MDC Interview#53 " Deathbysheep Records "
Q. Please tell us how Deathbysheep came to be. Why did you start the label?
Do I tell people it was a joke? I made a label for my friends and people I knew who make music that probably wasn't going to get released by a big label.
I was 19 when I started the label and I obviously couldn't start a design agency, and a record label is the closest thing. Someone who grows up in NY has really experienced everything.. I grew up listening to hip hop but in life you find more aggressive music like hardcore and hang out with people who are into the same shit as you.. you get to see it all and people are always showing you new things.
Q. How many people does Deathbysheep operate?
We currently have a staff of 3 additional people. Coin and Sweet are on A&R and logistics, and Raine is legal, and that takes very much stress off my back.
Q. Is the label's first release Decisions - Plagiarism (DBS 001)? How did you come to release this album?
Decisions is not DBS 001. There were about 10 digital mixtapes that were released under the name Chopped Cheese Volumes 1-9 plus a couple additional 30 minute tapes. Decisions was just the first actual band we released. But we also don't have a numbered catalog. It is on that album but that j-card wasn't designed by me. Each release stands alone.
Q. I feel that Deathbysheep's early catalog was based around Punk. Did you guys have any connections to the NY Punk scene?
Some say punk, some people say hardcore. But we listened to that stuff as much as other stuff and became friends with a lot of punks. And they asked, can we do something with you? Even back then I was already releasing those mixtapes and t-shirts were already made. The concept and the layout of what DEATHBYSHEEP is now was already there.
Q. You have been releasing cassette tapes from the beginning to the present, why do you use this format?
I consider it a very nostalgic compact piece of art that can be displayed and played without taking up too much space.
Q. Did the corona filtration damage the label?
Before we were doing dance stuff some people would say we were doing noise and other shit. It snowballs from there. The kids that started making electronic music wanted to be in punk bands, and if no one wants to do it with you you do it by yourself in your bedroom... and through the internet we all know each other. The pandemic really made a lot of people stay at home by themselves to work on music for hours at a time. But you know, if a really good punk band ever sends me stuff I'm not opposed to doing it now.
Q. Is there currently a resonance between Punk and Band music and Breakcore and Rave music in the US? Do they share similar listenership? Or completely separate?
Before discovering stuff like breakcore you're more likely to find something like punk music, so of course there is some overlap between the scenes.
Q. What are the criteria for releasing a work?
We don't have any set guidelines, this is still just based on me releasing my friends.. Work really hard, honestly... and don't email me stuff I have to download.
Q. Deathbysheep also does events, what was your most memorable event?
Every event is a movie. Summer Jam 2022 was our most recent party; it's always fun to bring in amazing musicians from outside New York to work on these events. Every time the people we book and people we bring together create fun in their own way.
Q. How do you see the state of the music scene around you in recent years?
There's always new people, and some people are becoming stale or not noticing how hard other people are working... There might be a bit of gatekeeping involved to keep out the younger kids because they are doing it better, faster and harder.
Q. What is your schedule for the future?
Life isn't planned, tomorrow is never promised. We don't try to fill a quota... We don't have goals... There is no 'has' to be done, we're just trying to have fun.