Ta-Da Records

Date of Birth: 2003
Number of Releases: 4
Biggest Seller: The World Provider Enabler
Upcoming Releases: Republic of Safety Vacation EP
Online: www.tadarecords.com

Ta-Da Records is the brainchild of music-biz veteran Jeff Waye and long-time CBC Brave New Waves host Patti Schmidt. The two Ontario transplants first met in Montreal over a decade ago. At the time, Waye was a music buyer at Cargo Distribution, which handled Derivative Records, a ‘90s label venture set up by Schmidt that released records by Sportsguitar, Eric’s Trip, and Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. Ta-Da, their first project together, is a decidedly boutique side project, a means of getting a shared love of outsider pop into the world. Otherwise, Waye is busy managing the North American offices of the Ninja Tune/Big Dada juggernaut and Patti is producing a daily arts show and an upcoming new music show for the CBC. But come evenings and weekends, the duo can be found pushing the cause for bands like the World Provider, Republic of Safety, and Schmidt’s own Nanobot Auxiliary Ballet.

A Brave New Wave
Jeff Waye: "The conversation for the label really started out with how much great music Patti Schmidt got sent to her for consideration at Brave New Waves. We got to thinking that there’s a wealth of great weirdoes out there making bizarre pop stuff and it’s floating around with no outlet. So why not get on board and put it out ourselves. So most of what we put out has been sent to Patti for Brave New Waves. "All our releases so far have been limited editions. Compared to other labels, Ta-Da is pretty small time. The two latest EPs — The World Provider’s Lost Illusions and Republic of Safety’s Vacation — had a run of 500 each. The first two records [2004’s eponymous Nanobot Auxiliary Ballet album and the World Provider’s Enabler] we did about 1000 of each. We just wanted a place to put out music we like. We’re expecting to have two or three more projects out by the end of the year. "We put a little more time, money, and effort behind the first two records, because they were the first two and we wanted to get them and the label out there a bit more prominently. For future titles, we’d like to keep to the same format of our last two releases: the limited-edition three-inch fan disc.”

Great Things Come in Small Packages
"I really like the aesthetic of the fan disc. Patti came up with the idea. From a radio programmer’s perspective, she thought that elaborate packaging ended up as clutter that would get lost on her desk, so we came up with this really stripped-down, music first, fan disc concept. Artwork on the disc, clear case, keep the costs and therefore the prices really low. We can sell these for five or six bucks and still make a margin. "Both Patti and I really like the aesthetic of the really quick musical postcard, where you can only have 20 minutes of sparsely packaged music. Kind of the baseball cards of records. A quick 20-minute blast of something cool, which is hopefully awesome enough to want to put it back to track one or at least get back to it later.

Outsider Pop, Outside of Business
"By limiting the releases and costs of packaging, it becomes more of a good indie-art project for us. We’re not in a case where we want to lock in bands. If Republic of Safety, say, wanted to go do a record with anyone else, then they’re free to do that. Some of the future releases are with bands on other labels in loose situations, so they can do these small four-track EPs with us. For us, it’s just a matter of putting out some cool shit by people that we like, and then they can go on and do their own thing. "It boils down to this casual arrangement for this pressing of 500 records, where you as the band get x amount, we’ll promo x amount, and we’ll sell the rest. We sell ours in stores, you sell yours on tours, and we’ll all be good to go.

The Benefits of Ninjas and Big Dadas
"Obviously, my work on Ninja Tune/Big Dada makes it that much easier to start a new label. With all the press and distribution channels already well established, it’s easy for us to lump the Ta-Da product on the back end of those deals. Distributors need a certain amount of constant input and output to keep interest by overstocking chains, getting returns, barrelling out tons of promo stuff. So, Outside Distribution carries our stuff in Canada, but in some cases we deal with stores directly. We also post all the music up on digital services, to keep the music out there after the run has left the stores. Usually this provides a second wave of money for the bands, not based on inventory. And that’s how we work… ta da!”