What: KDVS Recordings’ dance party
When: Friday evening, and the last Friday of each month
Where: Delta of Venus, 122 B St., (530) 753-8639
Freeform community radio station KDVS, 90.3 FM, has an unfortunate stigma attached to it: strange, experimental music for socially awkward, hipster art students. While that set does exist, KDVS Recordings is working to change that.
Two local KDVS disc jockeys — Nix Glass and Roy Werner — took over the record label two years ago, and are working their tails off to bring the listener an eclectic range of music, from the experimental weirdness you expect to more accessible bluegrass, folk, soul and hip-hop.
“In the past, KDVS recordings had all these experimental projects,” Glass said. “We’re trying to expand to include indie, folk and bluegrass. We also have a hip-hop compilation including The Nothing, Brothers Amore, Random Abiladeze.”
Two CD compilations — “KDVS Derailed” and “KDVS Underground” — are both fantastic representations of what KDVS Recordings has to offer.
“KDVS Derailed” features fine bluegrass from Cooper McBean (of the Devil Makes Three), alternative country rock from locals New Heirlooms, folk singer-songwriter Garrett Pierce and Sacramento indie rock Sea of Bees.
A wide array of hip-hop and soul is found on “KDVS Underground,” including hip-hop production from local Matt Fisher, aka The Nothing, and prime cuts from Sacramento’s The Cuf and Random Abiladeze.
KDVS Recordings is a nonprofit with a niche market.
“We’re not trying to make a profit,” Glass explained. “We’re just trying to make our budget back so we can increase it next year and release more projects.”
Declining album sales in the major market actually have helped small labels like KDVS Recordings.
“Before, major labels were so bloated there wasn’t space for independents,” Glass said. “We print up 500 to 1,000, maybe just 200 copies, depending on the release, instead of 10,000, 500,000 to a million on a major. The bar is lower. Now there’s more room for us.”
Added Werner, “They stopped flooding the market.”
Nowadays, smaller artists have found new ways to exist.
“TV and movies don’t just use major label stuff, they use independents, too,” Glass said. “Like Matt Fisher got his music on TV, and on my old label an artist got on MTV. There’s 200 channels and all those programs need music.”
Glass is confident that KDVS Recordings will stay afloat.
“Eventually it will sustain itself,” he said. “That’s our goal — every year we’ll make our budget back.”
Next up is The Cassette Series project.
“It’s a subscription club similar to a magazine subscription,” Werner explained. “There’s 10 cassettes with two artists on each; you get one every month. The idea is pairing up a local, previously unreleased artist with another artist outside the community. It’s generally more experimental, obscure stuff.”
The series began in October and runs through July. Subscribers get a cassette tape of new music every month for a $40 fee. The compilations are $5, perfect for starving students as well as anyone else with limited funds. To sign up for the series and check out other goodies, visit http://recordings.kdvs.org.
Glass and Werner plan to showcase KDVS Recordings’ music by hosting a dance party on the last Friday of every month at Delta of Venus, 122 B St. in downtown Davis, (530) 753-8639. Expect local DJs and special guests spinning the best in underground soul, funk and hip-hop.
The dance party is the perfect example of the new KDVS Recordings. “Underground” music doesn’t necessarily mean wallflowers looking sullen with their arms folded; often it’s got a great beat and you can dance to it.
— Reach Landon Christensen at firstname.lastname@example.org