Location: San Francisco
Potted History: “It’s hard to know exactly where it all started,” says Josh Cheon of his essential out-of-print/contemporary underground electronic and post-punk imprint, Dark Entries. “My dad had this huge record collection so I grew up listening to lots of music that was not of the time. As a teenager, I’d buy so many records that it was like, ‘How am I giving back, or keeping the cycle going?’. I felt like I wanted to open a record store…”
But it wasn’t a shop that came calling. Various interning stints – at Metropolis Records in Philadelphia, Beggars Banquet and DFA in New York City – introduced Cheon to the wonderful world of the record label. “I’d stamp white labels and promos and help with mail-outs,” he says. “All these years later, I still pack every order and take them to the post office myself.” While the interning had planted the seed, Cheon needed a push to get his own label up and running.
“In 2006 I moved to San Francisco where I met Phil Maier who runs the blog A Viable Commercial. He told me to check out a band called Eleven Pond. Jeff Gallea, from the band, was looking for a label to reissue their long out of print 1986 debut album ‘Bas Relief’. I remember asking my roommate, Christopher Rolls, who ran KimoSciotic Records, all these questions and he pointed me towards resources for vinyl pressing, mastering, having jackets made. I still use these people 10 years later.”
Mission Statement: “My plan was to release a reissue, then a new release, alternating back and forth. And this logic was followed for first three releases, Eleven Pond, Death Domain, Second Decay, but I realised that there weren’t enough contemporary artists for me to release, and I had a dearth of archival stuff, so I just kept going with that. If I hear something I like and you can’t find an affordable copy or it was never released on vinyl, I guess that’s where I come in.”
Key artists & releases: The label deals in Bay Area artists, past, present and future (including the likes of Group Rhoda, Bézier, INHALT, Flesh World, Patrick Cowley, CYRNAI) as well as acts from around the globe (Die Form, Severed Heads, Photonz among them). Their recent resissue of VELODROME’s long-lost 1988 ‘Au Velodrome 141’ EP was a particular triumph though.
“I discovered I was renting an apartment on the same street in Barcelona as the office of one of band members,” says Cheon. “So I walked down the block, introduced myself and we had a coffee. I was in total disbelief I was finally talking to him.” As for the label’s A&R policy… “no blanket emails, be personal and make sure to listen to our catalogue.”
Future Plans: “We’ll be releasing more music from friends and artists I respect and publishing more books like the one we’ve just released, ‘Mechanical Fantasy Box: The Homoerotic Journals Of Patrick Cowley’.”
Any other business? “Find an engineer not a magician,” says Cheon. “There are too many people pumping out records without understanding the physics and science of sound. Try not to limit the pressings, that only drives the inflated re-sale market once the title is out of print.”
For more, darkentriesrecords.com