Interview: Dustin Watson of Disposable America, on the new ‘And Flowers And Bees’ mixtape
Allston-based independent record label Disposable America first caught our attention last fall with the release of a split 7-inch from two of our favorite new projects, Caténine and Funeral Advantage. The record was nearly 14-minutes of moody jangle-pop bliss, sounding like some long-lost Side-B cassette mixtape from the lower depths of 1986, and set a nice sonic tone for the upstart digital/tape/vinyl label, which since 2012 had released music from the likes of Maura, Ghost Thrower, and Orca Orca.
Last week, Disposable America stacked the deck with And Flowers And Bees, a 19-song compilation featuring new and unreleased tracks from its own roster of artists as well as affiliated acts from labels and communities like Ritual Tapes, RTA Collective, and New England Standard. It’s a true “family and friends” effort with an oddly coherent sound despite the wide-range of styles, and it’s available for free download via the Disposable America Bandcamp page.
As we were vibing out last week to the synth-pop disco sounds of Video Teeth, the muddy garage-pop of Burglary Years, and the sunny-morning haze of Lost Film (the new project from Orca Orca’s Jimmy Hewitt), we reached out to Disposable America founder Dustin Watson to get the word on what spurred the comp, how all the bands came together, and what’s next for the label. Fire it up and read on after the compilation jump.
Michael Marotta: How’d the comp come about?
Dustin Watson: And Flowers And Bees came together because a lot of the bands from the Disposable America family were working on new material, upcoming records, or had recently released albums. This was originally intended to be a short sampler featuring just those bands, but I asked a few of our friends to contribute songs from their new projects and it just sort of snowballed as it came together.
How’d you determine who to include?
I really tried to be cautious of making it too long or dense. Another label had recently put out a sampler that was something like 100 tracks long and covered a dozen genres. While there were a lot of really great bands on that compilation, it just felt so intimidating to try and tackle that many new bands at once. I really didn’t want this sampler to be like that, so dense. I wanted it to still hold the weight of an intentional curated compilation, even if it wound up only being b-sides and remixes. It’s nearly 20 songs, but it’s largely new and previously unreleased material; what’s not was very recently released in the time that the sampler was coming together.
So this features mostly all bands you’re working with, in some capacity, via Disposable America?
There’s a bit of overlap on the sampler. Mike Hlady (of Magic Magic) has two tracks on there with Holiday Music and The Big Splash. Faaroh is a a secretive new side project of one of the other bands on Disposable America. And Flowers And Bees has the last release from Jimmy Hewitt’s band Orca Orca and one of the first from his minimalist guitar-pop project Lost Film. Brian “Mickey” McKenna also does guest vocals on the Caténine track that starts the sampler, then his band Video Teeth follows with “Delicate Operation” at the second track. Many of the songs come from new projects of the shared former bands.
While there are a few outlier tracks on And Flowers And Bees, I tried not to stray too far from the sound of the label’s more recent releases and I think it all flows nicely. A few of the songs come from friends’ bands who recently released songs on other labels. Cloud Cover’s “Mirror Me” is off a recent cassette from Ritual Tapes and “Collins” from Darklands is off a 7-inch out on New England Standard.
The song “Small World” is the first single from a Michigan beach dreampop band called Cave Needles, their debut self-titled album was the latest Disposable America release.
What new Disposable America releases are on the horizon?
You can definitely expect to see a few Disposable America releases from some of bands on And Flowers And Bees in the coming months. Our next release is going to be a 2012-2013 Strange Mangers anthology tape in anticipation of new material and their tour in August. That tape will be out in a few weeks, we’ll be putting pre-orders up soon.
Any release parties planned?
There won’t be any release parties or events for the sampler, though Funeral Advantage and Strange Mangers will be playing a few New England shows together in August that will likely serve as the tape release shows. There will be another sampler a few months from now, hopefully, and with a bit more planning it’d be a great excuse to book a label showcase or at the very least another DJ night at River Gods.