On a cozy saturday afternoon in July I had the pleasure of sharing a beer with Dan Reeves. Dan lives in Brighton and has served as a long-time recurring musical highlight for me and was kind enough to share a few thoughts on some of his work. Although I must declare myself a fan of both of his bands, Cold Pumas and The Soft Walls, I felt as if I had already examined the two to an extent that would leave me better off with the last secrets untold. Instead, I turned my focus towards his more mysterious and less outspoken alias Faux Discx. (From Lappland Zine #2)
Hi Dan. First of all, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Dan – Dan Reeves. And I run Faux Discx Records.
When and why did you start Faux Discx?
Eeeeh… I don’t know the exact year that it started. Maybe 2007. My friend’s band was putting out a CD and they didn’t have anyone to put it out. So me and him started the label together. We used to do a design company together, just in our spare time. And then we decided we wanted to start the label as well. So we put out his band’s CD, they were called Skiptracer. And we made them on these – I don’t know if you’ve seen them – black CDs that look like vinyl, they’ve actually got grooves on the top as well. So that was why we called it Faux Discx. The design company was called Fake French. So this was like fake records, a fake French way of saying ‘fake records’.
How much time do you put into the label? And do you do everything yourself?
Yeah, I do everything myself. Apart from online PR, I have a friend who helps me with that. So, I have a full time job, I play in two bands (Cold Pumas and The Soft Walls) and I’m married. All my other spare time goes to Faux Discx pretty much. Like, every day I work on it. It’s very cool but also very tiring. (laughs)
Do you feel the same passion for the label as you do for the bands you’re in?
Yeah, definitely! It’s different… It’s… In some ways I prefer it because you’re totally in control. Well, I am since it’s only me. So I get to do exactly what I wanna do and decide how to do it. And it’s like… When you’re in a band you always rely on someone else to do something. You know, if you go on tour you get promoters to put you on, that sort of stuff. But yeah, I have the same passion I suppose. I imagine if I ever stopped playing music I could carry on doing the label and it would fulfill me in a similar way I think.
From looking at your bandcamp page, it seems your records sell out almost faster than they’re put out. What’s the secret?
Ehm, it’s cool if it seems like that but I don’t really think that happens.
I noticed you have an album coming out next month and it says 3/4 of the records are gone already
Yeah, that’s not really a true reflection. Because there’s 300 records made and then there’s two labels putting it out. It’s the Sex Hands record, right? So there’s two labels. I took 50 and they took 30. And then the band is gonna have some. And then we’re gonna give the rest to distributors. So I only have 50 and most of those are sold. But it looks good!
But the Omi Palone record sold out, right?
Yeah, that one did really well. I don’t know, it’s really hard to tell which things are gonna do well. Some things you put out and think “this is gonna be so popular” and then you end up with loads and loads of boxes stored in your bedroom. Then other times you sort of take a chance on something and it does really well. I put out a tape by this band called Housewives. They’re sort of a post punk / no wave band. They’re really really good but they hadn’t really played much or anything. But that sold out really quickly. It was cool because it seemed like a very sort of organic word was spreading about it. Yeah, so there were all these people across Europe buying this tape. And I was like, “that’s cool, don’t know how people know about this band…” I guess the label has got a little bit of a name now.
How do you pick the stuff you release? Do you go for local stuff or friends’ bands or just anything interesting?
It’s quite often friends, mainly. Or people that I’ve seen play or met. Some people just contact me. Like Teardrop Factory, I didn’t know them before. They just sent me their stuff and I really liked it. And then I met up with them. But most of the bands are people that I know. At the moment it seems to be like there’s a lot of members that are shared across different bands. Lindsay, the bass player in Cold Pumas, is in Sauna Youth as well for instance. And Oli (of Cold Pumas) is in Tense Men. And Rich, who is in Sauna Youth as well, is also in Tense Men. And Liam, who is in Omi Palone, is in Tense Men. Yeah, so it’s kind of all connected. But yeah, I’ve put out a few things that people sent me but it’s mainly people that I sort of know.
Though, there’s been this sort of Canadian thing. Because we met Women when they played in the UK. We played some shows with them and sort of became friends. And then they split. And then I put out a record with Friendo that Michael (of Women) was in. This was a split with Lab Coast. And then they came over and I helped them book some shows. And Faux Fur (also out on Faux Discx) is Matt and Patrick’s (of Women) little brother’s band. But yeah, my contact with them has actually been quite minimal, it’s quite funny. Very similar to a lot of those Calgary bands. Like, they’ll send me something and then I won’t hear from them for like three months. But yeah, all those bands from Calgary are amazing! It’s nice that I managed to put out some of that stuff.
Do you have any goals for the label that you haven’t achieved yet?
Eeehm… I’d like to do it for a job, that would be good. Maybe make some money out of it, that would be really good. I have a distributor now so that’s one of the things that I wanted. Yeah, my dream would basically be to just run the label full time. But I don’t know how realistic that is or if it would be fun, so… I would hate for it to be annoying. Other than that… If there was a massively successful record, that would be cool. If all my friends made lots of money from their records, that’d be cool too.
How do you feel about the internet as an independent vinyl label?
The thing is, I’ve never operated without the internet, my label basically started on bandcamp. So yeah, they’ve totally facilitated me, putting records out, because it makes it really easy. You know, you just upload your audio and people can get the instant download and then you send them a record. I’m happy with it. The only thing that’s kind of a bummer when you start looking into the exact figures is things like Spotify. I got a statement through and across the whole catalogue there was like 60.000 listens, something like that. It might have been 6.000, I don’t know. It was a lot of listens and then it equated to £12. And you just think, “this is crazy!” But, you know…
What are your thoughts on the British music scene? Do you see it as a whole?
Dan: No, I think it’s divided. But again, there are a lot of friends in bands so there are a lot of bands from different cities that I know and like. I only really know stuff that I like, I suppose. But yeah, there are good bands in Brighton, Leeds, London, Manchester and so on. I wouldn’t say the UK is a scene, though. There’s definitely certain diy promoters all around the country that I’m sure a lot of people go to when they tour. So there’s a network in that sense. But it’s not like a definite thing. Putting together a tour is quite hard, you know. Well… I don’t really know what I’m saying.
If Faux Discx was something outside of music, what would it be?
Dan: What would it be, I don’t know… What is Faux Discx like? If I had to think of it visually it would probably be the room that I have all the stuff in, which is also where I record all the Soft Walls stuff and put all the records and keep all my musical equipment. And for the moment it literally looks like… There’s stuff all over the floor and there’s a bike in there. It’s a spare room at the moment but I’m having a baby in November so I’m not gonna have that room anymore. Yeah, so I would say it’s like controlled chaos. I really like running the label but I wouldn’t say I’m the most organized person in the world. I guess because I do it in my spare time. It does work but it’s a bit rickety. Maybe it’s like an old bike. A rusty old bike that could be really great if you paid it a bit of attention.
Among the great releases that scatter across Dan’s spare room and numerous record shelves around the world, Faux Discx and Trouble in Mind records recently co-released the much praised sophomore album by Dan’s The Soft Walls entitled ‘No Time’.
For a copy of Lappland Zine #2, write to firstname.lastname@example.org