Drag City was formed in 1989 by Dan and Dan, the Drag City, er, men.
Avoiding the questions: Rian Murphy.
Tell me about your childhood, Mr. Drag City:
The label was founded when the casual desire to see things done differently became, more or less, a necessity. Having worked in record distribution, the two Dans were familiar with what was then right, and
two such bands at that time were Royal Trux and Pavement, the original flagship bands of the label. All but two of the first ten records were either the Trux or Pavement - Pavement recordings such as the "Summer Babe" EP are currently collected on the Westing By Musket and Sextant LP
Since you released early Pavement - do you take responsibility for the whole 'shambling' movement?
As little responsibility as possible for as much as possible. Still not sure what differenciates shamblers and otherwise, but there's a few bands we know in shambles definitely.
Do you think Pavement would have done any better had they stayed with you? ( I mean musically, rather than commercially - you'll usually sell more with a major).
It had better be true that they would have done the same. Otherwise, we never should have signed them. We have always wanted the truth.
PR time: who are the biggest hopes for worldwide stardom; ok then, acts that the UK can maybe
expect to hear from soon?
It's a busy winter in front of us here at Drag City, with a dozen small projects, a few reissues, and of course, the occasional new discovery. King Kong have a new LP that is hilarious. Red Krayola's recent EP was perhaps their best work ever. We also just rereleased their Kangaroo? LP of some fifteen years ago. We are very excited as well about a singer/songriter named Edith Frost. Her debut on Drag City will come in January. It's got a sound that has haunted us since we first heard it. There will be full LPs from Plush and Silver Jews in 1996.
You released the Big Flame compliation recently. Are the people running the label big Ron Johnson fans?
Big Flame fans.
Are you aware of the UK's (well, Glasgow's) current Ron Johnson/Beefheart 'revival' (Badgewearer, Yummy Fur)?
Although we are mostly blissfully unaware, we have at the same time several pure Beefheart fans about the office.
Do you owe any sort of debt to the C86 sound? And how do you compare this to what's coming out of the UK at the moment?
That's one big question mark all around for us... Of course, your Flying Saucer Attack do quite well here for us - we did FSA's "Land Beyond the Sun" 7", the Further LP and the recent Chorus LP here in the US. To much acclaim, we might add.
You released a few records by the Palace Brothers on Drag City. I believe you are setting up a subsidiary label with Will Oldham?
Yes, next year we will focus on the development of work with our subsidiary labels - Sea Note will release comedy records, Dexter's Cigar will cover reissues, and Palace Recrds is our World Music division. Of course, these definitions are not set in stone.
Does the idea of subsidiary labels mean that you can avoid having a Drag City 'sound'? That must stop pigeonholeing?
We can avoid it without subsidiary labels. Pigeons are indeed dirty birds. We want to stay
out of their hole for sure.
That said, I would have guessed that Pavement, FSA, and Palace wouldn't constitute one 'sound'. What is DC's 'sound'?
The sound of music.
Reprinted from bigwig 1996