative label launch and a double CD release of Revolving Doors' Songs for Car Commercials and the Cemetery Improvement Society's Lonely Dog Island.
Isthmus recently spoke with the pair behind this feat - the Cemetery Improvement Society's Marc Claggett and Revolving Doors' Brad Hawes - about their bands' April 3 CD-release show at the Frequency and their brand-new label, Analogy Records, whose roster includes synth-driven rockers the Projection People and the purported German techno band Butt Funnel.
When and why did Analogy Records begin?
Hawes: Marc and I started it with the help of our fellow band members.
Claggett: Yeah, we basically began Analogy Records to help promote and sustain the bands we're all in.
As to what happened when, we started brainstorming the creation of Analogy Records in September 2008. The first real event of the label was a showcase last month that included the Projection People, Revolving Doors, the Cemetery Improvement Society and Butt Funnel, where we released a free compilation CD of samples of all the groups' newest material. Then, this month, Analogy Records officially became a [business].
Which bands are part of Analogy? Are you looking to include certain types of music?
Claggett: The bands that are currently on the roster of Analogy Records are the four bands from the showcase, plus Middleworld, which is no longer active.
Besides Butt Funnel, which is from Bonn, Germany, we haven't added any groups that we're not currently a part of. We're basically using ourselves as guinea pigs at this point since we want to make sure the label works the way we want it to before offering anything to anyone else. As far as who we want to include, we're interested in unique music that isn't easily classifiable.
Hawes: The next few years will certainly be a learning experience for us as we figure out what works and what doesn't, but so far we seem to be doing something right.
Claggett: We've had a lot of interest from friends in bands that would like to join us, and it was very exciting for us to reach capacity at the Frequency with the showcase in February.
How did the idea for the double CD-release party come about? Could you give us a sneak preview of what will go down that night?
Claggett: Both groups decided on the CD-release party back sometime when it was cold, a.k.a. winter. We were both projecting to have our albums done around the same time, and setting a date always helps to get your butt in gear. I mean our butts, not you the reader! What you do with your butt is your business!
People should expect a night of mostly instrumental, unique music and a lot of really good-looking people. Rev D and TCIS play pretty often together, seeing as we're both instrumental/experimental/electronic/rock-ish groups and we don't have any other friends.
Hawes: And we helped TCIS record some of their new CD and mix it. There's a track on which I play drums, which we will play at the show.
What events does the label have planned for the near future?
Claggett: Our plans for the immediate future are setting up an online store that has music and merch - past and present - from all the groups, the release of the Projection People's full-length album and continued tour booking for everyone involved.
How about the distant future?
Claggett: We are looking forward to becoming a greedy corporation like the major labels. Also including but not limited to exploitation, mind control and being the authority on what good mainstream music is.
Tell us a bit about each of your bands' forthcoming albums - and, in TCIS's case, the big upcoming tour.
Hawes: This time around we did almost everything ourselves. [Songs for Car Commercials] was recorded ourselves in our apartment and mixed ourselves, too. Because we weren't under the crunch of paying for studio time, we were able to spend a lot more time working on the songs - fleshing them out, trying different ideas and adding layers and textures we just weren't able to do the first time around.
Claggett: Lonely Dog Island, TCIS's new CD, is a strange album. Adding another guitar this time refocused the music in the direction of melody and rock - well, maybe - whereas our previous songs were more experimental and strictly electronic.
I've been dying to tour for years, but it never happened with past groups [Middleworld, White Party Dresses]. We booked this tour of the East Coast DIY-style, and it really wasn't easy. It's hard to get attention - especially in New York - when you barely exist to the rest of the world. But we all have faces, right? Wait, what?